Skip to main content

Challenge Course

Fostering both individual achievement and group collaboration


Meeting Rooms

Corporate meetings, seminars, workshops and planning retreats


The Retreat at Artesian Lakes (formerly Chain-O-Lakes Resort & Conference Center) is a corporate retreat facility designed, built and operated to support learning.  Whether working with a start-up company or a Fortune 500 conglomerate, it offers the complete combination of setting, amenities and programs to ensure the success of corporate meetings, seminars, workshops and planning retreats.

We are located approximately 60 miles northeast of downtown Houston off Highway 59, Cleveland Exit, on the edge of the Texas Big Thicket.

Quietly nestled in over 500 acres of East Texas pines and surrounded by inter-connected Artesian water lakes, the conference center provides the solitude and communion with nature key to opening the mind and heart to growth experiences and relationship building.

Complete Meeting Packages

  • Lodging in authentic log cabins or executive private homes overlooking lakes or in log suites set in a pine grove
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at Hilltop Restaurant
  • Meeting Room with basic A/V Package
  • Morning & Afternoon Snack Breaks and Continuous Beverage Service
  • Evening Hospitality Suite set up with games

Day Meetings

  • Up to three meals per day at Hilltop Restaurant
  • Morning & Afternoon Snack Breaks and Continuous Beverage Service
  • Meeting Room with AV Package

See our Meeting Rooms

Challenge Course

  • Use of the course for four or eight hours
  • Snack breaks delivered to course
  • Boxed lunch delivered to course or Lunch at Hilltop Restaurant

Find out more about our Challenge Course.

Facilitation Services

Our founder, Dr. James D. (Jimmy) Smith, Jr., is the principal facilitator of the Leadership and Team Development Group (LTD Group), a consulting company specializing in the design and facilitation of activity based, or experiential learning modalities to augment classroom content, cultural alignment or team building initiatives, leadership and strategic planning retreats.


Authentic log cabins overlooking lakes in four different floor plans providing a variety of options for Single or Double Occupancy. These units feature king or queen-size beds, fireplaces, antiques, fully-equipped kitchens, and porch swings.

Log Suites. These five units are located in a secluded pine grove within walking distance of Swim Lake and the swimming pool and feature two bedrooms (one king and one queen bed); two full bathrooms (one with Jacuzzi tub), a dining area, fully-equipped kitchen and covered patio.

Private Homes. These beautiful homes are located in the gated community adjacent to the resort (¼ to ½ a mile from the meeting rooms and restaurant), and offer magnificent lake views. Each house is unique but they all feature at least three bedrooms/bathrooms; living areas with fireplaces, TV sets with cable; and internet connections; fully-equipped kitchens; and expansive outdoor decks. Rental fees for these properties range between $400 and $800 exclusive of Meeting Package.


Our Executive Chef carefully plans, prepares and serves a corporate menu that complements the overall retreat experience.

Themed dinners, herb garden tours, and team-building cooking demonstrations are also available.

CMP includes daily morning and afternoon snack breaks, continuous beverage service, and evening hospitality suite.

Meeting Spaces

We offer several meeting rooms in a variety of sizes—ranging from a cozy conference room setting for small groups to a larger room with capacity for up to 100 guests.

All meeting rooms are equipped with wireless, high-speed internet access, basic A/V equipment, “tack-friendly” walls and adjacent snack bars.

In addition, many groups turn our decks and gazebos into outdoor classrooms.

Our ropes course includes a spacious gazebo for conducting debriefing sessions.

Experiential Learning

Rated among the best in Texas, our course provides a carefully sequenced series of outdoor problem-solving challenges and obstacles that use assorted props, trees, ropes, cable and height to provide physical metaphors for situations simulating the corporate environment.

Read more about our Challenge (Ropes) Course.

Evening Hospitality

Free Time Activities

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Hayride and Campfire with S’mores
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Bird Watching
  • Star Gazing

Call (832) 397-4008

Contact our Groups Coordinator for a quote or tour of our facility.

Download our Corporate Package

Our group was very complimentary of your meeting facilities. They loved the challenge course, the great cabins, the outstanding food and terrific staff. However, most of them specifically complimented the natural environment. They said it made them feel very comfortable during such a critical meeting.

Gary M. Lopez, CPO SHW Group Inc.

In 15 years of experience conducting leadership programs and director retreats, I have never been as satisfied with an event as I was last September at Chain-O-Lakes. Your ropes course is the most complete I have ever used; your skills as a facilitator made planning far easier. All this coupled with the quiet, serene location and the best food anywhere in East Texas resulted in a successful retreat which accomplished our every goal.

William McCoy, President Pasadena Chamber of Commerce

Our people had nothing but fantastic things to say about the food, service and overall hospitality experienced at Chain-O-Lakes. I hope you will convey our comments to your staff-all of them!

Lew Mologne, CEO Kvaerner Process Systems

I expected this program to make me a better manager but I believe as it has turned out, it has made be a better father, a better husband and a better man. What an incredible experience!

Frank Illicqua, Hub Manager Eagle Global Logistics

The day and the environment were just perfect for accomplishing our goals. The staff gained much from the experience and, in fact, will be following up with another full day of growth. I also want to compliment you on what you have done with the place.

Stephanie M. Tamborello, Director The University of Texas