If there’s anything that excites kids and teenagers more than school vacation, it’s going to a summer camp. This marks the time of year when they can engage in outdoor activities, try out new sports, and make new friends—all while honing their life skills.
Nothing compares to a full day of activities that leave the participants feeling exhausted yet looking forward to the next day for more. While the old summer camps focused on the basics such as ceramics, hiking, and archery, many of the summer camps today offer a wider range of activities. Some even focus on one specific activity such as acting or marine biology. Surely, there’s a great summer camp out there for everybody.
To help you get started, here are the top 10 US summer camps.
Raquette Lake Camp
For over a century, the Adirondacks mountains have hosted Raquette Lake Camp. It’s one of the most exclusive and expensive summer camps in the country, but a quick look at what the camp offers shows exactly why it comes with such a high price tag.
The campers enjoy access to million-dollar facilities, Olympic-level coaches, full-uniform attires, and a 2:1 camper to counselor ratio. Not to mention, the 100 miles of shoreline offer a breathtaking view in all directions.
While the facilities are resorts-like, the campers wouldn’t feel as if they’re on a holiday. Not a day passes by in the seven-week program in which the campers do not learn something new. Some of the most popular activities include tennis, equestrian, and water sports.
Here’s a summer camp for those who love traveling. ActionQuest offers a diverse range of programs designed to fit the different needs and levels of experience of the campers. Some of their programs include trekking through the Andes, doing a rainforest tour in Ecuador, and sailing in the British Virgin Islands.
Each program comes with a unique set of activities such as marine biology, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and windsurfing. ActionQuest reminds interested campers to find the exact outdoor summer camp that provides the perfect balance between their interests and goals.
Lake Bryn Mawr Camp
Since 1921, Lake Bryn Mawr Camp has served as a haven for girls to realize their identities and be confident about themselves. This all-girls camp is guided by an Angel Code which upholds four core values: loyalty, beauty, merit, and comradeship.
With a return rate of 95%, it’s clear that this is one of the best summer camps in the US. The girls wear uniforms as they set out to perform different tasks and overcome new challenges. Their facilities include 15 tennis courts, a 15,000-sq ft. gymnastics center, and 7 soccer fields.
Since its inception in 1947, countless boys have considered Manitou their summer home. This all-boys camp is situated in the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine, providing campers with an immersive experience with nature as they participate in various outdoor activities.
Manitou is unique in that it creates an interesting mix between a traditional and a modern camp. It continues to hold an 8 AM Reveille and then milk and cookies when the clock hits 9 PM. The 10,000-sq ft. dining hall gathers all campers to enjoy locally grown ingredients. Activities range from whitewater rafting and riflery to tennis and yoga.
Tripp Lake Camp
Many camp songs mention the beautiful Tripp Lake – and for a good reason! This all-girls camp was established in 1911, and to this day, it takes pride in being traditional and old-fashioned. The campers are required to wear uniforms while they perform well-rounded activities geared toward developing confidence and teamwork.
The TLC experience is centered on diverse and well-structured programs that grow alongside the campers. Ultimately, the camp wants participants to develop timeless values which they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Despite its old traditions, the camp’s programs include many enjoyable activities such as sailing, rock climbing, photography, reporting, and creative writing.
Camp Skylemar is an all-boys camp in Maine that places a heavy emphasis on developing effective strategies for winning and displaying graciousness in times of defeat. For more than six decades, the camp has been welcoming campers ages 7 to 15 from across the world to participate in their many outdoor competitions. The most popular include baseball, lacrosse, and ropes and challenge course.
The camp boasts a 1:2 ratio of staff to the camper, ensuring that everyone’s need is attended to promptly and effectively. For seven weeks, an atmosphere of sportsmanship is created to help campers realize the value of winning as well as the importance of showing kindness even in defeat.
Camp Walt Whitman
Every summer, Camp Walt Whitman welcomes 400 campers from all around New England with an array of programs that develop their personal and intrapersonal skills. Located in the beautiful pined covered mountains of New Hampshire, this co-ed sleep-away camp offers new experiences that ultimately help the campers grow up to be more aware of their responsibilities to the community.
The camp is known for their cabin-centered structure, with campers participating in different activities with their cabin group and counselors. The idea is to develop a close bond with the group as they navigate through all the challenges that come their way. The campers also enjoy the liberty of choosing two activities of their liking each day, so they can pursue their passions or interests.
Founded in 1921, Camp Wayne is currently operated by the third generation of the founding family. It sits on 450 acres of beautiful evergreens in Endless Mountains. The brother/sister camp helps students develop useful life skills such as communication and creativity.
Camp Wayne offers challenging activities that encourage campers to get out of their comfort zones. Some of their most popular include beach volleyball, archery, sailing, and creative arts. First-time campers are offered a 4-week program while returning campers can enjoy the full seven-week course.
This 120-acre lakeside campus welcomes 275 boys ages 8 to 15 every summer. Camp Androscoggin has been around since 1907, and it continues to teach their campers how to gain confidence in everything they do while learning how to effectively work with others to conquer big challenges.
An important part of the Andro spirit is the sense of belongingness. Each camper knows everyone in camp. A Big Brother also gets in touch with each participant prior to the start of camp, fostering camaraderie and inclusiveness. The seven-week program starts off with group activities to build the confidence of the campers and then shifts to a more personalized schedule so campers can develop their chosen skills.
Camp Chipinaw initially started as a summer camp exclusive for boys in 1926. 12 years later, however, the girls camp was added. This brother/sister camp is now viewed as one of the finest traditional camps in the nation. Here, campers take part in the rich history, culture, and tradition of Chipinaw while enjoying some of the latest and most high-end facilities.
Chipinaw also features two overnight camps on the same property, offering campers a summer experience like no other. Chipinaw and Silver Lake are found in the Catskill Mountains, an amazing destination not far from the heart of New York. The campers can choose to stay at Chipinaw for the entirety of the program or spend half the time at Silver Lake.