Ease of Transportation
Located in the geographic center of Florida, the region offers a variety of transportation options for attendees and vendors:
- Most meeting venues and hotel properties are located less than 40 minutes from two international airports (Orlando International and Tampa International), which offer direct flights from hundreds of international and domestic destinations. Charter flight access for planes ranging from corporate jets to commercial airliners is available through the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.
- A major transportation hub, Polk County is known as the “Crossroads of Florida” due to its proximity to the key east/west and north/south highways in the state.
- Close to the major metropolitan cities of Orlando and Tampa, without the big city traffic headaches.
- Short drives to all of the attractions that may entice attendees to turn their travel plans into a “bleisure” trip with their families, but far enough away that those same attractions are not a distraction during your meeting sessions.
- Less than 30 minutes to Walt Disney World Resort
- Less than 40 minutes to Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
- Less than 50 minutes from the Gulf and Atlantic Coast beaches
Central Florida offers one of the widest ranges of meeting facilities in the Southeast and meeting planners will find the distinctive venue solution for events of all sizes and budgets. The region’s largest meeting venues include a newly renovated 100,000 square foot convention center, an award winning four-star golf resort with more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space, to a 2,700 acre expo campus that is home to the largest convention held annually in the state of Florida.
Looking for something a little unique? Why not host your meeting or offsite event at the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi, or amongst exotic animals at “One of the Ten Best Safari’s in the US” or amongst the colorful blooms at one of Florida’s original tourist attractions.
Need help making that tough decision on the perfect venue; be sure to visit our meeting venue pages.
Tightening budgets and rising costs are ongoing issues that conference and meeting planners are faced with every year. The perpetual dilemma is how do you improve on your last conference and make next year’s event bigger, better and more entertaining, with the same, or smaller event budget? Central Florida’s Polk County has several distinct cost-saving advantages when compare to other destinations:
- All conference centers and meeting venues are non-union
- The variety of accommodation offerings allows for planners to choose host properties that meet all attendee budgets
- Accommodation rates that are 10-30% less than beach destinations, theme park resorts or major metropolitan cities.
- Smaller market equates to lower cost of goods, services, entertainment and food and beverage pricing.
With more than 7,000 hotel rooms and another 7,000 professionally managed vacation rental homes, Central Florida’s Polk County can meet the accommodation needs of most events. If your group prefers major hotel brands within close proximity or even a few steps from our convention center; we have exactly what you need. Does your corporate group require a four or five star experience with a spa for post meeting relaxation; we can help with that. Looking for a unique boutique hotel that is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, that overlooks one of the picturesque lakes in “downtown” Lakeland; we have you covered. Do you have a group that has a sense of adventure and is looking to try glamping under the stars; we have the luxury teepee for you!
Things to Do
Before the Keynote Address, or after the Closing Reception, Central Florida’s Polk County is jam-packed with fun things for your attendees to do and see. The region offers something for everyone, including Florida’s newest attractions, LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Safari Wilderness. Visitors looking for inspiration in creative works often visit the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at Florida Southern College, or immerse themselves into the exhibits at the Polk Museum of Art.
Central Florida’s Polk County is home to some of the best preserved natural areas in Florida with 554 lakes, 37 nature parks and preserves - spanning more than 25,000 acres of environmental lands. With 120 trails covering more than 375 miles, the trail systems of Polk County provide nearly limitless opportunities to admire the region’s beauty on foot, by bicycle, while paddling or on horseback. Known as the “Largemouth Bass Capital of the World” outdoors enthusiasts looking for bragging rights try to land a trophy class bass on one of the area’s abundant lakes.
Despite the small town look and feel of the region’s town and cities there is a growing culinary scene that is a revelation to new visitors to the area. Lakeland’s Brazilian Gastropub, Post 9 was named the Top New Restaurant in Florida in 2017 and within two blocks of the city square attendees will find restaurants featuring steaks, pizza, sushi, Cajun, BBQ and Mexican fare, to name a few. Artisanal brewers are making their mark on Central Florida with Winter Haven’s Grove Roots Brewing Company’s tasting room utilizing locally sourced citrus, in addition to, Lakeland’s Brew Hub, which offers a unique co-operative brewery that brews craft beers for several different partner brewers, offering as many as 30 different craft beers on tap.
The Visit Central Florida team offers a comprehensive list of complimentary services to assist in the planning, promotion and execution of your successful meeting. It does not matter if you have 20 or 2,000 attendees, your event is important to us and we are fully committed to making it a success. Whether it is our financial incentive program that assists in making your budget go farther, or working hand-in-hand with our accommodations and meeting venues to help coordinate and implement your vision. We are the local extension of your conference planning team, and we can provide that inside connection to our destination, its unique places and its people.
Other destinations may purse the large marquee events such as major professional championships and large conventions that draw thousands of attendees, leaving the smaller meetings and conferences to play second fiddle. In our community your event takes center stage and you are the star of the show. Contact us for even more reasons why Central Florida’s Polk County is the ideal destination for your next meeting!