Welcome to the Meeting and Event Planning Guide to St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches, a guide for meeting professionals. Though it holds the title as Florida's most historic destination, the cities of Florida’s Historic Coast are anything but outdated. In fact, they have managed to blend Old World elegance and modern conveniences to create a selection of attractions and spirit that are truly one-of-a-kind. It's no surprise that the region has seen an explosion of growth over the past 10 years, rising into a role as one of Northeast Florida's most sought-after destinations for business and leisure travelers alike.
Getting to St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches is a breeze, thanks to their location about 50 miles from the Jacksonville International Airport. Operating more than 200 daily arrivals and departures, the airport is less than an hour's drive from downtown St. Augustine, 40 minutes from the popular World Golf Village, and 30 minutes from Ponte Vedra Beach. Once in St. Johns County, the Sunshine Bus Company provides county-wide service on six lines, offering connections to beaches, attractions, and accommodations as well as to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority bus system.
With a top-notch selection of award-winning resorts, guests often find they have little need to travel far to find everything they need. The Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village is one of the largest combination hotel and conference center venues between Orlando and Atlanta. Its 40,000-square-foot St. John's Convention Center features two ballrooms and a pre-convention area, along with high-speed Internet, teleconference and audio-visual services. The 301-room resort's incredible culinary team is also on hand to custom-tailor catering for events of up to 3,000 guests.
Meanwhile, the Marriott Sawgrass Resort and Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach boasts 56,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. From black-tie galas in its 16,000-square-foot Champions Ballroom to tradeshows in its 12,500-square-foot Tournament Hall to an evening cocktail reception at its 5,100-square-foot outdoor Island Green Pavilion, the Marriott Sawgrass has the venue for events of any type and size. Plus, the 508-room resort offers amenities such as a private beach club, world-class spa and more than five on-site restaurants – all perfect for meeting attendees who need to unwind after a long day in the boardroom.
The meeting resorts in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches offer much more than just conference space and accommodations. They are also the perfect place to enjoy one of the region's biggest attractions: championship golf. Planners can treat guests to some tee time by hosting an event on one of these world-class greens. Before hitting the links at the Renaissance Resort's King & Bear course, host a meet-and-greet at the exclusive Trophy Room at the resort's World Golf Hall of Fame.
Or, invite guests to a luncheon at the 77,000-square-foot Mediterranean Revival-inspired clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass. Afterwards, guests can spend the afternoon bonding over the 36 challenging holes at TPC's world-renowned Stadium Course and Valley Course.
Though golf is certainly a top attraction in the region, it is certainly not the only way for groups to enjoy the history and majesty of the destination. Make meetings memorable at Marineland. Widely recognized for its fantastic private event space, this oceanarium welcomes parties of up to 400 people on its 4,800-square-foot deck located adjacent to the dolphin habitats. Or, journey back in time at the Colonial Quarter to experience life as lived in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. For a truly refined setting, consider the banquet room at San Sebastian Winery, where up to 100 guests can enjoy fine food, wines and breathtaking views of the San Sebastian River.
Beyond its renowned resort facilities and unique meeting destinations, Florida’s Historic Coast is one of the highest-income counties in the United States, with an economy based greatly on tourism. The county is headquarters to such organizations as the Florida Department of Military Affairs, PGA Tour, Inc., and the Universal Beverages Holdings Corporation. Florida’s Historic Coast is also home to St. Johns River Community College, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Flagler College, and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.