Updated: March 17th, 2023
An estimated 14 million Americans attend summer camp every year. Building fires, playing sports, sleeping under the stars — for many children, camps are idyllic breaks that provide them with memories for years to come. But how can you be sure that you're booking the best experience for your kids?
Thankfully, we've done the hard work for you. Whether you're looking for a trip that will help children continuously receive indoor and outdoor education over the summer or something more action-packed.
Best Summer Camps In North Carolina 2023
1. Appalachian Institute Academic Camps
The Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning offers weeklong day camps and residential programs at the Mars Hill University campus. Students in 3rd through 12th grade can enroll in various unique classes like 2d video game design, applied psychology, marble roller coasters, and much more while attending this educational summer program.
Kids can choose the courses they want to learn about to explore other interests and develop new skills. Apart from an educational experience, campers can also participate in fun outdoor games and activities.
The day doesn't end when classes finish at 4 pm since they host other fun events after, like scavenger hunts and dancing. You can enroll your child in a week-long session that starts on July 11th or one that begins on July 18th. Otherwise, you can also choose the two-week option.
2. Camp Pinnacle
Promising a new approach to summer camps, Camp Pinnacle in Henderson County near the Blue Ridge Mountains is a sleepaway camp for kids ages 7-15. Although there is a separate spot for boys and girls, there are some coed activities. They foster respect, collaboration, and friendships between different genders.
Not only is Camp Pinnacle one of the oldest camps in the state, but it's also one of the oldest in the whole of the USA! With 90 years of history, this place aims to provide a tech-free retreat where every child receives praise for their own achievements — not measured against others' success.
If you're looking for an overnight summer camp near the Charlotte area for your child, it's only around a two hour drive from it. The coed program makes family scheduling easy, and it also has an excellent reputation.
3. Camp Mondamin
Founded nearly 100 years ago, Camp Mondamin is a family-owned camp in Zirconia for boys 6 to 17 years old. The leaders strive to promote a love for the great outdoors and boost the campers' self-esteem, using a non-regimented approach to foster individuality.
With activities ranging from archery to looking after animals in the nature lab, Camp Mondamin sits in 800 acres of woodland and offers plenty of opportunities for kids to explore at their own pace. There are no age restrictions for the activities offered and a non-competitive ethos.
Kids can enjoy water activities like kayaking, sailing, swimming and on-land activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, mountaineering, and tennis. The overnight summer camps start in late May and run until August with various sessions available.
4. Camp Carolina
Established in 1924, Camp Carolina bills itself as the place where boys develop and become better versions of themselves. It's located on 220 acres in Lamb's Creek Valley, with a private lake and surrounded by millions of acres of forest and parkland, close to the Appalachian Mountains.
Camp Carolina is one of the best North Carolina summer camps for boys in kindergarten to 11th grade. It places a strong focus on respect, both for each other and for the natural world. It's proud of its tech-free policy, giving boys the freedom to spend time together without social media or smartphones.
Activities include arts and crafts, archery, white water rafting, wakeboarding, horse riding, Jedi yoga, hang gliding, sports, and much more. The camp promotes gentlemanly behavior and has an excellent camper to counselor ratio of 2.5 instructors per 1 child.
5. Camp Albemarle
If you're looking for a summer camp in Newport, Camp Albemarle is an excellent choice for Christian campers. Albemarle offers both overnight and day stays, with options suitable for boys and girls from preschool to 12th grade.
Camp Albemarle aims to promote faith through fun. Its activities include Bible study alongside sailing, wilderness survival, and swimming. Of all the options available, Albemarle focuses on waterfront activities. As its website says, ‘if you have saltwater in your veins, this is the place for you!'
Apart from its other water-based activities, there are also other fun land activities like climbing and sports. If you're looking for an overnight camp that will provide kids with outdoor adventures, Camp Albemarle is a fantastic option.
6. Camp Rockmont
At Rockmont, campers get to experience the wildness of being a boy outdoors, the welcoming embrace of a loving community, and the wonder of being alive. It's one of the best overnight summer camps in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Rockmont is a space for boys to come alive, and it’s a family experience — you will be able to take part in your son’s camp adventure from home through daily blog posts, hundreds of daily photos (with facial recognition, so you’ll get photos of your son right to your phone), resources to follow along in daily devotions, session videos, a counselor letter home, and directors who are available to speak with you anytime during your son’s session.
What makes Rockmont different is Age Progressive Programming. As your son grows, so will his summer camp experience. Skills become more advanced, activities grow to be more expansive, campouts add elements of wildness — and their phenomenal counselors and staff are along the journey with him every step of the way!
Save $200 on a summer camp session when you click on the link above. It's only around a two hour drive from Charlotte and Raleigh.
7. Keystone Camp
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Keystone Camp is a North Carolina summer program for girls ages 7-14. The entire Keystone Camp staff is made up of only women. Keystone only hires qualified female instructors to lead its 29 activities, providing excellent and strong role models for the girls.
Keystone places a strong focus on individuality to create self-confidence. Unlike other programs, there are no compulsory activities. Girls can build individualized experiences to suit their strengths, interests, and passions. They will experience personal-growth while surrounded by their new friends and experienced camp counselors in a friendly environment.
With a great range of activities ranging from horseback riding, riflery to gymnastics and arts and crafts, there's something for every girl at Keystone Camp. There are multiple camp sessions to choose from, including 3-week and 4-week options. There are also mini sessions that last between 6 days and 2 weeks for younger campers.
8. Camp Merri-Mac
One of the earliest Christian summer camps in North Carolina, found in Black Mountain. Camp Merri-Mac caters to girls ages 6-16. This sleepaway camp offers a range of unique activities, including cooking, puppy training, DIY, and emergency water safety. There are almost over 40 different activities found here.
At camp, girls stay in cabins on the 150-acre campus. Although the cabins separate campers by age group, Merri-Mac encourages girls of all ages to play together as members of the same community. Every evening, group competitions take place after dinner to foster collaboration and healthy rivalry.
There are 1, 2, and 4-week programs available. Activities range from white water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, rock climbing, hiking, gymnastics, and more. There are also sports like basketball and tennis.