As much as the average American loves sitting in their office or meeting with coworkers in the conference room, sometimes it can be fun to mix things up a little bit. It may be hard to believe, but some employees even prefer the feeling of sunshine on their faces and fresh air in their lungs, as opposed to the scent of stale coffee and the glow of fluorescent lighting.
Joking aside, it truly can be a great idea for company morale to head off the beaten path every once in a while and host a corporate retreat somewhere new and interesting. Think of it like a vacation with your work family, with a focus on team-building and fostering positive employee relationships.
And, like your employees, we at FireFly Team Events would jump at the chance to travel to a fun new location to help you set up the company retreat of your dreams. In fact, we’re always looking for cool places to host team-building activities. If you have a particular company retreat venue in mind, let us know! We’ve taught art lessons in Telluride, Colorado, produced an event in Lisbon, Portugal, and set up Outrigger Canoe Races in Hawaii. We’re not afraid of a little plane travel or an adventurous road trip!
Or, if you’re still shopping around for the perfect place to visit, let this list of our favorite corporate retreat locations spark some inspiration for you.
If you already know where you’re going, skip ahead to the good part: the vacation! Let us handle the hard parts so you can focus on getting your whole staff psyched for the upcoming trip.
The 9 Best Corporate Retreat Locations (In Our Opinion!)
We’ve found that the best staff retreat locations have a couple of things in common.
First of all, they should have accommodations that can handle the number of employees you’ll be bringing with you. You could pick the most beautiful and exotic place in the world, but if your staff has to camp in sleeping bags and hunt for their dinner (or share hotel rooms and eat crappy takeout meals…) you’re probably going to struggle to make the rest of the retreat a success.
Second, they should offer an incentive for your staff to show up. Sure, Chicago is great, but if your office is an hour’s drive south of the city, it’s likely everyone on your team has already been there, done that. Try to pick a place that’ll make your employees say, “Wow! I get to go to (X location)! My boss is awesome!”
When you’re making your decision, try to consider the diversity of activities employees can participate in while they’re there. If your more active employees can get together for an all-day hike while everyone else slabs out on the beach and sips cocktails, you’re going to have a lot more happy campers than you would if you picked a place where there’s only one thing to do during free time.
With those criteria in mind, here are our top choices for corporate retreat venues that we feel fit the bill nicely.
1. Huntington Beach, CA
Known for: Surfing and activities on the beach
Okay, this one might be cheating, because technically this is where we’re from. But if you’re not from around here, we can promise you it’s worth the trip! After all, there are several great reasons we call it home.
For one thing, if any of your employees want to catch a wave, there’s no better place to do it than Surf City, USA. For anyone too chicken to hop on a surfboard, there are still tons of neat things to do in the area. Between all the famous tourist destinations and the scheduled team-building activities, there’s certainly no risk of anyone getting bored.
We recommend the Pasea Hotel & Spa for staff accommodations.
Known for: The wow factor!
If your last announcement for a corporate retreat location garnered eye rolls rather than excited gasps, it’s time to take it up a notch. We hardly need to explain why Hawaii makes the grade for our “wow factor” location. I mean, have you seen Hawaii??
You’ll have a harder time getting your employees back on the plane to go home after the retreat is over.
While you’re there, we recommend Turtle Bay Resort and Haleiwa Beach House. The latter has great food, a laid back “beachy” vibe — while still being classy — and a stunning view of the North Shore.
3. Austin, TX
Known for: Live music and nightlife
Austin is famous for its young, vibrant scene of musicians and artists. If your staff is full of artistic types longing to lend their unique vibes to the city in an effort to “Keep Austin Weird,” this location would be a great bet.
We love Lady Bird Lake and the huge assortment of BBQ food trucks, such as Leroy & Lewis, Brown’s BBQ, and Distant Relatives.
4. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Known for: Beaches, boating canals, and lots of activities
Fort Lauderdale is one of those “something for everyone” cities. If every discussion of where to take a retreat ends in a squabble over beach vs. big city, Fort Lauderdale is your answer to both.
One of the most unique things about Fort Lauderdale is that visitors can take boat tours through the city — including on gondolas captained by professional gondoliers — via a series of canals. If you dream “Venice” but your corporate retreat budget is “Florida,” Fort Lauderdale is the place for you.
We suggest everyone hit Las Olas Boulevard for shopping and dining. It’s also a great location for our Techno Rally event!
5. Las Vegas, NV
Known for: Resorts, activities
You probably already know all the reasons your employees might want to visit Las Vegas.
The important part is making sure that what happens in Vegas doesn’t just stay in Vegas; we’ll plan some valuable time for team-building events so everyone can bring positive and productive experiences home with them, even if their pockets are a little lighter after the trip. Keep in mind, employees can always head to nearby Henderson for a more low-key experience than downtown Las Vegas.
Resort World is always a good bet, and the Champagne Creative Group can provide some wonderful installations to support a conference or gala.
6. Scottsdale, AZ
Known for: Warm weather, low prices, and fun activities
Scottsdale is another option that should appeal to everyone on your team. Sportier folks can get drenched on a Salt River Tubing adventure, while the city itself has plenty of options for folks who want to stay dry. In fact, Scottsdale has the highest ratio of art galleries to inhabitants in the country.
7. Atlanta, GA
Known for: Southern charm, quaint atmosphere, and history
If you ask the average commuter, the most memorable thing about Atlanta is the traffic. However, Atlanta is also a wonderfully relaxing and charming place to spend a corporate retreat, if you know where to look. In fact, with plenty of historic neighborhoods to explore and eighteen square acres of green space within city limits, Atlanta offers plenty of opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle.
We recommend New Realm Brewing Co. to help everyone unwind when it’s time to kick back and watch a pleasant Georgia sunset.
8. San Diego, CA
Known for: Great weather, beaches, and plenty of activities
Between the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway aircraft-carrier museum, whale watching, and the dozens of other famous attractions San Diego calls to mind, there’s always something fun to do around town. If everyone tires of touring the city’s famous hotspots, there’s always the option to just sit on the beach and soak up the sun. Plus, fans of craft beer will appreciate the many options available for sampling.
We recommend the newly renovated Town and Country Resort for a hip, boutique experience at a reasonable price.
9. Denver, CO
Known for: More outdoor activities than you can shake a walking stick at
You could spend your entire corporate retreat out in nature and never run out of things to do in Denver. Seriously.
But for those in your party who occasionally like the modern conveniences of four walls and a comfy bed, we highly recommend the Gaylord Rockies Resort. It’s massive, located conveniently near the airport, and is absolutely stunning.
But Denver isn’t just for nature buffs. If your employees can pretend for a while that they understand what’s going on with the experimental arts, a night out at Meow Wolf can be an interesting and memorable experience.
Let’s go on a vacation together. You pick the place; we’ll plan the corporate team-building activities.
Planning a corporate retreat can be daunting. Especially when your goals are to make sure everyone 1) shows up, 2) has a great time, and 3) learns something valuable that they can take back to the workplace.
Firefly Team Events can take #3 off your plate, and we can make #2 a little easier on you as well. We’ll handle the planning and production parts of your team-building adventures, so you can focus on all the other fun stuff.
Get started here!