Destination: Jacksonville/ St. Augustine Meeting & Event Planning City Guide
By Jessie Fetterling
November 20, 2012
Florida is full of excitement, from Miami’s Latin-inspired festivities to Orlando’s never-ending theme-park rides. But it also offers a bounty of natural wonders to FdMisicaomvier : The tvheirrgdl aldaregse isn't cthorea sl orueethf . Tharrieern asytisotenm’s lianr gtehset wurobraldn opffar tkh sey cstoeamst of Jacksonville. And several national and state parks in between.
By Steve Winston
September 25, 2012
When Ponce de Leon stood on the deck of his ship and first sighted these shores on April 2, 1513, he probably wasn’t thinking of it as a meetings destination. That’s a shame; he could have been the first to see the potential of Northeast Florida, which encompasses the region stretching from the Florida- Georgia border to just north of Daytona Beach. This is an area where the facilities are inviting and the welcomes are heartfelt. Plus, the weather is sunny, the beach is always nearby and rates define high value.
By Steve Winston
November 29, 2011
Few of us would associate the word "writers" with Florida. "Sun," certainly. "Beaches," for sure. "Attractions," without a doubt. But "writers?"
It may surprise you, then, to learn that Florida writers have won more than 50 Pulitzer Prizes and other national awards.
Writers have always been drawn to Florida, perhaps because it’s a geographical last frontier, where the U.S. melts into a Caribbean collage of exotic cultures and islands. Perhaps because of the juxtaposition of diverse cultures, lifestyles and peoples. Perhaps by the melding of sun, sky and water. Or perhaps by the colors—flaming tropical hues splashed over flat horizons that never seem to be reached.
By Maxine Cass
October 28, 2010
Orlando is the big kid on the block for Florida meetings with the most meeting space in the state, while three Sunshine State destinations in the north offer small- and medium-size meetings a taste of history and nature in a relaxed setting. St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches combine the country’s oldest city, golf and Atlantic beaches. Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, is a mecca for nature lovers, surrounded by natural attractions such as freshwater springs, a wildlife refuge and arched trees over canopy roads. On Florida’s Panhandle, the emerald waters and white-sand beaches of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island nurture conferences in a laid-back atmosphere.
By Maxine Cass
August 31, 2010
The beach. The warm climate. The easy access. The value. Four major metropolitan areas on Florida’s East Coast score planners’ rave reviews.
Learn about Jacksonville/ St. Augustine for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations
Number of Meetings Hotels: 210
Total Hotel Rooms: 45,500
Number of Special Events Venues: 82
Local Convention Centers:
Local Airports: Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
Local CVB: Visit Jacksonville
Anchoring a 23-mile strand of wide, sandy Atlantic coast, Jacksonville is all about beach vacations and thrilling motor sports at Daytona International Speedway. Planners of medium-size and smaller group events look to this East Central Florida spot for affordability, dependably sunny weather and unique venues.
To help with planning, the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau website publishes a five-year calendar of “sellout” speedway events, when as many as 200,000 NASCAR fans at a time descend on the area to attend the Daytona 500. Other confabs, such as the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 in July, Bike Week in March and Biketoberfest in October, are also big draws. That, along with Daytona Beach’s rep as a mecca for spring break and summer fun, means meeting planners are strongly advised to study the city’s events calendar before they book.
When racing and bike fans have left town, conference-goers can play around at the Daytona 500 Experience, an arcade and museum adjacent to the speedway. Team competition is adrenaline-building in 200-mph racing simulators. A 3-D IMAX theater shows films on racing history, and groups can take tram rides on the speedway’s high-banked track. VIP tours lead groups behind the scenes in the Daytona 500 Club, the Sprint Tower and the Sprint Cup garage.
For the ultimate thrill, the Richard Petty Driving Experience puts a fearless driver into a NASCAR race car with hands on the wheel and a foot on the gas to go flying around the track. Or ride shotgun with a pro at the wheel—at speeds of up to 165 mph.
The area’s natural attractions are also big draws, especially for activities like parasailing, deep-sea fishing, and kayak and airboat tours in the mangrove and cypress swamps of the Indian River and the Intracoastal Waterway. Private guided tours can be arranged at the Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens, and Daytona Beach Aqua Safari will transport groups in a double-decker bus to go on fishing trips and eco-cruises that stop at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and the Marine Science Center.
So catch a thrill ride, a tour or a nap—any which way you play it, Jacksonville makes a great place for your next meeting.