Admit it, there was something about summer camp that made it one of the most epic away-from-home experiences of your life. The activities hold up, as do the s’mores. The only thing that wasn’t so appealing: the accommodations. Fortunately, couples looking to recapture those fun-filled, nature-drenched days of yore have options far more luxurious than anything at your childhood camp. The real bonus? You don’t have to sneak around to kiss your crush.
The newest destination in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri boasts tents, camp cabins and huts with lake beach access as well as an infinity pool that’s the perfect place to admire the stunning panorama. Fishing, water ski school, sunset cruises, golf and hiking are understandable draws, but the coolest camp amenity may be The Canteen, a vintage Airstream serving up cheeseburgers, brats and canned cocktails.
Chile might not be the obvious summer camp-inspired destination, but when you consider a trip to this former Victorian cold storage plant-turned-national landmark luxury resort involves trekking, biking and horseback riding in some of the most jaw-dropping environments known to man, it makes sense. The private expedition team is like the crew of camp counselors, but there’s also an indulgent spa and sustainable restaurant harnessing local ingredients that elevate things quite a bit.
This 715-acre ranch in Santa Barbara’s wine country is an ideal home base for all the activities that made your childhood summers so memorable—think horseback riding, hot air balloon rides and campfire cooking lessons. Trips are highly customizable, and can also incorporate foraging classes, helicopter rides, cycling trips, outdoor yoga and painting in the vineyard for an amazing balance between adult pursuits and kid-approved excitement.
If it’s a crackling campfire you want, look no further than this premium ranch resort where luxury tents prove nothing like the tents you once bunked in, and there are actually camping butlers. Fall brings activities like fly fishing, horseback riding, e-biking and hot air ballooning, with a side of gourmet meals and, yes, all the campfire circles you crave.
Tradition is alive and well at this southern resort in low country marshlands that provide beautiful nature immersion to active, outdoorsy couples. Take to the river on a yacht, kayak or canoe, play a game of bocce or croquet, pick up some knowledge at an archaeological talk or birding walk, or simply cozy up to the fire and roast s’mores.
On 500 acres along the central coast of California is a mecca for all things camp, with a chicken coop, goats and a bee apiary to boot, not to mention a pinot noir vineyard. A recent reimagining added programming like cheese making demonstrations, organic garden walks, archery, chicken chats, oyster hour, falconry and axe-throwing. There are also fireside chats with the resident naturalist over, what else, roasted marshmallows, and twilight strolls to see the nocturnal wildlife in person.
It’s hard to envision a more appropriate honeymoon destination for outdoors enthusiasts than this Montana ranch, souped up in true five-star style with the most charming, beautiful cabins and accommodations. Trail rides, fly-fishing lessons, mountain biking, photography workshops and sporting clays—there’s so much to do (and eat!) it’s almost hard to make time for the spa, hot tub, and bowling lanes, but then again, that’s a very good problem to have.
With zero cars and actual horses and buggies, the remote Mackinac Island is a trip back in time. The lakefront Mission Point resort, complete with a great lawn full of Adirondack chairs, is a perfect throwback, with lawn games, kite flying, croquet, tennis, golf, garden tours and biking. Locally honeymooners can hop in kayaks or on horses for even more adventure.
Set on 5,200 acres—2,800 of which are committed to land conservation—this sprawling Relais & Chateaux resort in the Great Smoky Mountains is both elegant and down to earth. Lovebirds are able to soak in both those vibes through wide-ranging experiences that span creekside meditation and forest bathing, endurance climbs and trail running, rock climbing and bouldering, and paddle boarding and fly fishing.
A two-hour drive from New York City transports you to a super romantic retreat spread across activated natural conservation land where the likes of Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King Jr. once visited. A stream runs through the property complete with tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, a pond and retro-glam pool, while the super local cuisine by a Michelin-starred chef takes the typical camp experience up quite a few notches.
Guests of this unforgettable glamping resort within view of the iconic Mt. Fuji are outfitted with chic backpacks, boots and puffy coats from the outset, ready for the adventures to come. Over the bucolic Lake Kawaguchi, hidden away in pine trees, couples can roast marshmallows around an aromatic bonfire, practice chopping wood with an axe, go canoeing, hike through caves, cook with a Dutch oven and nosh on the best game meats imaginable.
Back at camp there were no TVs or phones, and indeed at this Rhode Island retreat those items are limited—just like the good old days. On a pretty pond, the property’s guests are under the purview of a naturalist with decades of experience leading adventures of the clam hunting, bird watching, stargazing, oyster catching (and roasting) sort. Hunter boots come in the closet.
The new boutique hotel at Grand View Lodge puts an urban, upscale spin on a nature lodge along the picturesque Gull Lake, where all kinds of water sports—pontoon cruises, paddle boarding, jet skiing and more—are the main event. Still, the classic camp experience continues on land, along the lakes’ sandy beaches, tennis courts, golf, horseback rides, biking, zip lining and corn hole stadium. Don’t miss the oversized jacuzzi, a definite improvement on anything your camp offered.
In Kennebunkport go for exclusive adult summer vibes at this intimate cottage-studded village amid birch forest, where bungalows have floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces and outdoor showers. Hiking trails, watercolor lessons, gardening classes, stand up paddle boarding, e-biking and morning yoga make for plenty of daytime fun, while dinners harvested from the two organic gardens and nightly bonfires provide delectable evening entertainment.
Each of the rustic luxury cottages at this classic guest ranch is joyfully free of TVs and telephones, giving lovers more time to experience 50 miles of trails on horseback (at sunset, if you wish), pair of 18-hole championship golf courses, six tennis courts, archery range, ropes course, and 100-acre spring-fed lake (fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking are popular activities there). There’s a new creekside fire pit for warm cocktails and s’mores, and the option for a morning ride to the historic Adobe Campsite for fireside singalongs, a cowboy poet and impeccable buttermilk pancakes.