Is it a vacation, a retreat, a camp, or a conference? Yes. Well, yes and no. A lot of it depends on you and what you're looking for in the experience. I can only tell you what it is to me: It's a week by the beach where I am joined by other families with similar life philosophies. We share cabins and sleep in bunks and cook and clean and eat meals together. We play and relax and converse and make things together.
In one day I can eat breakfast at a table with three people I know well, one person I just met, and two people who I haven't had a chance to connect with yet... then spend an hour alone on the beach with a good book... then take my sewing bag out on to the deck of the lodge and listen to Joe play Billy Joel songs on his guitar while I work... then fix some lunch for Silas and myself while he plays legos with a group of kids he's gotten to be pretty good friends with... then attend a nail painting workshop... then go for a walk in the woods... then report to the kitchen to help dice green peppers and mince garlic for dinner... then eat at a table full of completely different people than who I ate breakfast with (or the exact same people, 100% up to me)... then help Silas set up for the dance party he's hosting and take pictures of the kids boogying down... then share a bottle of wine and play a board game with friends... then hike up to the cabin to have a little bit of quiet time and put myself to bed while Silas parties on (he's chosen to come up with our cabin mates when they retire). It is what you make of it. The next day could be totally different or almost exactly the same.
For $200ish per person (and signing up for the required 4 total jobs for adults 15+/3 total jobs for kids 9-14), you get a 5 day vacation on the Oregon Coast. Your breakfast and dinner are prepared for you each day (you take care of your own lunches and snacks, but have full access to the commercial kitchen), you have a cozy cabin to sleep in, and the lodge is about 50 yards away from the beach. You've got clean bathrooms and hot showers and plenty of room on the private island to strike out and do your own thing. You can play disc golf (there is a full course at the camp), go tide-pooling by moonlight, perform a song you wrote in the talent show, drink a glass of wine out on the deck, learn how to hula-hoop or make rope bracelets or taste fermented foods or participate in a chess tournament. IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.
So yes, it is a family vacation... also a retreat... most definitely a camp... but it kind of is a conference, though it's more laid-back, for sure. Maybe it's more of an "un-conference" in the way that you get to learn new things and be yourself and watch your children be themselves in a supportive and understanding community of like-minded people. Basically, it's amazing. I have made invaluable friendships there that have tapped me into some wonderful unschooling communities and the connections Silas has made there each year are something that will be with him his whole life.