Now Reading
This Beautiful Lodge Is Like School Camp For Grown Ups

This Beautiful Lodge Is Like School Camp For Grown Ups

You either loved or hated school camp at the time, but looking back as an adult, it always seems tinged in some sort of golden light, like a hazy, amazing dream. If you’re keen on reviving some camp time nostalgia, we recommend booking a stay at Camp Wandawega, just outside Chicago.


Camp Wandawega has quite the storied past. Once upon a time it functioned as a speakeasy during the prohibition era and was outfitted for the distribution of liquor, prostitution and gambling during the ’20s and 3’0s. In the 1950s, the place was purchased by a Chicagoan family who turned this convenient retreat into an affordable and idyllic getaway for people from the Windy City. In the ’60s, the resort was purchased by the Catholic Church and was eventually used by a bunch of Latvian priests as a summer camp.

Then, in 2003, church camp ended, Camp Wandawega got new owners and it’s now functioning as a sweet-as camp for grown-ups that aims to bring people together with some of the simpler pleasures in life.


It’s not your usual wilderness retreat – not by a long shot. At Camp Wandawega, guests can be a part of a secluded community, where “no frills” is the name of the game. The whole campsite is delightfully quirky with some serious Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom vintage vibes going on.


There’s even a wonderful Manifesto of Low Expectations on their website that notes that the camp takes a more “natural” approach to camping and glamping. Expect to see a few dozen chipmunks running laps around your cabin, and be prepared for those old-school camp showers where toads have been known to stop by.

camp10 copy

Camp Wanadawega sits on a lake in Wisconsin, about 90 minutes north of Chicago. The bathrooms haven’t changed in about 80 years, with period antiques fitting out the guest rooms and cabins. They ever come equipped with an issue of vintage books, tennis racquets and jigsaw puzzles. There’s even a camp dog.

“Why on earth do folks want to come here?” reads the Manifesto. “Complete absence of pretence. A lake with virtually no traffic. 25 acres of untouched woods and trails filled with wildlife.”

You certainly can’t argue with that.


(Images: Camp Wandawega)

Check out Qantas flights to the U.S. here.

Scroll To Top