Where to Go for a Personal Retreat

How do you select the right “location” for a Personal Retreat?  Your criteria will be determined by many variables:

  • Indoor (cabin) or outdoor (camping)?
  • Season and weather
  • Amount of time available
  • Distance – not too far and not too close
  • Where you desire to spend the time
  • Where you are being led by God to spend the time

You don’t have to be an outdoor camping-type person to do a Personal Retreat.  Indoors works fine, but the location has to be away from home with no phone or TV, so forget motel rooms.  Most states have state parks with rental cabins, which are fantastic for Personal Retreats.  There are also Christian retreat centers where you can go for a Personal Retreat.  If you are camping, you need to be in a secluded place, not in a popular national park at the height of tourist season.  Using a cabin or a Christian retreat center allows the opportunity of doing a retreat any time of the year, regardless of weather, while outdoor camping retreats will generally be limited to warmer seasons.

A Personal Retreat might be for a day or for several days.  The amount of time you have committed will also have a major role in determining where you go.  A one day retreat requires you to stay fairly close to home, while a several day retreat might be as much as 200 or more miles away.  Elijah’s “Personal Retreat” after Mt. Carmel and Jezebel’s death threat, took him 120 miles from Northern Israel to outside Beersheba – traveling on foot!  Understand that God may direct you to a place that is a ways away.  You will find your perspective changing in fascinating ways when you get far enough away from home.  A lot of the stresses you feel in your normal environment tend to dissipate with distance.

Is there a place you never visited but always wanted to spend some time there?  That is often a great place for a Personal Retreat.  The sense of “exploring” an unfamiliar place – just you and God – adds an element of wonder to a Personal Retreat.  Don’t assume that “spirituality” requires you to go to some miserable, boring location.  Let God personally introduce you to some new wonders of his creation.

Types of Personal Retreats

We can divide Personal Retreats into two main types – indoor and outdoor.  Which type you choose will depend upon your personal preferences, the time of year, weather and other factors.  As noted above, “indoor” retreats can be done at either a cabin or a Christian retreat center where you might have either a cabin or a room.  If you’re in your own cabin, you will be doing some food preparation, while at a Christian conference center that will probably be done for you.  Of course, if you are led to fast, this won’t be an issue.  The “indoor” retreat is the more “civilized” type, that allows you to be more comfortable and essentially to spend less effort “surviving” an outdoor camping experience.  Thus, you typically have more time to focus on reading, prayer, and contemplation.

On the other hand, the outdoor-camping-type Personal Retreat, can “connect” you to the Creator in a more profound way.  There is a certain magic in “going primitive” for a few days that distills life down to its essence.  That outdoor setting may be more effective in clearing the “noise” of life than the more civilized indoor retreat.  It is likely that sometimes you will be impressed to have a retreat at an indoor cabin, while other times you’ll prefer the rougher style associated with camping.

Great Places for Retreats by Region

Northwest  (Click to See List)

Southwest (Click to See List)

North Central (Click to See List)

South Central (Click to See List)

Southeast (Click to See List)

Northeast (Click to See List)