9 Summer Camp Experiences for Adults

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, summer camps for adults are on the rise. Like a lot of articles about “summer camp” this time of year many of them sound more like programs that are branding themselves as summer camp as opposed to what I like to call real camp (hint: If there isn’t a camp involved, it’s not summer camp).

Below are some experiences available for adults that are attempting to capture the summer camp experience in more than just the marketing. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Feel free to share others I left out in the comments.

Of course, the greatest experience of all for adults is to give back to your summer camp as a volunteer. If you aren’t currently volunteering at your camp, I encourage you to look into ways you can get involved and give back.

Camp Grounded

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Camp Grounded is a summer camp for adults happening in California in June that is designed to help technologically-dependent adults detox from all things digital.

Adult Color Wars

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Adult Color Wars is an event in California that gives grown-up campers a chance to relive their summer camp days with a friendly Color War competition. Their next event is happening in April.

Cabin-Time Arts Camp

Cabin-Time Arts Camp is described as “a roaming artist residency to remote places.” By the looks of it, the camp captures something I always loved most about being at camp, collaborative creativity in a place in nature removed from our daily lives. The camp is held each year in the summer and winter. The next one is TBA.

Great Horror Campout

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The Great Horror Campout promises to give campers a firsthand taste of what it would be like to be in a summer camp horror movie. Happening in Los Angeles State Historic Park in June.

Shiprocked Summer Camp

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Shiprocked Summer Camp is a metal-themed summer camp for adults happening at Club Getaway in Connecticut in June featuring live music from alternative metal bands 10 Years and Pop Evil. This is kind of what I imagine the Weezer summer camp idea will look like if it ever comes to fruition (Like Shiprocked, Weezer already offers a cruise).

Camp Winnarainbow for Adults

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Camp Winnarainbow, a circus and performing arts camp in California founded by ’60s cultural icon (and Ben and Jerry’s flavor inspiration) Wavy Gravy, is an ACA-accredited camp that in addition to a full slate of programming for kids offers programs for adults.

Camp Camp

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Camp Camp is a camp for GLBT adults designed around a traditional sleepaway camp experience. It has been held annually since 1997 in Maine.

Swing Out New Hampshire

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Swing Out New Hampshire is an annual swing dance summer camp for adults celebrating its 15th anniversary this August. The four day, five night program started at the founder’s childhood camp, Camp Walt Whitman, but is now held at Camp Wicosuta in New Hampshire.

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for Adults

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Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan holds a four-day mini fine arts camp for adults in the rustic setting of the Manistee National Forest.

UPDATE: Campowerment is a summer camp-style retreat for women held in Florida and California.

UPDATE II: Unique Camp is a three-day summer camp-inspired event for adults to “gather a network of like-minded doers, place them in the environment of a summer camp and provide a curated curriculum that allows them to rediscover the youthful idea that ‘anything is possible.'”

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

1 Comment

  1. This is pretty awesome for adults that want to get away and have fun. My wife and I have been doing it for several years, and we absolutely love it. Last year we were doing artisan wines in a beautiful vineyard, and this June we’re gonna be doing a ghost hunting weekend at the Maison de Ville hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter! We’re looking forward to a spooky-fun time!

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