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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Beach Meetings: The Call of the Coast

Long Beach, California

Centrally located between Los Angeles and Orange County, Long Beach is sophisticated and charming yet functional for any type of professional gathering. Blessed with a picturesque harbor, this oceanside community is simply a remarkable place to meet.

A meeting planner can expect to find up to 400,000 square feet of space for meetings, exhibitions or events if they book the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. The planner’s needs should be met when they choose from either the grand ballroom, any of the 34 meeting rooms, several large exhibit halls, a theater and an arena. In addition, there are many other unusual meeting venues around the area that can be booked.

For fun, visitors love to tour the legendary Queen Mary, the historic ocean liner and World War II troop ship. There are behind-the-scenes guided tours available, and people can shop or enjoy a lavish meal onboard and even spend the night in the ship’s hotel. And yes, the ship has some of the most unique meeting spaces in Southern California.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth-most-visited aquarium in the nation. It provides a deep-sea adventure with more than 50 exhibits and 11,000 fascinating animals on site.

Downtown Long Beach and East Village Arts District are two stops visitors should make for dining, shopping and special events. The Village is full of one-of-a-kind, independent shops. Another interesting stop is the Museum of Latin American Art.

Long Beach is also the springboard for dozens of the iconic attractions found in Southern California. So after a meeting is concluded in Long Beach, attendees will find that attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios are not too far away to visit.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is situated at the southeast corner of Massachusetts and is made up of 15 charming towns and satellite villages with many hugging the rugged Atlantic coastline. The area is steeped in history, culture and the arts, and there’s much to do by land or sea. The numbers speak for themselves: 83 museums, 475 galleries, 115 miles of public beaches, 106 miles of bike paths, 42 golf courses and so on.

Meeting spaces are available in every corner of Cape Cod. Corporations, government agencies, associations, reunion participants, sports teams and many types of groups find places to do business or hold an event. Planners book meeting rooms located at fine hotels, motels, cozy inns and resorts and also restaurants, historic buildings, museums, railroad cars and even on golf courses.

There are also 19,000 guest rooms of every description in the region, so meeting and event planners need not worry about accommodations for their troops.

There are plenty of activities for visitors to Cape Cod. Much of it dealing with water. Anything a person can think up that has to do with water is available including boating, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, deep sea fishing and much more. Hiking is quite common. There are sanctuaries and conservation lands to explore. The first oceanfront national park in the U.S., comprising 44,000 acres, is Cape Cod National Seashore. Cape Cod has eight working lighthouses, making it one of the country’s foremost destinations for lighthouse buffs.

For history buffs, there have been more than 3,000 documented shipwrecks around the Cape over the past 200 years. The arts and culture are a big part of Cape life and include galleries, fairs, concert halls, music venues, museums and more.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Like Cape Cod, the Outer Banks draws people to the Atlantic Ocean and all of its shoreline splendor. Its barrier islands separate the ocean and the mainland. It is where the first English settlers landed and also where the Wright Brothers tested their first heavier-than-air flying machine.

There are so many options for meeting planners to consider that they are urged to connect with the Official Outer Banks Group Planner to look over choices for meeting venues and accommodations and stuff to do. The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau arranges site inspections of meeting facilities, all the promotional materials a person could want and information about attractions and special discounts.

Conferences, board retreats, business strategy sessions, training, reunions and incentive trips are regularly held in the Outer Banks, and when the work of the day ends, the abundant menu of outdoor activities will give attendees some great coastal experiences to enjoy.

Visitors will enjoy three National Park Service sites, including the Wright Brothers National Memorial, America’s first National Seashore and the nation’s tallest brick lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. There are five lighthouses to view and three of them can be climbed at certain times of the year. Shipwrecks have produced a treasure trove of artifacts and remarkable stories of tragedy and survival.

Visitors can explore the area’s waters using a standup paddleboard or kayak, or by taking a coastal tour by boat. Fishing in all its forms is popular. Some have visited Jockey’s Ridge State Park and scampered or tumbled down the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast. Others have been on horseback and meandered along the coastline.

Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.