Sunshine, sandy beaches, umbrella drinks at a boardwalk bar and grill: Welcome to Daytona Beach, Florida, where productive meetings mesh nicely with the state’s leisurely, laid-back persona and the town plays up its nickname, Gaytona. “We’re easily accessible, have great weather and everything is within walking distance, especially the beach,” says Angela Daniels, who, as director of sales and marketing for Ocean Center (Daytona Beach’s main, 200,000-sq.-ft. meeting spot), has been part of an effort to book more LGBT business in her beach community. A rainbow of guest room choices (roughly 12,000), most of which are situated within close proximity to the shore, complements the center.
For LGBT groups, the draw of Daytona—besides a healthy tan—is a manageable meeting destination where attendees can convene productively while spouses and kids enjoy all the locale has to offer. With 23 miles of beaches, there’s recreation aplenty in boating, fishing, sailing and snorkeling. Cycling the 30-mile Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail provides a grand tour of Greater Daytona Beach’s natural beauty (e.g., interesting plants, birds and reptiles) including scenic Tomoka and Bulow Creek state parks. The Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach in the town’s walkable downtown historic section draws fans for its festivals, historic architecture, trendy eateries and Cinematique, Daytona Beach’s art house cinema. Check out Beach Street historic district for good food, shopping and the new Hamburger Mary’s, which has LGBT entertainment and seating for 250. After dark, it’s grown-up fun at several LGBT clubs and lounges along Seabreeze Boulevard.
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