Welcome to our 2020 interactive camp guide chock full of camp options from arts, crafts, and drama camps to traditional rustic wilderness camps – to out-of-the-box camps you never knew existed! We also give you the scoop on taking advantage of low-cost community recreation center camps and a wide variety of free camps throughout the area. Whether you are looking for something in the city, the burbs, or out in rural areas, we hope you’ll have fun mixing and matching to create the perfect summer plan for your family. Don’t miss the videos and virtual tours linked within – and keep a close eye on discount codes throughout the post!
Discover Camp with PJ Library and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia offers scholarships and grants for qualifying camps. From movement-based camps such as Ramah Day Camp to JCC camps including Kaiserman’s Camp Kef and JCC Medford, NJ, there a number of options for Philadelphia-area families. Families are invited to visit Discover Camp to network with other new-to-camp families. Give your six-to-nine-year old a taste of camp life, complete with outdoor adventure, arts & crafts, communal meals, sports, swimming and singing – on and off the bus! Then, when you’re ready to attend a qualifying camp of your choosing, you’ll get $300-$500 off the cost of camp! Check out this informational video for more.
Liberty Lakes Day Camp
Looking for a true, old school camp experience that will really make an impact on your kids’ lives? Liberty Lake Day Camp is designed to be a children’s summer utopia, combining a traditional rustic outdoor camp experience, with varied modern programming to appeal to kids with a wide range of interests.
The camp offers 60 acres of natural beauty including a 6-acre lake. Facilities also include two 80-foot-long swimming pools, huge athletic fields, boating and fishing docks, four large playgrounds, a high ropes adventure course, a rock wall, and a mini-golf course. You can even take a virtual tour of the camp online. Learn more and sign up online.
Mercersburg Academy Summer Programs
Nestled in the mountains of south-central Pennsylvania, Mercersburg Academy’s beautiful campus provides the perfect setting for a wide range of opportunities for learning, personal growth, and most importantly, fun. Each summer, participants take part in an array of programs, ranging from Mercersburg Adventure Camp to various Enrichment, Arts, and Sports Camps. Safe, supportive environments focus on engaging participants at every level and challenge them to broaden their horizons, make new friends, and create unforgettable memories.
Mercersburg Summer Programs are co-ed, with both day and overnight options for kids and teens ages 8-17. Participants come from all over the world to enjoy the dozens of programs that are offered every summer. No matter what your interests are, there is a Mercersburg Summer Program for you. Learn more online.
Franklin Institute Discovery Camp
Create lifelong memories for children and young teens at the most immersive, educational, iconic science summer camp in the Philadelphia area. Discovery Camp combines the best of your favorite visit to The Franklin Institute with the joy and adventures of summer camp. Activities that appeal to both kids and teens include museum exploration, theater shows, science projects, games, and workshops, all while fostering a community of science enthusiasts! Book before March 16th, and save $20 on registration.
Wave Week 2020 @ Villanova University
Have you ever thought about changing the world? How about something in your school or community? This summer, let Spark the Wave help you bring your vision to life at Wave Week®. Held at Villanova University in Villanova, PA, Wave Week offers two sessions welcoming students currently in grades 6 – 11 (residential) and 4 – 11 (commuter). Through hands-on activities and group discussion, participants develop skills in communication, group dynamics, creativity, diversity awareness, motivation, and more.
Paired with two off-site volunteer trips, Wave Week offers the premier service-leadership experience for today’s change-makers. Social events and team competitions take place on campus each night allowing time for making plenty of new like-minded friends from across the country. All participants earn 40 hours of community service for attending. Reserve your spot today at sparkthewave.org/register. Use code PHILLYTWEENS for $50 off! Check out this informational video.
Camp Jamison provides a diverse, inclusive, and affordable summer camp program for Philadelphia kids in the Pocono Mountains. They run a weeklong overnight program for children ages 7 – 14 with travel to and from Philadelphia provided. If your child daydreams of sleeping in a cabin, spending time outdoors and making friendships that last a lifetime then Camp Jamison is for them.
Campers get to experience different activities every day such as arts and crafts, canoeing, swimming in the Delaware River, environmental education activities, friendly and competitive sports games, hikes, adventure low ropes courses, and so much more. Applications go live in March. Learn more online.
Snapology Summer Camp
Check out LEGO-themed full-day summer camps located in throughout Center City. Snapology classes and camps use LEGO® bricks as well as other educational tools to teach children development skills and concepts of science. The children have so much fun while learning through play they don’t realize how much they are actually learning!
Through play, children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments. Find a full list of programs and locations online.
If you have a young chef-in-training between the age of 4 and 14, have we got a camp for them! For more than 18 years, Kitchen Wizards has presented cooking programs for children (and adults) year-round. But, in the summer, the kid’s programs shine!
So many children are avid fans of cooking shows on TV. Kitchen Wizards helps them learn to feel comfortable in the kitchen, learn a life skill, gain confidence, interact with other children who have the same interest, realize how kitchen skills relate to what they’ve learned in school, and maybe even try a new-to-them food. Kitchen Wizards has cooking camps and one-day events in the Philadelphia suburbs and at several South Jersey shore points. Check the website for the full spring and summer schedule.
School of Rock Camps
School of Rock Philadelphia’s music camps offer a wide selection of music experiences. From beginner music camps to intermediate and advanced sessions, the week-long music camps further a student’s musical foundation while teaching them how to work as a team. All camps end with a live show performed by the campers.
Choose from The Beatles, Green Day, Songwriting, Led Zeppelin, Rock and Roll Boot Camp, and MTV in the ’80s! Early drop off and late pick up available. Take a virtual tour of School of Rock here and learn more online. Get 25% off all camps from 2/14-2/18 with promo code FEBRUARY2020.
Whether it’s questing to the top of City Hall, exploring the wilds of the Wissahickon, writing and recording original music, or learning to cook a three course meal, PhillyQuest! Summer Camp at Saint Mary’s Nursery School in University City allows youth to experience all the magic, culture and history of the Philadelphia region while learning about themselves along the way. By attending, your Explorer will pick up valuable life-skills, forge lifelong friendships, and go on the adventure of a lifetime.
This camp is for rising first graders through rising sixth graders and is available from June 15–August for that full summer stretch! There are weekly themes as well as focused days throughout the summer. Learn more and sign up online.
JCC Camps at Medford
The JCC Camps at Medford enriches the lives of children by teaching values and life skills in a fun, safe, inclusive Jewish environment while building confidence, sharing successes, and creating lasting friendships and memories. The camp is located on a beautiful, shaded, 120-acre campus in the Southern New Jersey Pinelands.
The rustic, wooded camp site includes a four-acre lake with three devoted docks for swimming, fishing, and boating. There’s also four outdoor pools; a splash park water playground; an arts pavilion with a chef kitchen, woodworking studio, and pottery wheels; a zip line and rope course, and so much more! Transportation from Center City and lunch is included in the price of camp. Bonus: Camp families also get access to the amazing pool facilities on weekends! Learn more and sign up online. Check out this informational and virtual tour!
Moorestown Friends School Summer Programs
Looking for your children to spend a week immersed in interesting subject matter, from coding and art, to engineering and music, or history and online game development? MFS Summer Programs offer engaging enrichment classes for children ages 3 – 15. Their Master Teachers are experts in their fields who are passionate about their craft, and come from Moorestown Friends School as well as area schools. Summer Scholars classes have the benefit of access to a variety of resources available during the academic year.
Technology is infused into almost every class which makes for a fun and engaging classroom session. Class sizes are never any larger than 14 students, so they really get to know your child and work to provide the most meaningful and memorable experience possible. Visit the MFS SUMMER PROGRAMS WEBSITE to learn more about these innovative summer programs.
Music Theatre Philly Camps
At MTP Camps, campers will sing and dance to some of the hottest titles on Broadway and beyond. Their professional teachers will train students in dance, vocal technique, and acting through class and rehearsal. In addition to the performing arts, they will also unleash their visual artist. All campers will help create costumes and set pieces to magically turn our studios into the camp’s theme for a culminating showcase for family and friends! Though all MTP Camps are built on a foundation of singing, acting, and dance classes, each camp is designed and geared toward a specific theme and are great for both beginners and more seasoned performers. Each camp has something different to offer. For a full write-up on Music Theatre Philly, click here. To sign up for MTP Camps, visit online.
Appel Farms Camp
If you’re looking for an arts-focused program with all the outdoor play of traditional summer camps, Appel Farm Arts Camp is the perfect fit. For nearly 60 years, summers at Appel Farm have offered children ages 7-17 the chance to join a creative, nurturing community of artists from around the world in rural South Jersey. Flexible, combinable two-week session and dynamic learning programs with a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio allow campers to practice the creative process with hands-on learning and collaborative projects. A focus on camper choice, personal attention, and love of learning helps children identify and ignite their unique strengths, skills, and confidence in music, theatre, dance, color guard, visual arts, photography, video, creative writing, sports, and swim. Learn more online. Check out this informational video.
Curio Theatre Camp
At Curio Theatre Camp, theatre professionals engage campers in acting, improvisation, movement/dance, theatrical design, and playwriting. As the session progresses, your camper’s group will begin developing and rehearsing their Showcase performance which will be performed for free to the public on the final day of camp. The camp serves students age 7-17. Register before April 1st for a $50 discount. Scholarships may be available based on demonstrated financial need. Learn more online.
Yes! And… Collaborative Arts Camp
Yes! And… Collaborative Arts offers a summer of adventure in play. Middle School students have the opportunity to join Summer Theatre Camps for three-week sessions where they create imagined identities, roles, shared history, and stories – all through play and work in daily classes. These classes include acting, dance, visual arts, music, and storytelling. Each Summer Theatre Camp experience ends with a World Premiere Performance imagined, created, produced and performed by the students. Yes! And also offers Theatre Camp Intensives, one-week intensives honing in on visual arts, improvisation, and technical theatre. There’s even a musical theatre camp offering students the opportunity to put on a full-length musical for a paying community audience. “Camperships” and other financial aid are available for all programs. Learn more online.
Wolf Performing Arts Camp
Sing, dance, and act all summer long at Wolf Performing Arts Center in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Their Summer Theatre Camp experience offers programs for performers in K-12th grade. Their PAC (3rd-8th grade) program offers both one and two-week sessions. Campers perform in fully staged Broadway junior musicals: James and the Giant Peach Jr, Peter Pan Jr, Shrek Jr, and Mary Poppins Jr. The Wolf HIGH (9th-12th grade) program offers campers a split day between an acting intensive program (Actor’s Lab) and assisting campers as Counselors-in-Training. Register online and get $50 off between 2/14 – 2/21 with promo code LOVECAMP.
NEW! Queen and Rook Summer Camp
Check out Philly’s newest Summer camp at Queen and Rook Board Game Cafe! Running from June 8 to August 14, young adventurers from 6 to 15 years old will be able to choose either the Board Game Track or the Roleplaying Game Track. Each week Adventurers will engage in project based learning, collaborative creation and problem solving while having lots of laughs and a great time with new and old friends. Plus, real world game designers and fantasy writers are coming as guest speakers to talk about the creative process and business of games! Take advantage of the early bird specials through March 31 and bundle 3 or more weeks and save even more. Financial aid available for those with documented financial need. Visit online for more information.
Low Cost City Rec Center Camps
Each summer, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation holds more than 130 neighborhood day camps and a dozen theme camps throughout the city. Generally, camps are for children ages 6-12. More than 7,000 campers attend each summer. Summer day camps are held at neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and playgrounds. They offer arts & crafts, sports, educational activities, games, field trips, and more.
Camps vary in cost but average around $500 for a six-week day camp program. The cost is amazing especially considering the free field trips to Phillies Games, amusement parks, and more! Each camp has its own admission process with some slots easier to score than others. Check with your local rec center for their application process. *There is a rec center summer camp finder online, but it’s a little wonky and definitely incomplete. Also note, last year additional “gap weeks” were added to fill the full summer break, so check in to see if more weeks are added in the coming months!
Free Summer Programs
Camp Philly offers a free overnight camp option for Philadelphia residents. Opened in 1948, Camp Speers is a 1,100-acre property with a 40-acre private lake. Under the guidance of positive adult role models, campers participate in a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing, rock climbing. basketball, arts and crafts, and survival skills. To apply for a Camp Philly scholarship valued at $900, you must submit a completed application to your recreation leader, along with the $30 application fee by June 30. The application fee is the only cost to attend the camp. Your $30 will be refunded if a scholarship is not granted. Learn more online.
Red Cross Camp Save-a-Life
Camp Save-a-Life in West Philadelphia provides kids ages 10-14 with the opportunity to learn valuable disaster preparedness techniques and leadership skills. Camp attendees will become certified in CPR and First Aid, and most importantly, they will have fun while learning to keep their families safe! You can choose one of several different weeks offered throughout the summer. The camp is free of charge and participants will be provided with a snack and lunch daily. Applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis.
Girls Summer Chess Camp
ASAP Chess’s annual Girls Summer Chess Camp is a free, week long camp in North Philadelphia designed for all girls of all skill levels from grades K-12. The camp engages students in activities and experiences geared toward promoting the pride and prowess of Philadelphia’s chess-playing girls over the chess board. Learn more online.
Fairmount Water Works Summer Programs
Project Flow (For the Love Of Water) is a several-week program for middle-school students in the Philadelphia area to explore water as artists, scientists, historians, and social activists. Schuylkill Acts & Impacts is a week-long service-learning program offered to a team of fifteen high school students from communities within the Schuylkill River Watershed. Both programs are offered at no cost but have limited spaces. Learn more online.
GSK Science in the Summer™ Free Summer STEM Courses
GSK Science in the Summer™ is a free science education program sponsored by GSK and administered by The Franklin Institute, which introduces students to the wonderful and fascinating world of science. Programs are held during the summer in public libraries in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Local libraries, including Blanch A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek, Walnut Street West, and Wynnefield Neighborhood Libraries will offer two-day sessions in June and July. Registration for the Philadelphia program begins in May. Learn more online.
Our Mothers’ Kitchens Culinary & Literature Camp for Girls
Our Mothers’ Kitchens Culinary + Literature Camp is a 3-day immersive camp experience for girls of color, ages 12 – 17, interested in cooking and creative writing. Learn about the importance of food and African American cultural histories; share food stories through creative writing activities; learn basic cooking skills, recipes, and kitchen hacks; read the works of Zora Neale Hurston, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, Ntozake Shange and more. This camp is free and breakfast and lunch are provided. Learn more online.
The Evoluer House Summer Empowerment Programs for Teen Girls
Two programs are offered for girls ages 13-18: Personal Development Program is taught by youth development and education professionals, to provide a reality-based learning experience to teenage girls to inspire a positive self-image, ambition, and true personal development. Youth Workforce Development Program provides teen girls with the social, resume-writing and communication skills they need to land a job, keep a job, and advance in their lives and careers. This 8-week program is taught by a team of youth development, human resources, and image professionals. Learn more online.
Summer Camps at College Settlement
The Mission of Summer Camps at College Settlement is to deliver a unique camp experience to young people concentrated in the greater Philadelphia area, without regard to economic circumstances. Their Horsham, PA-based day camp and overnight camp programs provide a safe, affordable, and nurturing place for young people to enjoy the outdoors while learning about themselves, others, and the environment. While this camp is not technically free, the rates are extremely low and take into consideration both financial hardship and your child’s school’s free lunch status (which means all Philadelphia School District students, regardless of income, receive a deeply reduced rate.) Their overnight camps actually have a $2,000 overhead per camper for a 12-day session, but they charge as little as $175 and at most $895 for a 12-day session to overnight camp, and they rely on donations to bridge the gap. Learn more online.
*Disclosure: Some of the camps featured in this post paid for inclusion.