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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Meet with a Waterfront View

Louisiana Northshore

Hugging the northern coast of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, St. Tammany Parish encompasses nine picturesque towns with over 80,000 acres of urban green space. The region, also known as the Northshore, has served as a popular getaway for New Orleans residents since the 1880s, when steamboats would carry them across the lake to stay in shaded resorts along the water.

Meeting planners can take advantage of numerous amenities and venues throughout this vibrant area without having to worry about the expense and traffic of the major cities. In Slidell, groups of up to 2,500 attendees can make themselves at home at the state-of-the-art Northshore Harbor Center, which has 45,000 square feet of space and often plays host to athletic tournaments, performances and trade shows. Slidell sits along a pristine freshwater swamp, and many groups enjoy taking a guided swamp tour throughout these lush waterways as an after-hours excursion.

For a less-traditional meeting venue, planners can host an event at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum on the banks of the Tchefuncte River, which offers 3,600 square feet of banquet space along with a covered, wraparound balcony. The museum explores Louisiana’s rich maritime history through oral histories, interpretive programs and full-scale vessels on display.

“We are thrilled to have such a diversity of venues on the Northshore for the small to midsize meeting market,” said Tanya Leader, vice president of sales at the St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission.

Another notable attraction is the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, which houses the largest free-roaming wildlife preserve in the United States. Visitors can catch a glimpse of over 4,000 species of exotic and endangered animals when they take a guided safari across this stunning 900-acre property.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Each year, nearly 14 million people visit South Carolina’s Grand Strand, a 60-mile stretch of uninterrupted beach that spans 14 distinct communities. The proximity of these destinations allows visitors to experience the charms of a little fishing village like Murrells Inlet, the seafood capital of South Carolina, and then travel just a few minutes down the road to enjoy nightlife and world-class entertainment in Myrtle Beach.

“Our planners frequently tell us their events experience the highest attendance when they’re held along the beach,” said Kim DaRoja, director of group sales at the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And with our attractions and dining mostly along the coast, you’re able to have the best of both worlds.”

The Myrtle Beach Convention Center is a five-minute drive from the Myrtle Beach International Airport and three blocks from the ocean. Together, the convention center and the adjoining Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel feature more than 250,000 square feet of flexible meeting space for regional trade shows, music festivals, faith-based conferences and more.

Meeting planners can also make use of the considerable conference space available at Kingston Resort, which encompasses more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space in four beautiful ocean-facing hotel properties. After hours, attendees will find no shortage of entertainment throughout this diverse region, from hiking and biking trails in two oceanfront state parks to shopping and dining at Broadway at the Beach, a renowned 350-acre outdoor entertainment complex.