Need Summer Plans? Consider These 5 Extraordinary Experiences
Ah, summer. There’s no denying that the months of June, July, and August simply beg for adventure. Whether you have a couple of months off or are just planning a weeklong escape from the workplace, it’s time to start planning your getaway now. So how should you spend your precious time? Though it can be tempting to drift on a pool float à la The Graduate day after day, we urge you to expand your horizons. If you’re looking to do something truly special and transformative, or are in need of a thrill, this list of experiences will have you reminiscing for years to come. Are you with us?
If you’ve ever wondered about what it might be like to live a simpler life in a rural location where you tend the earth, WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms, might be up your alley. With exchanges all across the United States and Europe, too, the organization sets you up with room, board, and meals with a family. In exchange, you farm, tend to vineyards, garden, care for animals, and learn about organic living for four to six hours a day. Lengths of stay vary, but most are between one and two weeks, though some may be as short as two or three days or as long as six months.
As ex-campers know, there is no place on earth quite like summer camp—no memories quite so fond. Sports, arts and crafts, music, exploring nature, and friendship are what it’s all about—and it’s no wonder adults may find themselves craving that kind of escape, too! A surge of adult-geared summer camps whose mission statements focus on unplugging and recentering have opened for just that purpose. Camp Grounded, which has outposts in Mendocino, CA and Hendersonville, NC, asks visitors to trade in their computers, cell phones, and even their networking reflexes to experience a weekend of off-the-grid fun. All sorts of activities are represented, with classes led by artists, musicians, and other counselors. Soul Camp, which takes place in upstate New York and Wonder Valley, CA, aims to allow adults to rediscover the creativity and freedom of being a kid. Expect top-notch instructors leading activities like yoga, meditation, boating, organic farming, art, and more.
Backpackers and adventure-seekers with a taste for the road, this will be just your cup of tea. With the ability to scale your trip depending on where you want to go and what you want to see, hitting the trail is the perfect way to reconnect with nature and see parts of the country in a unique way. Top trails are the Appalachian Trail, which measures more than 2,000 miles and goes through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine, and the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. These are, of course, meant for advanced travelers and hikers—but with proper preparation and training, anything is possible. For something a little more manageable, the California Missions Trail, an 800-mile route that connects more than 21 Spanish missionary outposts from San Diego to Sonoma, is a great option. Of course, all of these trail hikes lend themselves to customization.
Got a serious case of wanderlust? Workaway is an exchange program that places eager travelers who immerse themselves in a new culture with families for whom they can offer a volunteer service. Workaway exchanges take place at yoga centers, farms, sailing boats, backpacker hostels, ecological farms, and more, in destinations as wide-ranging as Abruzzo, Italy and Lanquin, Guatemala.
If you’re in need of some mind-body-spirit realignment, there’s really no better way to go about it than with a fully immersive retreat. Every manner abounds, from silent meditation retreats (not for the casual dabbler, be warned) to family-friendly art retreats, and everything in between. SeekRetreat lets you explore featured retreats and retreat centers, and book directly.
Would you try any of these summer adventures? Tell us in the comments.
Toms Saddle Brown Travel Journal ($30)
Do you have tips for backpacking? Tell us about them in the comments below!
Kaufmann-Mercantile Summer Travel Set ($59)
“If your mom loves a day spent seaside, this cute summer travel gift set including an orange blossom travel candle, a classic notebook, and a hand-woven palm carryall has her name on it. So elegant and chic.” — Dana Covit, MyDomaine Market Editor
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Tell us in the comments!