Daytona International Speedway
Set among 23 miles of Florida’s East Coast, Daytona Beach is making a name for itself in the world of large events, attracting big name organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, Shriners International and the American Baptist Association.
Last year, Shriners International announced that Daytona Beach will host its 2017 and 2018 convention, making it the smallest city to ever host the 15,000-person gathering and the first city in more than 60 years to host it two years in a row.
“Daytona Beach is a great destination our Shriners and their families are sure to enjoy,” says Gary Bergenske, Imperial Oriental Guide of Shriners International. “That coupled with the great partnership with the CVB, city and county will make it a wonderful event they will all remember.”
While the sunshine, beachfront atmosphere and boardwalk experience are obvious draws, so are the area’s 12,000 hotel rooms and its plethora of teambuilding activities from which groups can choose.
For instance, The Shores Resort & Spa offers the Ultimate Board Meeting Package, in which attendees can meet in the hotel’s 726-sf rooftop Surf Room and then go for a 2-hour stand-up paddle board lesson and tour.
At The Hilton Daytona Beach Resort, similar activities such as surfing, kayaking and fishing are available for guests via the onsite Oceanside Watersports activity center. Plus, it houses the largest meeting facility on Florida’s east coast, with more than 60,000 sf of indoor and outdoor space.
The area’s auto racing history partially defines the destination with plenty of race parks and speedways to visit, including the Daytona International Speedway. Attendees can tour the tracks where racecar greats such as Dale Earnhardt Sr were victorious, and learn about the evolution of stock car racing in general. Tours of 30 minutes to three hours are available for guests to walk through NASCAR garages and learn about the speedway’s history.
Just 400 feet from the Atlantic Ocean, the Ocean Center’s 200,000 sf of indoor and outdoor conference space brings a piece of the Daytona Beach experience inside via floor-to-ceiling windows fresh from an $82 million expansion that debuted in 2009. To add to the beauty of the daylit space, the center features $400,000 worth of artwork from nine artists through the Volusia County’s Art in Public Places program. One of the highlights: a 20-foot-wide wall assemblage of oil on wood by Sarasota, Fla., artist Stephanie Gassman.
On the horizon for the area is a new oceanfront hotel from Hard Rock International, which is scheduled to open in 2016. Renovations to the beachside roller coaster at the boardwalk and a multimillion-dollar renovation to the Daytona International Speedway will also attract more groups looking to play a little while they work.