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We’ve all got warm memories of summer camp when we were kids—the long, sunny days, swimming, exploring, making new friends—but just because we’re “grownup” now doesn’t mean such experiences have to be things of the past. There are a few camps in Colorado this summer designed expressly for big kids, from glampers and wannabe cowfolk to mindful outdoorswomen and networkers.
Where: Steamboat Springs
When: Sunday to Sunday, starting August 25 through the fall
Who’s it for? Luxury-minded couples, singles or friend groups
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This is glamping at its finest, with a little City Slickers-style cattle driving thrown in. Typically 20 to 30 adults turn up for these week-long stays (also available in four-day packages)—couples, honeymooners, empty nesters, or singles seeking adventure and relaxation. Everybody gets their own luxury cabin or room at the lodge. Meals are included and served in the swanky dining room or out on the patio. Guests can choose their own daily adventure—horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing, mountain biking, and cattle driving are all included—or simply laze by the pool. The cattle driving is particularly exciting this time of year, since the ranch’s bulls must be rounded up throughout the property’s 16,000 acres, followed by its cows and calves. Guests can pay extra for hot air balloon rides, premium wine, and spa treatments.
A standard day at this vacay will start with breakfast in the lodge followed by an outing of choice, lunch on the patio, the next adventure (or rest), followed by a social happy hour, in which everyone shares their stories of the day, followed by dinner (sometimes a casual barbecue, sometimes a three-course white table cloth extravaganza), with at least one post-dinner barn dance during the week. Some adults have made Vista Verde an annual excursion—and for good reason.
Where: Camp Chief Ouray at YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby
When: September 6–8
Who’s it for? Women who want to relive their Girl Scouts days
Designed for women (minimum age 18), this camp will take you right back to your Girl Scouts days with archery, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and outdoor survival workshops. However, these outdoor excursions are ramped up with activities like mountain biking, trail running, summer tubing, climbing, and ziplining, plus a handful of distinctly more adult activities, like Pilates and yoga (goat yoga is new this year). Campers choose their own adventure each day. Meals are included and food allergies accommodated.
The lodging will take you back to childhood, too. That’s right, you’ll find yourself in bunk beds and sleeping bags (b.y.o.). You have a choice of staying in either a large, heated, dorm-style cabin with showers and restrooms or smaller, unheated cabins with restrooms and showers down the road. Much like Girl Scouts, there are s’mores (but no booze) around the campfire at night and other throwback bonding opportunities in the form of night hiking and tie-dye T-shirt making.
When: September 22
Who’s it for? Outdoor-minded marketing types
This is the best business write-off you’re likely to find anywhere. Campers representing outdoor brands, startups, and solo enterprises come from across the country for this casual, inspiring, multi-activity clinic that has recently changed to a day camp format. Inspiration begins with intimate, hands-on workshops covering everything from SEO strategy to creative writing, influencer marketing, to photography. A gourmet sack lunch is provided along with “campfire” sessions in the form of inspiring presentations from individuals representing high-profile brands and companies (past camps have featured movers and shakers from GoPro, Nike, and Facebook). Groups split off in the afternoon for mountain bike rides, hikes, and yoga and reconvene for an evening beer and s’mores session around an actual fire. It’s hard to say if the social interaction you experience here falls more under the category of bonding or networking. Either way, strong connections happen and numerous campers return every year.