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Groups head for the outdoors


Courtesy Chattanooga CVB


Tucked between the mountains of southwest Tennessee and the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is known for attracting outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the southeastern United States.

“Hop on a riverboat to the Tennessee River Gorge, and in minutes, you’re in one of the most biologically diverse areas anywhere,” said Dave Santucci, vice president of marketing for the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The gorge is just one reason that Outside Magazine gave us the distinction in 2012 as the ‘Best Town Ever.’”

Famous for its surrounding mountain venues, Chattanooga has some “must-sees” for bank groups: Lookout Mountain, 2,000 feet in altitude, offers views of several states and the chance to walk over swinging bridges towering above waterfalls; Point Park is where visitors learn the importance of this city during the Civil War and the appropriately named Battle Above the Clouds; and Rock City features massive, ancient rock formations and a variety of festivals, including the Enchanted Garden of Lights during the holidays.

Groups can stay at any downtown hotel and have access to 300 bikes located at 30 stations, a 13-mile Riverwalk, and numerous festivals, art galleries and cafes without ever using a motorcoach.

“This fall, group members can be entertained while dining at a city cafe,” said Santucci. “The Block, part art and part functional, will feature outdoor rock-climbing where you can sit and sip your coffee and watch people climb five stories.”

Sioux Falls
South Dakota
With more than 70 parks within the city limits of Sioux Falls, groups might find it difficult to make choices for outdoor adventure.

“I’d suggest spending an afternoon at Falls Park, a 123-acre park near our downtown,” said Cathy Buchheim, sales manager for the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They have a five-story viewing tower where you not only see the horizon of the city but all the pink quartzite we’re famous for and buildings constructed out of this stunning material. You’ve also got a great view of the falls that majestically drop 7,400 gallons of water 100 feet every second.”

Visitors can rent bikes at the Big Sioux River Recreational Trail and Greenway and take a spin through Falls Park and many other scenic parks.

“Walking or riding, you can travel beside the Big Sioux River to see where it actually flows north through our area,” said Buchheim.

More pink quartzite is showcased on the self-guided sculpture walk throughout the city, where 50 sculptures are on display.

“The sculptures change every year, and we have ballot boxes everywhere so you can vote for your favorite sculpture,” said Buchheim.

The Outdoor Campus, a venue that has a 3,000-gallon aquarium, a walking trail, a museum, a butterfly garden and bird-watching opportunities, is also the perfect place for a women’s getaway during Women’s Try It Day. Learn how to shoot a rifle or a bow and arrow, try some Dutch cooking, and more.