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Did you go to summer camp as a child? It may bring up memories of horseback riding, canoeing, and meeting some lifelong friends. There are lots of options for traditional-style camps, but there are also camps that tailor to more specific interests like space, art, technology, and more. Here’s my list of the top 10 summer camps for kids in the Southeast.
Top 10 Summer Camps in the Southeast
Duke TIP, or Duke University Talent Identification Program, is an organization that serves academically gifted and talented youth. They offer summer programs that are either a weekend or week long where students in grades 7-10 are put in university settings and are able to learn at higher levels. The courses taught are courses that may not be at your child’s regular school and include engineering, law, math, and more. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to be near Duke to participate. Other universities offer Duke TIP programs (or their own version) as well.
My older girls have participated in this for the past few years and take “classes” online during the summer from home. Last year was a Veterinary Medicine course that they loved!
Located in Huntsville, AL, Space Camp is a fun way for kids ages 9-18 to learn about space exploration through science, technology, and hands-on experiences. There are weeklong camps available, and they also offer day camps and family programs.
Tip: It’s not the cheapest program, but they do run sales and every Black Friday offer a large discount. So maybe plan ahead and it can fit the budget next year.
Apple Camp is a completely FREE camp is offered by Apple retail stores and it focuses on creating movies and interactive books. The camp is three days long (1 ½ hours per day) and it includes an Apple Camp showcase that allows kids to share their finished works. It’s for kids ages 8-12.
Sign up on their website to be notified when registration opens, it fills very quickly.
Photo from the First Coast YMCA
Check with your local YMCA to see what kinds of summer camps they offer. Most offer overnight camps and day camps that focus on building character and leadership (with archery, talent shows, and a lot more). They also offer specialty camps with particular programming like music, farming, sports, and more, as well as camps for campers with special needs.
This was my summer camp growing up. Anyone else a former Y camper?
Photo from the High Museum in Atlanta
Do you have an art museum in your area? Check to see if they offer summer art camps for kids. If you’re in South Carolina, the Columbia Museum of Art offers summer camps for kids ages 7-18 that focus on photography, hands-on activities, screenprinting, and a ton more.
Do your kids love to cook? There are likely programs in your area that cater to your little chefs! Young Chefs Academy, for example, is located in several different states and offers Camp Can-I-Cook that teaches Italian cuisine, French cooking, chocolate dipping, and more.
If your kids love animals, Sea World Camp may be for them. You can choose to participate in week-long camps or day camps, and there are programs available from pre-K up through college. During resident camps, your camper will work alongside veterinarians, trainers, and other experts. They’ll help care for the animals while also enjoying snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and more.
Tip: They ran a huge sale last year on Black Friday, so again if this is out of the budget plan ahead!
Soar is a summer camp that is geared toward children with ADHD and other learning disabilities. They believe in focusing on individual strengths rather than deficits through rock climbing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor activities. They have locations in North Carolina, Florida, and more.
There are so many options in this category that it’d be hard to list them all. A lot of church youth groups offer camp trips during the summer, so check with your church to see if they’re offering anything. If not, you can usually go directly to the camp to sign-up, as well. I have friends who have been to Ridgehaven (located in Brevard, NC) and Bonclarken (located in Flat Rock, NC) and they had great experiences. Bethel Christian Camp in Gaston, SC, is another popular option.
Camp Page has a long list of other Christian summer camps in the South.
If your kids are interested in sports, a sports camp could be a great way for them to get some physical activity while also getting some training in the sport they like the most. Check with your city’s Parks & Recreation department to see what they’re offering. There’s a sports camp in my area that is held at a local park and teaches basic fundamentals with all kinds of different sports. Universities and colleges usually offer youth sports programs as well. If your kids are older and more serious, they could benefit from something more specific, like a soccer camp or a lacrosse camp.
Which summer camp did you go to as a child?