Yes, this is a thing.
A few years ago I attended a week-long chamber music workshop for amateur adults at my alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill. My colleagues thought it was a crazy way to spend vacation time, but it was the most rewarding experience I had had in a long time. Anyone who did something well in college and gave it up to get a real job knows how much you miss that sense of accomplishment.
You too can revive your youthful passion at a summer camp!
There are many great camps for adults serving a variety of interests. Some last a week while others take place over a long weekend. While there are tons of experiential vacations out there (everything from ranching to surfing to wine making), this list aims to align to the types of camps we send our kids to.
Music, Dance & Sports Camps for Adults
Interlochen Band Camp – No, not marching band like in American Pie. Real concert band camp at one of the top music schools.
The Swannanoa Gathering – Celtic and Folk music, near Asheville
Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, Valle Crucis, NC
Scor String Camps – various locations
The Campbell Folk School offers a variety of weeklong classes in traditional arts, music, and dance in Western NC
Jazz Camp West (California) is an 8-day immersion program for instrumentalists, vocalists and dancers.
Ballroom Dancing at BYU (Utah) – A week of full-day instruction culminates with a banquet and showcase.
Ballet Camp at Sun King Dance – Beginning to advanced technique, in Richmond, VA.
Soccer Academy – a coed weekend program in Virginia.
Miracle on Ice Hockey Camp – Train with the 1980 hockey team in Lake Placid.
Traditional Summer Camps - Adult Weekends
Relive your carefree summers in a cabin in the woods! Except you won’t get kicked out for drinking. BYOB.
Camp Throwback in Ohio offers your typical daily schedule over a 4-day weekend. Archery, arts & crafts, sloppy joes, swimming pools and slip n' slides, campfires, s’mores, field day, and more. You can attend with your spouse, but cabins are single-sex.
Camp Grounded is all about getting unplugged in the woods. No digital devices allowed. Do not even bring a watch! This camp promotes health and nature (no booze). The location varies each year. In 2017 two sessions were offered in Mendocino, CA in May. Sign up for emails to get the schedule for 2018.
Activities include 30+ playshops, campfires, yoga, arts ‘n crafts, a talent show, rockwall climbing, archery, swimming, meditation, capture the flag, color wars, kickball, sweat lodges, and s’mores.
Soul Camp takes place in various locations. Campers “leave their worries and iPhones behind to gather and participate in dozens of workshops, classes and seminars that nourish their bodies, minds and spirits.” Activities include kundalini yoga, oneness meditation, dance, cardio, bootcamp, paddleboarding, dreamcatcher creating, indigo dying, horseback riding, energy work, essential oils 101, ropes adventure courses, trampoline parks, and mala-bead making. Plus evening talent shows, fear burnings, late night discos, s'mores and live entertainment.
Camp No Counselors’ motto is “Play like a kid, party like a grown-up.” They offer 20+ weekends from May thru October at sleepaway camp sites all around the U.S. and Canada. You get land and water sports, arts and crafts, epic nightly theme parties, an open bar, delicious meals and all of your favorite classic camp activities.
Camp Bonfire – In addition to the old-school activities posted on the daily schedule, you have sing-alongs, talent show, plant prints, terrarium building, cooking, shelter building, lanterns, poetry, freestyle rapping, book binding, friendship bracelets, music, charcoal drawing, dance party and more. Located on a lake in the Poconos. Two weekend sessions per year.
Club Getaway offers adventure in the Berkshires (Connecticut). Try out the trapeze, giant swings, Geronimo, aerial park, hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, and zip lines. Multiple weekends and themes throughout the summer.
Science & Cooking
Astronomy Camp (Arizona) – Did you eschew science in high school but now think it’s fascinating? This program has beginner and advanced programs using professional telescopes in a mountain setting.
Space Camp (Huntsville, AL) - Train like an astronaut, Construct and launch your own rocket, test your engineering skills in designing a protective heat shield, and perform an extended-duration simulated mission.
Culinary Institute of America Boot Camp – learn from the best. You’ll be the cooking hero in your household.
Fantasy Camps for Adults
These tend to be quite expensive, so I’m just offering a few examples. Many professional teams offer these experiences, so just google [your sport] + “fantasy camp” and you’ll find the best options.
Steelers Football Camp – includes on-field practices led by team alumni
Rock n' Roll Camp, Las Vegas. Jam with the legends. (super expensive!)
Luge Camp – Feel the need for speed? You get 2-3 days of on ice training at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid.
And there you have it. If you think your kids also deserve to have fun, check out our overnight camp search tool: