Summer is a great time for children to explore the great outdoors, make new friends, and learn new skills. Some of the best summer camps in the USA offer countless opportunities for kids to have fun and create lifelong memories. If you’re looking to send your kiddo to the best of the best summer camp this year, you’ve come to the right place.
READ MORE: Beat the Rush: Why You Should Book Your Child’s Summer Camps Early and How to Find the Best Ones
The Best Summer Camps: Why It Matters
Summer camps have been a traditional part of summer for many families, and for good reason. They offer children an opportunity to explore new interests, meet new friends, and gain valuable life skills. But the benefits of some of the best summer camps go beyond just having fun. In fact, attending the best summer camps can be a crucial component in a child’s overall development.
One of the main benefits of summer camp is the opportunity for children to step out of their comfort zones and take on new challenges. Whether it’s trying a new sport or activity, making new friends from different backgrounds, or learning how to navigate social situations independently, these experiences can help build confidence and resilience that will serve your child well throughout life.
Another important benefit of attending the best summer camps is that they provide opportunities for children to disconnect from technology and connect with nature. Whether you choose to send your child to a week-long program or a month-long program, finding the best summer camps for your children could be considered as important as choosing the school they attend. Read on to discover what makes these top 10 best summer camps legendary year after year.
Located in the beautiful state of Maine, Camp Laurel offers an unforgettable camp experience for children ages 7 to 15. With over 80 years of experience, they know how to create a fun-filled and safe environment where kids can make lasting memories.
Camp Laurel is more than just one of the best summer camps out there: there are laundry services, an FM radio station, two fully equipped cooking studios for aspiring chefs, activities like Zumba and Pilates, and a 3,000-square-foot indoor gymnastics facility. The camp also offers a wide range of activities, including sports, arts and crafts, outdoor adventures, and more. Their experienced counselors are passionate about working with kids and helping them develop new skills and interests. Whether your child is interested in soccer or painting, swimming or rock climbing – there’s something for everyone at Camp Laurel.
Duration: 6 weeks
Price: $12,800 (or more depending on add-on services)
Camp Chipinaw is a premier summer camp located in New York that offers an exciting and enriching experience for children of all ages. With over 80 years of history, this traditional summer camp has become one of the most sought-after destinations for families looking to provide their children with a fun and educational summer. The camp is set on 200 acres of beautiful woodland, with access to two nearby lakes, making it one of the best summer camps for outdoor adventures.
Campers get to enjoy six activities a day, six days a week (and can set their own schedule). Younger divisions get two water activities, two sports activities and two electives. However, as the campers get older, they add more electives to accommodate their interests. From sports like basketball and soccer to water-based activities like swimming and kayaking, there is never a shortage of things to do at Camp Chipinaw. Children who are interested in the arts can explore their creativity through music lessons or take part in theater productions. Moreover, the camp provides opportunities for personal growth by encouraging teamwork, independence, and leadership skills.
Duration: 8 weeks
Raquette Lake Camp
Raquette Lake Camp is a premier summer camp located in the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Established in 1916, the camp has been providing children with memorable experiences and lifelong friendships for over a century. The camp sits on 1000 acres of pristine wilderness and offers a wide range of activities that cater to different interests and skill levels.
At Raquette Lake Camp, children can participate in activities such as swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and much more. The camp also provides state-of-the-art facilities for sports like basketball, tennis and soccer as well as creative arts programs like photography or pottery. With such an extensive list of activities available at the campsite there is something for everyone regardless of their age or interests.
Duration: 7 weeks
If you aren’t wanting to send your child to a summer camp for weeks on end, then Camp Natoma is perfect for you! Set at 1-week programs, Camp Natoma is a summer camp located in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains of California. It has been one of the best summer camps in providing unforgettable camping experiences to children for over 70 years. The camp aims to foster an environment where kids can learn and grow while having fun.
At Camp Natoma, activities are designed to be age-appropriate and cater to different interests, ranging from first to tenth grade. From archery, swimming, and fishing to arts and crafts, drama, and music – there is something for everyone. Children get the chance to explore nature through hikes in the woods or stargazing at night. Everything is pretty much outdoors, which means everything from sleeping to showers happens underneath the open sky. Talk about an experience!
Duration: 1 week
French Woods Festival
French Woods Festival is a world-renowned summer camp for the performing arts. Located in the breathtaking Catskill Mountains in New York, this festival has been one of the best summer camps for aspiring artists from around the globe. The festival offers an extensive range of programs in music, theater, dance, circus arts, and visual arts.
For over 50 years, French Woods Festival has provided a nurturing environment for all ages to hone their skills and explore their creative potential. The camp boasts state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to provide the best possible experience for its attendees. From beginner to advanced levels, students can work with experienced professionals who provide personalized coaching and feedback.
French Woods Festival is not just about learning new skills – it’s also about having fun! Attendees can participate in various recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, soccer games, and more.
Duration: 6 weeks
Camp Walt Whitman
Camp Walt Whitman is a summer camp located in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. The camp is spread across 300 acres and provides children with a safe and nurturing environment where they can explore, learn and grow. Since its establishment in 1948, Camp Walt Whitman has been committed to providing children with unforgettable experiences that foster personal growth and development.
At Camp Walt Whitman, children aged between 7-15 engage in activities such as swimming, hiking, arts & crafts, sports clinics and much more. The camp’s experienced staff are dedicated to ensuring that every child has a fulfilling experience. Every camper is encouraged to challenge themselves by trying new things while being supported by their peers and counselors.
Duration: 7 weeks
Point O’ Pines
Point O’ Pines is an all-girls summer camp in the Adirondacks that has provided unforgettable experiences since 1939. Situated on the beautiful Brant Lake in New York, Point O’ Pines offers an environment where young girls can grow and thrive, while enjoying a wide range of activities.
The camp caters to girls between the ages of seven and sixteen and provides them with opportunities to develop their skills in sports, arts, and academics. The facilities at Point O’ Pines are top-notch and include state-of-the-art equipment for various activities such as water skiing, tennis, basketball, soccer, horseback riding, dance classes, and more.
New incoming girls are paired with a Big Sister to answer questions and meet other campers before their camping experience even begins. While at camp, the girls enjoy dances and activities with the Brant Lake campers (see below) down the lake, as well as healthy food offerings, an organic garden, and a bakery onsite.
Duration: 7 weeks
Tripp Lake Camp
Tripp Lake Camp is one of the most prestigious summer camps for girls in the United States. Girls are required to wear uniforms at the camp which speaks to it being rooted in tradition. Located in Poland, Maine, this camp has been providing unforgettable experiences for more than 100 years. With a focus on creating an empowering and supportive environment for girls, Tripp Lake Camp offers a range of activities that foster personal growth and development.
As one of the best summer camps out there, Tripp Lake Camp allows campers to choose from a wide variety of activities including water sports such as swimming, sailing and kayaking; team sports like basketball and softball; creative arts like dance and drama; outdoor adventures like hiking and camping; and much more. All activities are led by experienced staff who are passionate about their areas of expertise. In addition to these exciting activities, Tripp Lake also offers unique leadership programs designed to help girls develop important skills such as communication, problem-solving, collaboration and decision-making.
Duration: 7 weeks
All Boys Camps
Camp Takajo is the “brother” camp to Tripp Lake Camp and is located in the beautiful Sebago Lake region of Maine. This traditional boys’ camp has been providing unforgettable experiences for children since 1947. With a focus on character development, skill-building, and fun-filled activities, Camp Takajo is one of the best summer camps that offer an authentic summer camp experience that encourages growth and self-discovery.
The camp boasts a plethora of activities to cater to every camper’s interests, including swimming, boating, sports, arts and crafts, outdoor adventures like hiking or camping trips into the forest. The staff at Camp Takajo are committed to creating a safe and nurturing environment where boys can make lasting friendships while building confidence through new experiences. The facilities are top-notch with comfortable cabins equipped with modern amenities like electricity and indoor plumbing.
Duration: 7 weeks
Brant Lake Camp
Brant Lake Camp is the brother camp to Port O’ Pines camp. Established in 1916, Brant Lake Camp has spanned four generations of private ownership. With its beautiful location and extensive facilities, Brant Lake Camp is one of the best summer camps for children to explore, learn new skills and make life-long memories.
The camp prides itself on offering “sports done right” including water sports such as swimming, kayaking and sailing, as well as land activities like archery, tennis and rock climbing. There are also specialized programs for horseback riding, wilderness survival skills and theater arts. The experienced staff at Brant Lake Camp ensures that each activity is taught safely and effectively so that every child can have fun while learning something new.
Duration: 7 weeks
Summer camps provide such a unique and rewarding experience for campers of all ages. From the rustic charm of traditional camping to the more modern amenities of luxury resorts, there truly is something for every youngster to enjoy during their summers off. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor activity-filled getaway or a theater arts hangout, one of the best summer camps from this list will make your kiddo’s summer ultra memorable.
Photo Credits: Raquette Lake Camp | Camp Laurel | Tripp Lake Camp | Camp Takajo | Camp Walt Whitman | Camp Chipinaw | French Woods Festival | Point O’ Pines | Brant Lake Camp | Camp Natoma
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