Ah, wilderness—it’s romantic, it’s poetic and, perhaps most importantly, it’s inextricably linked to your happiest memories, those you created at sleepaway camp. The swim buddies in the lake, the morning hikes, the art classes and even the mess hall mealtimes (though maybe not the meals themselves) have all crafted some of your favorite life experiences. And though you’ve now outgrown the bunks and bugle call wake-ups, there are a host of posh properties around the country that invite you to create new camp-like memories. The s’mores and stargazing are top priorities—and campfire sing-a-longs are optional.
Castle Hill Inn
For generations, “Newport” and “summer vacation” have been as synonymous as “Burberry” and “trench coat.” And Castle Hill Inn, with its lighthouse, shingled beach cottages, endless lawn and rustic, harbor-facing main house set on a private peninsula on Narragansett Bay, is the epitome of the storied summer destination. Days here are spent hiking, swimming, sailing, kayaking and reposing in Adirondack chairs overlooking the sea. Lawn games, traditional clambakes, bonfires and storytelling impart a down-home feel to the luxe property. For a more intimate stay, book into one of the beach cottages. The quintessentially New England jewel-boxes have ocean-facing porches and direct access to the sand. Or make like Grace Kelley and stay at one of the cabins at the Harbor House, set along the rocky shoreline of the port. To avoid being photographed while exercising, the actress famously swam just below the balconies. The Relais & Châteaux hotel constructed a path for her to access the water.
Room rates start at $699 a night.
590 Ocean Drive
It may be a completely unfathomable notion, but there’s a place on the Hudson River that’s unable to be located via Google maps. It’s Camp Orenada, a family-owned 40-acre retreat of six customized tents, an open-air kitchen, and a campfire nestled in the pristine lake region of the rugged and downright cinematic Adirondack Mountains. Activities take full advantage of the expansive surroundings—there’s kayaking, canoeing, swimming and archery, among others. A full compliment of offsite excursions (think: rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking and whitewater rafting) allow you to further experience the pine-needled countryside. Back at camp, you can wander the more than 40 hiking trails, see if you remember the nuances of tie-dying and, of course, simply stargaze. Like its setting, Camp Orenada’s approach to cuisine is fresh, local and all-natural. And the chefs cook over open flames using traditional cast iron skillets. Note: In lieu of private washrooms, there’s a common bathhouse. The private outpost’s best feature is the outdoor shower, which is enclosed by a partition carved of local cedar wood and surrounded by towering pines.
Room rates start at $190 a night.
90 Armstrong Rd
In Maine, there is a refined sense of rustic luxury, infinite rocky shoreline, verdant pine-and birch-studded landscapes, a farm-to-table approach to cuisine and the sense of living well—just at a bit of a slower pace. And have we mentioned the lobster and endless selection of craft beers? Maine’s simple abundance is what has made it a popular destination for many a summer camp. Hidden Pond, a peaceful 60-acre property of cottages, low-slung bungalows and an eco-friendly spa, is the embodiment of the state’s pureness and effortlessness coupled with refined service. Located a mile from the beach in Kennebunkport, the resort offers an array of classic summer activities—swimming in the two pools or ocean nearby, hiking, biking and kayaking. Adult touches include Earth, an intimate eatery featuring a seasonal menu sourced from the onsite gardens and crafted by James Beard award-winner Ken Oringer. Take note: Cottages have private terraces and outdoor showers, which are exceptionally lovely.
Room rates start at $765 a night.
354 Goose Rocks Rd
Lodge at Glendorn
There’s something about the pristine nature of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny mountains that sparks daydreams of sturdy boots, backpacks, trailmix and simple afternoons filled with meandering hikes followed by a refreshing swim in the lake. A stay at the Relais & Châteaux Lodge at Glendorn affords such adventures—as well as canoeing, horseback riding, yoga and spa experiences—accompanied by expert guides and a decidedly more gourmet take on afternoon snacks. With the property’s old-growth trees, a brook-fed lake, winding hiking paths and fresh mountain air, you’d swear you were at camp again. (And, in fact, the property was built as a “family summer camp.”) Except this time, your cabins come equipped with sumptuous linens, oversized bathrooms and overstuffed leather chairs gathered around a fireplace. Meals happen in the Main Lodge—a historic home with a wood-paneled dining room and festooned with original details. Or opt for a picnic on the grounds. Don’t miss the bonfires at the lake. The weekly gatherings are the perfect opportunity to swap stories with fellow guests while roasting marshmallows.
Room rates start at $435 a night
1000 Glendorn Dr.
Coming here may make you feel like you’ve traveled to the edge of the earth, and, in some ways, you have. This collection of low-slung bungalows positioned on a cliff overlooking the glistening Pacific Ocean is set along one of Maui’s most remote beaches—the black sand Hana. Travaasa Hana’s remote location is punctuated by the fact that the 77 rooms are blissfully unplugged, taking you back to the camp days of yore. There are activities of the throw-back variety, including archery, canoeing, tennis and horseback riding, in addition to more decidedly grown up goings-on. Take a class in the art of juicing, get your ohm on in a yoga session or completely relax during a lomi-lomi massage in the breezy spa. Craft and music classes reflect the cultural history of the islands (we’re talking lei making, hula dancing and lessons in the art of strumming a ukulele). But perhaps the most camp-like attractions are the nighttime “talk story” sessions, held around a large fire under the property’s swaying palms.
Room rates start at $400 a night.
5031 Hana Hwy
Hana, HI 96713
Big Sky country is in no way a misnomer. The Montana sky appears to be the bluest, the widest and the largest, and the state’s sweeping landscapes are just as dramatic. From the sagebrush dotted grasslands to the craggy forests and crystalline waterways, opportunities for action and adventure (think: canoeing, hiking and rappelling) beckon. The sprawling Paws Up resort—the property is a whopping 37,000 acres—offers it all along with butler-serviced tented accommodations, celebrity chef-crafted cuisine and an ultra-pampering spa. In addition to the usual camp-like activities, Paws Up, which is set on the famous Blackfoot River (Louis and Clark and Brad Pitt have plied the waters), offers marquee only-in-Montana activities. On the cattle drive, you’ll round up a herd of beef cattle through wildflower-laden grasslands and over the hills to a grazing pen. There’s also fly fishing, clay shooting and wagon team driving. When the sky turns to night, camp butlers set up gourmet s’mores fixin’s (the handcrafted marshmallows are delectable) and a fire. (Pictured at right)
Room rates start at $330 a night.
40060 Paws Up Road