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Hit the Lair of the Golden Bear this summer

Starting to plan your summer getaway? You might want to consider booking a tent cabin at the Lair of the Golden Bear, the Cal Alumni Association’s scenic summer camp located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada.

Weeklong family camp sessions from June 22 through Aug. 17 are fully booked by repeat campers. But there are plenty of other opportunities to book a stay during the Lair’s weekend sessions and adult specialty camps.

The Lair has three camps nestled in Pinecrest, an easy three-hour drive east through the Central Valley. Accommodations range from wooden tent cabins to motel-style rooms and the Pinecrest Chalet, a nearby year-round resort featuring cottages, cabins and townhouses.

The oldest and largest alumni camp on the continent, the Lair has been owned and operated by UC Berkeley’s Cal Alumni Association since 1949. It offers a beautiful mountain setting at an elevation of 5,600 feet, complete with towering pines, hiking, boating, swimming and endless other outdoor activities. Booking fees include all lodging and three hearty meals a day.

“The Lair is a real family tradition among our Cal alumni, and living on the fringe of wilderness, it’s like being on another planet,” said David Smith, manager of marketing and hospitality. Temperatures during peak sessions range in the 70s and 80s, he added, and the sun shines nearly every day.

While demand from repeat campers makes it difficult to get a prime spot during family camp, campers who have been to any session get priority status for the following year, Smith said.

Here are the sessions that still have openings for summer 2013:

  • Family Getaway Weekends are available on June 7 to 9, Aug. 23 to 25 and Sept. 6 to 8.
  • Women’s Wellness Weekend, Aug. 21 to 25, offers three- or four-night options for women to enjoy outdoor activities, yoga, meditation and more.
  • Sports and Recreation Camp, Aug. 24 to 31, features professional golf and tennis instruction for adults as well as other outdoor activities.
  • The Mini-Week session has openings for a four-night stay from June 11 to 15.

Membership in the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) is not required for the above sessions, except for Mini-Week, where at least one adult in each tent must be a CAA member.

Check the Lair of the Golden Bear website for more details, including rates, photos, directions and other activities.

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