Last summer, Nicole Son-Culbreth was looking for an affordable weekend escape from Brooklyn — and adulthood.
Scrolling through Facebook, she saw a friend’s post about an all-inclusive adult summer camp in Greeley, Pennsylvania. Son-Culbreth had missed the opportunity as a child, so she booked a three-night, two-day stay at Camp Bonfire.
“As an adult, you don’t often get permission to play and have fun,” said Son-Culbreth, 34. At adult summer camps, tug-of-war matches, slip ’n’ slide faceoffs and talent showcases are all part of the weekend currency.
Here are three sites that are close by.
“Camp really gives people a space where they can go on an adventure and connect with people,” says Benjamin Camp, who founded Camp Bonfire in the Poconos with friend Jacob Winterstein. Bonfire hosts adults on two weekends each year, at the beginning and end of summer. It’s situated near Lake Owego, about 2 1⁄2 hours from Philadelphia and New York City. Buses run out of both cities at an extra fee of $50. Between 125 and 150 campers visit each weekend.
The camp’s 15 cabins vary in size and accommodate between eight and 14 people. Guests can opt for male, female or mixed-gender cabins. Because of the camp’s location, there is no need for air conditioners. Each cabin has its own counselor to ensure guests are enjoying themselves. The menu includes camp dishes upgraded for the adult palate: salads, barbecue chicken, burgers and vegan/vegetarian options. Alcohol is available after sunset.
Guests are prohibited from using electronic devices other than cameras.
“After a few hours, I’d almost forgotten I even had a cellphone,” said Son-Culbreth. “There’s something so soothing and stress-relieving about unplugging for a weekend.”
WHEN | WHERE June 16-18 and Sept. 8-10 at Lake Owego Camp, 1687 Rte. 6, Greeley, Pennsylvania
COST $350-$500 for a weekend
INFO campbonfire.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
David Schreiber is the self-described owner, operator and “chief adventure officer” of Club Getaway in Connecticut, where he and his wife, Gayle, have hosted adult-only weekend escapes since 2012. Getaway features themed escapes, including ones for young professionals, Generation X, the LGBT community and Jewish professionals.
Electronic devices are allowed, but Schreiber says most people use their cellphones solely to take pictures.
The 300-acre campsite surrounds a lake. The most popular of the camp’s activities is a pub hike where campers travel across the property from keg to keg. Cooking classes, meditation, yoga and water skiing resonate across age groups, Schreiber said. The camp also has an aerial park where guests can zip line.
Club Getaway can hold up to 250 guests each weekend. The air-conditioned cabins house two, three or four people and feature memory-foam mattresses.
Friday upon arrival, the weekend kicks off with a cocktail hour. “Food is absolutely one of the key components to bring the camp experience to the next level,” Schreiber said. The lunch buffet has more than 40 stations, including short ribs, chicken and salmon. Dinner is served family style. Alcohol is available for purchase at two on-site locations, including at a floating bar.
WHEN | WHERE Select weekends through Oct. 15 at 59 S. Kent Rd., Kent, Connecticut
COST Prices start at $445 for a weekend
INFO 860-927-3664, clubgetaway.com
CAMP NO COUNSELORS
Camp No Counselors has 16 locations across North America, including one in upstate New York near Albany.
“I wanted to re-create that camp magic, that fun playfulness that as adults we sometimes forget,” said Adam Tichauer, the company’s founder, who pitched this concept on the ABC hit series “Shark Tank” in June 2015. Tichauer said he only rents out spaces at “high-end camps” where guests are assigned coed bunk beds with 12 to 18 people per cabin. While the camp has no counselors, it does have staff overseeing such activities as wakeboarding, rock climbing, tubing, zip lining, water skiing, archery and dodgeball.
The New York location is in the Adirondack Mountains and has its own lake and wooded areas with hiking trails. A stay costs between $525 and $599 — a bit more than most of its competitors — but the tab covers three nights of lodging, three meals a day and alcohol. The camp menu features updates on traditional camp classics: barbecued baby back ribs, rosemary skirt steak, grilled chicken, corn on the cob, fish tacos and veggie burritos. Alcohol is available with meals and at evening parties.
WHEN | WHERE Dates available through mid-September. In the Adirondacks, New York State (address disclosed upon sign-up)
COST $525-$599 for three nights, including meals