Summer camp is a memorable childhood staple. If you want your kid to have a fun educational summer rather than playing video games inside the entire week, you should consider sending them to camp.
Washington state has some of the top summer programs in the country. They provide kids with opportunities for adventure, learning life skills, and facing challenges in life. Summer camps offer children a chance for personal development that can’t be found anywhere else.
The following programs mentioned offer a variety of overnight, day, and family programs. They also have various types of activities, including land-based games and outdoor water activities.
Top 8 Washington State Summer Camps
1. Camp Nor’wester
Camp Nor’wester was initially founded in 1935 and is unique located on the San Juan Islands of Washington State. The camp offers a unique opportunity for diverse groups of campers to face challenges and help develop their skills, increase their confidence, learn values such as respect, responsibility, and compassion. Campers learn to care for themselves, their community, and the environment.
Camp Nor’wester is a special place for campers to take advantage of outdoor living on Washington’s coast. Programs at Camp Nor’wester include Overnight and Out-Camping, as well as Family Camp.
Fun activities at Camp Nor’wester include music, arts & crafts, climbing walls, outdoor cooking, obstacle courses, gardening, archery. Plus waterfront activities like sailing, kayaking, and canoeing.
2. Steve and Kate’s Camp
Steve and Kate’s Camp has three different day camps in Seattle, Kirkland, and Everett. They typically run from 8 am to 6 pm and are suitable for children ages 4-12. Fun activities for campers include soccer, arts and crafts, performing arts, baking, water slides, pie throwing, and more.
Kids can choose the activities they want to participate in as well as partake in fun camp games with their peers. Each week has something new for the campers to experience, with unique offerings that include bounce houses, race cars, wall climbing, and more.
Everything, including snacks and lunch, comes included, with various food options offered for campers with different diets. You can buy day passes and use them whenever or pay a fee to cover the entire summer. Their day camps aim to help kids become more self-confident, make new friends and have a fun and memorable summer.
3. Debate Camp
The Debate Camp is hosted in Seattle at the University of Washington. Here, children can participate in a summer program where they can learn all about public speaking, parliamentary debate and Model United Nations.
It’s open to students in 5th to 10th grade and acts as a day camp from 9 am to 3:30 pm. They consider themselves more than just a debate camp, but also a place for kids to improve their critical thinking skills and get a traditional camp experience making new friends.
Your child will participate in daily debate lessons along with outdoor activities. Children don’t need to have previous debate experience, and any experience level is welcome to come and learn with them.
We also included them in our list of the best debate summer camps.
4. Camp Four Winds
Camp Four Winds is the perfect place in Deer Harbor to let kids unplug from technology and embrace the outdoors. They’re a non-profit camp that reserves 20% of their spots for families that need financial aid. Additionally, families that send three or more siblings to camp in one summer receive a 10% discount on their tuition.
Camp Four Winds stands out from other camps by encouraging independent experiences that will give your child opportunities for personal growth that they can’t find elsewhere.
They focus on your child’s growth through music, poetry, vintage uniforms, and outdoor adventure. Their 4-week session is open to kids ages 9-15 and includes a week-long sailing, canoeing, kayaking, or backpacking/camping trip. Their Junior Session is for ages 7-9 and introduces children to camp and living with others.
5. YMCA Camp Bishop
Camp Bishop is located in Mason County, Washington. They offer overnight camps for students in grades 2nd through 9th as well as mini-camps for younger campers from k-2nd grade.
This is just like any other YMCA camp, so kids can expect exciting activities like archery, hiking, sports like soccer and basketball, and drama. Since it’s right by Lost Lake, they can also expect water activities like swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. At night they sit around the campfire and sing songs and tell stories. They also play fun summer camp games like capture the flag and others that include everyone in the program.
Youth stay in cabins with several other bunkmates and are watched over by two camp counselors per cabin. Camp Bishop is an amazing place to spend the summer, and can help improve a child’s leadership skills, self-reliance, and self-confidence.
6. Camp Black Diamond
Camp Black Diamond is a Christian-based summer camp in Auburn. They have programs for youth of all ages as well as families and couples. The staff is trained and dedicated to helping your child grow as an individual in a supportive environment.
They offer a Group Camp intended for middle and high schoolers, a Day Camp for grade-schoolers, and a Family Camp for families, couples, and children of all ages. Camp Black Diamond’s mission is to help your kid get outdoors and grow closer to God.
Pursuits and games at camp include obstacle courses, mini-golf, archery, arts and crafts, zip-lining, wall climbing, and much more. For a general list of what to pack for summer camp, click here.
7. Camp Gallagher
Camp Gallagher is a rustic opportunity for middle and high schoolers to escape the city and explore Lakebay.
This diverse summer camp teaches values such as friendship, nature, stewardship, and adventure. Some of the programs at Camp Gallagher include Classic Camp, Gallagher Expeditions, Leadership Development, and Family Camp.
Highlights include boating, vertical ropes courses, campfires, and overnight outings. Gallagher Expeditions is a more extreme version of Classic Camp, but with beginner adventurers in mind. Adventurers camp in a new spot every night, exploring the Pacific Northwest by land and sea. Expeditions include sailing and 14-seat big canoes. Recent campers who want to come back to camp can also join the Young Alumni Expeditions. Those who have already aged out of the camping programs but aren’t old enough to be staff yet can join their Leadership Development Program.
Parents and children can spend time together at Family Camp. Popular activities here include boating, a ropes course, arts & crafts, and campfires.
8. Camp Solomon-Schechter
Camp Solomon-Schechter is a Jewish camp located in Seattle, Washington, and was founded almost 67 years ago. Their programs encourage kids to challenge themselves, try new activities, develop self-reliance, make friends, improve their social skills, and discover their hidden talents.
The summer camp offers children an enormous variety of activities, in addition to typical camp activities such as hiking, swimming, archery, boating, and arts and crafts. Camp Solomon-Schechter offers many unique activities for campers like digital photography, video production, geocaching, birding, yoga, and more.
They have quite a few different sessions that start in June, July, August and last anywhere between a couple of days to three weeks.