Like cartoons and cupcakes, summer camp is becoming one of those things adults just won’t leave to the kids anymore.
“Glamping” — that is, staying in a tent, yurt or treehouse but with butlers, electricity and luxury hotel-style amenities — was discovered by Justin Bieber and Elle magazine last year, and this year, camp fever seems to have trickled down to the masses. An “American Idol” alum is even hosting a new reality show called “Summer Camp.”
There are camps for dog lovers and drummers, for surfers, and for senior citizens. The Wall Street Journal says there are some 800 summer camps for adults, and the number is growing by about 10% a year. So go write your name on the inside of your undies and grab some granola bars: Your camp is waiting. Check out GrownUpCamps.com for a fairly comprehensive roundup. But here are a few that caught our eye.
Billing itself as Band Camp for Grownups, Jazz Vermont is a camp where intermediate-to-advanced amateur saxophonists, trumpeters, trombonists, guitarists and other musicians are divided into bands and get their groove on. “Live the life of a musician and nothing else for 5 1/2 days,” the group’s site promises. Visits by guest musicians, improv workshops, and rehearsals culminate in a concert starring the campers. (If your style tilts more towards Jimi Hendrix than Count Basie, there’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp).
Dates: August 11 to 16
Cost: $1,699, or $1,374 for a shared room; $1,089 for campers who live locally and commute.
You should know: Campers have to bring their own instruments, although a drum set and a double bass are available for rent.
Never mind the kids — why should the young adults have all the fun? Self Discovery Adventures runs an annual six-day camp for women age 55 and up each August. Set in Minnesota’s North Country on Lake Superior, the campsite has access to plenty of classic outdoor and water activities. Campers can hike, bike and kayak, then unwind around an evening bonfire. Self Discovery Adventures also has wintertime camp sessions for people who prefer snowshoeing and hot chocolate to canoeing and picnicking, as well as ones open to women of all ages — good for mother-daughter or sisterly bonding — as well as ones for couples.
Dates: For 55+, August 18 to 23; for women of all ages, July 21 to 26; for couples, August 4 to 9
Cost: The women’s camps cost $1,795; couples’ camp registration is $3,500.
You should know: This isn’t traditional camping when it comes to “roughing it;” campers get to bed down at a local hotel rather than in tents or cabins after the nightly bonfire is over, making this a good option for people who like the outdoors — but in smaller doses.
If you’re addicted to your iPhone and other electronic gizmos, maybe you need to detox. Camp Grounded takes place in a 1970s Boy Scout camp in California’s redwood country north of San Francisco. Electronic devices are prohibited for the four-day camp, and so is networking, says camp director Levi Felix. Instead, there’s a menu of old-school activities like hiking, kickball, swimming — and yoga (hey, it is California). Campers stay eight to a cabin, or they can bring their own tents. The mostly vegetarian menu is also tailored with detoxing in mind, but it’s not overly spartan; campers still get treats like vegan s’mores.
Dates: June 14 to 17, but Felix says this camp is sold out. Camps in August and September are being added; the dates are still being determined. (Check the Camp Grounded website for updates.)
You should know: Aside from the ban on networking, work talk in general is a no-no between campers.
Been neglecting your best friend lately? At Camp Unleashed, you can reconnect with Fido at a rustic YMCA campsite in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts at the end of August. (Can’t make it in the summer? There’s a second Camp Unleashed in mid-October that’s held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C.) For four days — that’s almost a month in dog years! — you can bond with your pup doing canine-friendly activities like agility courses, walks, swimming, frisbee-chasing and flyball. If your pooch is a couch potato, you can “sit” and “stay” with lower-key activities like canine massage and aromatherapy. There’s even “doga” — dog yoga. Owners can also attend workshops on topics like obedience training, grooming and nutrition.
Dates: August 30 to September 2
Cost: From $799 to $999, depending on whether you want a single, double or shared (for three or four people) cabin.
You should know: You can “ruff it” or pick accommodations with electricity and running water. You’ll bunk with your dog.
Chicks who want to hang ten can learn to surf or hone their skills at women-only Surf Safaris in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Campers stay in villas a short walk from the camp clubhouse, La Casita, and the beach. Instructors split up the group based on ability and previous experience so campers can learn at their own pace. Aside from surfing, founder Bev Sanders says days begin with yoga and include massages as part of the package. Other activities include guacamole-making and margarita-making classes.
Dates: May 25 to 30, and June 1 to 6, 2014
Cost: The price starts at $2,650 to share a bedroom in a villa, and private villas start at $2,950.
You should know: Since summertime in Puerto Vallarta is also the rainy season, Las Olas runs its surf camps from November to June. (It’s currently taking reservations for summer 2014 camps.)
If you think a week learning a new language is tres bien, check out Concordia Language Villages’ immersive French adventure, led by a trio of French-speaking guides. Campers sleep in tents, canoe through the waterways of northern Minnesota and cook over an open fire (after chopping the wood for it), while they learn about the area’s historic fur trade, along with French and wilderness skills.
Dates: August 25 to 31
You should know: Campers don’t need to know French initially, but they do need to be able to swim, paddle a canoe, and carry a week’s worth of supplies.
At Vershire Riding School in Vermont, campers spend four hours a day in the saddle learning dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping at the school’s 400-acre facility. Tucked between the Green Mountains and the White Mountains, the camp has woods, fields and rolling hills for riders to explore. Campers don’t need to have any previous riding experience, just “motivation to learn,” the school’s website says. Other activities include yoga, volleyball and tennis, along with lectures and workshops on equestrian topics.
Dates: August 19 to 25, August 22 to 25 and August 30 to September 2.
Cost: $1,590 for the weeklong camps; $750 for long weekend camps.
You should know: If you have a horse, you can bring it along for the ride.