11 of America's Best Summer Camps That Kids Will Be Begging to Attend

Summer camp is a quintessential part of the American childhood experience. You get to try challenging activities, make lifelong friendships, share secrets around bonfires, and live in the wilderness. I've spent 12 Summers at camp, either as a camper, volunteer, or counselor, and to this day, those are some of the happiest experiences of my life. Before my son was even born, I started keeping track of which camps I could send him to, because it's never too early to start planning their epic adventures. Keep reading for 11 of the best Summer camps in the US, guaranteed to give your little one lifelong memories.


The Element YMCA Skate Camp in Miramonte, CA

The Element YMCA Skate Camp lets kids improve their skateboarding skills while also indulging in typical Summer fun like art, swimming, and hiking. Kids are welcome no matter what their skating level is, and they can learn fundamentals to develop their abilities. Bonus: the camp also teaches environmental awareness.

Camp Orkila in Eastsound, WA
YMCA of Greater Seattle

Camp Orkila in Eastsound, WA

Depending on your child's age and what they're into, Camp Orkila has a lot to offer. Marine life is just the beginning of what makes this place, situated on gorgeous Orcas Island, so special. Children can do traditional camp activities such as archery, or choose a more specialized camp to focus their attention on things such as ultimate Frisbee or horseback riding.


Space Camp in Huntsville, AL

There's a STEM camp, and then there is Space Camp. If the sun and the moon have captured your little one's attention, let them learn what it takes to become a real astronaut — from astronauts themselves! Children will be kept very busy, learning about things like space exploration and how to operate a shuttle.


Sanborn Western Camps in Florissant, CO

Sanborn Western Camps is nestled in the Colorado Rockies, where canoeing, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and horseback riding are around every corner. When children are not too tired from their adventures, they'll be awestruck by the beauty of nature.


Camp Friendship in Palmyra, VA

Camp Friendship is accurately named, because it's a place where children are encouraged to make friends and grow as leaders, all while getting to try out some pretty cool activities. The ropes course, where children learn how to push themselves and work on team bonding, is just one activity your kids will be talking about for the rest of the year.


Farm Camp in Plantation, CA

Kids hoping to learn a little more about the earth should look no further than the aptly named Farm Camp. Kids get to experience a traditional Summer camp experience on a real working farm, where they will care for animals and gardens and learn more about agriculture. Children will have a newfound appreciation for what it takes to get food from the farm to the table.

Tripp Lake Camp in Poland, ME

Tripp Lake Camp in Poland, ME

Tripp Lake Camp is an all-girls Summer camp nestled in an idyllic setting along Tripp Lake in southern Maine. Girls are encouraged to grow and explore by engaging in extensive sports, arts, and outdoor programs, which build confidence and foster lifelong friendships.


Circle F Dude Ranch in Lake Wales, FL

Did someone say "dude ranch"? That's right, at Circle F Dude Ranch, kids get to experience horseback riding and traditional camp activities together. What makes this really fun is that each session offers an option to explore a different Florida amusement park.


Southwoods in Paradox Lake, NY

The beautiful Adirondack Mountains make for an amazing Summer camp setting. Southwoods prides itself on helping children learn about the natural world while growing as individuals and as part of a community. This camp offers traditional camp activities, as well as a progressive curriculum geared toward preparing children for real-world challenges.

Indian Head Camp in Equinunk, PA
Indian Head Camp

Indian Head Camp in Equinunk, PA

If it looks like the kids at Indian Head Camp are having the time of their lives, it's because they are. The waterfront camp strikes the perfect balance among outdoor adventure, sports, creative arts, and personal development. From rock climbing and zip lining to gymnastics and gaga ball, there are activities for everyone to enjoy.


Edwards YMCA Camp in East Troy, WI

Since 1929, Edwards YMCA Camp has been a place where children can go to explore the wonders of nature. Children get to play on the waterfront and learn how to maneuver boats, and on land they get to challenge themselves with intense ropes courses.