Catalina Island, just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, has long been a favorite Hollywood getaway. Stars like Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood and John Wayne vacationed here, and a young woman named Norma Jean Baker, who’d become far better known as Marilyn Monroe, lived here with her first husband. The island, accessible by ferry or a 15-minute helicopter flight, has updated its Descanso Beach Club and launched a new spa and Catalina Aerial Adventure; it features both beachfront and ocean-view meeting venues that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. This 1940s photo shows a “jaunting” car on a scenic tour. 

Perhaps your attendees have hopped on those electric bikes and e-scooters that are scattered all over metropolitan areas throughout California. That’s old news, no question. Yet it’s a sure bet they’ve never been on a Vintage Electric Cruz Bike, because only 250 of them ever have been made. Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop in Carmel has a fleet of these smile generators, as well as a fleet of knowledgeable guides to lead scenic group tours. 

 

 

Set between Pacific foothills and the sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a spirited city that will surprise anyone who still considers it only as the counter-culture center of the ‘60s. Home to the University of California, Berkeley, the city features an authentic (if endearingly off-beat) college town vibe that is perfect for meetings and events.    

In the absence of a dedicated convention center, Berkeley offers unique venues that reflect the vibrant local scene while at the same time, offer big-city service and amenities.

 

When you want to escape the lingering Texas heat for a few days in the fall, but you don’t really want to head north to more blustery conditions, Sonoma or Monterey, located northeast and south of San Francisco respectively, are fabulous options for short retreats or group getaways. And, lucky for you, if you live in or near Dallas, both destinations have direct flights from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, making your trip stress-free.

Wine Country: Three Days in Sonoma County