Life gets crazy: fact. And it might be crazier than ever. According to the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of adults say their stress has escalated over the past year. And while summer is supposed to be your downtime, trying to juggle time off and impending deadlines can be tough. Interestingly enough, many Americans are now turning to a childhood pastime to relax: summer camp.
That’s right, 26 percent of camps accredited by The American Camp Association have seen either a steady stream or increase in adult camp attendance. “It’s an opportunity to engage in something that goes beyond everyday life, to hone old skills and discover new interests,” says Peg Smith, CEO of the American Camp Association. “Camp offers an oasis for everyone—with opportunities for learning in a fun environment.”
After all, what better way to relax than a campfire, camaraderie, and a gooey s’more?
The new camps make it possible to learn more than mad kickball skills, though. Adult camps feature everything from specific sports, like mountain biking, surfing, and marathon training, to dance or music lessons—even writing. As Smith puts it, adult camps add vocation to a typical vacation. Click through to see a few to consider booking.
No computers, cell phones, or clocks are allowed at this Anderson Valley, CA, camp (four days; $570). Instead, you’ll learn to knit, paint, or get involved with color wars. There’s archery, woodworking, and even more ‘adult’ activities, like photography classes, yoga, and dance lessons. It’s everything you loved or dreamed about camp as a kid (campfires and socials, included)—but your fellow campers will be well, older, and there’s gourmet food...and coffee.
Raft Colorado rapids, or learn to fly or float fish with pro anglers this summer in Crested Butte, CO (five days; $2,500). The latter involves photography lessons with Brian O’Keefe, a professional photographer. You’ll cast and fish for kokanee and trout along the Gunnison and Taylor rivers, and watch video of your technique in the evenings to improve your skills.
Spend a workweek in Wrightsville Beach, NC, with an instructor and learn how to get up on a board and ride the waves (five days; $375). Camps run for just over two hours each day, Monday through Friday at three area beaches, and there’s a three-to-one student to teacher ratio, so you’re sure to get personalized instruction. You’ll be responsible for your own lodging, but if you prefer more of a traditional, overnight camp experience, the surf school offers sessions in Costa Rica and the British Virgin Islands.
This Carmel, CA, resort (from $475 a night) is known for its sprawling vineyard grounds, spa, and…on site Bee Experience (one day; $60). Suit up in a protective beekeeping suit and visit the Ranch’s hive, while 60,000 bees swarm around you—and make honey. (Don’t worry—you’re completely covered, and safe.) Beekeeper and lavender expert John Russo will tell you everything you never knew about bees (for example, they change the electric charge of flowers once they’ve visited to alert other bees). Learn how honey is harvested, and taste the Ranch’s very own lavender versions. If beekeeping isn’t your thing, the Ranch is home to one of the best golf courses in the country, including an on-site academy if you’re new to the links.