The Great Escape: offsite ideas

No matter how beautifully designed your office is, a change of scenery and more time to collaborate in new ways can help teams improve productivity. Here, SF Bay Area locations and activities to consider for your next company outing.

In the wake of pandemic-era social isolation and fully remote work, teams are yearning for screen-free human connection, and spending time together away from the office can be incredibly impactful. Team offsites and retreats carve out quality time for engaging experiences designed to inspire collaboration, and allow colleagues to get to know one another on a deeper, often more significant level. Games and team challenges that are a little out of the norm can help to build trust and focus, and hopefully incorporate a little fun, energizing staff so that they return to their workspace refreshed and productive with a renewed sense of purpose. 

If you’d looking for an expertly planned and executed offsite, but lack the staff or inclination to do the legwork, consider highly rated professional organizations The Offside Co., BoomPop and Team Out, all of which host events in the Bay Area and beyond, as well as virtual experiences for far-flung teams. If you’re on a tight budget or are simply looking for the right change of scenery, Peerspace and AirBNB can help you dial in and book the perfect venue.

Here, some inspiration for your next company offsite, no matter what your team size. 

The Russian River

Perfect for: Multi-day offsites for 4 to 20+ people

This beautiful spot has long been a weekend destination for city residents–especially in the summer months, when you can float down the river in a raft, pool floaty or even an inner tube, snacks and drinks in tow. Spaces range from camping and motels to luxury, secluded lodges and are typically more affordable than those in other Bay Area destinations. 

Creekside Inn invites you to “live like a local” when booking its charming cottages and suites, all of which feature organic toiletries and sunny decks; group amenities include a hot tub, picnic areas with barbecues, ping pong and yard bowling, plus evening campfire and smores after dusk. 

Autocamp can accommodate 75 guests across luxury tents and Airstreams; flexible indoor and outdoor venues here include The Canopy–an intimate, rustic 500-square-foot canvas walled tent perfect for small gatherings or group yoga or meditation classes.

Activities: There’s lots to do, especially at a relaxed pace. Staff can kayak to local wineries and breweries for tastings, hike and reconnect and recenter through yoga and meditation.

Marin County

Perfect for: Day-trip offsites or multi-day retreat for 2 to 100+ people

Putting the city in the rear view mirror immediately creates a sense of escape, and heading north from Sausalito, city settlements give way to sprawling farms, tiny fishing hamlets and three-street historic frontier settlements–and the occasional boutique property perfectly appointed for offsite work.

Olema House, located overlooking a creek just outside Point Reyes Station, offers two secluded cottages, 24 suites and loft-style apartments, all with fireplaces, a patio or terrace; there’s also abundant indoor and outdoor workshop space, framed by Adirondack-chair-dotted lawns, Mt. Wittenberg and pristine national forest parkland and coastal wilderness. 

At The Lodge at Bodega Bay, adjoining vaulted Waveside and Chart rooms can accommodate 70 seated guests as part of a executive retreat, workshop, or conference; the 570-foot Captain’s Quarters is much more intimate, with a table for 12 and 600-square-foot patio with views of Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond. 

Activities: You can swap coding sprints or product launches for Kumamoto oyster-shucking competitions at Hog Island Oyster Co., or head to The Marshall Store less than a mile up the road where staff will prepare and serve selections to tables perched on a waterfront deck. Explore the National Seashore by horseback or on foot, spotting elephant seal pups and tule, California’s indigenous elk, in their natural habitat. Blue Waters Kayaking out of Tomales Bay offers daytime trips and seasonal night time excursions through bioluminescent clouds of neon-emitting plankton.

Big Sur

Perfect for: Multi-day offsites and retreats for 4 to 25+ people

Big Sur’s fog-enveloped bluffs and cathedral-like thickets of redwoods, stretching 144 km from Carmel to San Simeon and backed by the Santa Lucia mountains to the east and Pacific Ocean in the west, are among California’s biggest attractions, accessed by the iconic open-spandrel Bixby Bridge–in many ways a standing invitation to undertake a voyage of discovery amid the region’s wild landscapes. 

Upscale resort Alila Ventana Big Sur offers upscale meeting space and accommodations, including Redwood Canyon Glampsites, within the resort’s 20-acre redwood-canopied forest. 

Treebones Resort is characterized by traditional campsites and yurts, plus twig huts and a hand-woven inhabitable “human nest” by local artist Jayson Fann. 

Big Sur Lodge, cocooned by redwoods in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a great option for cottage-style guest accommodations, camping and glamping. 

Post Ranch Inn, a 100-acre former 1860s homestead, is one of the few resorts here to offer immediate views of the water, each of its 40 rooms crafted from natural materials and sensitively etched onto the landscape that you feel almost part of it. 

Nearby nonprofit Esalen Institute, founded in 1962 as a center for New Age practices and beliefs with Aldous Huxley as opening consultant and Boris Yeltsin and singer Joan Baez among its first guests, has long been popular among Silicon Valley innovators striving to further their thinking and ideas. Its 600 annual retreats and workshops include Compassionate Leadership and Psychedelic medicines and the nature of mind and consciousness; retreat-ready accommodations include gender-inclusive Sleeping Bag Spaces for five guests, and private rooms and suites. 

Activities: This region has lured pioneers, frontier ranchers, hippies, creatives and travelers seeking inspiration and spiritual sanctuary since the state of California was founded, and many properties offer discovery-based experiences informed by this exploratory spirit. Alila Ventana runs photography hikes and beekeeping, morning yoga, drum circles and sound healing sessions. Post Ranch offers guided Shamanic journeys at its spa, geared to further your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Hikes abound: ​​the 14 km Andrew Molera Loop traces rocky bluffs; Pfeiffer Beach is known for its clutches of Cyprus trees and lavender-hued sand. On-demand activities include scavenger hunts, a ropes course, ocean kayak tours, a wilderness survival workshop, campfire and fire dancing and foraging.

Canyon Ranch, Woodside

Perfect for: Single- or multi-day offsites and restorative retreats for 2 to 20 people

Wellness and development-focused retreat is one of the Bay Area’s hidden gems, offering individual Pathways journeys–personalized services, including medical-based immersive experiences curated according to your wellness and health goals. While rowdier team games are not appropriate at this tranquil sanctuary, Canyon Ranch tailors company gatherings for your needs: providing gathering spaces that spur passion, productivity and creative thinking, and programming for your shared interests, perhaps encompassing chef demos, rope courses and medical wellness presentations.

Located just south of San Francisco, Canyon Ranch is an ideal setting for team members to practice being present as they commit to personal discovery, relaxation and renewal, between small private work sessions.

Activities: Daily activities include expert-led workshops, outdoor activities, fitness programming and creative classes. Canyon Ranch also offers comprehensive retreat programming, including scarf printing, inGamba cycling and redwood hikes at Djerassi followed by “divine dinners” that celebrate mental and physical nourishment and the bounty of California.  

Santa Cruz

Perfect for: One-day or multi-day offsites for 10 to 30+ people

Surf’s up and the sun is nearly always out at this iconic destination south of SF, and Santa Cruz’s 29 beaches are picture-postcard perfect for stress relieving watersports and outdoor exploration. Events spaces at the 80-Paradox Hotel includes everything from a ballroom to poolside nooks and cabañas for private use; Waterfall Lodge, founded by a group of Stanford professors in the 1960’s in the Santa Cruz Mountains for non-profit work, is a fully immersive exercise in natural beauty, where teams can bond and explore ideas within A-frame cabins cocooned by redwoods. Local offsite company Surf Office lists individual workspaces, apartments, retreat villas, hotel rooms and full property buyouts, and can assist with any retreat or “workation” planning you might need.

Activities: Popular active pursuits include paddleboarding, surfing, beach yoga and biking; trainspotters will enjoy the Roaring Camp Railroad, a steam train that chuffs along an historical narrow-gauge track to ascend Bear Mountain on an old-time narrow-gauge track. The sky’s the limit for your team at the treetop high rope course, while lower octane tie-dye and painting workshops make space to explore and boost individual creativity.



Perfect for: Single- or multi-day offsites

Why not book your next offsite at CANOPY? CANOPY workspaces incorporate luxurious, design-forward events and meeting rooms, available to non-members, which emphasize sustainability, creativity and productivity. CANOPY offers three locations in SF, where conference spaces can accommodate from 4 to 14 guests, and one in Menlo Park at Springline, where we can welcome 4 to 25 attendees. CANOPY spaces also incorporate outdoor terraces with room for 30. All locations offer the latest AV equipment and concierge-style amenities. 

Book your next company offsite experience here. To book a tour, or enquire about memberships to gain unlimited access to CANOPY’s offerings, please reach us here.