Before Your Visit
Important things to know
See the Introductory Section for details on Harbin facilities. If this will be your first visit to Harbin, ask your check-in receptionist for a complete list of guest agreements, including pool etiquette guidelines.
• Harbin is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
• Guests must be 18 years or older, or accompanied by parent/guardian.
• All adult guests must present legal photo identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.) upon check-in.
• The pool area is clothing-optional. (See details at the left.)
• Tobacco smoking is restricted to a specific area by the parking lot.
Items to pack
See our Packing List for suggested items to bring.
• Bring your own pool towel. (Room towels are not for use at the pools.)
• We highly recommend that you bring a non-breakable water bottle, appropriate footwear for rugged terrain, and a flashlight.
• Hikers should wear brightly-colored clothing when approaching property boundaries, especially during hunting season (mid-Aug to late-Sept).
Items to leave at home
• Alcohol, marijuana and illegal substances/drugs are not permitted.
• Open fires, candles and camp stoves are strictly forbidden.
• Cameras (in any form) or photography are not allowed.
• Mobile phones should be powered off upon arrival. (See technology note at the left.)
• Use of colognes, perfumes or scented personal care products should be avoided during your stay.
• Meat, fish or poultry are not allowed in the guest kitchen.
• Pets are not allowed. Pets may not be left in vehicles. (In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we allow service dogs on-property. The owner must state what service the animal performs. We do not admit service dogs that are for emotional or mental support.)
Room Arrival & Departure
• Room rates (rooms, tent cabins, cottages, dorms) include use of facilities for a 24-hour visit.
• On your arrival day, you may check-in on property as early as 9 am, but may not occupy your room until 3 PM. Or you may check-in as late as you wish.
• On your departure day, you must vacate your room by Noon, but may stay on property until 1 PM, or until your 24-hour time expires (whichever is later).
We are actively upgrading our historic facilities for greater accessibility, and want to work with all of our guests to create great experiences here. To help us achieve our goal, please mention your needs when reserving a room, making a massage reservation, or registering for a workshop with outside facilitators. If you use a wheelchair and are planning to camp, call ahead to reserve our accessible campsite near the meadow. Campers and day visitors with disabilities are also encouraged to call in advance, so we may answer your questions, and help you plan your visit. To see the accessibility improvements currently in place, click here (.pdf).
• Campers are encouraged to arrive and set up before dark.
• Open fires, candles, camp stoves, or burners in RVs/vans are strictly forbidden.
• We do not rent tents or camping equipment.
• There are a limited number of parking spaces large enough to accommodate RVs up to 24 feet in length. Hookups and dumping stations are not provided, and generators are not to be operated during your stay.
• On the sleeping bag deck (near pools), there are lockers available on a first-come, first-served basis. (Bring your own lock or purchase one from the Harbin Market.)
• A coin-operated laundrymat is located in Middletown (approx. 4 miles).
See our Driving Directions page for maps and important details.
• All vehicles must have a current paid guest permit visible in the window. Avoid parking in areas that block roadways or emergency vehicle access.
• Vehicles may be driven on the mainside area (past the dragon gate) from 9 am to 9 pm for loading and unloading purposes only. During summer weekends (Friday 3 PM to Sunday 6 PM), the road between the gazebo and the pool area will be closed to guest traffic (except vehicles displaying official disability plates/placards) with a friendly luggage shuttle in operation during the day.
See our Food Section for complete details.
• An ATM is located in the Harbin Market.
• Ice is available in small quantities from a coin-operated vending machine behind the Harbin Market. Bags of ice are sold in Middletown.
See our Activity Calendar for scheduled offerings. Upon arrival, check bulletin boards for up-to-date times and locations.
Front Gate Office: 24 Hours
Reception Office & Bookstore: 9 am – 7 pm (to 8 pm on Fri)
Dragon Gate (near office): 9 am – 9 pm
Spring Pools: 24 Hours
Sauna & Steam Rooms: 6 am to Midnight
Massage Office: 8:30 am – 7 pm
Market: 9 am – 8 pm
Restaurant Breakfast: 8 – 11 am
Restaurant Dinner: 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Fern Guest Kitchen: 6 am to Midnight
Blue Room Café: 7 am – 7 pm
La Sirena Poolside Café: Noon to 5 pm (seasonal)
Internet Access (by Stonefront Library): 24 Hours
Sorry, we do not accept mail or packages for guests.
For advance notice on weekday projects that may cause noise or service disruption during your stay, please see our Construction Noise announcements.
Summer: June through September are typically warm, with little or no rain. Without the Bay Area fog, Harbin can be 30 degrees warmer than San Francisco this time of year. Evenings can be 20-30 degrees cooler than the days, so bring layers.
Fall / Winter / Spring: October through May can range from surprisingly sunny and warm, to rainy and cold. (Snow is rare.) It’s always a good idea to come prepared for showers.
Families with Children/Minors
Harbin is a quiet and rather rustic retreat center, and, as such, is not an entertaining or especially appropriate place to bring children/minors for a vacation. We have established a number of rules to ensure a safe visit for children, and to preserve a restful retreat atmosphere for adults. Please familiarize yourself with the following rules, as they are strictly enforced.
• Children/minors (all persons under 18) must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. We highly recommend that at least two adults arrive prepared to take turns supervising a child/minor, freeing each other to enjoy a soak, massage, meditation or other adult activities.
• Families may camp away from the mainside area, or reserve one of the lower tent cabins or Grove cottages. Anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed in mainside rooms or cottages, or at the Domes.
• Children/minors are allowed in the mainside area from 10 AM to 8 PM in the summer months, and 10 AM to dusk in the winter. This includes decks, sleeping deck, dressing room, guest kitchen and the movie theater. If your children are able to conform to adult standards of behavior, they may be present in the restaurant or movie theater after hours.
• Children/minors may use the heart-shaped pool and large swimming pool only. Those not toilet-trained must wear plastic pants.
If you have questions or concerns about our policies for families, please contact us for clarification before your visit.
All guests are offered an orientation to our center upon arrival. Here is a short video version that you can watch in the comfort of your own home. Click here to view
Harbin is located in the wine-growing region north of San Francisco, approximately 2.5 hours from San Francisco or Sacramento, and about 25 miles north of Calistoga. This southern tip of Lake County is rather rural, with most wine tasting to the south, or boating and fishing on Clear Lake to the north. Due to its quiet roads and clean air, Lake County is growing in popularity with cross-country and amateur cyclists. Middletown features a surprisingly wide selection of restaurants, as well as hometown stores and antique shops. For more information on Lake County, contact the Visitor Information Center at 1-800-525-3743.