So your parents didn’t ship you off each summer to Camp Longhorn or Camp Champions or Camp Waldemar when you were a budding tween, and you’ve spent most of your adult life wondering just what goes on at sleep-away camp. Or maybe they did, and you’re still pining for the camaraderie and charred ’mallows of your youth. Either way, good news on the “how to further delay the onset of your quarter- or mid-life crisis” front: we’re in the midst of an adult summer camp boomlet. At these multi-day, all-inclusive, no-kids-allowed weekends you can participate in all of the activities of your adolescence (archery, canoeing, giant waterslides, dodgeball, games of Capture the Flag, etc.) while also embracing all of the benefits of being a grown-up—i.e., there’ll be booze and nightly parties and co-ed cabins. On the spectrum of debauchery, they seem to land somewhere between a Boy Scouts jamboree and Burning Man, and, yes, they’re proving popular with millennials. So, if you’re looking for an weekend of directed diversions, consider the following five Texas experiences and prepare to regale your friends and coworkers will tales of what happened that one time at adult summer camp.
(P.S. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key and/or strictly educational, check out these DIY workshops around the state to stretch your skills.)
Camp No Counselors
With locations in ten cities around the country (each limited to “a specially selected” two hundred happy campers), this sleepaway camp encourages you to “play like a kid, party like a grown up.”
When: May 5–8
What to expect: Cabins made from retrofitted silos, tree house–style bunks with pillow-top mattresses, a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar, costume parties, a rock wall, nature hikes, sailing, Color Wars, and the Blob!
This joint effort by the folks behind Alamo Drafthouse, Do512, and Karbach Brewing Co., promises “music, movies, and mischief.”
When: May 6–8
Cost: $350, plus $20.24 registration fee
What to expect: Cabins (some of which are above water, some of which are accessed via climbing nets), whiffleball, gaga (a dodgeball variant), rope swings, tennis, waterslides, “arts and farts and crafts,” bonfires, live music and dancing, an open bar, and, of course, outdoor screenings of classic camp flicks.
Camp Our Way
All “work talk” is prohibited at these all-inclusive escapes “where every adult is one of the cool kids.”
Where & when: Austin and San Antonio (May 19–22 and Aug 25–28), Dallas (Aug 11–14), Houston (Sep 29–Oct 2) [note: a party bus will bring campers to and from these locations to the two camps, which are located in Wimberley and Trinity)
Cost: $429–$525, plus a $9.95 registration fee.
What to expect: Seven gourmet meals and a breakfast buffet, wine tastings, craft beer and “top shelf” liquor, bubble soccer, sand volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, lake swimming, water skiing, yoga, organic-soap making, theme parties (Wet Hot American Summer, a pajama party), and banana boats!
Sherwood Forest Faire Grown-Up Camp
Be transported to a time of knights and dragons as you hone your Renaissance-era skills at this 23-acre medieval village.
When: June 24–26
What to expect: Cots in the Great Hall or reserved camping spots, electrical RV hookups, a pool, falconry, candle making, swordplay, magic, brewing, leatherwork, blacksmithing, and “revelry at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem at night!”
Organized by Digital Detox, this multi-state camp is fueled by a “disconnect to reconnect” philosophy and promises no networking, no dubstep, and no ageism. (Also, no drugs or alcohol.)
Where: Camp Champions, Marble Falls
When: October 7–10
Cost: $595–$695, plus a $29.30 registration fee
What to expect: Themed cabin “villages” (you can also BYOT…bring your own tent), organic meals, kombucha on tap, and “FOMO-free playshops,” like laughter yoga, charcoal drawing, analog photography, Ukulele 101, solar carving, stilt walking, truffle making, and improv, as well as “the Screamer,” touted as the biggest rope-swing apparatus west of the Mississippi.