How to plan an epic Summer Camp themed Girl’s Trip

Our Girl

Our 2023 Girl’s Trip was a 40th birthday celebration. The birthday bestie is outdoorsy, adventurous, a memory-maker and memory-keeper, a thrifter, a lover of A-frame cabins, tea drinking, a professional photographer and video editor, and driven. She designed our friend group logo and is a key player in planning our epic trips. She deserved a really fantastic surprise birthday getaway! She is also the first of our friend group to turn the big 4-0.

We were able to keep everything about this a surprise for Kera. She didn’t know where we were going or that it was a birthday celebration for her.

The Theme

“Summer Camp” organically became our July surprise girls’ trip getaway theme. Building the whole trip around that theme felt natural and fun for everyone. Plus, summer camp is part of the American dream; we all deserve to experience it! This theme is wholesome, fun, and carefree—exactly what a group of 30-something-year-old (and one 40-year-old) moms needs!

This theme was perfect for our girl’s trip but would also work really well for a family reunion, bachelorette party, baby shower, or kid’s party.

(This was a dream theme branding project for me!)

Location and Accommodation

We decided on a travel radius for our road trip and found an A-frame cabin at Bear Lake that would comfortably fit all 9 of us. Some friends were familiar with the area, which is a huge perk for trip planning when the main planner isn’t very familiar with the area. Our girl loves A-frames. Being by the lake and near hiking trails unlocked all the outdoor opportunities needed to make this a great trip for everyone. Bear Lake checked all our boxes for our summer camp.

Planning and Sign-up

Along with our group text message, we created a group document and shared it via Google Drive, including the weekend trip itinerary and sign-up sheet.

Our group is highly collaborative when it comes to events like this, and we’ve had some good practice over the years. We really focused on our birthday girls’ favorite things, especially when it came to meal planning for this trip.

The sign-up included editable lists for gift bag items, food/meals, and activities—something for everyone to contribute to and collaborate on.

Here is a sign-up sample for this girl’s trip:


  • Birthday cake
  • S’mores
  • Fruit
  • Tea

  • Tom Ka soup

  • Aebleskivers
  • Syrup

  • Sourdough bread
  • Meat
  • Condiments

  • Chicken
  • Salad
  • Rolls

  • Avocado Toast

Creating Summer Camp Vibes

Girl’s Trip Invitations

I created Field Guide notebook-style invitations to mail to each friend. The pages were created in Photoshop and included time, date, location hint, a camp pledge, a packing list, vintage animal track pattern, and woodcraft graphics. I printed, cut, and sewing machine-bound them at home using supplies I had on hand. This was such a fun design project for me—I got to use almost every craft supply I owned to put these together! We all agreed they were pretty impressive and set the tone for our trip.

Trifold Brochure

Our trifold brochure, created in Photoshop, included the trip itinerary, a welcome-to-camp note, some 1983-themed trivia, and a summer camp checklist.

These were fun to hand out as we entered the cabin.

Merit Badges

I picked a selection of iron-on merit badges for our group to earn during our girls’ trip to add to the summer camp theme vibe. These were a surprise element; everyone was excited to earn and be presented with their patches throughout the trip. The patches paired with our weekend Summer Camp activities and ironed well onto the customized canvas tote bags we used as gift bags.

Screen Printed Pennants

Fully committed to this theme and its nostalgic aspect, I went ahead full steam ahead and cut, sewed, and screen-printed these felt pennants to add to everyone’s gift bag. I used design elements from the Field Notes invitations to keep on brand for these summer camp souvenirs.

I cut my pennant design out on vinyl using my Cricut and stuck it to a Speedball screenprint screen to create the screen to print onto these little yellow beauties. It took some planning and time to cut, sew, and get set up to screen print these and dry them on time for our trip. That is to say, plan in advance if you’re going to DIY screen-printed felt pennants for your own event.

Custom Tshirts

Sticking with the theme, I bought yellow T-shirt blanks, cut a little summer camp logo out on heat transfer vinyl, and ironed it onto our matching summer camp uniform T-shirts so none of our group could get lost whilst hiking. Someone actually stopped us on the trail and asked if we were part of a family reunion.

(Carrie earned the selfie merit patch for this picture.)


Our summer camp activities included trivia, a trail mix bar (everyone brings an ingredient,) late-night karaoke, hiking, s’mores on the deck, bracelet making, a beach day complete with guided meditation, and paddleboarding adventures.

And there you have it! Go forth, grab your besties, and plan your own epic summer camp getaway. We had so much fun and definitely recommend it.

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