In the midst of a long, hot day stuck in the office, it’s hard not to let your mind wander to the carefree days of childhood summers. Whether you were hanging out in the park, meeting your friends at the local pool, or playing endless games of tag and football, it always seemed easy to fill your days with fun. But just because you’re grown up doesn’t mean you have to miss out an all the things you loved as a kid. Take some time this summer (or any season really) to reconnect with the thrill of childhood fun with a grown-up twist.
1. What you loved as a kid: Going to sleepaway camp every summer
What to try now: Booking a weekend trip to Camp No Counselors across the U.S. & Canada
Return to the days of Capture the Flag, sloppy joes, and Color War at Camp No Counselors, which hosts adult-only weekends at summer camps near cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York (to name a few). At Camp No Counselors, you can enjoy all the activities you used to love at camp like staying up in your bunk chatting to your friends, kayaking around the lake, or dressing up for theme events. The added bonus: upscale takes on classic camp foods, nightly parties, and an open bar. With all the activities your younger self could dream of combined with all the amenities your adult self could hope for, Camp No Counselors is the perfect way to feel like kid while letting loose like an adult.
2. What you loved as a kid: Catching some air jumping off the park swings
What to try now: Braving the world’s biggest swing in Queenstown, New Zealand
Remember the excitement of swinging high up on the swings before taking a flying leap? It may not have been a death-defying feat, but nothing quite beats the thrill of going airborne. Recreate that stunt at much greater heights by heading to Queenstown, New Zealand, home to the biggest canyon swing in the world, the Nevis Swing. With a 300 meter arc, this swing sends you flying at 75 miles per hour into the wide canyon below. Take the plunge solo or with a friend for a once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline rush.
3. What you loved as a kid: Splashing around at the local pool
What to try now: Relaxing in Budapest’s famous thermal baths
The pool in summer is a treasure trove of fun for kids and the ideal place for a game of Marco Polo, Sharks & Minnows, or Chicken Fight. As an adult, pool games may have lost their appeal and you might instead be looking for a place to relax. Take it up a notch from the local pool by visiting the thermal baths of Budapest. Nestled atop more than 100 naturally-occurring thermal springs, there are plenty of baths to choose from depending on the vibe you’re looking for. Visit with a few friends for an afternoon or evening of chatting away while soaking in the restorative waters, or go on your own for an indulgent spa experience on a budget (the cheapest admission prices are under $10).
4. What you loved as a kid: Skateboarding through your neighborhood
What to try now: Sandboarding down the dunes in Huacachina, Peru
As a kid it was always easy to while away the hours trying out new skateboard tricks as you cruised around your neighborhood. Now you can take your boarding skills to the next level by surfing the dunes in Huacachina, Peru. This desert oasis south of Lima is a hotspot for sandboarding due to the towering dunes that surround it, the largest of their kind in South America. Grab a board and race down the dunes in the desert heat. If you feel your skating skills may be lacking, you can always board on your stomach (referred to as “sand sledding”). And if Peru is a bit far for your time or budget, you can always try your first sandboarding experience on the Oregon Coast, another popular destination for the sport.
5. What you loved as a kid: Having a water balloon fight
What to try now: Soaking it up at Songkran, the water-fueled New Years celebration in Thailand
What kid doesn’t love a water balloon fight? A water balloon fight may be the ideal way to combine having fun and keeping cool. As an adult, the opportunities for water balloon fights may be few and far between, but not so in Thailand during the Songkran festival. This festival celebrates the New Year, and is marked by ritual purification in which water is poured on friends and loved ones. Visit during the festival and you will find the streets of many cities and villages packed with locals squirting each other with water guns, spraying down passerby with hoses, and engaging in good-natured water fights.
6. What you loved as a kid: Spending the afternoon in your backyard tree fort
What to try now: Spending the night in a luxury treehouse in Sweden
During summer break, it would be easy to spend the day holed up in your tree fort reading comic books. Rediscover the joy of being both out in nature and sheltered away from it at the Treehotel in Harads, Sweden. This hotel’s treehouses, the work of a handful of Scandinavian architects, are each unique and serve either to blend in with the environment or offer a jarring contrast to the surrounding nature. Simple, contemporary interiors encourage guests to get back to basics and enjoy where they are in the present. Enter your treehouse, crack open one of your favorite childhood books, and look out on unforgettable views of the extraordinary Swedish landscape.
by Grace Henes