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Summer Camp and Retreat Centers in Southern Illinois –

Camp Manitowa Properties host coed overnight summer camps and year round retreats at its two locations in southern Illinois just a couple hours’ drive from St. Louis. 

During the summer Camp Manitowa serves campers in entering 2nd-9th grade from all over the Midwest and the South. During the school year, Camp Manitowa hosts retreats for schools, college student groups, religious groups, scout groups, musicians, men’s and women’s groups, families, weddings, and anyone else wanting to get away for a fun and meaningful camp experience. Camp Manitowa utilizes three different lakes and offers a wide variety of programs and activities for all our participants.

Co-founded by Andy Brown and Dan Grabel in 2010, running a summer camp in southern Illinois has been a lifelong professional dream of Andy and Dan’s. Both men grew up attending summer camp and have a combined 50 years of experience running camps and working with children and youth.  After a two year nationwide search of camp properties, Camp Manitowa Rend Lake was born when they found and purchased the perfect property in Southern Illinois at Rend Lake, 90 minutes from St. Louis, MO, from the Lake Benton Baptist Camp who had operated the camp from 1947-2005.. Andy and Dan invested over $1 million renovating the entire camp, and Camp Manitowa opened its gates August 1, 2010.


At Camp Manitowa campers get to choose four of the five daily activity sessions held each day. If they find something great, they can choose to do it each day. We believe in giving campers the space to be creative and have control over their experience. Our core activities include water skiing, tubing, canoeing & kayaking, swimming, our 50 foot climbing tower, 8 element high ropes course and 400 foot zip line, GA GA dodge ball, basketball, soccer, and variety of sports, arts & crafts, biking, outdoor living skills, music, campfires and, of course, s’mores. We shuttle campers daily to the Rend Lake recreation complex and take advantage of the entire facility. It’s 20,000 acre lake, large sand beach, bike trails, driving range, frisbee golf course, and Army Corps of Engineers’ visitor center offers us an amazing addition to our program.


The Camp Manitowa formula includes “Adventure by Choice”. Summer camp is a place to explore and move outside one’s comfort zone. This means something different for every person. Through a variety of activities, programs, and outdoor adventure trips, we hope to help everyone find and fulfill his/her sense of adventure.


Summer camp is a special place and provides the opportunity to interact with lots of people. By limiting the total number of campers each session to around 100, Camp Manitowa kids become part of a family of campers.  We create programs and systems to ensure that everyone in camp knows each other and that each creates positive relationships.



We model positive environmental behavior and will always keep teaching responsible, earth-conscious living.