10 Wild Summer Camps for Grown-Ups
Take the s’mores, stargazing, cookouts, and crushes of camp and add day drinking, spa treatments, farm-to-table eats, and adulthood flings. What you get is the perfect summertime playground. At these 10 best adult summer camps, you can live out your camp heydays—no parental waiver required.
Ruschmeyer’s, Montauk, NY
A game changer for this once quiet surf enclave on the easternmost tip of Long Island, Ruschmeyer’s sealed the deal on Montauk’s hipster appeal when it unveiled its 19 frill-free cabins, restaurant, bar and communal garden hangout in 2011. Straight from a Wes Anderson script, this is camp for big (good looking, well dressed) kids, with a sandpit beer garden, teepees, hammocks, fire pits, ping pong tables and water sports on neighboring Fort Pond Lake. Chef Vincent Ricciardelli is in the kitchen for the summer 2018 season, dishing up local, seasonal fare with an emphasis on seafood and pizza. Unchanged are the alfresco yoga classes, raucous weekend dance parties in the Electric Eel bar, and recovery brunches.
Dunton Hot Springs, CO
Around an hour from Telluride, in a quiet valley in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, you'll find a restored 1800s ghost town with 13 distinct rustic luxe cabins, a saloon, hot spring, spa, and raft of seasonal outdoor adventures. For style-seeking cowboys and girls, this is Wild West glamping at its best. Individual cabins have tin roofs and hand-hewn log walls, plus homey comforts like iron frame beds, slate floors, deep soaking tubs, and unique objets d’art. The town (no resort map here) is designed with community in mind, from the central bath house with healing hot springs to the communal fireside dining table in the main restaurant. The activities change with the seasons but always let the great outdoors take center stage, whether on horseback rides, hikes, mountain bike rides, or at the yoga, photography, and fine art classes.
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Lumeria Maui, HI
On Maui’s north shore, Lumeria is just five minutes from Paia and Makawao, but the six-acre garden setting and Pacific Ocean views make it feel a world away. The wellness-focused retreat has just 24 rooms, along with an award-winning spa and organic gardens, and operates like a summer camp that took a serious chill pill. Sure, it nails the on-campus activities (yoga, meditation, gardening, and more) and rustic digs (no TVs!), but promotes quiet corners for rest and relaxation rather than team building. Don’t miss a treatment in the Lumeria Crystal Spa and seek out a surf pro to point you to the best local breaks.
Travaasa Austin, TX
Around 30 minutes from Austin, Travaasa occupies 210 acres of the Balcones Canyonlands—a destination wellness resort with curated culture, fitness, adventure, and spa experiences plus cozy hacienda digs and healthy vegetarian and vegan eats. Anyone averse to downtime will feel at home here. Activities at Travaasa are scheduled two per hour from dawn until dinner, whether your sights are set on the “heart starter” hike to Lake Travis, a tour of a local farm, an expert-led yoga class, a hatchet throwing workshop, or guided meditation. Of course, an itinerary that includes a dip in the infinity pool, a snooze in the poolside cabana, or a cocktail on the Mesquite Patio is totally acceptable too. Meals are all organic and locally grown, and there’s a community dining table to encourage some classic camp bonding.
Lake Placid Lodge, NY
This classic Arts and Crafts retreat on the shores of Lake Placid, around 300 miles north of NYC, offers 30 guest rooms and a popular farm-to-table restaurant, all surrounded by dense woods. Escape artists who loved camp for its great outdoors, but who appreciate flawless service and elegant style today, will fit right in. Water sports are the focus, from daily kayaking and canoeing to rafting and boating. Unlike camp, guests have the option to upgrade their water experience to a private champagne cruise at sunset.
Sundance Resort, UT
It takes about 45 minutes from Park City at the base of 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos, home to the Sundance Film Festival, to reach Robert Redford’s mountain resort— a village-style compound of cabins and yurts, art classes, and the unique Treehouse restaurant. A haven for art lovers, the resort has its own art studio with workshops for jewelry making, wheel-thrown pottery, printmaking, photography, drawing, and more. Guest rooms are comfy but frill-free, preferring to leave the ornamentation to nature whether that’s with mountain, river, or village views.
Equinox Resort & Spa, VT
With 195 rooms and suites spread over four buildings on 1,300 acres, this classic New England resort dating from 1796 is camp for luxury-loving city folk who want to fill their days with every imaginable outdoor pursuit, from fly fishing and shooting to hiking and rounds on the Rees Jones/Walter Travis–designed 18-hole championship golf course. For adrenaline junkies, there’s the chance to go off-road with Land Rover driving school, while sybarites can hit up the 13,000-square-foot spa and heated outdoor pool. The five dining options are a serious upgrade on traditional camp fare—don’t miss a steak dinner at Chop House—but nightlife is just as you left it: stargazing and storytelling around the campfire.
Carmel Valley Ranch, CA
Once a go-to for golfers alone, today, the 500-acre Carmel Valley Ranch is a destination resort for fitness, learning and lounging in the Cali sunshine in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains. It's perfect for young-at-heart Angelenos after some easy access R&R and even easier access to the region’s wineries, art galleries, and boutiques. Activities run the gamut from tennis and cookery to farming (lite) and beekeeping, but guests here are quick to pick up on the slow pace and laid-back vibe that makes sleeping in late, lounging by the infinity pool, and dinner at Tim Wood’s hyperlocal Lodge restaurant a busy day at the ranch.
Brasada Ranch, OR
Twenty miles north of Bend, where the desert meets the Cascade Mountains, is a 1,800-acre playground for spa- and equestrian-lovers. The pick for anyone who loved horse camp as a kid but calls for a few extra creature comforts today, the 32-room Brasada Ranch has its own stables with Mustang, Draft Cross, and Western Pleasure horses in addition to expert wranglers and over 900 acres of high desert and mountain trails. Beyond the saddle, there’s the year-round Brasada Canyons golf course, Spa Brasada for pampering treatments, farm-to-table fare at Range restaurant, and a purpose-built stone fire pit area with just 20 Adirondacks chairs and views across the Cascade Mountains.
Camp Wandawega, WI
As a former Prohibition-era speakeasy, organized crime hub, jolly 1950s family resort, Catholic Church retreat, and, finally today, a throwback camp experience for grown-ups, only Camp Wandawega's 90-year history is more captivating than its 25-acre setting and hipster good looks. Around ninety miles from Chicago in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, this sprawling camp relieves city folk of their tech habits (no WiFi, TV, or even AC here) and appeases outdoor-loving Peter Pans of all ages and anyone looking to get off the grid in rustic style. A handful of cabins are available on Airbnb, but most get booked up during private retreats or the camp’s creative weekend programs, which may include band and art camp, sportsman get togethers (think hatchet throwing, trout fishing, bonfire making and bourbon sipping) and crafts workshop.
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