Who says summer camps are just for kids? According to GrownUpCamps.com, the number of camps for adults has grown an estimated 10 percent over the past decade, to about eight hundred camps around the country. And the American Camp Association reports that more than one million adults went to camp last summer.
Whether you're looking to experience the joys of nature in a weeklong adventure or pursue your creative passions with like-minded adults for a few hours during a weeknight, there are myriad local opportunities to help you rediscover the power of play and detox from your digital life. Here are our top picks:
Sports and Athletics
Crown Beach Park, Westline and Otis drs., Alameda
415-385-1224 or BoardsportsSchool.com
The San Francisco Bay is in our backyard, but how much time have you actually spent time on the water? This summer you can try stand-up paddle-boarding, kiteboarding, or windsurfing in Alameda. "We have side on-shore winds, long sandy beaches, and shallow warm water," said Jane Cormier, who co-owns Boardsports School and Shop with Rebecca Geffert. The school offers introductory clinics, and private and semi-private lessons. Call or check website for hours and pricing of camps and classes.
4770 San Pablo Ave., Emeryville
510-355-1626 or AthleticPlayground.com
Remember when you used to spend long summer days playing games with your friends? Rediscover how to run, jump, and climb ropes, or learn how to breakdance and swing from the trapeze at Athletic Playground in Emeryville. In addition to offering a full summer schedule, the facility also hosts open play periods (think recess for grown-ups).
Arts and Crafts
1260 7th St., Oakland
510-444-0919 or TheCrucible.org
If you regret never taking shop classes in school, or have a hankering to learn a new craft, The Crucible is the place to go. Whether you're a beginner who is yearning to try a new creative endeavor or a seasoned artist seeking advanced instruction, this nonprofit industrial arts school in West Oakland will inspire your creativity. Summer offerings include weeklong classes on glassblowing, wordworking, and blacksmithing, and other skills. For those pressed for time, The Crucible also hosts weekend workshop intensives in blacksmithing, glass flameworking, and jewelry-making, among others. Summer classes begin in July. Class prices and times vary. Full catalog online.
510-525-4304 (in May), 707-984-6507 (in June), or CampWinnarainbow.org
At this camp, founded by Sixties cultural icon Wavy Gravy, the motto is it's never too late to have a happy childhood. Perform onstage, participate in circus stunts, or kick back and take it easy at this beautiful campsite located in Mendocino. Adults can choose to attend for a day, a weekend, or for six days between June 11-16. Campers range in age from eighteen to eighty, and each experience is different and tailored to every camper's unique interests. Cost is $125 per day or $675 for six days.
Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp
2001 Rossi Rd. at Highway 1, Pescadero
650-879-1100 or Costanoa.com
Choose to rough it (or not), by pitching your own tent, staying in a tent bungalow, or reserving a room at this retreat in Pescadero. Create your own camp itinerary from activities such as guided bird walks, rock-wall climbing, and bungee jumping, which are offered throughout the summer months. Grilling stations and picnic areas abound, allowing guests to grill a steak or veggie skewer, and then finish the evening off with s'mores and a good story around the campfire. Rates vary according to month and accommodations.
Culinary Institute of America
2555 Main St., St. Helena.
707-967-1100 or Enthusiasts.CIAChef.edu
Find your inner Julia Child at a two- to five-day culinary boot camp offered in St. Helena. Summer camps focus on grilling and barbecuing, wine tasting, and the fundamentals of cooking. Whether you're a newbie in the kitchen or a seasoned chef looking to expand your repertoire, the Culinary Institute of America offers a variety of summer camps for every level of expertise. Check website for boot camp schedule and prices.
Berkeley Tuolumne Camp
510-981-5140 or Ci.Berkeley.CA.US
This camp, located near Yosemite Valley, serves families all summer, but the June 3-7 and August 26-30 sessions are specially reserved for adults fifty and over. The June camp is hiking- oriented, while the end-of-summer camp is more general-interest. Campers can enjoy hiking, volleyball, bocce ball, and more, as well as three delicious meals each day. Stay in cozy tent cabins overlooking the river, and enjoy amenities including hot showers. $222 for Berkeley residents, $244 non-residents.