Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, only 65 miles north of Seattle and south of Vancouver, BC, surrounded by breathtaking nature, with its small town feel and big city culture, is the ideal place for a retreat from “business as usual”. It is close enough to city centers to be reached within a few hours, yet far enough to feel like you are really getting away from it all. Its inspiring surroundings, interesting food and cultural options and adventurous things to do, practically ensure thinking outside the box, team building and socializing.
All you have to do is find a space to focus with comfortable lodging and your corporate retreat is on its way to success.
WHEN TO GO
Whenever you plan to come visit, reserve your facilities and rooms early. San Juan Island is popular with groups year-round and meeting spaces rent especially fast.
Spring and Fall are the prime seasons for retreats for several reasons:
- The weather is gorgeous. San Juan Island lays in the Olympic Rain Shadow and enjoys over 247 days of sunshine per year.
- Seasonal activities, like whale watching, kayaking and zip-lining are already or still going on, without the Summer crowds.
- Spring and Fall are packed with musical, culinary, and art events, wine, distillery and beer tastings and celebrations surrounding the island’s rich history.
- Lodging prices are lower in the so-called “shoulder season”.
San Juan Island’s secret season though is its temperate Winter with fantastic lodging specials, deserted beaches, breathtaking hikes, bird-watching, museum and gallery browsing and the time and quiet to really focus and get things done.
WHERE TO STAY
The Earthbox Inn & Spa, a classic retro motor-inn with renovated rooms and resort features, three block from the ferry landing, offers 72 guest rooms, a conference center for up to 100 people, a heated indoor pool, sauna, hot tub and exercise room and an on-site full service spa. Their staff is known for being friendly and knowledgeable and assists with planning your retreat, setting up restaurant reservations, spa appointments and adventures.
WHAT TO DO
Plan fun activities around your retreat goals. If team building is your main objective, organize a group kayak or zip-line tour. If problem solving is the aim, organize a scavenger hunt for your troops. If you plan to discuss challenges facing the organization, consider climbing Mt. Young as a team and brainstorming with a 360-degree view.
For more ideas check out these Top Activities for Retreats and Reunions.
WHAT TO AVOID
Don’t over pack your team’s schedule. Free time in island paradise will allow team building to develop naturally. Let it.
Don’t waste your retreat time texting, emailing and updating social media. Allocate times to check in with work and family, then be here now.