I just got back from a great experience at the Gordon Research Conference on Plant-Herbivore Interactions on the left coast. The conference focused on unpublished results, so while I can't talk about the specifics of research I saw (they have a social media gag order), I can say that it was a really positive experience. The conference had invited talks in the morning, free time after lunch to play volleyball on the beach (!), and then a poster session and more talks after dinner each evening. It was really interesting to see where research within my field is heading and to just geek out and talk science with folks thinking about the same issues. I presented the attached poster based on the 1st chapter of my dissertation and got some great ideas from fellow attendees.
Basically, I would definitely recommend the Gordon Conference structure to fellow graduate students if there is one in your field. If not, new ones are always starting- for instance a Predator-Prey Interactions conference will be held from January 5-10, 2014.