Ah, summertime. Suddenly I’m sweating all the time, my hair is never straight and I’m constantly humming LFO’s ‘Summer Girls’ whether I want to or not. Even though it’s been a while since I’ve been in school, I still think of my years in terms of summer vacation and then school time in September. I always looked forward to summers spent hanging out at my grandparents’ place on a lake, jumping off the dock, being upset there was no cable and just generally not wearing shoes for 3 months. But one thing I never had to look forward to was summer camp. (I did go to a day camp for maybe a week one summer when I was 9 but I got too stressed out having to make new friends and never returned).

I mean, maybe people who actually went to sleepaway camp (which is obviously so much cooler than day camp) didn’t enjoy the experience and have terrible memories but at least those are your terrible memories! I’m so jealous of you! I have no frame of reference for summer camp except for a freshman NYU film program orientation where they made us go to the Poconos for the weekend to stay at a summer camp. (I don’t know who decided to throw film kids in the woods but it was hilarious and called Camp Bug Byte and I still look back on it fondly though I hated it while it was going on). So I always had to turn to movies about summer camps to fulfill my dreams of summer camps.

I obviously always loved The Parent Trap starring Hayley Mills before she was Miss Bliss and teaching young Zach Morris. Then they remade it with Lindsay Lohan being adorable and it was equally amazing! Why can’t I suddenly have a twin sister like every movie about twins ever?? And then Wet Hot American Summer is one of those movies where literally everyone is in it including Bradley Cooper (who may have been the least famous person at the time of the filming) and the ever amazing Christopher Meloni. Also, the performance at the end is. . .the best. (I assume once I get to see Moonrise Kingdom it will be a perfect addition to this summer camp movie list.)

But whether you’re headed to summer camp this year, desperately wishing you were or just longing to re-live summer camp, here are some of the many summer camp movies you should check out.

(DVD covers via amazon.com)

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  1. heavyweights is the greatest movie ever! seriously, i must have watched it a hundred times as a kid, and i still think it’s hilarious! “why do you say that?” “because you’re fat!” “well, so are you.” “i know. that’s why i am going to fat camp!” “went to the sizzler, had the all you can eat buffet… closed the place down.”

  2. You missed Happy Campers – I think saw it late one night on TV and then bought it on VHS. It’s hilarious.

  3. Yes, I second Meatballs! Greatest summer camp movie EVER!! Still one of my all time favourite movies to watch with my dad. So many laughs, so many inappropriate moments.

  4. Little Darlings will always be my favourite summer camp movie. I so wanted to be Kristy McNichol and make out with Matt Dylan in the woods! Then I grew up and realized how messed (but still awesome) this movie really is!

  5. Had totally forgotten about the original Parent Trap! I would also add: The Lost Boys, Indian Summer and Grease.

  6. Yes! Camp Nowhere needs to be on the list

  7. Nothing is forgotten – just the tip of the iceberg of summer camp movies. :)

  8. you also forgot Camp Nowhere starring teen heartthrob Andrew Keegan

  9. You forgot the most awesome summer camp movie Meatballs 1&2