Waiting for Summer in the Winter Gray, It’s Already Time to Plan

Natalie and her daughters at the beach

Golden Gardens sand castles and hot, shell-scavenging afternoons in the long-awaited sunshine. Popsicles melting sugary rainbow streaks down our arms. Salty weeks at the coast. Cooling mountain hikes with all the humans and dogs in our clan, and backyard barbecues under starry skies: These are the things that mean summer to my family.

In the Pacific Northwest — often shrouded in mist and fog — we wait with bated breath for the brightest season, stashing flip-flops, floaty pool toys and industrial-size bottles of sunscreen for the months we know will come back to us eventually.

Natalie's family feet together on the sand at the beachBut as you look ahead toward the warm glow of summer, it might be easy to forget the upsides of the season as you scramble to find the right camp for your child. By now, it is time to begin the search for fun, safe, engaging and unique camps for our kids.

In my family, the task can indeed feel overwhelming. Our two kids have very different personalities, but both enjoy new experiences while being shy homebodies at times.

There’s only one way to approach the camp quandary: With the memory of warmth on our faces and the calming scent of blooms and burgers in our noses, we must thank the sun gods that we have so many incredible options — then deliberately begin our search. Luckily, ParentMap and ParentMap.com have more resources, summer ideas and camp listings than you can shake a soft-serve, chocolate-dipped cone at. And when you’re done finding the perfect camp, stay connected with us in print and online for ideas and inspiration galore for your parenting journey.

Now as the rain still pelts your windows, settle in with a hot coffee or tea and allow yourself to dream — and plan — for the summer soon to come. I know I will be.

— Natalie

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