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Another Jekyll Island property and one the largest in the area is Jekyll Oceanfront Resort, with over 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting and banquet space. This resort features a 4,000 square foot poolside pavilion capable of accommodating up to 300 guests.

On St. Simons Island The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort has over 10,000 square feet of functional space that can accommodate up to 350 attendees. The King and Prince has several outdoors venues for those special events.

To learn more about the Georgia Peaches (I meant Beaches, I couldn't resist) log on to www.exploregeorgia.org.

Now its time to crank up the volume and head to the high energy atmosphere of Miami Beach, and more specifically the 23 block area at the southern tip of the island known as South Beach. This place is arguably America's hottest island attraction with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques and hotels.

South Beach features many of the world's top resorts and most distinguishable brand names, each with their own appeal. There's the Miami Beach Resort with over 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and 18 meeting rooms.

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach caters to large groups with over 107,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space, which includes three ballrooms totaling 66,000 sq. ft. and a 21,000-sq. ft. ocean lawn. This property has over 1,500 guestrooms and suites.

Miami Beach also has its own 500,000-sq. ft. Convention Center with all the state-of-the-art amenities.

There are more resort properties then I can mention here so log on to www.miamiandbeaches.com and click on the link for meeting planners.

Even farther south is the Florida Keys. From Key Largo to Key West this string of islands separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico is dotted with quaint shops, restaurants and resort properties that offers an idyllic getaway.

Properties in the Keys are capable of handling those smaller intimate gatherings. For example the Key Largo Marriott has over 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and is one of the larger resorts in terms of meeting space.

And as you might expect, water activities dominate the recreational scene. To learn more about the meeting opportunities log on to www.fla-keys.com.

Over in the western end of the Gulf of Mexico is Galveston Island, TX. Located 50 miles south of Houston, the island has over 4,000 sleeping rooms and 130,000 combined sq, ft, of meeting space at the various hotels.

The Galveston Island Convention Center at San Luis Resort is a 43,000-sq. ft. facility that functions as the island's official convention center. Hotel conference centers include; the Holiday Inn, Hotel Galvez - a Wyndham Historic Hotel, Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, The San Luis Resort Spa and Convention Center and the Tremont House - another Wyndham Historic Hotel.

Don't let stories of last year's visit by Hurricane Ike turn you away. These resorts have been hosting groups since October 2008. To learn more go to their website www.galveston.com.

While we've focused on warm weather destinations island getaways don't always have to reside at or near the tropics. Meeting planners might want to take a look at Mackinac Island, MI. Where is Mackinac Island you might ask? It's in northern Michigan in Lake Huron near where it meets with Lake Michigan. Private vehicles are not allowed on the island. The easiest and best way is to reach Mackinac Island is by using one of the numerous ferryboat companies. It takes just a few minutes.

Mackinac has a couple of large resorts perfect for meetings and conventions starting with the Grand Hotel. The two-story Woodfill Conference Center features a theatre and a banquet center that holds up to 500 people. The Mission Point Resort has a 38,000-sq. ft. meeting facility, four restaurants, an 18-hole executive putting course and more.

Mackinac Island has carriage tours, biking, water activities, horse rides and so much more. It's a great place worthy of consideration for your next event. Log on to mackinacisland.org for more information.

The focus of this article was domestic islands so the following two recommendations might not fit that criteria for many readers, but they are both domestic. I'm talking about Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Both are U.S. territories. Puerto Rico has the largest convention center in the Caribbean at over 500,000 sq. ft. and more than an ample supply of accommodations, nightlife, shopping and other activities. Go to www.prconvention.com.

The three islands that make up USVI have a little something for everyone. But the place most meeting planners' will probably check out is St. Thomas and the capital city of Charlotte Amalie. This is the shopping and nightlife capital of the USVI. Many hotels and resorts on St. Thomas can handle those small intimate gatherings or small corporate retreats. Log on to www.usvi.net to learn more.

Here are a few more island destinations waiting for your business. Absecon Island is home to the east coast gaming capital of Atlantic City. How about Nantucket Island in Massachusetts or South Padre Island in Texas. Washington State is home to hundreds of islands in the Puget Sound area. Some might be appropriate for your meeting.

Another island gem is Coronado Island in San Diego. This island is loaded with upscale properties and meeting space. Oh and by the way, San Diego's temperate climate makes this an ideal year-round location for any event.

In tough economic times, these islands just might give you that exotic locale many of us so crave at an affordable price.

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