NOV 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 ⎜ N O V E M B E R 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 50 South Carolina E V E N T P L A N N E R ' S G U I D E T O SC K A Y A K I N G T H E C O N G A R E E : Named for the Congaree Indians who once inhabited its shores, the Congaree River begins in Columbia and flows through Congaree National Park in Hopkins, where a 22,000-acre park con- tains the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the U.S. Crossed by railroad bridges, it is a popular waterway for group kayak and canoe outings. BY T. WAYNE WATERS From Upcountry Mountains to Lowcountry Coastline The Palmetto State's pleasing geography is made up of three primary regions: Mountains, Midlands and Coast, commonly designated Upcoun- try, Midlands and Lowcountry, respectively. From Greenville to Columbia to Charleston and many towns and cities throughout the state, South Carolina has the venues, the hotels, the recreational opportunities and – most important of all – the people to make it a great state for meetings large and small. Hilton Head/Bluffton Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, the small city across the Harbor River on the mainland of South Carolina, have more than 3,000 hotel rooms, 6,000 villas and nearly 200,000 total square feet of meeting space. Recreational options include 12 miles of beaches, all types of water recreation, 24 on- island championship golf courses and more than 40 courses in the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area, not to mention more than 250 restaurants. The new Grand Ocean Terrace at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa is perhaps the biggest news about development on the island. The 5,000-square-foot venue opened earlier this summer and offers unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean. Overall, the property provides 39,000 square feet of flexible venue space and 416 guest rooms, along with its spa, golf, tennis, pools and stretch of beach. Additionally, several major conference hotels have invested more than $200 billion in renovations and upgrades in recent years, according to the Hilton Head Visitor & Con- vention Bureau. The AAA Four Diamond, oceanfront Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, which features the 16-room Spa Soleil, and 513 guest rooms and 46,000 square feet of meeting space, re- ceived $15 million dollars in renovations and upgrades starting in 2014. The property has an 18,000-square-foot main ballroom and a 5,000-square-foot Junior Ballroom as well as the Basshead Deck, which can host a reception for up to 2,000 attendees.

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