A couple years after we moved from San Francisco to Dallas in 1980 we discovered Chain-O-Lakes and we loved it.
It was all camping at that time and lots of lakes for fishing or swimming and plenty of trails for biking or hiking. Our family still has fond memories of the good times we had at Chain-O-Lakes. So we decided to relive some of that fun and scheduled a weekend stay. Things always change and Chain-O-Lakes had evolved over time into
The Retreat at Artesian Lakes was celebrating it's 50th anniversary when we visited. It's even better than what I remember - it's now 300 heavily treed acres with lakes, stunning private lakefront homes (several of which are available for rent), unique log cabins for rent, a restaurant, hospitality building, and lots of amenities and things to do. What didn't change is the serenity and beauty and the multitude of lakes and wildlife.
After an our enjoyable weekend at The Retreat at Artesian Lakes here are just a few of the reasons why we think you should consider staying at The Retreat at Artesian Lakes;
The Retreat at Artesian Lakes has served as a retreat for outdoor and nature enthusiasts for over 50 years and has an excellent reputation as a special place for respite and rejuvenation. During our visit, we talked to several people who stated that they have been coming here every year for many years and they love it! The Retreat at Artesian Lakes sits on 600 heavily treed acres with over 300 acres of lakes. Most of the lakes are interconnected and all of the lakes are fed by five artesian wells that don't require pumps to bring the water to the surface. Each of the artesian wells is capable of producing several hundred thousand gallons of the purest and best-balanced mineral waters in Texas every day. The history of The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is very interesting and you can read all about it on their web site.
Part of what makes The Retreat at Artesian Lakes special is the variety of lodging available for rent - you can choose from rustic one room log cabins with a deck jutting out over the lake to six bedroom cabins or some huge beautiful private homes. There is something for everyone, from a romantic getaway to a huge family outing.
The thirty four cabins range from one room log cabins to cabins with three bedrooms and two lofts to a six bedroom cabin with four bathrooms that can sleep eighteen. Each cabin is a little different and some of the amenities of the lodging include: gas fireplace, claw foot tub, fully equipped kitchen, dishwasher, outdoor grill, deck overlooking a lake, screened porch, bikes, canoe, kayaks, washer and dryer, and lots more. The Retreat at Artesian Lakes web site does an excellent job of describing each of the lodging options.
We stayed in the George Childress - a one room log cabin with a large deck that has a swing and picnic table and juts out over a lake with a resident alligator who greeted us each morning! Our cabin had a bathroom and shower, two comfy queen beds, an oval table and four chairs, a four drawer dresser, stove, microwave, utensils, small refrigerator, coffee maker and more. Everything was wood (the floors, ceiling, walls, table and even the trash can) except for the cool stone gas fireplace. To ensure you enjoy nature and get outside, the George Childress cabin didn't have a TV, but it did have high speed wi-fi. And included in the price of the cabin was a horse drawn carriage ride to a very good buffet breakfast at the Hilltop Restaurant.
There are several beautiful private homes available for rent at The Retreat at Artesian Lakes. For example, the Big Easy is six-bedrooms, a Great Room with a fireplace and large windows overlooking one of the most beautiful lakes. It also has a large flat screen television set, internet access, an adjacent gourmet kitchen and dining area, walk-in double shower, large soaker tub and double vanities, four bathrooms, a spacious loft, balconies, wrap around decking, under house parking, several picnic tables, a grill and a long bridge connecting the house to its own intimate island. It doesn't get much better than that. Next time, we're bringing our daughters and their families and staying here!
Rather than cook or grill at our cabin, we enjoyed two dinners, a lunch, and a breakfast buffet at the Hilltop Restaurant - a small, intimate restaurant with charming ambiance and a beautiful view of the lake from any of the dining tables. The Hilltop Restaurant is only open from 6 AM to 8 PM on Friday and Saturday during the summer and the menu when we visited included: a salad with a couple good options for dressings; two very good appetizers - Shrimp Remoulade and an out of this world delicious Artichoke Dip with toast points; three entrees which included marinated grilled chicken breast with a delicious melon salsa plus rice and seasonal vegetables; an excellent lemon-battered Shrimp with French fries; and a cooked to perfection 10 ounce rib eye steak with whipped parmesan potatoes and seasonal vegetables! It's unusual for us, but we were so stuffed we had to pass on the bread pudding with Jack Daniel's sauce but the next night we enjoyed a very good Italian cream cake - and then we waddled home. Alcohol is available and we loved the margaritas as well as the delicious bread that was served in a small flower pot! The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is pretty isolated so bring what you need for supplies and food because the nearest store and restaurant are about 20 minutes away.
On Saturday morning we were picked up in front of our cabin by a two horse drawn carriage that took us to breakfast. Even though I was still full from the night before's dinner, I managed to sample just about everything on the breakfast buffet, all of which was very good - scrambled eggs, ham in a sauce, sausage, bacon, excellent sweet rolls, pancakes, fruit, and lots more!
If you get bored at The Retreat at Artesian Lakes there is something wrong - it's an outdoor paradise with lots of activities and fun things to see and do for all ages. Some of which include:
And I'm sure you'll want to spend time swimming in the swim lake with two water slides and a nice sandy bottom or in an outstanding pool. The salt water pool has plenty of pool lounge chairs, a hot tub in a cave, and cool refreshing water.
Be prepared, you might just fall in love with The Retreat at Artesian Lakes and want to buy a lot and build a house - there are a few beautiful waterfront lots still available, all of which have a gated entrance. For sure your family is going to ask "when can we return!"