Updated: February 21st, 2023
Summer camps are one of the most memorable experiences that a kid can have with all the fun activities and new friends they make. However, finding one to send your child off to isn't as easy as it seems. Whether camp season is around the corner or right at the door, it's best to figure out which one you will send your young camper to head of time.
If you genuinely want an amazing summer camp experience for your child, then it usually takes a lot of researching and asking around to find the right one. That's why we've done the hard work for you and have personally selected the best summer camps in the United States. We've also included virtual camps so kids can be comfortable at home.
All the traditional in-person camps (excluding the virtual camps) mentioned down below are part of the American Camp Association.
1. Pali Adventures
Pali Adventures is situated in Southern California, near to Los Angeles. This sleepaway summer camp Adventures is the perfect option for boys and girls ages 8 to 16. The camp creates a detailed program for your child based on their interests and what they're looking to get out of camp.
Campers are able to pick from over 70 thrilling activities, plus also pick a specialty like motorsports, dance, comedy, aviation and others for a total of 28 specialties to pick from. They provide the traditional summer camp experience while also mixing in more modern methods. The camp facilities host basketball courts, swimming pools, zip lines, sports fields, archery ranges, and much more, so there is plenty to do and explore at Pali Adventures.
With highly trained staff, a beautiful location in California in terms of weather and setting, and tons of activities for campers. Pali Adventures is by far one of the top summer camps in the United States for kids and an amazing place to build up leadership skills and explore the natural world.
2. Camp Olympia
Located on Lake Livingston in Trinity, Texas, Camp Olympia is one of Texas' favorite summer camps, and with good reason! With over 45+ activities to choose from, campers get customized schedules that feed their interests and passions. Since opening in 1968, this overnight camp has welcomed generations of campers and encouraged them to grow in mind, body, and spirit through lasting friendships and excellent counselor mentorship.
Kids can do all kinds of traditional camp activities that you can imagine, including things like archery, horseback riding, dance, water skiing, giant swing, fishing, biking and much more. Boys and girls won't ever run out of things to do with all the options that are available. They also have special events that include a parents weekend and family camp.
With one-, two-, and three-week sessions starting in May and ending in August, Camp Olympia is a flexible option for families with packed summers. No matter the session, your camper is sure to be welcomed with open arms by the many campers from around the world that call Camp Olympia their second home.
3. Camp North Star Maine
If you're looking for a premier summer camp in Maine, Camp North Star Maine has some of the top programs for kids. Their vast 200-acre campus is the right place for children to try new things, form beautiful friendships, and build up their leadership skills and confidence.
You can enjoy everything from water activities like sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and kayaking. Athletes can play basketball, baseball, tennis, and soccer, among other team and individual sports. Creative kids can choose from artistic pursuits like dancing, painting, photography, theater, and more.
There is no shortage of fun things to do either with their rock climbing and mountain biking adventures. Best of all, you get flexibility in how long to enroll your camper with 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7-week camp sessions for students in 2nd to 11th grade. Spending time at Camp North Star Maine can keep them away from technology and keep their minds and bodies active.
Astro camp is a unique science-focused adventure camp located in Idyllwild, CA. The sleepaway camp was founded in 2015 by Guided Discoveries, which manages other camps in California. The camp facilities are located on the San Jacinto Mountains, providing plenty of outdoor landscapes for kids to explore.
Campers get to participate in typical summer camp activities like sitting around the campfire while enjoying other unique pursuits like mountain biking, archery, rock climbing, wilderness survival and more. With it being a science-focused camp, children can also choose from fun and educational activities involving 3D printing, robotics, stargazing, launching rockets, and much more.
They offer one-week and two week sessions for different age groups. There is also a special geek week that combines the most popular activities. AstroCamp provides weeks of summer fun and education, as well as opportunities for campers to form lifelong friendships.
5. Camp Quinebarge
Camp Quinebarge is one of the best summer camps in the New England region of the U.S. This overnight camp for boys and girls ages 6-16 offers amazing activities like horseback riding, archery, wall climbing, kayaking, sailing, sports, photography, drama, woodworking, and much more. It has a multitude of things to do no matter what kind of interests your children have.
With its pristine location in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, the forest land and mountains provide an amazing escape into nature and away from technology. The picturesque lake allows for a wide variety of water sports. Camp sessions can last between 2,4,6, and 8 weeks in total. They also have a seven-week Counselor in Training (CIT) program where older teenagers can build leadership skills.
Camp Quinebarge creates a positive and welcoming environment for campers to have fun under the careful supervision of experienced and trained camp staff. Through inclusive and memorable events and activities, kids can form lifelong friendships with others. It's been around for almost 80 years, so it's well-structured and led by quality leadership.
PlanetBravo offers technology-focused in-person summer camps all around Los Angeles, California. They provide camps in various subjects like 3D Modeling, Minecraft, Python coding, music creation, and much more. The camps are a fun and educational option for students in grades 2nd through 9th.
Their passionate instructors help campers learn with ease, all while maintaining a small 8:1 student to teacher ratio. Apart from learning time, kids also participate in fun outdoor activities to get a healthy balance of physical activity during the summer.
Compared to other day or overnight camps, their programs are pretty affordable. Campers can choose a number of different classes, so they can learn more than one thing or try different subjects they might be interested in.
7. Cheley Camps
Cheley Camp has been in operation since 1921 and has boys and girls from all over the world. You can expect your kid to make loads of friends at this fun summer camp in the mountains. They'll be having the time of their lives with the thrilling adventures that Cheley Camp provides. They focus on helping your kid grow, increase their self-confidence and self-reliance.
If you want your kid to have a valuable co ed camp experience that will serve them well for the rest of their lives, then Cheley camp is the go-to choice. With a focus on activities that will increase a kid’s team working skills and confidence. Your young camper can participate in fun things like horseback riding, mountain biking, and arts and crafts.
They were also listed on our list of Colorado summer camps for a reason. It also hosts a family camp each year so the entire family can spend a fun time together.
8. Steve & Kates Camp
Steve & Kates Camp has some of the most welcoming co-ed summer camps. The reason Steve & Kates Camp includes so many locations is due to the success of their camps. They try and make sure that your kid has the best experience they can get. The camp covers the months of June to August and is for campers between the ages of 4 and 12.
Your kid gets the chance to choose their own experience as the summer programs have a flexible amount of interests. They offer a relatively wide range of activities specifically to delight kids. These are chosen based on their experience to see what kids naturally gravitate towards. Founded on the belief that trusting a kid helps them build their self-confidence and teaches them to use their own judgment.
9. River Valley Ranch Camps
River Valley Ranch Camps, located in Carroll County in Northern Maryland, offers top-notch overnight camps in the United States. At the 500 acre campus, they provide some of the most entertaining activities for campers like equestrian, paintball, archery tag, zip-lining, and much more. They take their safety very seriously and are accredited and annually inspected by outside organizations that verify that their facilities and activities are up to safety standards.
With a wide selection of different camps from day camps, traditional camps, and outpost camps, it's an excellent choice for families that need flexibility. While the camp teaches Christian values, it welcomes everyone no matter what their spiritual background is. At River Valley Ranch Camps, your children will take a break from technology and have a summer full of experiences that will last a lifetime.
10. Rockbrook Camp For Girls
Rockbrook Camp has been offering all-girl summer camps since it was founded in 1921. It's located on a North Carolina mountain in Brevard. Their summer camps provide entertaining and memorable experiences for girls between the ages of 6 and 16.
They host several different overnight sessions in the early summer, mid-summer, and late summer, lasting a couple of weeks. Rockbrook Camp also has specialty camps for those specifically interested in a horse camp or kayaking camp for their child.
Campers participate in exciting activities like horseback riding, performing arts, white water rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining, and plenty more at the camps. They also have different sports your child can join, like tennis, riflery, swimming, and archery. This summer camp for girls offers a caring environment for young campers to build lifelong friendships and build exciting memories.
11. Raquette Lake Camp
With the first camp being held in 1916, Raquette Lake Camp is one of the oldest summer camps in the United States. It's known for being very prestigious and offering your kids and teenagers a chance at making life-lasting memories. Since their beginnings, they have always improved their camps with new activities over time while still maintaining the same focus on their traditions. Traditions with an emphasis on sportsmanship, responsibility, independence, friendship, and acceptance.
They offer separate camps for girls and boys ages 6-15. The all boys camp and all girls camp offer similar activities and same amount of fun. Your children can participate in hiking trips, canoeing, swimming, campfire singing, theater, fine arts, and much more! Their facilities include tennis courts, private lake access, high rope courses, water slides, and more.
The majority of their younger campers return each summer, which shows you the quality and the happiness of those who get to experience it.
12. Camp Moosilauke
Camp Moosilauke provides all-boys summer camps that include a suitable environment to grow as a person while still having fun. It was first founded in 1904 and covers over 100 acres in New Hampshire. It's mission has always stayed the same, to help young boys increase their confidence, happiness, and self-reliance.
Moosilauke uniquely combines a full land sports program, exciting waterfront activities, and extensive overnight backcountry trips. Some of the most popular activities at this all-boys camp include tennis, wake surfing, rock climbing, baseball, and canoeing. Campers can compete against other camps in a wide range of sports. It's a place where kids get the traditional camp experience.
The camps facilities include soccer fields, an archery range, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a beautiful lake for all sorts of water sports. Their programs are a great way for boys to build social skills and make new friendships.