Teasing attendees with a "Sheboygan Surfin' Safari" may seem a bit off-kilter, but catching a freshwater wave is only one of many activities available in this Wisconsin resort town.
Located on Lake Michigan about 60 miles north of Milwaukee and 60 miles south of Green Bay, one thing that really sets Sheboygan apart isn't even readily visible on dry land.
"It's the topography—it's serendipitous," says Amy Wilson, tourism director of Sheboygan Tourism, about the destination's underwater attributes that make it a freshwater surfing capital. "There's a shelf under the shore that juts out five miles, and the lake is so large it creates thermal waves, so we have access to that because we shoot out so far."
The lakeside setting also makes Sheboygan ideal for fishing excursions—there are some 26 charter companies offering outings—and sailing via Sail Sheboygan, taking advantage of the area being an Olympic Training Center.
"These boats we're actually used in the 2012 Olympics in London," Wilson says. "When people arrive here they think of Nantucket or New England, and on the other hand we're a surfing city, known as the Malibu of the Midwest, with the largest fresh-water surfing competition in the world."
Golf is also a major "driver" of group activity options, with five of the top 100 Reader's Digest golf courses located within 20 minutes.
Corporate neighbors include Johnsonville Foods, Kohler Co., Sargento Foods and cooking equipment manufacturer Vollrath.
"You don't have to jump through hoops to get speakers or arrange for tours of the facilities," Wilson says of Sheboygan Tourism's willingness to act as a go-between.
Sheboygan's major meetings property is Blue Harbor Resort, a 246-room classic lakeside venue with a 16,800-square-foot conference center, resort-style fine dining, an on-site waterpark and a spa, among other upscale features.
The GrandStay Residential Suites hotel, with 71 units, can handle overflow rooms, and the Harbor Winds Hotel located right on the popular River Walk commercial district rounds out the accommodations on the quaint side.