There’s something about the sunny season that instantly brings back the nostalgia of those childhood vacations at summer camp. It was back at the summer camp where we formed meaningful friendships, handy skills, and got the first taste of independence.
If you have been lucky enough to have spent summer in a sleep-away camp, then you most likely remember how unique and life-changing those experiences were. From swimming, playing team sports, competing against one another in challenging games, and sharing stories before bedtime, summer camp is an experience we rarely get to replicate as adults.
Luckily, there is one way to relieve those experiences and remember the good old days – summer camp movies. Whether you are feeling nostalgic or want to show your kids how fun summer camp can be, we’ve prepared this top of what we believe are some of the best movies that take place at summer camp.
The Parent Trap (1961, 1998)
This movie has been so popular and loved by the public that there are two versions made 30-something years apart, and both are just as good and enjoyable. The original version featured Hayley Mills, and the updated one starred a young Lindsay Lohan, with both actresses being just as charming.
The premise of both movies is that two girls, twins, separated when they were very young, and none knowing of the other’s existence, meet for the first time at summer camp and try to figure out why they look almost identical. When they figure out their parents split up when they were young, and each took one of the girls, they spend the following months trying to make both adults fall back in love with each other. This sparks a series of funny events meant to bring the family closer and entertain the viewer.
Camp Rock (2008)
Disney’s Camp Rock started Demi Lovato’s career as a singer and actress and brought international success to the Jonas Brothers. The movie revolves around Mitchie (Demi Lovato), a young musician looking to make it big at a music summer camp called Camp Rock. Here, she meets new friends and a potential love interest in Shane (Joe Jonas), an arrogant sing leader of a popular fictional band called Connect 3.
Shane has no real interest in being there, but after he hears a mysterious girl singing in what he believes is the most beautiful voice in the world, he is set to find here wherever in the camp she might hide. We won’t spoil what happens next, but if you like the movie, you will be happy to hear Camp Rock 2: The final Jam got released 2 years later.
Addams Family Values (1993)
The strange, yet fun and loveable Addams Family get together in this movie to encounter new challenges and respond to them in their typical macabre, yet hilarious way. While the main point of the movie is not summer camp, Wednesday and Pugsley do get a taste of the typical American camp at some point in the movie.
Both kids get sent to summer camp at on point, and they take this opportunity to show the world their own unique view on life by turning the typical all-American camp upside down in the classic Adams family way. Fun for young and old kids alike, the Addams Family Values shows us that, no matter how weird life gets, you always have your family to count on.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
The most recent movie on this list, Moonrise Kingdom, got director Wes Anderson praise for this quirky adventure set in 1963. The movie follows the story of two 12-year-olds, Suzy and Sam, who meet at summer camp and decide to run away together. Both kids are smart but a little too introverted and mature for their age, which sets them up for some real adventure.
The movie explores the theme of young love and how it can play a part in one’s personal development and got nominated for both a Golden Globe and Academy Award. A few years ago, it was included on BBC’s list of greatest films of the 21st century.
The Baby-Sitters Club (1995)
This movie is based on the popular book series with the same name, which focuses on a group of girls trying to set up their very own day camp. It may not have been as big and full of adventures as today’s Queens day camps, but it sure set the tone for a lot of entertaining challenges.
Compared to some of the names on this list, The Baby-Sitters Club is a far more realistic and down to earth, but this does not make it any less fun to watch. All characters are beautifully written and will engage both kids and adults in their stories. The movie was so popular that it even got a recent reboot from Netflix as a tv series, which premiered on July 3 this year.
Judd Apatow’s attempt at making his transition from TV to movies is a fun movie that follows four young boys and their adventure at a summer camp for overweight kids. Featuring Ben Stiller as an over-the-top health-savvy camp owner and the brilliant performances of the four young actors playing the main characters, the movie is a satire that aims to make fun of “fat camps”, but manages to do so without being offensive.
The kids will love it and will find it easy to relate to the characters, while the adults will encounter the nostalgia of summer camps and how surreally simple life used to be.
It Takes Two (1995)
While we can’t deny there is a strange similarity between this movie and Parent Trap, the Olsen twins sure make it worth the watch. Two girls that are not related but are strangely identical meet at camp and, after sharing their life stories, they decide their guardians would be perfect for each other. To make the two meet, they decide to switch lives and make their caretakers fall in love. This results in some fun stories about coincidences, friendship, and, of course, love.