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Five Cool Family Camps

By  Lynn O'Rourke Hayes   

Turn back the clock and enjoy camp-style activities with your family.

Here are places to consider for a naturally good time:

surf campSurf Camp. Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Travel to the warm waters and sandy beaches of the Cape Fear coast for a five-day adventure. Your family members (eight and older) will learn how to assess an incoming wave, improve balance, and surf barrier islands while enjoying this sea-faring sport together. During the personalized program, you will also learn about the coastal eco-systems and have the chance to bond with sea turtles during a visit to a turtle hospital. Family surf camps are also held in Costa Rica, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Contact: 1-866-844-7873; www.wbsurfcamp.com/camps/camp_family.asp.

Donohoe Outfitting’s River Camp. Nye, MT.

Join the Donohoe family on their 4000 acre, working cattle ranch for a customized, family camp experience. In the heart of the Beartooth Mountains, you’ll craft your own itinerary from a long list of options including top notch fly fishing on four miles of private water. Ride horses into the adjacent canyons, help out with ranch chores, or raft the nearby white-water. Sleep in comfortable, safari-style tents just steps from the Stillwater River. Homesteaded in 1915, the ranch and River Camp will provide your family with an authentic western adventure. Contact: 406-328-6291; www.donohoeoutfitting.com. 

Marine Science Consortium. Wallops Island, VA.

While enjoying the beauty of Virginia’s eastern shore, your family can learn about the mysteries of marine science and the Mid-Atlantic eco-system. Kids will love the opportunity to take a mud bath in the marsh almost as much as kayaking through tidal creeks, and scoping for wild ponies and coastal birds. Climb aboard an ocean research vessel and marvel at the sea life treasure the trawler’s net will bring up from the depths. Visit a nearby NASA facility, enjoy nature hikes and dine on tasty seafood. Choose from three sessions each summer. Contact: 757-824-5636; www.msconsortium.org ; www.Virginia.org.

Alford Lake Camp. Hope, Maine.

For most of the summer, this pristine camp on the Maine coast, is reserved for girls eager to explore the outdoors and make new friends. For five days, near the end of the summer season, families are invited to enjoy the 400-acre campus and partake in the range of camp activities that include horseback riding, sailboarding, swimming, pottery, theatre and dance. Alford Lake campers have been sleeping in tents and enjoying family-style meals since 1907. . Contact: 207-785-2400; www.alfordlakecamp.com.

El Capitan Canyon. Santa Barbara, CA.

This beach-side camp encourages families to leave the stress of city life behind and enjoy their natural environment. Take a guided llama or botanical hike, enjoy a family yoga class, then stop by the campfire for story-telling. Challenge yourselves with a seaside bike ride or ropes course, then relax with a beach walk, sand castle building and evening stargazing. You’ll stay in creek-side cedar cabins, safari-style tents or a family-friendly yurt all tucked within ancient oak and sycamore trees. Ask about the family picnic package. Contact: 1-866-352-2729; www.elcapitancanyon.com.

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