Courtesy Wilderness Awareness School
Awesome Overnight Camp
Winner: Wilderness Awareness School
At Wilderness Awareness School camps, kids live outdoors, for real. As one parent notes, “The kids get to learn to safely use knives, make fire, build shelters to sleep in and really come alive!” With small teacher-to-student ratios, Wilderness Awareness School instructors can emphasize in-depth, experience-based learning and personalize the curriculum to match the skill level of each group of students.
The media-drenched world quickly becomes a distant memory for teens who attend Camp Gallagher, situated on the shores of Case Inlet in south Puget Sound. Campers tell us the counselors sing them to sleep at this classic camp. Activities include swimming, games and crafts, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and overnight excursions that campers plan themselves.
Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains by the Snoqualmie River, Camp Gilead offers resident summer camps for kids in grades 3–12. This Christian camp’s programs are designed to help youth grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Classic camp activities include canoeing, obstacle courses, costume competitions, swimming, pickleball, drama and crafts.
Parents tell us that attending YMCA summer camp at Orcas Island’s Camp Orkila is transformative and fun for their children. Campers enjoy spotting marine life on the beach, swimming-pool time, a zip line and a climbing wall, along with arts and crafts, archery and traditional camp games like capture the flag. One reader told us their son has attended since third grade and will be a camp counselor this year.
Many campers begin their Camp Sealth adventure by traveling to its Vashon Island locale by boat. Run by Camp Fire Central Puget Sound, this camp ranges across more than 350 acres of forest and 1.5 miles of private beach on Puget Sound. Campers can attend Classic Camp, Horse Camp or an array of specialty camps, including Nocturnal Camp, during which campers stay up all night and sleep all day.