Remember summer camp? Long afternoons of nature walks or horseback riding, launching from a rope swing into a lake, singing goofy songs around a fire at night. Those days may seem like a distant memory, but it's not too late to relive them. Adult summer camps are becoming a ritual for more and more under-rested, overconnected grown-ups – places where you can play capture the flag or learn to carve a kayak instead of checking your email by the pool.
According to the American Camp Association, 1 million people over the age of 18 went to summer camp last year. And adult camps in the U.S. have grown some 10 percent over the past decade. "Put eight people in a bunkhouse with no phones and they become a mini tribe," says Levi Felix, 29, who co-founded a tech-free retreat outside San Francisco two years ago. "You become mindful about yourself and the people around you." Here are six camps where that authentic kind of connectedness – with new people and new skills – will leave you feeling like a kid again.
Distilling Down South
If you've ever thought of hopping into the small-batch-spirits game – or just want to know how to make vodka from your potatoes – head to Moonshine University in Louisville for a one-day bourbon-making workshop ($395) or a five-day distiller boot camp ($5,750). Run by the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, an educational facility near Louisville's famed Whiskey Row, these classes get your hands dusty: milling raw corn, cooking it into a porridge, handling yeast for fermentation, and blending botanicals to make a one-off batch of gin. "It's very hands-on," says Joe Semansky, who owns a winery in Ohio and wants to start making brandy. His 17-person class included would-be distillers as well as "guys just checking it out for a day," he says. Classes are seven hours long, but getting to drink the fruits of your labor is a sweet reward.
Stay: The Brown Hotel, from $229/night.
Credit: Courtesy Moonshine University
Do: Tour distilleries – Maker's, Beam – or bike the countryside.