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Summer is back—we hope—and if this most cherished season of the year brings to mind a halcyon youth spent trapping fireflies, chasing daylight hours and running wild with reckless abandon, you’re in luck—summer camp is also back and this time it’s for adults. Get ready to power down your mobile device and have your inner child reawakened for these grown up summer camps. Who knows, if you’re lucky you might even receive a care package from mom.

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Camp Wandewega (Elkhorn, WI)
As part of their “Manifesto of Low Expectations” the 25-acre Camp Wandewega promises the occasional ladybug on your pillow, thread counts that never rise above 50 and the opportunity to becomes besties with local wildlife. But don’t let that scare you away from any number of enticing lodging options like teepees, tent hill cabins, an airstream trailer and even a tree house. The spacious grounds allow plenty of room for itinerant exploring and simpler times activities like tennis, archery, volleyball, hiking and canoeing. Guests often plan visits around creative retreats and culinary adventures and best of all the camp is a stone’s throw from Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago.


Graham & Co. (Catskill Mountains, PA)
This isn’t your Jewish grandmothers weekend getaway any longer. The Catskills Mountains have shrugged off their Borscht Belt past and are now embracing a new breed of city slickers seeking respitefrom the busy metropolis. Enter Graham & Co., not a grown up summer camp per se, but rather a 20-room rustic chic boutique hotel located in the hamlet of Phoenicia where urban folk visiting from New York and Philadelphia trade power lunching for power napping and other bountiful stress-free activities like lounging by the swimming pool, biking around town, hiking the nearby wilderness or rallying around the campfire nightly with new friends.


‘Camp’ Camp (Southwest Maine)
‘Camp’ Camp is by far the most fabulous mention on this list which is our way of saying that this sleep away camp, located in scenic southwest Maine, caters to the LGBT community offering opportunities for gays and lesbians to mix and mingle in a bucolic setting. The all-inclusive week at ‘Camp’ Camp features traditional activities like swimming, sailing, biking, hiking, canoeing and softball with more queer-oriented activities like Broadway dancing thrown into the mix. Fabulous indeed!


Credit: Israel Ferraz

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Base Camp Hotel (Tahoe, CA)
Another entry that is a hotel and not an actual summer camp, we nevertheless couldn’t resist including it on this list in part because it’s located in gorgeous South Lake Tahoe on the Nevada-California border where numerous summertime activities like sport fishing, hot air balloon rides, and golfing,river rafting, fly fishing and of course swimming and sunning abound. But the 74-room boutique-oriented Base Camp Hotel also brings the outdoors in with their in-suite “Great Indoors” rooms featuring an actual tent and king-sized bed plus a faux fire pit and glowing stars. Best part? No insect repellant necessary.


Credit: Eva Kolenko


Yellowstone Under Canvas (Yellowstone, WY)
Imagine all the splendors of sleeping under the stars in one of the most iconic national parks in thecountry except the pitching of the tent is left to someone else. Luxury camping, or glamping as its come to be known, rules at Yellowstone Under Canvas where a summer-camp like vibe is recreated via a collection of safari tents and teepees littered across a stretch of grassy plain, coupled with camp activities like canoeing, fly fishing, hiking and horseback riding. An onsite restaurant cements the mess hall atmosphere. Under Canvas properties also operate in Moab and Glacier National Park.


Camp Grounded (Anderson Valley, CA)
It’s hard being a tech worker waiting with baited breath to see if the seed money that will transform your brilliant idea into a well-funded reality ever arrives, are we right? Thankfully, there’s Camp Mendocino tucked away on 2,000 acres of Redwood forest that twice annually hosts Camp Grounded, a week of digital detox where mobile devices are shunned in favor of outdoor activities like hiking, swimming and sunning. You can even get there via the Camp Bus where sing-alongs and face painting rules.


Credit: & Daniel N. Johnson

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Soul Camp (Honesdale, PA)
Happening twice annually in 2015 (in September at Camp Towanda in Northeast Pennsylvania and in late October in California’s Central Valley), Soul Camp asks its participants to dive deeper by letting go of the cell phone and the adult labels and instead reactivate their inner child for a week of soulful rejuvenation. This means that in addition to daily activities, soulful workshops, power yoga and communal dining, there’s going to be lots of hugging, kumbaya around the campfire and the forming of friendships that last a lifetime. Yep, that sounds like camping to us.

Zak Mann Photography (1)

Credit: Zak Mann Photography

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

9 thoughts on “7 grown up summer camps that will take you back to childhood”

  1. This will be my 7th time attending camp @ ‘Camp’ Camp. Camp had given me the opportunity to get away form my everyday life and be myself around wonderful people being themselves. There isn’t any other venue gives you a sense of “Community” while still giving you a break from everything else. I return each year to be with this community.

  2. ‘Camp’ Camp is a truly a great vacation. More activities than you could ever take part in, great social events at night, the best food I have all year and the most friends I’ve made since leaving college. Can’t recommend it enough.

  3. The short paragraph on “Camp” Camp left out the arts & crafts activities, which are certainly highlights for me. I’m usually to be found in the pottery studio, if not banging on metal in the jewelry studio, although I must confess I do like to go out in a kayak and enjoy nature in a very non-athletic fashion. My first week at “Camp” Camp I spent a whole lot of time in the stained glass studio, and that activity is a big favorite with many campers. And of course there’s the “intermittently reading and dozing” activity which pulls me in some afternoons.

    It’s not all about the activities, though. I started going in 2006, and I now have a wide community of friends I made at “Camp” Camp. The week at the end of August is just the beginning of the adventure. The community lasts all year, and beyond.

  4. I’m returning to Camp Camp for my second year in a row this August – great activities, beautiful lakeside location and some of the nicest and funniest folks you’ll ever meet.

  5. I don’t think I’d be spending my 15th.summer at Camp Camp in Maine if it wasnt all this and then some. and spirit lasts all year long thanks to different reunions held throughout the US. Our private Facebook group also keeps us tightly connected. Come for a week, stay for a lifetime! (And I’m not even paid for saying this.)

  6. Yay ‘Camp’ Camp! I’ll be back for year six this August after taking a year off to marry my wife, who I met at Camp.

  7. Camp “Camp” isn’t just one week out of the year, it becomes a way of life. This week full of love, laughter and friendship carries many throughly the rest of the year! Join us this August and find out why so many of us return to Maine every August (from Alaska no less) and why Camp “Camp” becomes a part of who you are through the the year!

  8. Jason, I love the idea to spend time at an adult summer camp that includes star gazing. This past semester has been pretty rough and I could honestly use a break. Maybe I should look into seeing if any of my friends would like to go to a summer camp with me.

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