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15 Affordable Summer Camps for Kids

15 Affordable Summer Camps for Kids
Written by Oana Schneider

A kid’s childhood experience will never be complete without memories of attending summer camp. Unfortunately, the costs associated with kids going to summer camp – especially for programs which last for a good number of weeks – are continually on the rise. Are there ways for parents to send their kids to summer camp without busting their budget? Definitely! Find out which camps in the US are considered to be the most affordable, and which types of summer camps are available for kids.

Types of Summer Camps Available for Kids

First, let’s have a general definition of summer camp. Traditionally, summer camps are supervised programs which are designed for kids and teenagers. As the name implies, they are held during the summer months and the kids who participate are known as campers. When you think of summer camp, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a place in the words where kids can go hiking, canoeing, sing around campfires, and perform a slew of similar activities.

The good news is that over the years, the variety of programs has become a lot wider. If you have a daughter who is not the outdoorsy type, she can still enjoy her summer learning about new things and interacting with kids who are almost the same age.

According to the American Camp Association, 75% of traditional summer camps have added new programs to adapt to an ever-changing spectrum of family and to cater to the varying interests of kids. No matter which among these programs you end up enrolling your kid in, he or she is bound to have fond memories of summer camp while growing up.

At its core, the goal of summer camp is to enhance the educational and cultural development of children, something that you are bound to be happy about as a parent. To give you an idea about the different types of programs available for kids, take a look at the following list:

Art Camp 

For children who love to draw, art camp is the best substitute for a traditional summer camp. The activities will help boost your child’s creativity and it’s a great venue to meet new friends.

Cooking Camp

Is your kid dreaming of becoming a world-class chef someday? Enrol him or her in a cooking camp. The facilitators will teach kids the basic cooking techniques, and the bonus is that you will have a mini-sous chef at home.

Day Camp 

Parents who do not have the budget for a full summer camp or even an overnight summer camp program for their kids can go for a day camp option. It includes the same types of activities that traditional camps offer and your kids will still have plenty of fun.

15 Affordable Summer Camps for Kids

Dance Camp 

If your kid knows how to groove or just simply likes to move a lot, go look for a dance camp. This gives kids an opportunity to learn new routines, enhance their balancing skills and even develop athletic activities. It also helps them develop their self-confidence.

Gymnastics Camp 

To keep your kid from staring at a glowing screen all summer long, enroll him or her in gymnastics camp. Not only will they have lots of fun, but they can also get some much-needed physical exercise and foster friendship with other kids.

Museum Camp

A museum camp allows kids to expand their academic interests in a more relaxed, camp-themed environment. While gaining new knowledge, they can also interact with kids of the same age.

School Camp 

Instead of using the outdoors as a setting, most schools will offer their grounds as a venue for summer day camp activities. For parents, do your research and ask if any kids in the neighbourhood will be attending the summer camp at the local school in your area. The activities range from sports to arts, crafts to games, computer skills development to music, and more.

Summer Enrichment Camp 

Get in touch with a recreational facility near where you live if they are holding summer enrichment camps. Other venues include community colleges and local schools.

Zoo Camp

For kids who love animals, a zoo camp is an excellent venue to learn more about these furry little creatures. A similar program is the Human Society camp, which offers affordable summer camp programs for children who would like to learn how to care for different pets.

What Are the Top 15 Most Affordable Summer Camps for Kids

In the city of New York, parents are willing to shell out as much as $5,000 to give their kids the best summer camp experience. But what if you cannot afford to spend this much? Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable summer camps for kids which you can consider as an alternative. The average summer camp lasts for six to seven weeks, and the cost ranges from free to under a couple of thousand for a six or seven-week program. Depending on which state you live in, here are 15 of the most affordable summer camps for kids in the US:

1. Arizona and New York: Camp Shane

Camp Shane has two locations: one in Arizona and one in New York. It’s actually a specialized camp for kids who would like to develop a healthy lifestyle. What the camp teaches is how to eat right, the importance of exercise, and how they can live a generally healthy lifestyle – all in a fun environment where they can meet new friends.

2. California: Surf Diva’s All-Girls Overnight Surf Camp

Do you have a daughter who is obsessed with the movie Blue Crush? Enroll her in Surf Diva’s All Girls Overnight Surf Camp. The girls will get professional surf lessons every day, and there are additional camp-related activities that they can indulge in while in a beautiful beach setting.

3. California: Plantation Farm Camp

Want to teach your kids how to be eco-friendly? Check out the Plantation Farm Camp in California. The farm is a hundred and fifty years old, and the summer camp activities are as traditional as they can get. More than that, the interaction with nature’s plants and animals which make for a very memorable experience for the kids.

15 Affordable Summer Camps for Kids

4. Colorado: Cheley Colorado Camp

Situated near the entrance of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Cheley summer camp is perfect for kids who love the outdoors. The activities range from horseback riding to hiking, archery to simple picnics.

5. Colorado: Sanborn Western Camps

With 6,000 acres of land available, the Sanborn Western Camps in Colorado serves as a setting for an unforgettable summer experience for all kids. Here, they can go fly fishing, horseback riding or perform science experiments involving nature. The camp is located about an hour’s drive west of Colorado Springs.

6. East Coast: Teen Wilderness Adventures

Teenagers who live in the East Coast will have a blast enrolling at the Teen Wilderness Adventures Camp. They specialize in team building activities which help develop the self-confidence of precocious teenagers.

7. Maine: Medomak Family Camp

As the name implies, the Medomak camp in Maine is suitable for the whole family. It covers more than 200 acres of land and can host up to a dozen families at one time. You can gather the entire family together for an unforgettable summer adventure and not have to worry about anything by booking yourselves on this camp.

8. New Hampshire: Camp Wicosuta

Another all-girls camp which you can enrol your daughter in is the Camp Wicosuta in New Hampshire. It’s situated south of the White Mountains on Newfound Lake. Some of the activities include arts and crafts, water sports, horseback riding and more.

9. New Jersey: Campus Kids

Unlike traditional summer camps, Campus Kids allow children to return home on weekends while spending their weekdays doing camp-related activities. Children can learn how to play the guitar, swim, or even engage in performance arts. Both the New Jersey and Minisink camps are close to New York City.

10. New York: NYC Parks Experience Summer Day Camp

Priced at just $500 for a seven-week program, the NYC Parks Experience Summer Day Camp is one of the most affordable in the city. The day camps operate in all five boroughs, and the facilitators will ensure that your kids have a full-on camp experience.

11. Virginia: Virginia State Parks YCC

YCC stands for Youth Conservation Corps, and this summer camp in Virginia does exactly that: it helps teach kids how to preserve nature. It’s a three-week residential program which lets kids experience how it is to live in a state park, perform real-life outdoor chores, while revelling in the beauty of nature al at the same time.

12. Virginia: Camp Friendship

Operating since 1966, Camp Friendship in Virginia is the perfect setting for boys and girls who would like to have the full-on summer camping experience. They recently introduced equestrian camping so if you have kids who love to ride horses, this program is perfect for them.

13. Washington State: Four Winds Westward Ho Camp

The Four Winds Westward Ho Camp is located on the Orcas Island in Seattle, the state of Washington. Again, it’s the perfect place to get your kids away from the glow of their tablet computer screens, and enjoy some real sunlight while making new friends.

14. Wisconsin: JCC Camp Chi

There’s also the JCC Camp Chi in Wisconsin, which has more than 500 acres of land. It’s actually a specialized summer camp for Jewish kids between the ages of 9 and 16. There’s a sense of history when joining the camp and your kids are bound to have the ultimate summer fun with the range of activities that they offer to campers.

15. YMCA

YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) runs summer camps at all five boroughs of New York, and you can even take advantage of early bird discounts and financial aid. There are specialized programs for kids with special needs in their Park Slope camp, a Mandarin immersion program, a circus arts program, and a dance program.

Don’t let your kids spend the entire summer sulking at home. The hottest months of the year is perfect for them to meet new friends, learn new things and gain plenty of experiences through summer camps.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

4 Comments

  • I always say that if children are given the chance to go to a summer camp, they should definitely do this. Not only will it split the long summer holiday up a little bit for them, but it also gives them the chance to make some new friends that they will be able to keep for the rest of their lives. Some of the people who I still talk to now are people that I met at summer camp, so it is something amazing for young children to do if there is any way that they can this summer.

  • I believe camp is a Great for kids in so many different ways. I’m a mother of three kids and camp is Great for kids, kids can make lots of friends. Kids learn how to interact with kids of all ages.

  • Yes,I agree we must send our kids for camping atleast once in a year.I think it\’s important for mental growth of a child.

  • Great post! Every kid should go to some type of summer camp. They add a lot of value to your child’s life by letting them experience and learn something new. Thanks for sharing.

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