Hotels around the country are luring families with the promise of good, clean fun, maybe because those who have attended sleepaway camp often wax poetic about their time spent in the great outdoors.
Some of our most cherished memories are made at summer camp, whether it be roasting marshmallows over a fire or jumping into a freezing lake with our best friends. Destinations around the country are promoting camp-like activities and lodgings in an effort to attract tourists at a super mario bros time when interest in the outdoors is at an all-time high.
Tessa McCrackin, chief marketing officer for Northgate Resorts, which manages 24 resorts in the United States, explains that “people enjoy any opportunity to relive their youth,” and that this trend is only increasing as people have children of their own and start expanding their own families. “Summer camps take us back to a simpler time when the biggest question was ‘What are we doing outside today?'”
Camp Fimfo, with its upmarket cabins and RV sites, water park, mini-golf course, and eateries, opened last year (sites from $125, cabins from $206). Success at their first season’s operation in New Braunfels has prompted them to open a second location this summer in Waco, where visitors will be able to stay in cabins shaped after the city’s famous cottonseed silos.
Outside of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine is the eco-friendly Terramor Outdoor Resort (doubles from $304). The upscale camping resort, which is a spinoff of Kampgrounds of America, first opened its 64 glamping tents and farm-to-table restaurant two summers ago. Guests will have access to complementary walking sticks, a wellness tent for massages, and pre-stocked fire pits.
Big Cedar Lodge’s newest addition, Camp Long Creek, in the Missouri Ozarks, is expanding its selection of glamping and indoor accommodations this summer with the addition of more one- and two-bedroom cabins (doubles from $707). For those looking to refuel after a day of waterskiing on Table Rock Lake, the Canteen, located in a retrofitted Airstream trailer, offers tasty burgers and sweets like Creamsicles.
Greensboro, Georgia’s Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee (doubles from $685) is likewise investing heavily in family-friendly features. The Ritz Kids Clubhouse and family pool debuted in July 2021, complete with an aquarium and arcade games. It even organizes backyard olympics for campers ages five through 12. Campers of all ages can enjoy the lake thanks to the abundance of water slides and trampolines.
Another Georgia property, Barnsley Resort (doubles from $319), is already well-loved for its quaint cottages and fire pits. These days, it places a greater emphasis on providing opportunities for families to bond via shared experiences, such as archery and axe throwing. At the flagship location of Roam Beyond (doubles from $219), which sits right outside Montana’s Glacier National Park, guests staying in the retro camping trailers can hike, fish, or play cornhole by day, then watch movies or play board games in the lodge at night.
Historic properties are revamping their programming to ride the nostalgia wave, too. There’s never a dull moment at the 150-year-old Mohonk Mountain House (doubles from $1,035), in New Paltz, New York. Its recently released hiking menu takes advantage of the area’s 85 miles of trails through six distinct hikes, such as a survivalist hike that provides information on animal footprints and edible plants.
For the ultimate family bash, consider buying out a more deluxe resort like the Point (doubles from $2,050, all-inclusive), in Saranac Lake, New York. Guests under the age of 18 are not permitted unless all 11 rooms in all four cabins are reserved at the same time. They can explore the area on complimentary e-bikes or go geocaching, among other activities.