Did you go to camp as a kid?
If you fondly remember long summer days filled with arts and crafts, team games (Color War anyone?), campfire sing-alongs, swimming, theme days (Backwards Day!), you’re not alone. Adult summer camps are in vogue, with several themed options available around the US. Whether you’re interested in revisiting the communal experience or trying it for a first time, here’s your chance.
Some adults camps appeal mainly to a younger demographic, but many are multigenerational. We’ve rounded up five interesting choices. Accommodations can be on the rustic side (yes, that means cabins, possibly even bunk beds); two of our options don’t offer on-site accommodation but have arrangements nearby. Go on your own, or with family members or friends. Either way, representatives from each camp confirmed to us that you won’t be the sole senior camper there.
Let summertime fun begin!
If You’re a Foodie
CIA Boot Camp. Multiple locations (NY, CA, TX)
No, not that CIA — the Culinary Institute of America. The only requirements are having a passion for food and a craving to learn. The Institute’s learn-by-doing boot camps are designed to accommodate all levels of cooking expertise. You join a team of 16 people maximum and cook independently under the direction of master chefs to make daily recipes. And you don’t have to do the dishes. Sign up for Basic Training or choose from specialty boot camps such as Mediterranean, Farm to Table, Hors D’Oeuvre, Grilling and BBQ, Wine Lovers or Pastry.
Dates: Multiple dates available at all locations throughout summer and beyond.
Cost: $895 for Wine Lovers Boot Camp (2 days) to $2,195 for Basic Training Boot Camp (4 days). Does not include accommodations or transportation, but meals are included (and they’re delicious!)
If You Want to Unplug and Get Creative
Camp Grounded. Multiple locations (NY, CA, TX, NC)
Trade in your digital technology for four days of off-the-grid fun and creativity. Rules include no gadgets — computers, tablets, cellphones, digital cameras, Kindles, or wearable technology. No watches. No work talk. No alcohol or drugs. No ageism. Stay grounded and present in the moment through a wide range of activities. Some sample “playshops” are nature hikes, yoga, improv, tie dye, sailing, poetry, crochet, drawing, ukulele, creative writing, laughter yoga and archery (as you can see in the photo at top). Started by the founders of DigitalDetox.org, the camps have between 200 and 450 campers per session, depending upon location.
Dates: Vary based on location, each 4 days long. Two camp sessions in August in North Carolina; one session in June in New York; one session in October in Texas.
Cost: $649-695 plus a $30 registration fee, includes accommodations and food; low-income tickets available to those who qualify. Transportation not included.
If You Play an Instrument
Adult Band Camp. Interlochen Center for the Arts, MI
If you play a brass, woodwind or percussion instrument, join 70 adults at a challenging, supportive, fun and friendly band camp. You don’t need to be a professional musician to attend, but it’s best to have a few years of study under your belt. Daily master classes and chamber music sessions are taught by instrumental faculty. The camp culminates in a public ensemble performance at the center.
Dates: August 9 – 14th, 2016
Cost: $525. Does not include accommodations, meals or transportation. Accommodations and meals available on and near campus.
If You Love Stargazing or Astronomy
Adult Space Academy. Huntsville, AL
If you want to be part of Mission Control, this is the ultimate weekend. Campers have hands-on, interactive experiences on two different simulators, construct and launch model rockets, train for a mission to the International Space Station and learn about current NASA and space exploration in one of the world’s largest spaceflight collections. There are approximately 65 campers each weekend who are put into teams of 16. Beam me up, Scotty!
Dates: Current openings: two weekends in July, one in August, and three in September. (Sessions continue year-round.)
Cost: $549 per person for 3 days, includes $50 nonrefundable registration fee. On selected holiday weekends, there is a 4-day option for $649. Meals and lodging are included, transportation is not.
If You’re Nostalgic for Traditional Camp
Camp Bonfire. Lake Owego (Poconos), PA
“Bringing together awesome people to do fun things in the woods” is how the owners describe this camp. The classic camp spirit of community, play and finding joy in nature rule. You choose how you’ll spend your weekend from a long list of activities —including games (Capture the Flag, relay races) and creative “classes” (friendship bracelets, terrarium building, survival skills), sing-alongs and talent shows put on by campers. Simply kicking back is also encouraged. Electronics are permitted, but can be used only in a designated area. Camp Bonfire’s website doesn’t project much of a multigenerational feel, but we’re told that they recently hired their first over-60 camp counselor, and some 12 percent of campers are in their 50s and 60s. There is room for 180 campers maximum.
Dates: June 10 – 12th, 2016
Cost: $499 plus a $25 registration fee, all-inclusive except for transportation. Camp buses run from NYC or Philadelphia for an additional charge.
How to Find an Adult Summer Camp
If you’re looking for camp to meet a specific interest, try the American Camp Association’s online tool. Click here to access the tool and select the database for U.S. Adult Camps. You can also filter by location, cost, session dates, etc.
Another option: Type “Adult Summer Camps”+ [Your City] in the Google search bar to find local options.
Camps usually fill up in advance and may sell out, so don’t wait to register.
Top photo: CampGrounded.org & Daniel N. Johnson