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How to have a Louisville summer camp experience as an adult

Why should the kids get to have all the fun?

Yellow sunflowers are are pinned around a wooden sign with horseshoes.

Red Fern Riding offers guided horseback riding through the scenic Shelby Trails Park.

Photo by LOUtoday

It feels like summer — and it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for those summer camps we went to as kids.

While most grownups no longer get the summer months off, Derby City is full of opportunities to replicate the summer camp experience that we had growing up. Here’s our guide to an “adult summer camp” in Louisville.

Horsin’ Around

Red Fern Riding Center
What’s summer camp without a horseback ride? Get riding lessons or enjoy a guided nature trail ride out in Simpsonville.

Arts and Crafts

The Craftery
Outdoor activities are all well and good, but LOU gets hot. Stick to the AC and enjoy a beverage while you create something out of concrete, leather, or wood. Don’t forget the friendship bracelets.

Louisville mega cavern zipline

Fly through the limestone caverns solo or race against a friend.

Photo via Louisville Tourism

High action

Mega Quest + Mega Zip
Ropes courses are common sights in forested summer camps, but how often do you get to climb on one deep underground? The Louisville Mega Cavern’s Mega Quest and Mega Zip attractions let you climb, clamber, and fly all throughout the iconic cave.

A group of canoers wave their paddles on the Ohio River

See the city from a totally different angle in a canoe.

Photo via Louisville Metro

On the Water

River City Paddlesports
Check out “Mindful Mondays” from this nonprofit, an easy-going canoe trip down the Ohio to experience the sunset.

Nachand Kayaks
If you’d prefer creek to river, consider renting some ‘yaks and taking them out on Harrods Creek — you can even bring your dog.

Campfire Smoke

Did you know? You don’t need a burn permit to have a recreational fire in Louisville, so long as it’s in an acceptable fire pit. Just keep it under 3 feet tall, and you can make all the s’mores you like.

The Full Experience

Camp Bernheim
Your LOU summer camp doesn’t have to be a la carte. Bernheim Forest has three adult day camps on the calendar this year, with all the fun of the kids camps but for grown-ups.

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