Summer Camp Options for #Playoutdoors Kids

Summer Camp TentsSummer Camps For Kids

Sending your child to summer camp seems to be a right of passage that most parents go through at some point.  Day camps and overnight camps are your first two choices to consider but there are a plethora of decisions that you have to wade through to get to the right camp for you (or your child).

Day Camps vs Overnight Camps

Day Camps are usually half or full day experiences for kids aged 5 to 14.  While this can be a wonderful option for the younger child, it is important to consider supervision (number of counselors, age, and experience).  Overnight camps have the same consideration (supervision) but add the difficult consideration of whether or not you (and your child) are ready for an overnight camping experience.

Camping, of course is a variable term.  Summer “camp” does not mean “Camping” by default (though my Girl Scout Camp experience also involved camping).  Summer camp may or may not even include an outdoor component.  Some can be educational, some can merely be unstructured play, others  can be outdoor adventures, crafts, and/or skill building.

Specialty Camps

Climbing Camps

Climbing camps are often available both through indoor climbing gyms (for those looking for a day camp option) or through outdoor wilderness programs (usually an overnight experience).  NOLS and Outward Bound offer the most famous of these hiking and climbing excursions, while the Boy Scouts may include climbing and/or hiking as one of their options depending on the camp.

Summer Ski Resort Camps

East Coast ski resorts and others that have a “summer” season with Zip lines and more often have a summer camp option.  These camps often have outdoor skills, games, and/or opportunities. Just search your local ski resort and “summer camp” to see what options might be available near you. For example, Ski Roundtop (in Harrisburg PA) has a number of programs both day and overnight for ages 8-16.

Ski and Snowboard Summer Camps

West coast and high altitude areas also offer summer ski camp options where youth can build their skills in snow sports (who knew you could ski in June?!).  Some options include Whistler BlackcombMt. Hood and Tahoe.  Check out this great write up by Evo about some of the ski/snowboard summer camp options available.

Outdoor Skill Camps

Don’t want to rock climb? Other outdoor skill camps include kayaking, dog sledding, rafting, mountaineering, sailing and more.  You are only limited by the distance you are willing to travel and the money you are willing to spend.  Search for your particular interest and “summer camp” and find the camps available to you.  The more obscure and environmental dependent the sport or skill, the more regionally dependent you’ll find the results.

Athletic Camps

Of course, if outdoor activities and sports aren’t your thing and you want a skill camp to develop sports skills, those options abound.  Every sport offers a camp, both day and sleepover. College campuses are usually a hotbed for camps such as those.  Not only are they a great resource for skill building, but they are a wonderful option for those high school students seeking to be recruited for a particular sport or skill.   Some examples include Lehigh UniversityUSSC Nike Sports Camps, and more.

Educational Camps

Most private schools offer summer school and/or summer camp options.   Phillips Andover, and Colorado Academy are only two of the private schools that have their own website (and or section) dedicated to the summer camp opportunities. 

While selecting a summer camp can be a daunting experience, your options are easily narrowed by location, price, age range, and interest.  For our 6 year old this summer, we’ll likely pick a small nature camp that focuses on outdoor nature experiences rather than a larger adventure camp, in the consideration of his age and interests.

What camps are you considering for your child? How old are they? Why did you pick that camp?

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About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.