During the school year, it can be difficult to get away to a conference, since my primary concern then is to ensure students' course experiences are legitimate and valuable. (While students often like having a day or two off, and really like it if assignments are canceled, I get lots of comments from students years later that they're glad I worked them so hard.)
This summer, I'm attending a few conferences. First there were two meetings in Prince George (BC). These are annual meetings in which each university and college in BC sends a representative to discuss a particular discipline, and the engineering and physics meetings were held back to back at the College of New Caledonia in early May, since about a third of the participants typically attend both meetings. The primary focus is to ensure that across the province our curriculum lines up to facilitate transferring courses. But a great feature of the meeting is also to meet face to face and share issues of common concern, about student habits, pedagogical trends, textbooks, promotion of the discipline, etc. And as I attend these meetings annually, connections and networks are deepened, and mutual understanding is built.
Then there was the annual conference of the North West section of the American Physical Society, held in Portland (OR) in the middle of May. It was a great time to connect with physicists from Alberta to Oregon, from big universities to small colleges. In two days I heard talks spanning a wide range of sub-fields of physics, which is a really good way to get caught up on recent research since the journals are simply far too massive to wade through: there are at least 500 pages published each day, counting just a handful of the main journals.
More on another conference which I'm helping organize later. If you want a preview, you could visit the webpage.