10 Cool Summer Camps for Teens They'll Actually Want to Attend (2024)

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 others, a summer camp for teens—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. There's no wrong or right way for your teen to experience summer, but if you're looking to get them signed up for a summer camp program, we're here to help.

Read on for 10 cool summer camps for teens that might be the perfect fit for your kiddo, even if they're "too cool" for camp.

1. Camp Chief Ouray

This over 100-year-old Christian 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. Camp Chief Ouray's program prioritizes five core values: caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith.

Day camps are geared toward kids ages 5 to 14. They run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. These camps include activities like archery, sports, swimming, arts, gaga ball, hiking, rock climbing, and more.

Overnight camps include adventure programs for teens. These include:

  • Adventure trips (13-16): Camping below the stars in a wilderness program
  • Trekker trips (14-17): Hone wilderness skills in an out-of-state camping trip
  • Leadership training (15-18): Develop leadership skills through camp and wilderness activities

Each camp is one to two weeks long. Campers learn to work as a group and live in harmony with the environment. Camps are overseen by certified camp counselors who are background-checked and have extra training in Wilderness First Aid certification and childhood abuse prevention.

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

This outdoor adventure camp is part of Idaho Basecamp, located in Ketchum, Idaho. It teaches kids important values and life skills through the use of entertaining activities in the Idaho wilderness. M.A.T. runs several camps per summer, and each camp has a theme, along with accompanying age groups.

There are single and double overnight camps for ages 11–14 and even a four-night road trip camp. Plus, there are themed camps like river rafting, survival skills, and rock climbing.

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3. Camp True Colors

Camp True Colors is an overnight camp held on a 93-acre Willow River, Minnesota campus. It is dedicated to providing a safe place and team-building camp experience to 7- to 20-year-old LGBTQ+ youth. This camp has sessions for all LGBTQ+ youth, plus sessions for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive kids.

The organization connects campers to a wider LGBTQ+ community so they can continue the conversation and share their camp experience with others back home. In addition to their LGBTQ+ camps and transgender camps, they also offer a leadership camp and family camp.

4. HBCU Summer Camps

For teens considering attending a historically Black college or university(HBCU) after high school, a camp experience can be just the thing to learn about a college's culture. Here are a few HBCUs that offer summer camps for teens:

  • Morehouse College: Morehouse's Summer Academy is geared toward high school juniors and seniors and offers on-campus living, college courses, and workshops on SAT prep, financial aid, and career guidance.
  • Spelman College: Spelman's program is geared toward high school students with themes like art history, college prep, and early college.
  • Prairie View A&M University: Prairie View A&M offers STEM, college and career, and sports camps for teens 17 and under.
  • Hampton University: Camp choices include young diplomats, pre-college, leadership, equestrian, and marine and environmental science.
  • North Carolina A&T State University: Choose from camp options like business, entrepreneurs, agricultural leaders, accounting, and research.

5. iD Tech Camp

ID Tech runs summer camps at over 65 college campus locations across the country. The camp has been the top tech camp for over 20 years. The program offers teens the chance to participate in hands-on STEM learning and preview college campus life. Plus, the camp equips teen campers with real-life tech skills they can add to their resume.

6. iD Tech All-Girls Summer Camp

iD Tech All Girls Summer Camp is also offered by the same original tech camp for kids aged 7 to 17. The all-girls camps focus on:

  • Shattering stereotypes and building leadership skills
  • Collaboration, troubleshooting, and problem-solving
  • Teaching and mentorship by industry experts

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7. School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA)

SOCAPA runs several 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. At camp, they can develop two short screenplays, one longer screenplay, 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 14 to 18 can attend Vermont, Los Angeles, or NYC camps.

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8. Idyllwild Arts

Located in Idyllwild, California, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program provides high-caliber arts instruction and memorable arts immersion workshops to diverse students of all ages and abilities. Teens can receive intensive practical instruction in all the visual arts and performing arts, including:

  • Visual arts
  • Native American arts
  • Fashion design
  • Music
  • Dramatic arts
  • Film & digital media
  • Dance
  • Creative writing

Teens can choose from one-, two-, and four-week sessions.

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9. School of Rock

School of Rock's Music Camp programs cater to the following musicians of all levels, including guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists, and vocalists.

Camp options vary widely; some options include Songwriting & Recording Camp, 90's Camp, and David Bowie Camp. Sessions are held at School of Rock locations in most US states.

10. Sur La Table 5-Day Teen Series

Teens aged 12 to 17 who are aspiring culinary masters may enjoy five-day programs held at Sur La Table locations nationwide. Teens can choose from classes focusing on general cooking skills to more specialized options, like exploring global flavors or baking.

The menus are teen-friendly and inspire confidence in cooking skills. Plus, most end with a sweet finish to look forward to.

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10 Cool Summer Camps for Teens They'll Actually Want to Attend (2024)


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