Mendocino Woodlands Camp/Uncommon Vacations

For a truly special, different experience, come and spend your vacation at the Mendocino Woodlands State Park. Here is a place of great beauty where dreams take shape via music, dance, self-realization and nature studies. You can join any of several group camps that offer studies in traditional music, dance, songs and oral traditions of America and many other countries, as well as other activities studying various cultures, including crafts, language, history and cuisine. Families and adults come here for an exciting and educational experience in the redwoods. The many, diverse events promote cultural understanding and are just plain fun.

Located about 4 hours north of San Francisco on the California coast, the breathtaking Mendocino Woodlands is a special, National Historic Landmark with rustic cabins nestled in redwood trees. Beyond the wonderful group camping activities, there are miles of peaceful hiking trails, a nature center, a sunny meadow, and a swimming hole a short walk along a wooded creek. See also Area Activities.

The Mendocino Woodlands is a major cultural center for the study of traditional music, dance and song. It is California’s premier venue for the study and preservation of music and dance from many of the world’s cultures.

Come Join Us for Fun in the Redwoods
Stewardship Weekends are an important part of preserving the camp and a great way for individuals to enjoy this historic group campground, for free!

Each year the following camps take place. Many of the events are family oriented. If you are interested in a vacation at the Woodlands, click on the link for the camp you are interested in. These camps are run by their own organizations, so you must contact them directly, as MWCA only operates the facility and has no specific information on any camping group.

Razz Ma Tazz International Folk Music and Dance May 18–20
Razzmatazz Folk Dance Camp has been taking place at the Mendocino Woodlands since 1977. Razzmatazz Folk Dance Weekend takes place annually on the first weekend in June. It is a spirited weekend of Balkan folk dance, music and song in the beautiful Mendocino Woodlands. The weekend features live Balkan music with Edessa plus Scandinavian fiddlers for the dance parties. Internationally renowned teachers offer dance workshops during the weekend as well as singing workshops. On Saturday evening, there is a pre-dinner Happy Hour with a different party theme each year. Campers enjoy delectable meals and snacks and an atmosphere of joy, camaraderie and celebration. This annual event gathers folk dancers and musicians together for folk dance instruction, singing workshops and multi-cultural activities relating to folk cultures around the world. The event includes people of all ages from small children to octogenarians in a family-centered community, celebrating the love of music and dance and the folk cultures they represent. For more information: (510) 965-9688.

Scandia Scandinavian Music and Dance June 9–16
An annual residential camp founded in 1980, Scandia presents participants the opportunity to learn in-depth about the folk music, dance and cultural traditions of Scandinavia. Over the years, teachers (many of them the original researchers and documentarians of their country’s folk traditions) have come from Norway, Sweden and Finland to share their knowledge through daily dance, music and singing classes and cultural sessions. In the process, a community has developed of people exploring their cultural roots and of people with curiosity about and appreciation for the rich folk culture of Scandinavia. Catered meals are of the highest quality. Evening dance parties are exclusively with live music.

Balkan Music and Dance Eastern European Style June 23–30
This group offers a unique opportunity to join in a celebration of music, dance and traditions, an enjoyable learning experience in an informal and supportive atmosphere. In addition to instruction in vocal, instrumental and dance techniques, the camp offers folklore presentations, staff and student concerts, jam sessions and incredible evening events with live music. Emphasizing traditional and contemporary folk music and dance from the Balkans, material also may be included from neighboring regions of Central Europe and the Near East. Click here to see their video.

Mendocino Folklore Camp Folk Music and Dance June 30–July 7
Every summer since 1962, folk dancers from across the United States and beyond have gathered here to share a unique celebration of ethnic dance, music, and culture. Folklore Camp, pioneered by Madelynne Greene, was the first folk dance camp to use the Woodlands, and today carries on the tradition and spirit of this event. The morning dance, music and singing classes are enhanced with afternoon choices of folklore sessions, special dance workshops, crafts, sight-seeing or relaxing. Special theme days highlight the diversity of cultures. It amazes people how the Woodlands is transformed with decorations, ethnic food, and activities to celebrate cultural traditions. The evening dances are enlivened by superb international dance bands. Late night revelers can enjoy request dancing or musical jam sessions by the cozy fire in the kafana. Click here to see their video.

Middle Eastern Music and Dance Music and Dance of Asia Minor, North Africa and the Middle East July 7–14
Workshops offering a program covering a broad spectrum of music and dance traditions from this tremendously diverse geographical region. Middle Eastern folk dance classes, belly dance classes, instruction on Middle Eastern classical and folk instruments, gatherings with live music, ensemble coaching, concerts, performances, Middle Eastern cuisine. Click here to see their video.

Mendocino Sufi Youth Retreat July 10–14
Sufi youth ages 18–29 gather together for their twelfth retreat in the beauty of the redwoods to dance, sing, and pray together. Guest teachers Pir Shabda Kahn and Jamilah Furniss will help guide retreatants in practice, contemplation, and the wealth of Sufi lineage through the Dances of Universal Peace, zikr, conversation, and music. There will be time to explore the beauty of the forest! All youth are welcome. Click here to see their video.  

Mendocino Sufi Camp "self uncovering, Self Discovering" July 15–22
We welcome you to join us, a community of spiritual friends and seekers from many walks of life, at the thirty-eighth annual Mendocino Sufi Camp, a warm-hearted and joyful camp for all ages. The Sufi’s aim is to remember the Divine in all aspects of life, and to serve humanity with love and compassion. Toward that goal, we offer classes and gatherings (from yoga and gospel choir to meditation and esoteric studies) as well as fun-filled programs for children, tweens, and teens (who are also welcome to delve more deeply in mysticism by attending adult classes). We hold a universalist world view, which sees and honors the truth in all religions.

Mendocino Sufi Silent Retreat July 22–26
This year’s retreat, guided by Siddiq Kilkenny and Nurah Garson offers a time out, a pause, a time of reflection, deepening, and awakening. We will share together in Sufi practice, for the most part silent, through meditation, zikr, prayer, looking and listening, smiling and being with each other as a support to our inner life. 

Lark Camp World Music & Dance Camp July 27–August 4
This camp has over 100 of the finest music and dance instructors from many cultures. Imagine idyllic days and nights in the magical redwood forest filled with all the music, dance, and good times a person could possibly stand. Campers are free to take as many or as few of the workshops offered as they like; jam sessions 24 hours a day, big dances every evening. There’s plenty of good food, new friends, and musical stimulation. It’s truly a unique, total immersion into the joys of nature, music and dance. Many workshops are for the professional as well as the beginner. The Voice Of America spent a week recording music and interviewing people at Lark Camp for a special 2 hour show for broadcast in Eastern Europe to illustrate life in the United States. Click here to see their video.

Elderflower Womenspirit Festival August 8–12
Ever August since 1989, women and girls have gathered at the Mendocino Woodlands to honor feminine spirituality through the Goddess. Join us in celebrating our spirituality by sharing knowledge, music, arts, ritual, laughter, and delicious catered meals. EWF is purely a grassroots organization; all the workshops, activities and performances are created by the vibrant group of women who participate. We are committed to providing a welcoming and empowering environment for all women, regardless of race, color, religion, orientation, or income status. For this year's festival dates and more information, visit our website, www.elderflower.org.

Camp Swing Swing Dance October 26–29
Some of California’s best swing dance instructors host this event and collaborate to create an inspiring program for dancers of all levels. 25 different classes feature Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Shag, Balboa, Jazz, Latin Dances and more; great live music.

Mendocino Woodlands vacation camp


Mendocino Woodlands

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