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6 Fun Activities for Your Next Tennessee Corporate Retreat
The famous William Holbrook Beard painting “The Dancing Bear” — the inspiration for our resort’s name, serves as a nod to the New York Stock Exchange after a successful day of business. This is our rallying cry for the advancement of timeless business principles. By serving as a location for Tennessee corporate retreats, we are helping companies achieve greater prosperity.

Tennessee Corporate Retreat Ideas: How to Plan a Corporate Retreat

Dancing Bear Lodge is known as a leisurely getaway, but we set the tone for business gatherings by serving as a location for corporate retreats in Tennessee, helping companies achieve greater prosperity. In this month’s blog, we look at why your company should invest in a retreat and why Dancing Bear Lodge is a fantastic venue to host it. 


Joe Gipson, Senior IT Sales and Delivery manager of Cisco, Inc., said Dancing Bear Lodge offers “a beautiful location, great accommodations, delectable and innovative food, and unmatched service. A great environment to focus and build your team.”

What are the benefits of company retreats?

Tennessee corporate retreats near Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Maryville present a rare opportunity for group members to come together in person for work and relaxation. Colleagues who normally see each other between 9 am and 5 pm get a chance to organically learn more about each other’s personalities in fun settings and begin to better understand one another in a different light. Everyone can discuss company-wide decisions by talking through many angles, identifying ways to streamline costs to be more profitable, brainstorming new ideas, and sharing goals to get everyone excited and committed when Monday comes around.

Retreats also improve company morale by showing employees they’re appreciated. Experts say it is important to give everyone a chance to just hang out as a group, laugh, and talk to each other in a relaxed space. Pause the stress of completing daily tasks and think big-picture.

You want employees to think of their role in the company as more than just a means to get a paycheck. You want them to want to be in your workplace and like the person at the next cubicle. Less stress means more productive workers, and employees may have less incentive to leave for a job elsewhere if they feel like they get to spend their days with friends and a company that cares about their well-being. Team building activities form cohesive efforts.

Additionally, corporate retreats can give colleagues a chance to bond while learning new skills. These are good and accepted reasons for a necessary trip that can be tax deductible if properly planned.

Tennessee Corporate Retreats
Tennessee Corporate Retreats can give colleagues a chance to bond while away from the distractions of ringing phones and stacks of paperwork

6 Great Tennessee Corporate Retreat Ideas

Below are 6 corporate retreat activities that your company can do when looking for corporate retreat locations and take advantage of Dancing Bear Lodge’s corporate retreat packages:

1. Team Performance Challenges

Some of the companies who come to Dancing Bear Lodge for their corporate retreats in Tennessee will break their groups into smaller teams to work through a series of activities meant to provoke focused discussions about how to maximize individual involvement, plan effectively, and which leadership and participation roles work best. The aim is to help employees to evolve beyond their current level of performance and learn to strategize, collaborate and take on leadership roles (in some cases, for the first time). Rather than being told what to take away from the adventure, members of the team draw their own conclusions, evoking that old expression “show me, don’t tell me”.

Tennessee Corporate Retreats

These group activities can take many forms. Perhaps you’ve seen “escape room” businesses in your city. These are fun and can be set up anywhere with some simple storytelling that leads to a challenge with a team working together against the clock to solve clues and puzzles along the way. Knowledge transferring and delegation are keys to getting through the game effectively, according to Adventure Associates, which works with Dancing Bear Lodge on team-building programs for Knoxville Corporate Retreats.

Other possibilities include Ropes Course team building, a scavenger hunt, or working as a group to give back for some worthy charity by tackling a need together. Whatever your group does, challenges should be customized to match your group’s interest, fitness level and location. Emphasize risk-taking, trust, and coaching. Enable participants to expand their comfort zones and recognize fears that may block personal achievement.

2. Incentive-Based Rewards for Top Performers

Tennessee Corporate Retreats Ideas

To encourage greater productivity ahead of a fun getaway, you can entice staff with some benefit to enjoy during their Smoky Mountain Adventure. Perhaps an upgrade of some sort, a prize, or a gift card for Dancing Bear amenities. The specifics are entirely up to you.

You can also get more out of your retreat by assigning homework to make the most of your time together. Perhaps get everyone to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) online assessment to develop business practices to reflect and overcome extraversion, introversion and more. With the results in hand, you can figure out everyone’s strengths and how to best use them for the goal of being a more successful organization.

3. Off-Beat Group Activities

If you really want to get your group thinking outside of the box and experiencing each other in fresh ways, do something completely different than you usually do together. Dancing Bear Lodge has hosted such fascinating team-building activities as a Moonshine Making exercise on the landing and Harmonica lessons. Prepare to work together on something that encourages teamwork, creativity, and thinking out-of-the-box. Maybe it is delivering a business story that connects, resonates, persuades and inspires.

4. Off-Site Activities

What’s so great about being near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the winter is the experience of awakening to fresh snowfall each morning while enjoying warmer afternoons — perfect for a team-building hike on one of the many nearby hiking trails. Be sure to take into account everyone’s physical stamina and interests before arranging any activities that might be too strenuous or fail to accommodate mobility from a disability. GeoTrek, based on the recreational sport of geocaching, blends adventure and technology into an exhilarating team building experience. Other possibilities: fishing, bicycling, tubing, zip lining, golfing, horseback riding, clay shooting, and narrated motor coach tours of the national park. The staff at Dancing Bear is happy to help set up a team activity of your preference.

5. Shopping

Apple Valley Mountain Village, our sister property, is located next door and offers a wide variety of gifts and foods. The delicious fried apple pies and variety of fudge flavors just add to Dancing Bear Lodge offering one of best corporate retreats.

6. Great Food in a Warm Environment

One key perk of having your corporate retreat at Dancing Bear is getting to share a delicious meal at the Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro. Our culinary team, under the direction of Chef Shelley D. Cooper, offers an Appalachian menu steeped in traditional and regional flavors. Fresh ingredients from our garden and the local area often make their way into the fabulous fare.

Roasting s’mores around the fire pit makes everyone feel like being a kid again. The beautiful and elegant fireplace creates an ambiance of warmth and energy renewal, a space where colleagues can enjoy casual fireside chats in a meeting space unplugged from and far removed from the florescent-lit office.

Why You Should Choose Dancing Bear Lodge for Your Tennessee Corporate Retreat


If you want to think outside of the box, get your team outside of the office.

Our secluded space in the peaceful woods near Cades Cove and the Smoky Mountains sets the stage for a fantastic event. Here are many of the reasons why Dancing Bear Lodge experiences so many companies choosing us time and time again for their company retreat location each winter:

Lodging That Encourages Rest and Relaxation

Our 36-acre Smoky Mountain resort property has 21 rustic 1 & 2 bedroom accommodations which offer a maximum capacity of 25 separate bedrooms and baths. Amenities include digital flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, in-room Apple Valley locally roasted coffee, and a gourmet breakfast of house-made granola, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, and juice. Many of the accommodations offer a fireplace, whirlpool tub, hot tub, deck and/or kitchen. After dinner, your crew can relax with cocktails or roasting s’mores around the fire pit.

A World-Class Event Venue Space

The Dancing Bear Event Center, built in 2015, will impress with cathedral ceilings with open wood beams and a towering stone fireplace, accommodating up to 85 people for seating. A sprawling patio connects to it as well.

Scalable Space for Both Small and Large Groups

Tennessee Corporate Retreats Locations

Whether your staff consists of a handful of people or the payroll covers hundreds, Dancing Bear can offer event solutions. Tents and outdoor decking can accommodate up to 250 people for larger occasions. Full A/V support is available for presentations.

We recommend that you make reservations for the retreat venue, reservations for lodging for retreat participants, set up a transportation plan, communicate retreat details to attendees, provide a detailed itinerary (including scheduled breaks), and make arrangements for details like food/snacks (noting any dietary restrictions), meeting equipment and supplies (whiteboard, easel, markers, etc.), and transportation plan.

To book your corporate event, contact us at 1.865.448.6000 or email [email protected] for more information. You can also fill out an online form with inquiries.