34 Places to Retreat Along the Pacific Coast

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 3.40.15 PMTen years ago, I biked toured down the beautiful Pacific Coast, from Vancouver, Canada to Los Angeles, visiting leaders working on urban sustainability and meeting up with friends and family along the way. It was a transformative time for me, which also coincided with me launching my consulting practice. As a way to reconnect with the Pacific Coast, I researched places to retreat that are within few miles of the coast:


Places to Retreat in Southern California: Check out my list of 85+ places to retreat in Southern California, which includes the following along the coast:


Pajaro Dunes (Watsonville, CA): A peaceful spot along the Monterey Bay I spent time at during my graduate program, “This unique oasis retreat, rich in history, yet close to Santa Cruz and Monterey/Carmel. Bring peaceful inspiration & productivity to your conference.”

Esalen (Big Sur, CA): “Esalen Institute is a leading center for integrative education, soulful exploration, and personal and social evolution. Its extraordinary mission and spectacular location make it the perfect place to hold your independent conference, staff retreat, or training session. Group conferences held on property must be related to our mission and vision of personal and social transformation, i.e., no tradeshows, weddings, etc.”

Sequoia Retreat Center (Ben Lomond, CA): “Welcome to a place of reflection, dialogue and celebration…The Sequoia Retreat Center is a place where the deepest meaning of life may be explored in an atmosphere of quiet and beauty.”

Venture Retreat Center (Pescadero, CA): “Nestled among ancient redwoods and meadows of wildflowers on 22 acres, south of the San Francisco Bay Area, west of San Jose and Silicon Valley, near Pescadero, California…This peaceful, well-managed retreat center and weekend getaway is popular among personal growth and spiritual groups. The center is an ideal setting for youth groups who gather to explore and appreciate nature.”

Costanoa (Pescadero, CA): “Costanoa is a coastal California eco-adventure resort. Here our guests can simply retreat from the concerns of everyday life and discover the pace of nature.”

Asolimar Conference Grounds (Pacific Grove, CA): “Asilomar’s rich history dates back to its origins as a YWCA Leadership Camp built in 1913. Known as Monterey Peninsula’s “Refuge by the Sea,” the state park is located on 107 acres of state beach and conference grounds, within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove…”

Black Mountain Retreat Center (Cazadero, CA): “Located on a prime 485 acres in west Sonoma, Black Mountain Retreat Center consists of a cluster of one-storey buildings in the center of wooded valleys and open meadows, at around 1100 feet altitude. Rustic but very clean and comfortable, we have room for up to 125 people, although the place is just as welcoming for a small group of 12 (our minimum).”

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (West Sonoma County): “an 80-acre research, demonstration, education, advocacy and community-organizing center that develops strategies for regional-scale community resiliences and the restoration of biological and cultural diversity.”

Commonweal Retreat Center (Point Reyes National Seashore): “Commonweal is a nonprofit center for service and research in health and human ecology located on a beautiful 60-acre site at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in the Point Reyes National Seashore.”

Shambhala Ranch (Mendocino): “Located near the Coastal Town of Mendocino, this secluded Retreat Center…offers a secluded, naturally serene environment, ideal for seminars and workshops, spiritual and educational retreats, company retreats and corporate meetings”

The Land (Mendocino): “This one of a kind sanctuary at the intersection of the Pacific Coast and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley is a response to the suggestion that our purpose in life is to create connection. A training ground that fosters the much needed elements of empathy, compassion, and attention, the Land is the door to a more connected life.”


Twin Rocks Friends Camp (Rockaway Beach, OR): “Located on 120 magnificent acres at the Oregon Coast, Twin Rocks Friends Camp & Conference Center sponsors Christian camps and retreats for people of all ages and provides rental accommodations for groups of up to 350.” This includes their Harbor Villa Retreat Center for groups of 10-40.


Cascade People’s Center (Seattle, WA): Located next to a community garden and park in a rapidly developing South Lake Union, this location “has a large community room fashioned with laminated wood floors that compliment its warm earth tone painted walls.  The space welcomes natural light from three built-in skylights and large windows from the south and west sides of the building.”

IslandWood (Bainbridge Island, WA): “Flexible, light-filled meeting spaces feature all the essential amenities for a successful off-site meeting or conference with 360 degree views of the meadows and forest outside. Beyond the boardroom, the five natural ecosystems that make up IslandWood’s wooded campus offer ample opportunities for deeper focus and teamwork.”

Whitbey Institute (Whitney Island, WA): “A home for transformational learning” with a mission “to nurture the conditions for transformational learning, and our purpose is to be a Place for those called by the responsibility and transformative potential of these times.”

Doe Bay Retreat (Orcas Island, WA): “Our beautiful waterfront escape offers plenty of space to relax, get grounded, play and make memories. We have a variety of accommodations to suit the needs and desires of your group, including a large retreat house, a variety of cabins and yurts, and numerous camping sites to make your event more affordable for participants.”

North Cascades Institute (Sedro-Woolley, WA): While it’s a bit inland from the coast, “Learning Center classrooms, labs and libraries offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and provide excellent conference space and meeting accommodations. Throughout the interior and outside spaces of our LEED Silver Certified venue, the natural world and striking landscape of the North Cascades are close and accessible.”

Pebble Cove Farm (Orcas Island, WA): “Our private waterfront location provides a beautiful and tranquil backdrop for special gatherings…And we now offer the option to “take over” Pebble Cove Farm for an entire weekend — including all of our accommodations and dedicated use of our property.” Best for smaller groups: up to 16 can stay onsite.


Strathcona Park Lodge (Central Vancouver): “The 160 acre property is a multi-sport wilderness resort with facilities for rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, high ropes, hiking, zip lining, restaurants and accommodation. Sea kayaking, more rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, mountain hiking, whitewater paddling and mountain biking are nearby.”


Any suggestions for places I missed? Please contact me with your suggestions. Are you a sustainability-oriented collaborative and need a facilitator? If so, here is more information about my practice. 

About Ron Milam

Ron Milam, MSOD, works to transform the Pacific Coast into a sustainable region through leadership and organization development for collaborative change initiatives. Since 2005, Ron has served over 150 clients as an organization and network development practitioner.
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