11 wild teambuilding retreats for school & youth groups

Take your youth group to the mountains for some wild, wonderful team building.

Nothing brings a group closer than overcoming challenges together. In the wild, wonderful Mountain State, it’s easy to find a little adventure. Group packages make planning a trip to fit the whole team easy— and affordable.

Here are the top 11 teambuilding trip ideas:

River & forest retreats

1. River expeditions

Run, paddle and soar your way through a series of Mountain State challenges! Team building is easy with River Expeditions’ arsenal of outdoor adventures. Share tactics on the paintball course and capture memories together on a nature hike.

Sign up groups for whitewater rafting for a real team challenge. You’ll have to paddle in unison as you ride the Gauley and New rivers. Even beginners can easily pound through the waves if they work together. Plus, trip leaders go free with a group of 15 or more!  

2. Adventures on the Gorge

Start the morning at AOTG with group games to break the ice and foster creative problem-solving. Once you’ve dialed in your cooperative skills, test them on a wild challenge! Paddle together on the whitewater rivers, fly on a zip course or help each other go higher on a rock climb. There are dozens of adventures to try.

One of the most unique challenges is TimberTrek, with 5 courses that get progressively more difficult. Scramble up rope nets, cross swinging rope bridges and solve puzzles through the trees.

3. ACE Adventure Center

Take on mud obstacle courses, whitewater rafting trips, paintball competitions, ziplines and more at ACE. The adventure lake might just become the team favorite. Work together on inflatable obstacles like “The Blob,” where you can launch a friend into the water. How high can you guys go?

With so much to do, the biggest challenge at ACE might be choosing what to try. Thankfully, they make it easy with planning worksheets to help you find the right fit for your group (and budget).

4. River Riders

Make the most of your trip together at River Riders: sandwich your teambuilding adventure with communication-building ice breakers and reflection around the bonfire. 

Forge memories along the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers as you paddle through exciting rapids like the mile-long Staircase and the frothy Mad Dog. Or, enjoy a more relaxing tubing trip. For the landlubbers on the team, River Riders’ has also has ziplines, aerial obstacle courses, biking and more.

Escapes on the slopes

5. Winterplace

If you have a lot of beginners in your group, Winterplace was named “Best place to learn to ski” by Blue Ridge Outdoors. Group rates include a lesson, so your whole crew can get comfortable hitting the slopes together. Or, race one another down more than a dozen rolling lanes at the state’s largest tubing park.

Winterplace even has Merit Badge Counselors on staff, so scout groups can earn badges while they explore.

6. Canaan Valley

Skiing, tubing, snowshoeing— Canaan has plenty of winter thrills, and groups of 20 or more get discounts on everything. The Slide, Glide & Dip Package will keep the whole group busy all day: tube for 2 hours on the region’s longest lanes, skate for 2 hours then go for a swim indoors!

Plan around the annual cardboard sled race, where your group will need to design a quick-sliding sled with only cardboard, duct tape and creativity. See how it stacks up in the contest at nearby Blackwater Falls State Park. 

7. Snowshoe Mountain

If the 60+ ski and snowboard trails at Snowshoe aren’t enough to keep your energetic group excited, try backcountry RZR and snowmobile tours, horseback riding or tubing. Plus, with a mountaintop village and full calendar of events, there’s always something new abuzz.

After a day of thrills, make a splash at Split Rock Pools— where you can swim even in the snowy weather! The heated outdoor-indoor pool area has geyser, hot tub and slides. Once you dry off, the eurobungee and climbing wall await.

8. White Grass

The wilds of West Virginia are amazing in winter, and White Grass has plenty of trails to explore, plus prime access to other jaw-dropping cross-country ski spots like the Monongahela National Forest and Blackwater Falls State Park.

get off the grid

More mountain adventure

9. Teambuilding Academy at Glade Springs

Turn your team into rocket scientists! Work together on puzzle-like clues all around the Resort at Glade Springs to assemble and launch a water rocket. Or, uncover tools to build a fire on a GPS scavenger hunt

Keep building your knowledge and skills with deeper insights into your group. Uncover your strengths and weaknesses, and how to resolve conflicts with communication activities— which’ll get you ready to help each other through the massive challenge course!

10. National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Solve mysteries of the cosmos with scientists! The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank gives kids a real look into engineering in an exciting, hands-on way. Try the “Radio Astronomer for a Day” trip and use the 40-foot telescope to scan the skies!

You can also survey solar curiosities with an h-alpha telescope (weather permitting), take a tour and go on and scavenger hunt. Sign up for the “GBT Engineering Design Challenge” to make your own “dish.” The group that builds the sturdiest one wins!

11. Stonewall Resort

Stonewall’s unique Bike-A-Thon challenge will get everyone racing to build bikes for kids in the local community. Or, test out the team’s culinary skills in a challenge to create a buffet meal for the group. Bonus: it takes the planning out of at least one of your group’s meals!)

Stonewall also has hiking, lake boating, hayrides and other fun for the team. Try something totally new together, like cardboard boat races or bocce ball.

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This post was last updated on March 2, 2022