Camp John Waters at Club Getaway (Photo courtesy of Steven Lindsey)

Tap into your inner child at adult summer camps across the U.S.

STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing writer

Each year since 2019, I’ve shared a tiny cabin with my husband and two other gay men, put on matching animal onesies for breakfast in the dining tent, then headed down to the lake for a little canoeing, water skiing or sex doll mud wrestling.

These represent a small — and tame — sampling of the daily activities at the annual Camp John Waters at Club Getaway in Kent, Conn. It’s a special weekend of camaraderie with fans of the iconic moviemaker — a delightful mixture of LGBTQ and straight people who have become a large, wacky extension of my beloved chosen family. And unlike my biological one, this family’s likely to engage in a dildo fight or strip naked during a twist dance contest judged by Ricki Lake.

To be fair, this is a niche within a niche. But it’s proven that summer camp can be even more fun as a full-grown adult. Not only am I comfortable in my own skin now and can be as flamboyantly gay as I want to be around everyone, I have realized I still have the capacity to make new, rest-of-my-life-long connections while sitting around a campfire making s’mores or X-rated arts and crafts, discussing our newest aches and pains.

So yeah, there are undoubtedly reminders that we’re no longer the invincible youth we once were (or thought we were), but the nostalgia of smelling fresh pine air while making friendship bracelets will always be hard to top.

You can be a part of this magic this summer, too. Whether you loved or hated camp as a kid — or better still, if you never had the opportunity to attend sleepaway camp — adult summer camps scratch an itch you may not have known you had, unlike poison ivy or that unknown STI you think you got from one of the other three people in your cabin or tent.

Some adult camps have an LGBTQ focus, while others are a true mixed bag of people and personalities. But if you go in with the right frame of mind, chances are high you’ll make several new friends and come home with memories that fill your heart and rejuvenate your spirit.

Read on for TK adult summer camps and resorts with camp-like activities worth checking out this summer. Don’t forget your bug spray.

Camp Camp
The Aug. 11-18, Camp Camp returns for a 26th season as the premier summer camp for more than 250 LGBTQ adults in central Maine (the exact location is not publicly disclosed for safety and security of campers). Since 1997, Camp Camp offers a robust slate of activities throughout the day including pickleball, stained glass making, Broadway dance class, figure drawing and LGBTQ History sessions. There’s even a Talent/No Talent Show and a barn dance.

Rainbow Ranch
Located close to North Texas in Groesbeck, on the shores of Lake Limestone, Rainbow Ranch caters exclusively to the LGBTQ community and has won “Best Weekend Getaway” in the Reader’s Voice Awards several times. Special weekends include a Memorial Day Pride Party, Daddy Round Up, Men’s Summer Splash, Women’s Summer Splash and Sober Round Up, plus many other themed options between more serene “off” weekends.

Club Getaway

Club Getaway

Club Getaway in Kent, Conn., designates most summer weekends as adults-only, and in past years, LGBTQ groups have set up a specific weekend for the community. There’s not one on the calendar yet this year, but you can book several other options, as well as snag one of the limited tent-camping spots in September’s Camp John Waters. Nearly every old-school camp activity you can imagine can be enjoyed during your stay, with the added bonus of all-inclusive booze packages if you prefer to get tipsy after tipping over in your kayak. and





The Point Resort

The Point Resort

Located in Saranac Lake, N.Y., this experiential property offers the luxury of a high-end resort with all the camp-like activities you crave. The 75-acre estate allows you to kiki with Mother Nature, disconnect from your devices and go fishing, boating or water skiing between lawn games, tennis, and yoga. It’s all-inclusive, so you have 24-hour access to wine, beer and spirits to fill in the cracks after elaborate barbecues and themed dinners. End each night with s’mores at the lakeside bonfire, or you snuggle in your room by your own private fireplace.

Camp No Counselors
With three sessions split between New York and California this summer, Camp No Counselors welcomes guests to picturesque properties. Their inclusive, everyone’s-welcome policy ensures a gathering of fun people. Relax on the water, climb the rock wall, engage in a spirited game of dodgeball or simply count the hours between fully catered meals while reading a book under a tree’s shade.

Epic Nerd Camp
The LGBTQ-inclusive “Geek Summer Camp for Grownups” takes place Aug. 17-21 in Darlington, Md. and unites self-described nerds for an inclusive communal experience. Mermaid School, axe throwing, RPG campaigns, board games, sword fights, archery, an escape room and wizard battles represent a few of the geektastic offerings, with group and private cabins, as well as the tent “Shantytown” for the truly adventurous.

Miraval Austin Resort & Spa
Rounding out the luxury-focused offerings, Miraval Austin Resort & Spa combines swanky accommodations with outdoor wellness experiences for an incredible elevated camp experience. The adults-only property offers the option of an all-inclusive or a la carte stay, making it easy to budget or go full throttle into a world of equine encounters, fitness activities, mystical/spiritual journeys and hands-on culinary and cocktail courses. Two sparkling pools, hot tubs and a full-service spa make pampering a priority.