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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Carolina Coastal Meetings

In the Carolinas, meeting planners have many more options than your typical beach resort town for holding a meeting by the water.

In North Carolina, walkable downtowns lie right on the water in 305-year-old New Bern, easy to reach but still taking advantage of the Pamlico Sound, and Wilmington, which mixes a historic downtown with three beaches, each with its own attitude. In South Carolina, you can go high-end but low-key on Kiawah Island, a protected reserve with a top-notch resort, or dive into the action in Myrtle Beach with the high-powered NASCAR speedway.

New Bern, North Carolina

Due to its strategic position at the confluence of two rivers and the gateway to the Pamlico Sound, it’s little surprise that the city of New Bern predates our nation itself, dating back to 1710. “We’re the Colonial capital of North Carolina,” said Melissa Riggle, tourism and sales service executive for the New Bern-Craven County Convention and Visitor Center.

But while attendees prize New Bern’s history and walkability — the convention center is walking distance from more than 400 hotel rooms, the main shopping area and New Bern’s main attractions — meeting planners are spoiled for choice of state-of-the-art facilities.

The 45,000-square-foot convention center, which is located right on the confluence of New Bern’s two rivers and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, can accommodate groups of up to 1,350 and includes a 12,000-square-foot ballroom and three additional 1,600- to 3,700-square-foot meeting rooms.

Just down the river, Tyron Palace, the British governor’s house from the 1700s that was destroyed during the Revolution and reconstructed in modern times to house the LEED-certified North Carolina History Center, is giving the convention center a run for its money with an exciting new $65 million expansion, including a state-of-the-art, 192-seat performance hall. The Palace includes a variety of additional theater and boardroom spaces, a 3,500-square-foot outdoor riverfront space and a hall that can handle up to 350 people seated.