Austin is one of Texa’s most popular places with warm weather, a low cost of living, and beautiful outdoors. The consistently hot weather makes it easy to stay fit and do plenty of fun outdoor activities, making it a prime city for many summer camps for kids.
The city offers plenty of other kid-friendly activities like visiting the Austin Zoo, Austin Aquarium, waterparks, theme parks, and more. Only an hour away from the Texas Hill Country, kids can explore the outdoors by hiking, kayaking, biking, swimming, etc.
With a beautiful and nearby outdoor environment, these are some of the top choices in the city that you can sign your kids up for.
Best Austin Summer Camps
1. Earth Native Wilderness School
The Earth Native Wilderness School has summer programs for kids ages 7-12. They have special summer day camps that run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m and take palace at their Earth Native Campus. Their weeklong overnight camps at the Earth Native Campus are for older students 9-16, with two different camp sessions by age.
The Earth Native Wilderness school primarily teaches wilderness survival skills, such as building shelters, identifying animals, using the sun and stars for directions, and tool-gathering. Your child can go on fun adventures through the woods and around the local creek, learning all sorts of skills.
The camps provide hands-on experience, so campers get real-world experience and are taught by expert outdoor instructors. The start dates are in May and run all the way to August. You can find more overnight camps in our main Texas page.
2. The YMCA of Austin
Children from toddlers to teenagers are welcome to participate in YMCA summer activities in Austin. Different camps provide different activities and skills for specific ages, from those as young as six weeks up to 13.
The Kinder Camp offers dramatic play, creative expression, science, and math. The specialty camps have different themes, like cooking, art, science, superheroes, magical creatures, and more. If your child participates in a specialty camp, they can swim in the YMCA pool once a week and enjoy a weekly field trip. Camp Moody teaches survival skills, archery, hiking, fishing, and more in the Texas outdoors of Onion Creek. The various camps overlap in some ways. For instance, Camp Moody teaches outdoor skills, but campers also spend time in the art studio for a change of scenery.
The camps run from late May through early August, with most day camps starting at 7:15 am and ending at 6:30 pm. With the diversity of activities in each camp, not all activities occur at the YMCA. For specialty camps or outdoor activities, your child’s camp might place at the local school district.
Further Reading: For more camp option in nearby cities, see this San Antonio camps guide.
3. Camp Edmo
Camp Edmo’s 22 offers multi-theme camp programs for pre-k to 8th-grade students. Camp Edmo runs from June 6th through August 5th at three locations in Austin: Northwest Concordia University, St. Ignatius Martyr School, and Huston-Tillotson University. The Austin day camps all run from 9 am to 3 pm.
All camp locations utilize classroom and playground space for activities, so children stay active while expanding their education. Your child can learn new exciting things like science, animation, forensics, biology, world culture, cooking, robotics, art, and more. They also offer virtual camps on these different subjects. Rallies and pie days are two of Camp Edmo’s unique activities, which help get campers excited for the day. Pie days, one of its most unique activities, involve the chance to throw a pie in someone’s face.
Camp Edmo combines STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) with social-emotional learning in all their camps. They offer genuinely accommodating camps with a staff trained to engage children of all learning types and social abilities. Luckily, that extends beyond the in-person camps to the online camps, so your child doesn’t miss out on the fun no matter where they learn.
4. JCamps at Shalom
JCamps caters primarily to children of the Jewish faith, but they welcome all children who wish to participate. Depending on when you sign up, your child can participate in JCamps in Central Texas from late May through mid-August. There are both one-week and two-week camp options.
Campers can enjoy various activities in the Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center’s lush outdoor spaces, gymnasium, and state-of-the-art classrooms. Each child gets outdoor exercise, art time, and lots of singing. Activities vary between age groups, but children as old as 10th grade can sign up for a program.
Your child can participate in activities like sports, swimming, archery, theater, art, biology, martial arts, and more. Older children get to choose one elective for the whole camp, encouraging them to learn a new skill. They also learn leadership and safety skills, such as crisis management, CPR, first aid, and lifeguarding.
JCamps prides itself in being an inclusive camp for everyone, regardless of their faith, with values of friendship and kindness over competition. Whether you want to help your child grow closer to their Jewish community and faith or expand their circle of friends, it’s a sound choice for a memorable summer.
5. The Hideout
While previous camps focus on several different activities, The Hideout focuses explicitly on the theatrical arts. If your creative child is between the ages of 5 and 18, they can participate in acting, storytelling, improv, and other stagecraft activities with the Hideout’s summer camps that end with a final performance. They run from late July through early August with different starting dates.
The day camps run from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Campers participate on stages at the Hideout and other local theaters, giving them an authentic feel for the onstage experience. If your child suffers from stage fright or wants to improve your stage presence, The Hideout classes could be helpful, especially for older teens. Children practice their improv and theater skills through games, storytelling exercises, and crafts until the final performance at the end of camp.
There is a four-day camp, as well as weeklong and two-week options. It’s a shorter camp, but the instructors maximize every minute of it. The ratio of students to teachers is great, so each camper can get special attention and quickly learn stagecraft.
6. Neuron Garage
Neuron Garage focuses on problem-solving and engineering, using open-ended activities to stretch campers’ creativity and ingenuity. The result is a camper who uses a growth mindset by thinking, building, and learning from positive feedback and encouragement.
Instead of going from activity to activity, students only focus on one for the whole week, given little instruction on how to reach the end. They bounce ideas off each other, try new things, and learn to keep pushing to find new solutions.
The weekly challenges have different themes and missions, ranging from building mini carnival rides, transporting secret messages through hand-made rockets, or even time-traveling challenges, with a different challenge set in a different time period. The camp is not just about learning the growth mindset. Instead, different periods throughout the day focus on play-time and social time to build trust and friendship.
The Austin summer camps last from June 6th through August 12th, from 9:30 am. to 3 pm, with extended hours until 6 p.m. Kids get divided into two groups, one for 5 to 7-year-olds and another for 8 to 12-year-olds. Your child can choose to stay for one week, a few weeks, or the whole summer.
Further Reading: Houston summer camps
7. Austin Creative Arts Center
The Austin Creative Arts Center program focuses on all things creative, from painting, drawing, and sculpting. This summer camp lets students focus on one particular art subject they’re interested in. Your child can choose between different arts for a Monday-Friday session, starting in early June and ending in early August.
If your child enjoys the summer camp, they can return for Holiday Art Camp as well. Despite the name, these can be accessed year-round, with weekly options available. Campers can attend each camp as either a half-day session (9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) or a full day, from 9 am to 4 pm.
The camp includes all art supplies, so students just need to wear old clothes they don’t mind getting dirty and bring their creativity to class. There are no specific age requirements, so everyone five years or older is welcome. Parents just need to pack lunch and snacks for kids.