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Classic Summer Camp Experiences

Learn independence, make friends, reconnect with nature and more at these classic summer camps

Published on: February 07, 2024

Roasting marshmallows at an classic overnight summer camp

There is nothing quite like an old-fashioned summer camp experience — sitting around a campfire with s’mores in hand; participating in singalongs; trying new things, such as archery or boating; and enjoying traditional camp activities, such as hiking and swimming. At a classic summer camp, kids learn independence, make friends, reconnect with nature and just relax after an action-packed school year. With stays lasting from a few days to a month and sessions for first-graders through teens, there is a camp for every kid on this list.

Camp Sealth (Vashon Island)

At Classic Camp, kids can try a variety of traditional camp activities, including arts and crafts, outdoor cooking, singing, archery, bouldering, exploring and more. Plus, campers get to have a voice in planning their activities.

Dates: Weekly, starting July 1, 8, 17, 22 and 29; Aug. 7, 12 and 19
Grades: 1–10
Cost: $690–$990

YMCA Camp Orkila (Orcas Island)

At Camp Orkila’s traditional camp, kids can get a taste of the classics, including swimming in a pool, arts and crafts, a ropes course, visiting the Marine Salmon Center, sleeping under the stars and much more.

Dates: Starting June 24 and 29; July 6, 13, 20 and 31; Aug. 7, 14 and 21
Grades: 1–10
Cost: $1,350–$2,350, tiered pricing

Sunset Lake (Wilkeson)

Sunset Lake is a nonprofit summer camp and retreat center owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Set in the foothills of Mount Rainier, the center offers a classic overnight summer camp experience. For kids not ready for overnight camp, a weeklong day camp is offered for ages 5–10, June 24–28 for $350.

Dates: Various
Ages: 8–17
Cost: $575

Black Diamond Camp (Auburn)

The Christian faith–based Black Diamond Camp offers weeklong, full-day camps filled with traditional camp activities. During their time at camp, kids can try indoor climbing, swimming, slingshots, drift trikes, rappelling and many other indoor and outdoor activities they can’t always enjoy during the year.

Dates: Weekly, June 17–Aug. 23
Ages: 5–12
Cost: $299–$379

Camp Huston (Gold Bar)

At the Episcopal Camp Huston in Gold Bar, summer camp includes team-building activities as well as traditional camp activities. Each week includes a campfire, variety show and dance. A Mini Camp (July 15–18) for kids in grades 1–5 is perfect for younger campers who aren’t ready for a full week away from home yet.

Dates: July 7–13 and 31–27; Aug. 4–10
Grades: 1–10
Cost: $498–$795

Four Winds * Westward Ho (Orcas Island)

This camp offers monthlong sessions featuring a full program of activities, trips and group living experiences in which campers can connect with nature and become comfortable in their own skin. Campers entering grades 9 or 10 can take a six-day canoeing, sailing, kayaking or backpacking trip off the camp property.

Dates: June 21–July 18 and July 22–Aug. 18
Ages: 9–15
Cost: $7,600

Boys & Girls Clubs (multiple locations)

Boys & Girls Clubs’ summer day camps offer different themes each week for kids in grades K–5. Campers experience a wide variety of activities and field trips in a safe, inclusive and engaging environment. Summer sports camps are also offered.

Dates: Various
Grades: K–5
Cost: Varies

Girl Scouts of Western Washington (multiple locations)

Staff-led overnight camps are held at Camp River Ranch, Camp St. Albans and Camp Robbinswold this summer for registered Girl Scouts. Girl Scout volunteers host overnight community camps (dates below) at Camp Lyle McLeod, where campers can enjoy a traditional camp experience that includes boating, archery, campfires, singing, arts and crafts, and more.

Dates: June 23–29; July 7–13, 14–20, 21–27 and July 28–Aug. 3; Aug. 4–10
Grades: 2–12
Cost: Varies

Camp Zanika (Wenatchee)

Camp Zanika, located on the shores of Lake Wenatchee, is owned and operated by North Central Washington Council of Camp Fire. Kids can have a relaxed, traditional summer camp experience in a fun and safe environment. Choose from a mini week for younger campers to extended two-week stays for experienced campers.

Dates: Various
Grades: 1–12
Cost: Varies

Camp Kalsman (Kirkland)

Camp Kalsman, located on 300 acres near Kirkland, practices active Jewish education, incorporating Judaism into activities as campers learn new skills in athletic, aquatic, arts and nature programs. Sessions last from one to five weeks, focusing on different interests, such as kibbutz life, the arts, Hebrew immersion and outdoor challenges.

Dates: Various
Grades: 1–11
Cost: $1,925–$5,225 nonmember price, discount for members

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