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What is a Family Retreat at Camp Highlander?

Simply put, these Family Retreats are 6 day/5 night opportunities to experience the magic and wonder of Camp Highlander like never before - as a singular family unit!

We’ve heard from many families over the past few weeks who are experiencing the same sort of confusion and disappointment as family vacations and summer plans have been canceled. Several families have asked if they could simply rent out a cabin camp just to getaway for a bit. And while this summer will not look anything like what we all thought, we are incredibly excited to provide this opportunity for your family to come to camp and enjoy a change of scenery, a change of routine, and even a change in menu!

Each family will be provided their own private cabin housing (which includes a private bathroom), three meals a day served at your individual family table in the dining hall, privately scheduled activities for your family, and socially distanced entertainment each evening. We’ve posted all the information regarding the structure, schedule, dates, rates, safety concerns, and frequently asked questions about these Family Retreats below. Please read through this information carefully if you are interested in attending, and click the “Apply Now” link below to enroll today! If you read through the questions below and still need more information, click “Learn More” to speak with someone in our office about our 2020 Family Retreats.

Family Retreat Dates & Rates:

This all-inclusive experience is $3,200 per family of four (plus $800 for each additional person) and covers your 6 day/5 night stay at Camp Highlander. This works out to $120 per person per day for lodging, food, activities, and endless mountain fun. Your Family Retreat options are:

  • Family Retreat 1: July 7-12
  • Family Retreat 2: July 14-19
  • Family Retreat 3: July 21-26
  • Family Retreat 4: July 28-August 2

How can you operate these Family Retreats but not traditional summer camp sessions?

Due to the CDC/ACA guidelines, and state/local restrictions, we are still unable to offer our traditional summer camp sessions. However, we ARE able to offer a family-based approach that will allow each family unit to experience and enjoy Camp Highlander while maintaining social distancing guidelines, adhering to government restrictions, and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

How many families can attend?

While we have much more flexibility to open camp within this family-unit approach, we still must operate at reduced capacity to ensure we meet the guidelines and restrictions in place from the CDC and our state/local governments. Therefore, space is limited to 16 families per session, and we will process all registrations on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’d like to attend one of our Family Retreats, please be sure to submit your application as soon as possible.

What will we be doing during our Family Retreat?

Your family will be assigned a private cabin, a table in the dining hall, and an activity schedule for the week. You and your family will enjoy 16 of our most popular camp activities during your stay including the lake, high ropes course, zipline, low ropes course, climbing wall, painting, woodworking, arts and crafts, riflery, archery, paddling, and more! We’ve posted a sample schedule of the week for you below:


  • 3-5pm Arrive at Camp
  • 6:00pm Welcome Dinner
  • 7:30pm Evening Program
  • 9:00pm Good Night!


  • 8:00am Wake Up
  • 8:30am Breakfast
  • 9:30am First Period
  • 10:45am Second Period
  • 12:30pm Lunch
  • 1:30pm Rest Hour
  • 2:45pm Snack
  • 3:00pm Third Period
  • 4:15pm Fourth Period
  • 6:00pm Dinner
  • 7:30pm Evening Program
  • 9:00pm Good Night!


  • 8:00am Wake Up
  • 9:00am Breakfast
  • 11:00am Depart Camp

Do we have to follow our activity schedule?

In order to ensure that every family is protected, we do ask that you follow your schedule and refrain from entering any activity area that you are not scheduled to be at. In the event you do not wish to participate in your scheduled activity, please notify a CH staff member so we can inform the instructor. Instead of attending your activity, you and your family can take a walk down to the river, relax on the porch of the lodge, or enjoy a hike on Karl’s Trail through Old Forge Mountain.

What do we need to bring to our Family Retreat?

Bring your energy, enthusiasm and, of course, your loved ones! We will provide all the fun. We’ve also put together a recommended packing list, which you can find here.

How will the activities work?

Each family will be given their activity schedule upon arrival to camp. You and your family will participate in activities as a singular family unit. A Camp Highlander staff member will be there to guide, instruct, and maintain safety protocol during the activity period. For your protection and theirs, the Camp Highlander staff member will maintain social distancing and/or wear a face covering and gloves. Between each activity period, instructors will clean the activity area and supplies according to CDC safety standards so you and your family can safely enjoy your activities!

What about meals?

You and your family will eat at a private table in the dining hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A Camp Highlander staff member will be your server for the week, and they will bring your food to your table each meal (including alternative meal options due to any dietary restrictions within your family).

In light of food service restrictions due to COVID-19, we cannot offer our salad bar or sandwich bar. However, your server will provide a menu each evening for the following day’s meals. If anyone in your family would prefer a sandwich or a salad over the next day’s menu options, you will note that on the menu for the following day.

How will Evening Programs run safely?

We are committed to providing fun-filled and socially distanced evening entertainment options for you and your family during your stay. To that end, our EP areas will have partitions for you and your family to safely enjoy the fun. For example, each EP area will be divided into 16 squares, one per family. Within that square, you will be socially distant from other families as you kick up your heels at the Square Dance or amaze your fellow Family Retreaters at our Talent Show. Likewise, our campfire area will be divided into socially distanced family circles so you can sing along and listen to the fire in a safe and comfortable manner. Our Evening Program schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday: Family Scavenger Hunt Challenge
  • Wednesday: Family Movie Night
  • Thursday: Square Dance
  • Friday: Family Talent Show
  • Saturday: Campfire

Can we hang out with other families?

Of course you can! However, as we seek to ensure a safe environment while respecting the boundaries of others, we encourage all guests to maintain social distancing whenever possible. This includes staying at least six feet away from other families (including children) as you’re socializing, and not visiting other family’s cabins.

Are we allowed to leave camp during our stay?

Absolutely! This is your vacation, so feel free to make it your own! Whether you skip EP to explore downtown Asheville, or wake up early to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and watch the sunrise, we want this week to be filled with all the magic and memories that you desire. We will provide all the fun at Camp Highlander, but there is so much beauty to explore here in Western North Carolina!

However, if you DO choose to go off camp, we respectfully ask you to maintain social distancing practices to reduce the risk of exposure to your family as well as other Camp Highlander staff and families.

Will there be childcare available?

Unfortunately, there will be no childcare available. In an effort to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, we respectfully request that at least one parent accompany your children at all times during your stay.

Can we bring our family pet?

No, cabins and camp housing make hosting animals difficult. Please leave your furry friends at home.

Is there Wi-Fi at camp?

Yes, we have guest hot spots around camp for your convenience. There is not Wi-Fi in your cabin, but in other common areas of camp.

May I bring my own snacks and adult beverages?

Yes, but all food must be stored in your car, not your cabin. Bears and other furry animals are not welcomed in the cabins and food attracts them! Please note: no food or alcohol will be allowed at any activity area.

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What about cleaning supplies and sanitation products?

We will have cleaning supplies available in your cabin. You should bring a good supply of hand sanitizer for your family’s use, and face masks for each person to wear when appropriate.

What if someone in my family tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the session? Can I cancel and get a refund?

We kindly urge all family members to be tested, if possible, within 5 days prior to arriving for your Family Retreat. If any member of the family tests positive you may cancel and receive a refund or reschedule for another retreat if available.

If you choose to cancel for ANY OTHER REASON, you must submit your cancellation request in writing to our camp office. If you cancel more than two weeks prior to the session start date, all camp fees will be refundable minus the $800 deposit. If you cancel within two weeks of the session start date, all camp fees, minus the $800 deposit, will remain in your account as a credit to be used toward your family’s tuition costs for the following calendar year.

What if a member of our family begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 while attending our Family Retreat?

Parents and guardians are expected to monitor their family members during their stay for COVID-19 symptoms and must notify a camp director as soon as possible if anyone is symptomatic.

Due to the short nature of the program, your family will be asked to quarantine in your cabin (if anyone in your family exhibits COVID-19 symptoms) until you can make arrangements to go home. Your family will be credited your tuition balance for the remainder of your stay at a prorated rate from the date of your departure.

Is my family at risk for COVID-19 exposure at camp?

Your well-being is very important to us. As such, you are required to review our health and safety recommendations (linked here) before arriving at Camp Highlander.

We have taken reasonable additional measures in an effort to reduce exposure to COVID-19 for all of the Camp Highlander community. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. An inherent risk* of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any place where people are present. While any person is at risk of potential exposure, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

*An inherent risk is a risk that cannot be eliminated.

By coming to Camp Highlander you are voluntarily assuming all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and any other communicable disease.

Furthermore, Camp Highlander will be following and implementing all North Carolina and Henderson County regulations applicable at the time of your families’ stay. Please note these may change with little advance notice – either further easing or tightening restrictions – and in order to continue to operate we will have no choice but to change our protocol accordingly.

Click here to view the Camp Highlander Health and Safety Guidelines which adhere to the CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommendations. All guests and staff are required to follow these guidelines during your time at Camp Highlander. Please read this document thoroughly and contact the office with any questions you may have.