Updated: January 14th, 2023
The state of Arizona has plenty of natural areas to explore for children to gain an important outdoor education. With blue skies, outdoor areas to explore, and warm temperatures, summer is one of the best seasons out of the year. Although the state can reach very high temperatures during this time, kids can still enjoy their time learning new skills, playing fun games, and making new friendships at camp.
Summer camp is one of the best places for kids to attend during the school break. Not only can they create memories that last a lifetime, but camp also fosters social skills, reinforces good habits, and allows campers to experience the great outdoors.
To help you choose one for your child, these are some of the top options in the state of Arizona.
Top 7 Arizona Summer Camps
Situated at the base of Mogollon Rim north of Payson, Camp Geronimo is a traditional scout residential camp. It’s been providing quality summer camp programs to young children and teenagers for almost 60 years.
It’s spread over 200 acres of a beautiful landscape consisting of meadows and forest. The camp is surrounded by the world’s largest Ponderosa Pine Forest. Due to the proximity, your child will get a taste of everything nature has to offer while making new friends.
The camp offers four different types of programs, each of which provides age-appropriate adventures that allow a child to improve their physical and mental strength. Some exciting activities include caving, mountain biking, rock climbing at Blue Ridge Reservoir, canyoneering, and much more.
Each program lasts for an entire week, so your child can have an enjoyable scouting and camping experience. The camp aims to teach basic to advanced outdoor skills as well as provide your child with a memorable experience.
Prescott Pines Christian Camp
Spread over 85-acres of gorgeous green land, Prescott Pines Christian Camp is a place where kids learn about inclusion, religion, and spirituality. The camp helps people explore religion and express their ideas in an encouraging and safe environment.
The outdoor education program specifically targets children who are in 5th and 6th grade. The outdoor trip includes interactive educational sessions covering various pursuits like trebuchet toss, forensic, archery, and more.
During the evenings, the students engage in various thrilling activities. This allows campers to develop healthy relationships with others and learn personal developmental skills.
Since the camp is located in the north valley of Ponderosa Pine Forest, it’s the perfect getaway for a memorable summer.
Camp Sky-Y is an overnight camp offered by the YMCA of Valley of the Sun. There are sessions available for kids ages 7-16. Children can expect to make new friends while participating in traditional camp activities.
They can do fun things like horseback riding, ropes courses, paintball, canoeing, and much more. In a comfortable camp environment, campers experience personal development and improve their leadership skills, teamwork skills, and more.
Youth are supervised by experienced camp counselors, so they can have fun while remaining in a safe setting. For parents who are looking for childcare during the school break, the YMCA also offers summer day camps. They can make the same fun memories and continue learning at day camp as with the sleepaway camp.
Rancho Summer Camps
If you’re looking for a camp that provides an authentic and traditional camp experience, then Rancho Summer Camps should be one of your choices. Based in Scottsdale, AZ, the camp offers creative art, technology-based, and science programs for kids.
Each week, there is a new theme to give every child an opportunity to go through various experiences and find the ones they like the most. They continuously work to improve a child’s mental, spiritual, and physical health. They can choose from different camp programs and themes that change weekly starting in May and until the end of July.
The camp accepts girls and boys between the ages of 3 to 12 years old. Under the guidance of skilled instructors, Rancho Summer Camps are genuinely an adventure wonderland for kids. There is a variety of activities for kids to choose from, including sports, swimming, technology, arts, and fun camp games.
Camp Colley is the perfect place for children who love nature and want to receive an outdoor education. Camp Colley is a small nature-based center where thousands of campers attend to learn about the environment and develop important life skills.
The summer camp is surrounded by the beautiful and luxurious Coconino National Forest and is approximately 50 miles away from Payson and one hour away from Phoenix, AZ. The 30-acre land includes a cabin, bathhouse, dining hall, which is also used as a recreation room, and other large platform tents.
The camp is surrounded by the Ponderosa Pines, so the remote campground location is a perfect spot for picnics, outdoor cooking, and a good old-fashioned camp bonfire. The site provides an excellent opportunity for the youth to learn the importance of nature and how we can help conserve it.
Apart from experiential learning opportunities, the camp ensures each child has the time of their lives. There are many team-building activities, low-rope challenges, nature hikes, and stargazing opportunities to keep things interesting. It’s suitable for campers 8 to 14 years old.
Cactus Day Camp
Based in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Cactus Day Camp helps campers learn new skills in a safe environment. Young people are encouraged to socialize, gain a sense of independence, and plant the seeds for a healthy lifestyle. This day camp provides a full-day program, lasting 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks. Programs are split into gender and age groups.
The junior programs (4+) offers imagination play, arts, games, and water fun. Activities such as music, legos, yoga, cooking, ping pong, board games, swimming, and more, take place.
The Seniors (Kindergarden - 5th grade) offers similar options as well as other activities that include cooking, drama, mini golf, video games, archery, rock wall, and more. The Tweens program for those entering 6th, 7th and 8th grade, has a special schedule is implemented each Friday, based on a specific theme like Olympics and Color Day.
Their last option, Counselors-in-training for high school students, is a leadership program aimed to create positive role models for the younger students while also offering leadership opportunities for the older campers. Communication and social skills are a key focus for campers to develop and improve upon.
United Christian Youth Camp (UCYC)
UCYC is a Christian camp and a conference center located in Prescott. It offers entertaining games, adventurous recreational activities, delicious food, comfortable cabins, and expansive grounds to meet and interact with others.
They have well-thought-out summer and winter programs for students in 4th till 12th grade. All of the programs include three main elements: outdoor adventures, communal activities, and religious studies.
The summer camps are divided among different age groups so that each child gets a chance to fully enjoy the summer retreat.
Though a core focus is on providing quality education to children about religion, the camp does have an array of entertaining ventures to make the summer enjoyable. Some of their ventures are ziplining, rock climbing, paintball, and swimming. So, not only will your child have the time of their lives, but they can also grow closer to their faith.