11 Summer Camps Made Just for Grownups
From campfire singalongs to sunrise yoga, adult summer camps take the best of those nostalgic childhood experiences and mix them up with some grownup touches—even open bars.
Best camp for female camaraderie
If you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed an honest-to-goodness belly laugh with a friend, let alone a complete stranger, you’re in need of Campowerment. Founded in 2013 by Emmy-winning television producer Tammi Leader Fuller, Campowerment is the all-female summer camp with multiple locations around the country you’d expect Oprah to pull together (no surprise the queen of trendspotting named it to her “Wow List” in 2013). Inspired by Fuller’s own childhood experiences at sleepaway camp, the four-day retreats include campfire singalongs, candlelight yoga, goal-focused vision boards, and Color War games designed to unleash your competitive spirit and make you LOL with total strangers. From business coaches to body language analysts to motivational talks by a range of experts—as well as fitness, meditation, and general wellness classes—are part of the experience. But it’s what you don’t expect to find at Campowerment that lures a whopping 50 percent of campers to return: a sense of community and yep, female empowerment, led by three generations of Leader women (Leader’s daughters, sisters, and her 83-year-old mom, Joan “Grandy” Leader, are the heart and soul of Campowerment). The bonds between former bunkmates are so strong they’ve spawned Facebook groups and reunions of their own.
Best camp for partygoers with a love of the outdoors
At the adults-only Camp No Counselors with multiple locations around the country, the theme is “Play like a kid, party like a grownup” and that pretty much sums up what these all-inclusive weekends are all about. Go canoeing, wakeboarding, or hiking in the morning, swim after lunch, then wind down with some arts and crafts before sipping a cocktail at sunset from the open bar. Pace yourself though; the themed DJ parties have been described as “epic” by former campers, so you’ll want to save your energy for a little limbo dancing. Weekend sessions are offered in both upstate New York and Los Angeles several times per year. Want to take your “camp” on the water? These are the world’s best themed cruises.
Best camp for those who hate the idea of actually camping
Set around a private lake just 90 minutes outside Chicago in Sugar Creek, Wisconsin you’ll find Camp Wandawega. What makes it unique is its unconventional approach to camp: You set your schedule, and while every activity is available to you, nothing is organized. Instead, each day is yours to do what you will, whether you want to lounge on the private beach, fish off the pier, take a retro Schwinn bike for a ride, or try your hand at shuffleboard or tennis. One major caveat is there’s no one to cook for you—though each cabin is equipped with vintage appliances and there are several restaurants nearby. The no-frills accommodations have a unique history, too: In 1925 the camp was a Prohibition-era speakeasy, then a gambling den, and finally a Latvian church camp before getting a makeover by the camp’s founders. Expect flea market chic decor in the brightly colored vintage cabins and bunkhouses. The platform tents, teepees, and treehouse on the property are open to guests for impromptu lounging at any time.
Best for those looking to relive their traditional camp days
Tucked away in the bucolic Berkshire Mountains, the adults-only weekends at the classic camp Club Getaway in Kent, Connecticut are so popular, they often sell out. That says a lot given the camp has been in business for over 40 years. Have fun trying out throwback camp activities including archery and arts and crafts while also indulging your curiosity for 21st-century trends like stand-up paddleboarding and trapeze lessons. Campers set their own schedules, so do as much—or as little—of the organized activities as you want. The lakeside setting features a trampoline and water slides, but the real thrills await at the zip line that whisks you over the treetops. Nights are made for partying (this isn’t your kiddo’s camp, after all), so expect games like beer pong, dance parties, and rowdy campfire singalongs. Accommodations are no-frills, same-sex bunk rooms in air-conditioned cabins, but did we mention that dinners include wine? Before you go check out these quick fixes for bee stings, bug bites, sunburns, and other summer woes.
Best camp for space enthusiasts
Ever wanted to train like an astronaut? You can at the Adult Space Academy at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where three-day weekend camps include astronaut training on a Multi-Axis Trainer simulator, team-building exercises on a high-tech ropes course, and the chance to build—and launch!—your own rocket. You can also test your engineering skills while designing a protective heat shield and perform an extended simulated mission as if you were really in outer space. Meals are served in the Crew Galley, while bay-style sleeping quarters are provided in habitats similar to those astronauts use on space missions.
Best camp for LGBTQ campers looking for a laid-back experience
The nation’s premier adult summer camp for the LGBTQ community, ‘Camp’ Camp is nestled between two lakes in Portland, Maine with rustic cabins sprinkled between towering pines. Creative types love the pottery, painting, and knitting classes while active campers enjoy rock climbing, adventure courses, and nighttime paddles. Hilarious Talent/No Talent shows round out the fun at this week-long adult summer camp. Unlike other adult summer camps, meals at ‘Camp’ Camp are provided by pro chefs using locally sourced ingredients. Around since 1997, the experience is so popular about 75 percent of campers return for another year—or more.
Best for campers who want to be treated like grownups
Don’t let the four-person cabins without electricity fool you at Camp Halycon in Wautoma, Wisconsin. This may be camping, not glamping, but there are plenty of modern activities at this four-day, lakeside camp to keep everyone happy. Start your day with yoga on the beach, then choose from activities like archery and canoeing for a bout of nostalgia, followed by wine-tasting or even cigar and Scotch tasting. Evenings are for all-you-can-eat s’mores bars and local brews around a cozy bonfire, followed by a couple of rounds of bingo or trivia. Offering two summer sessions and one in the fall, Camp Halycon is like summer camp 2.0.
Best camp for anyone who can’t get enough of the great outdoors
If you love trying new sports and activities as often as possible, the Outbound Pursuit Series in Utah, Northern California, and North Carolina are for you. During the three-day weekends, newbies can learn to pitch a tent and pick up wilderness survival skills. Those with an inkling to try something new can give slacklining (sort of like tightrope walking), meditation, or backpacking a try. The secret sauce is that in lieu of traditional camp counselors, expert guides and pro athletes show you the ropes. You’ll get beginner and intermediate-level instruction in small groups, whether you’re fly fishing, trail running, or mountain biking. The goal is for each camper to walk away feeling more confident and relaxed in the great outdoors with a deeper connection to nature, and a thriving network of like-minded adventure hounds ready to catch you at the next Outbound Pursuit Series. It’s not all sweat and grit, though: Open bars, live music, and hammock lounges provide plenty of ways to relax at the end of the day.
Best camp for those looking to improve their serve
Want to serve your next game where pros like Serena Williams train? The Tennis Camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida is a world-class facility offering one, three, and five-day adult tennis camps with renowned coaches who will help you up your game with skill drills, strategy sessions, and match plays. Just ten minutes from world-class beaches, you can design your own schedule here, so you can spend half the day honing your tennis skills and the rest exploring this tropical hideaway on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Best camp for guitar heroes
Imagine rocking out alongside legends like Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Motley Crue’s Vince Neil. That’s what’ll happen during this annual four-day Rock-‘n’-Roll Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas where you can jam with amazing headliners and perform live at legendary clubs. Bass players, guitarists, vocalists, drummers—all instruments and experience levels are welcome. Depending on your skill level, all campers are placed in a band with rockstar counselors who will have you jamming, rehearsing, and performing daily. Each band will also have a tour manager, a professional tech, and a sound person at their beck and call, so you’ll get the full experience of what it’s like to be a rockstar. The four-day camp culminates with a live performance alongside Foreigner’s Lou Gramm at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Check out these 12 hilarious summer camp letters from kids to their parents…just so you know what to expect.
Best camp for band geeks
“This one time at band camp…” no, it’s not like that, but it sure is fun to join 70 other adults from around the world for six days of ensemble performances in a challenging but supportive and friendly environment Adult Band Camp at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Instrumental faculty teach master classes, coach daily chamber music sessions, and play in the full ensemble with participants. The experience culminates with a performance in Corson Auditorium on the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ campus, just 15 miles from Traverse City.