With a balmy climate and tropical attitude, the Sunshine State's southern coastline offers a variety of fun meeting places – if you know where to look.
Fashionable Palm Beach, an hour north of Miami, stole the meeting limelight in 2003 with the opening of the 350,000-square-foot Palm Beach County Convention Center. The state-of-the-art facility includes a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 23,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Breakers is the city's largest meeting resort. Attendees can meet and greet amid 45,000 square feet of lavish oceanfront conference space and enjoy 36 holes of golf, plus tennis courts and a spa.
In adjacent Boca Raton, the historic Boca Raton Resort & Club has diverse and sumptuous venues for high-end confabs. Guests can choose from 1,040 guest rooms and villas, two golf courses, 30 tennis courts, a private beach, a marina, and 146,000 square feet of meeting space.
"Opulent" describes the renowned Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa on St. Pete Beach Island near St. Petersburg. Rising like a pink palace from the southwest Gulf Coast, the resort features 277 suites and rooms, 38,305 square feet of meeting space, beachfront event space, a spa, and championship golf.
When golf is important, the 600-suite Westin Innisbrook Golf Resort tops the list for corporate meeting planners. Located in Palm Harbor, just north of St. Petersburg, it sports 72 holes of championship play, along with 65,000 square feet of meeting space, six pools, and an outdoor team-building course.
Sixty miles south of St. Petersburg, Sarasota was the winter home of John Ringling, founder of the Ringling Bros. Circus. Executives can tap into Ringling's drive and creativity with brainstorming sessions in a circus tent. Circus Sarasota offers two 17,000-square-foot tents.
For smaller gatherings, the Resort at Longboat Key Club, on Longboat Key, has 7,000 square feet of meeting space and golf. One of the nation's top tennis resorts, the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, also on Longboat Key, is another chic meeting site. It has space for up to 250 people and luxurious bungalows for VIPs.a
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