camp freedom
Camp Freedom

Bored Being a Grown-up? Go Back to Summer Camp

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by Mary-Milam Granberry

Remember the carefree days of childhood summer camp? If you didn’t go to sleep-away camp, maybe you can recall staying out riding bikes until the lamplights came on, or the summer block party no one missed. Those were untroubled, relaxed, even adventurous times before the responsibilities of adulthood set in.

I was a summer-camp kid. From ages 8 to 14 I voluntarily spent seven days living in a cabin without air conditioning (in the Deep South, no less) with seven or eight other girls I didn’t really know. We played games like “Pie-in-the-face BINGO” and scavenger hunts. Capture-the-Flag was enthusiastically Machiavellian. Friendship bracelets were social currency at the arts-and-crafts shack, and the dance on the last night held the same importance and preparation as a royal wedding.

Imagine throwing your stressed-out adult self into that same summer camp experience from childhood. Take a vacation from your adult job; leave your cell phone, laptop and unanswered emails behind; and run away. Unfortunately, unless you are the adult running a camp program, randomly showing up at a sleep-away camp can be a great way to get arrested…until now.

Behold the age of summer camps for adults! These are not specialty camps where you learn to write your memoir or paint like Bob Ross, but camps that let you relive those silly, messy, mostly rule-free days of canoeing, ropes courses and the end-of-camp dance. Below are the most authentic replays of the youthful summer camp experience to help you relive your adolescent dreams:

Camp Grounded (California, Texas, New York, North Carolina)

One of the most popular choices for a return to childhood is Camp Grounded, which features what they call a “Digital Detox” that will remind you of days before endless meetings, 24-hour email availability and Facebook. Campers sleep in cabins with bunk beds and enjoy all the typical campy activities you can imagine: campfires, talent shows, paddle boarding and nature hikes. For lifelong learners, there are a variety of classes and workshops such as Creative Writing 101, ukulele lessons, and analog photography. 

Camp No Counselors (10 Locations Across North America)

For those who imagine their adult camp experience with gourmet meals and an open bar, Camp No Counselors is right up your alley. In addition to the adult-friendly food and drink options, daily activities include summer camp staples: capture-the-flag, archery, ropes courses and arts-and-crafts (complete with friendship bracelet making!). Ten locations around the country and invitation-only attendance mean there will never be two similar sessions. There are no counselors, but there is a staff that reads applications and curates the groups that will attend the camps across the country each summer.

Club Getaway (Kent, Conn.)

There is precious little about Club Getaway that recalls the non-air-conditioned, mosquito-bitten, camp experience that so many knew. This Connecticut experience includes daily housekeeping and comfortable cabins with personal bathrooms (no group showers!). Activities include everything from team sports to more adventurous fare like rock climbing and zip lines. Settle in after your day of adventure (or relaxation, should you choose) with a glass of wine and the latest dish the in-house chefs have dreamed up. Club Getaway also has family camp sessions and events for kids throughout the summer.


Mary-Milam Granberry is graduate student at Emerson College in the publishing and writing program. The focus of her master’s degree is children’s publishing and creating interactive content for web and e-reader devices. Follow her @editmylife.

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Photo via Shutterstock





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