Attending an overnight summer camp is an opportunity for your child to gain independence, experiment with new interests, cultivate friendships, and spend more time outdoors.
With the impressive Mount Rainier, extensive parks, Lake Chelan, and top-notch academic programs, Washington provides the perfect backdrop for your child’s next summer camp experience.
We rounded up this list of the best overnight camps in Washington to make planning a fun summer much easier!
1. Four Winds Camp
Location: Deer Harbor
Dates: June 22 – August 27
From its all-blue camp uniforms to its focus on the simpler things, Four Winds Camp is the epitome of a traditional sleepaway camp. At Four Winds, campers are encouraged to develop their skills in a variety of activities, including sailing, music, poetry, sports, gardening, horseback riding, canoeing, and handicrafts.
Underpinning all of these activities is a commitment to building community, honoring nature, and exploring differences in a meaningful context. Accommodations also contribute to this mission, with small cabins and tent options housing 4-7 campers plus one or two counselors.
Month-long sessions are offered for students entering grades 4 through 10. The first is held from the end of June to mid-July. The second is held from the end of July to mid-August. A one-week junior session is also available to help younger kids (entering grades 2 to 5) adapt to life away from home.
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2. Camp Indianola
Dates: June 27 – August 18
Camp Indianola is a ministry of the United Methodist Church that’s been in operation since 1957. Since then, the camp has been welcoming kids to its beautiful facilities located near Puget Sound.
For young elementary school students entering grades 2 to 3, there is a two-night session. This program lets them participate in games, crafts, and making campfire s’mores. Older kids participate in the one-week elementary program that offers boating, archery, and arts and crafts.
Middle school students can try new activities like riding the giant swing, kayaking, and hiking. More adventurous students also have the option of attending the outdoor adventure camp, complete with hiking excursions, a kayak trip, and a night out camping.
Kayaking enthusiasts in high school can join a week-long excursion focused on exploring the Puget Sound islands. You can also take everyone on vacation to their family camp in the middle of the summer.
3. Ekone Ranch
Dates: June 18 – August 6
Located on 1100+ acres of protected land on the edge of Rock Creek Canyon, Ekone Ranch has been welcoming campers to its facilities for around 40 years now. The camp’s philosophy is one of creating a community and having fun.
To that end, campers spend almost all of their time outside playing, creating art, and exploring nature in all of its forms. Sharing duties is also an essential part of the camp experience at Ekone Ranch. As a result, campers take turns cooking meals, caring for the garden, and feeding the animals.
Sessions last five and six nights, with each session hosting up to 25 children within one of their two age groups. Some weeks are focused on traditional camp activities like horseback riding or music. Others, like the Lizard McGizzard Camp, focus on carpentry, canning, and pasta making.
Regardless of the summer camp they choose, children can stay in the newly-renovated bunkhouse or directly under the stars.
4. Sunset Lake
Dates: June 25 – August 12
Managed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Sunset Lake is a summer camp located near the base of Mount Rainier. Campers are invited to explore and deepen their faith through a variety of activities in their overnight and day camps.
First-time campers in Washington can learn to adapt to camp life through the week-long Base Camp session. More experienced campers can participate in the Timberline Camp, complete with camp activities and outdoor adventures.
Adventurous campers ages 14 to 17 can enjoy Alpine Camp. This week-long session allows one to complete night missions and go on a weekend trip. There is also another option that focuses on developing campers’ connection to their faith through individual mentoring, guest speakers, and in-depth conversations.
In addition to its basic activities, each camp gives children the opportunity to try archery, rock climbing, biking, swimming, zip lining, art, and more.
5. YMCA Camp Seymour
Location: Gig Harbor
Dates: July 2 – August 25
YMCA’s Camp Seymour hosts overnight camps for 3rd to 12th-grade students. The goal is to create a safe environment where campers learn to get along with others, share life lessons, and find a sense of belonging.
Sessions are divided by age groups, allowing children to interact with their peers and participate in age-appropriate activities. Trailblazers (for grades 3-4), Explorers 5-6), and Mountaineers (6-7) have the opportunity to try things like sports, crafts, games, and theater.
Voyagers participate in traditional camp activities while also learning about team building. The Trek and Quest programs provide students with adventure experiences like a backpacking trip and a challenge course.
The oldest campers in the Lead option can experience activity planning and child development. They also run an outdoor education program, which is a good option for teachers or scout leaders who are looking for a place to take their students on field trips.
6. Wolf Camp & School of Natural Science
Dates: July 2 – August 27
Located near Tacoma and Seattle, Wolf Camp has been welcoming children ages 10 to 17 for a long time now. With an impressive 6 to 1 student-counselor ratio, parents can feel confident that their children will get all the attention they need.
Wolf Camp offers several week-long sleepaway camps, each with a different theme. There’s the Advanced Wilderness Skills & Survival Trek near Mt. Rainier. During this session, kids can hone their wilderness skills which include purifying water, starting fires, and scouting for edible plants.
Alternatively, the Wild Chefs & Herbal Medics session invites them to forage plants, make tea from local plants, and create natural salves. Additional sessions include everything from tracking birds, fishing, arts and crafts, and more. For accommodations, campers either sleep in tents or under the stars.
7. Camp Fire Puget Sound
Dates: July 3 – August 26
Operating since 1915, Camp Fire’s mission is to help children develop a love for nature, build life skills, form healthy habits, and find a sense of purpose. To that end, it’s open to all campers and has always offered an inclusive environment where they can grow.
Located on 350 acres on Vashon Island, Camp Sealth is the organization’s Seattle overnight camp. The property includes over a mile of private beachfront and plenty of hiking trails. The summer camp program runs for five days and offers students in grades 1 to 11 activities like boating, arts and crafts, white water rafting, horseback riding, backpacking, and swimming.
Kids always have a choice in deciding what their day will look like at Camp Fire. There are also specialty camps like Horseback Camp, Adventure Camp, and summer day camps.