As a kid, there was nothing more thrilling than packing up for summer camp.
The anticipation made my heart practically jump out of my chest—equal parts anxiety (Will I get homesick? Will I make friends? Who will my bunkmates be?) and excitement (Maybe I’ll learn to sail! Maybe I’ll find a new best friend! Maybe there will be cute boys!). Well, guess what? Just because you’re an adult now with a “job” and a “mortgage” and “responsibilities” doesn’t mean you can’t still have the summer camp experience. Yep, I’m talking sleepaway camp designed for adults! Here are a few places for adults to indulge in their summer camp nostalgia.
Camp Bonfire – The Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania
This is the classic camp experience, but for “grown @$$ adults.” (Their words, not mine). Located 2.5 hours north of Philly and New York City, Camp Bonfire isn’t about trying to fix you, cleanse you or launch you. It’s all about celebrating the person you are. Take a hike, paddle a canoe, tackle the rock climbing wall, or simply spend an hour relaxing in hammock. Campers are asked to surrender their wallets and cell phones for the weekend (don’t worry, they’re stored safely), and thus, the camp takes an all-inclusive approach so the focus is on what you do, not what you spend. Your fee includes all activities, lodging, meals, snacks, drinks, t-shirt and digital photo downloads. Cabins offer single beds and indoor bathrooms, but you bring your own pillow and sleeping bag. Go with a group, or by yourself—both are common ways to enjoy this throwback to your youth… except this time, you can have a beer by the campfire.
Camp No Counselors – Various locations in North America
Be honest: as a kid, you dreamed of spending a few days away without adults telling you what to do and when. Make your childhood dreams a reality at Camp No Counselors, an all-inclusive, weekend-long sleepaway camp for grown-ups. Enjoy your favorite aspects of summer camp, like ropes course, waterskiing, arts n crafts, and capture the flag, but add in an open bar and epic party nights. Camp No Counselors offers camps at multiple locations throughout the year, so whether you live in Seattle, Toronto, New York or Austin, there’s bound to be something close-ish to home. Groups are welcome, and they do corporate camps as well.
Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp – Various locations
Do you still regret quitting piano or guitar lessons in your youth? Have you always wished you would’ve started that garage band as a teen? Well I got news for you: Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean your rock star window has closed. Sign up for Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp, an experience that allows us average Joes to live the life of a rock star, with rock stars. Camp counselors are bona fide rock musicians who work with campers in small groups, helping them hone skills and learn songs. Each session concludes with a live performance featuring some of the biggest names in the business—think Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper, Nancy Wilson and Buddy Guy. Yes, I am saying you as a camper can perform with these legends! It’s a once in a lifetime experience for anyone who secretly sings into their hairbrush or crushes the air guitar.
Camp du Nord – Ely, Minnesota
Bring your whole clan to this legendary camp. Founded by teachers in 1933, Camp du Nord was intended to connect families through exploring nature. In the 1960s, the YMCA purchased the camp, and to this day, its primary focus is on providing families with an opportunity to get back in touch with nature. Camp du Nord’s Family Camps take you away and the kiddos (or whoever you call your chosen family) from your normal routine, offering a north woods escape, where you can surround yourselves in serene wilderness. Campers may pitch a tent, rent a platform tent, cabin or spacious lodge. Activities are up to you: swimming, canoeing, paddle boards, fishing, saunas, hiking, campfires, arts and crafts, sing-alongs, talent shows and more. Family camps are offered year-round (yes, even in the dead of winter) and almost always book up quickly.
Zombie Survival Camp – New Jersey
Can you ever be too prepared? They certainly don’t think so at Zombie Survival Camp, a hands-on, fully equipped training facility aimed at preparing you for any disaster—whether it’s a hurricane, flood or the zombie apocalypse. Sign up for a day or weekend camp for hands-on training in advanced first aid, self-defense, crossbow instruction and more. For those staying the weekend, onsite, barracks-style accommodations are provided in the on-property farmhouse. Food and drinks are included, as well as all the gear. Fingers crossed you’ll never need to lean on what you learned, but if there is a zombie apocalypse, I want you on my team!