JUL 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U L Y 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 14 WINTER EVENT HOT SPOTS South Padre Island, Texas HOT SPOT: The City of South Padre Island (SPI) boasts the wid- est, cleanest beach in Texas, and visitors are always just steps away from "hot" beach activities, nature tours, team building ac- tivities and live entertainment, according to Keith Arnold, director of the CVB for SPI. HOT FACTORS: Taking dolphin watch excursions at Laguna Madre Bay and guided tours at Sea Turtle, Inc. Schlitterbahn Water Park has indoor and outdoor activities. Wyland's Whaling Wall #53 is a mural covering three walls of the South Padre Island Convention Center. Isla Blanca Park features the giant statue of El Cristo de los Pescadores, a memorial to fishermen that never returned from sea. HOT ACTIVITIES: Golfing tournaments, guided fishing tours, horseback riding on the beach, kiteboarding lessons and cruises on the Black Dragon Pirate Ship. 5 Naples, Marco Island & Everglades HOT SPOT: Marco Island, surrounded by a wide four-mile stretch of white sand beach and blue-green waters, offers an endless array of year-round watersports. Known as "The Paradise Coast," this area has many miles of white sand beaches as well as Everglades National Park and the Old Naples Waterfront. HOT FACTORS: Wellness trends are big in this area, with resort spa programs that em- phasize health and wellness, according to Debi DeBenedetto, group sales manager for the Naples, Marco Island & Everglades CVB. The area is designated "Blue Zone" focused on wellness and well-being. Hotels offer wellness activities and menus for healthy meeting break options. HOT VENUES: NGALA (the place of the Lion) Wildlife Preserve, offers an exclusive, wooded 42-acre location for group events. The "Stage of Triumph" on The Oasis Lawn is surrounded by a border of natural Florida vegetation with Japanese Koi ponds. The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and Naples Botanical Garden are other beautiful outdoor event options. 6 Bay Area Houston, Texas HOT SPOT: At the Kemah Boardwalk, where "it's like a summer fair all year long," there are fabulous waterfront restaurants, numerous amusements, charming retail stores, festivals and seaside shows every day. HOT VENUE: The San Jacinto Monument is the world's tallest war memo- rial and one of the finest examples of Moderne (Art Deco) architecture in the U.S. See the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Museum of History. HOT FACTORS: Armand Bayou, one of the largest urban wildlife and wilderness preserves in the U.S., is home to bison, raptors and reptiles. Take the boardwalk through a wood- land-pond area, a bird blind, walking trails and a late 1800s farm site. Try pontoon boat or guided canoe tours. HOT ACTIVITIES: Sightseeing tours, dinner voyages and parties are among the mini- cruises offered by Boardwalk FantaSea Yacht Charters. 7

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