by Michael C. LoweSeptember 1, 2012
Its famed eastern coastline, including Myrtle Beach and the Outer Banks, is just one reason to bring groups to the Carolinas. Further inland, visitors can enjoy the vitality of major cities, such as Charlotte, as well as rustic Rocky Mountain getaways, like the Grove Park Inn in Asheville (above).
South Carolina, a strong supporter of the Confederacy, was the first Southern state to secede from the Union, while North Carolina, with some reluctance, was the last.
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Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach International Airport is undergoing a $130 million passenger terminal expansion, set to be completed in 2013. The project will add five additional passenger gates for a total of 12. Plans call for new dining options as well, such as Bubba's Fish Shack, serving coastal Carolina cuisine.
The 102-room Grande Shores Oceanfront Resort recently updated its guest rooms and common areas, including the lobby and oceanfront pool decks. The hotel offers 1,598 square feet of meeting space.
In April, the Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of all 255 guest rooms. The oceanfront property also revamped its food-and-beverage outlets and added Vintage Twelve, an upscale 44-seat restaurant offering scenic Atlantic Ocean views. The property has 70,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 491-room Springmaid Beach Resort & Conference Center has finished a $6 million revamp of its guest rooms, adding iPod docking stations, wireless Internet and full-size refrigerators. Also renovated were the property's 35,000-square-foot oceanfront conference center and surrounding landscape.
Meeting Hotels Properties include the 1,600-room Sands Resorts (comprising seven hotels), 1,560-room Kingston Plantation Resorts (four hotels), 816-room Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, 620-room The Breakers, 600-room Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort, 570-room Landmark Resort, 540-room Caravelle Resort, 514-room Crown Reef Resort & Conference Center and 491-room Springmaid Beach Resort & Conference Center.
Convention Center Myrtle Beach Convention Center; exhibit space, 100,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 17; (843) 918-1225
Airport Transit Myrtle Beach International Airport, three miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $13-$15. Many hotels offer free shuttle service.
Taxes Room tax, 2.5%; sales tax, 5%; local taxes, 4.5% or 5.5%; total tax on hotel rooms within city limits, 13%; total tax on hotel rooms outside the city, 12%
Group Venue Founded in 1931, Brookgreen Gardens offers a look into the native flora and fauna of Myrtle Beach. From majestic oak-lined trails to manicured gardens dotted with sculptures, the facility offers planners a variety of backdrops, including the Holliday Cottage, an intimate indoor space that can seat 12 for a board meeting or 32 for dinner, with the option of adding a tent to accommodate up to 150. (843) 235-6017
Group Activity The Myrtle Beach Speedway recently launched a new NASCAR racing experience program that offers classroom training and track-driving experiences. Those who prefer not to take the wheel can ride along in stock cars reaching up to 170 mph. (704) 886-2400
Contact Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 488-8998