10 Cool Summer Camps for Teens

Your teen will love spending the summer at any of these fun day camps and overnight camps for girls and boys.

camp chief ouray
Photo: Camp Chief Ouray

When it comes to the activities teens can enjoy during the summer, there are an infinite number of possibilities. Some may opt to get a summer job, while others do volunteer work or internships. For many, summer camp—either a day camp or overnight, sleepaway camp—offers teens an opportunity to get out of their usual routine, learn, grow, make friends, and have eye-opening new experiences.

Here are 10 cool summer camps that might be the perfect fit for your kiddo.

1. Camp Chief Ouray

This over 100-year-old camp, located on a 5,100-acre YMCA of the Rockies about an hour and a half from Denver, Colorado, first hosted campers in the summer of 1908. It's billed as an "adventurous playground and traditional overnight camp for kids age 7-17—with mountains, valleys, streams, and meadows." Their programs are meant to build campers' confidence, independence, and resilience, while they live in cabins of up to 10 campers and 2 staff members.

Your teen could also enroll in the Camp Chief Ouray Adventure Camp, aimed at kids 13-16 with sessions that run from June 9-July 27. Each camp is 1-week long and spends a couple of days at camp, plus 3-4/days in the wilderness of Colorado. Campers learn to work as a group and live in harmony with the environment.

2. Mountain Adventure Tours (M.A.T.)

This outdoor adventure camp, located in Ketchum, Idaho, teaches kids important values and life skills through the use of entertaining activities in the Idaho wilderness. M.A.T. runs over 40 camps a summer and each camp has an individual theme. There are several camps, which are for varying age groups, including the Idaho BaseCamp Sleep-Away (runs Aug. 2-8 for ages 12-15), which features river rafting, archery, climbing, campfire cooking, and stand-up paddle boarding.

3. Camp True Colors

Camp True Colors, an overnight camp held on a 93-acre campus in Willow River, Minnesota, is dedicated to providing a safe place and team-building camp experience to 7-17-year-olds who identify as LGBTQ+. The organization connects campers to a wider LGBTQ+ community, so they can continue the conversation and share their camp experience with others back home. This year, sessions will run from June 15-19, 2019 (ages 14-17), July 8-12, 2019 (ages 14-17), and July 30- August 3, 2019 (ages 7-13).

4. Camp Olympia

Located on Lake Livingston in Trinity, Texas on over 100 acres of private land, Camp Olympia has its own swimming pool, challenge course, archery field, and more. Campers can participate in over 45 activities over the course of their stay, whether that be water skiing, horseback riding, or a "Spartan/Athenian" competition.

5. iD Tech Camp and Alexa Cafe

iD Tech Camp is the original tech camp for kids aged 7-17 who want to spend a week choosing from over 30 innovative programs that blend instruction on projects like coding an app to designing a video game with fun camp activities. The program offers both day and overnight options at 150 locations nationwide.

6. Alexa Cafe

Alexa Cafe is a program inspired by iD Tech co-founder Alexa Ingram-Cauchi that's specifically for girls aged 10-15 with 15+ locations nationwide. It focuses on "tech, entrepreneurship, and social impact in a fresh, café-like setting." Also cool: Alexa Cafe courses are endorsed by SWE, the Society of Women Engineers.

7. SOCAPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts)

SOCAPA runs several different summer arts camps: for aspiring actors, dancers, photographers, screenwriters, and musicians. For instance, teens looking to pursue screenwriting can attend one, two, and three week intensives in screenwriting with the option to develop two short screenplays (4-8 pages each), one longer screenplay (10-12 pages), or the first act of a feature-length screenplay. The course is designed to serve as a precursor to filmmaking workshops in which students will produce and direct the screenplays that they write in this course during a SOCAPA filmmaking session later in the summer or the following year. Teens aged 13-18 can attend camps in Vermont, Los Angeles, or NYC.

8. Idyllwild Arts

Located in Idyllwild, California, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program provides high caliber arts instruction and memorable arts immersion workshops to a diverse student population of all ages and abilities. Teens can receive intensive practical instruction in all the visual arts and performing arts—sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, Native American arts, film & digital media, fashion design, dance, music, theatre and creative writing.

9. School of Rock

School of Rock's Music Camp programs range from Beginner to Performance Boot Camp and Songwriting & Recording Camp to Famous Rock Band Camps, and camp sessions are held at School of Rock locations across the country.

10. Sur La Table 5-Day Teen Series

Teens aged 13-17 who are aspiring culinary masters may enjoy five-day programs held at Sur La Table locations around the country. For instance, the Cooking With Confidence program will be filled with instruction on everything from grilling burgers to filling ravioli to making s'mores with a blow torch. In the final class, attendees participate in a friendly Mystery Box team competition.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles