Credit: Canoe Island French Camp
One-of-a-Kind Camps and Classes
Nostalgia is a powerful force — many of us can’t imagine summer vacation without cabin groups, campfire stories and canoe tippy tests. But if tradition doesn’t hold much water for your family, you might be drawn to one of these camps that take kids way off of the beaten path.
Schooner Martha Foundation (Port Townsend)
The Schooner Martha Foundation offers sail training for youths (12 and older) and sailing vacations for families. No experience is necessary! Learn about yachting and restoration as you sail in and around the San Juan Islands, the Puget Sound and Canadian waters. Trips range from day sails to 3–4 night voyages. Participants must be physically fit and competent swimmers. You can learn more about the program and see the 2023 schedule here.
Costs: $125 per day for youths, scholarships are available
Majestic Adventures (multiple locations)
At Majestic Adventures summer day camps, kids choose mythic archetypes and powers, band together as a team, solve riddles and dilemmas, negotiate treaties, interact with interesting characters and swashbuckle with foes using safe foam swords. Held in local parks, camps give kids up to a week of experiential education through co-created live-action roleplaying games that develop decision-making, critical thinking, teamwork, communication and ethical reasoning skills.
Smithsonian Summer Camp (virtual)
Smithsonian camps on a variety of themes, from designing video games to a virtual road trip and building fantasy-fiction worlds, will be conducted via Zoom, with half-day morning or afternoon sessions available. Led by educators, kids will explore the museum’s collections through interactive play, art creation and experimentation.
Wing Luke Museum offers three unique weeklong day camps. At Camp Bruce Lee, campers learn from the teachings and life of Bruce Lee through daily martial arts lessons, visits to the museum’s Bruce Lee exhibit and explorations of the International District. At Feasts and Flavors, campers make delicious treats inspired by the neighborhood’s community and restaurants. And Arty Party is a week of making art and exploring identity inspired by the history and artworks of the International District.
Canoe Island French Camp (Orcas Island)
There’s nothing like a summer trip to Paris to improve one’s French. Unless it’s a week at Canoe Island’s French Camp, where campers re-create the French Revolution (more or less), explore the Pacific Northwest like the fur trappers of old or learn the chivalric ways of medieval knights-errant. All French language skill levels are welcome.
Cost: $2,450–$4,250 (three-tiered sliding scale)
MoPOP’s unique summer camps employ professional teaching artists and partnerships with other arts organizations to help campers create original music videos, explore fantasy worlds, discover the world of drag or design their own museum exhibits.
Cost: Varies (check their website for summer 2023 info)
Up next: Classic Summer Camp Experiences