Best Overnight Summer Camps In Florida 2024

Best overnight camps in Florida

With most days filled with sun and average summer temperatures well into the 80s, Florida definitely deserves its Sunshine State nickname. You will be hard pressed to find more interesting nationals parks than the Everglades National Park or beautiful islands like the Florida Keys anywhere else in the United States.

But just as there are many unique landscapes in Florida, there just as many fantastic summer camps. All of this excellent weather means plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities for children.

Whether your child enjoys swimming, horseback riding, fishing, or hiking, these are the top overnight camps in Florida.

Summer CampLocationAgesGenderSession Lengths
Camp GuaikinimaWeston6-16Coed2, 3 weeks
Camp Crystal LakeStarke7-15Coed1 week
Camp DovewoodO'Brien7-16Girls1, 2 weeks
Busch GardensFairbanks12-18Coed1 week
Camp IdlewildLand O' Lakes6-17Coed1 week
Florida Fantasy Fishing CampSt. Petersburg9-15Boys1 week
Camp O’the PinesMolino8-12Coed1 week

1. Camp Guaikinima

Camp Guaikinima is a bilingual language immersion camp for kids between the ages of 6 and 16. This model is designed to enable kids to recover, practice, or perfect their Spanish speaking and listening skills. 

Sessions last two or three weeks and include a variety of fun camp activities. Many of them, like waterskiing, wakeboarding, and paddle boarding, take place on the water. However, land lovers can try their hand at paintball, hiking, target shooting, and a ropes course. 

When the day is through, campers gather in the dining hall for self-service meals before heading back to one of the air-conditioned cozy cabins with several other campers and two counselors. 

You can also sign up for their day camps that accept younger kids four years and up. The day options are hosted in three separate locations throughout Miami-Dade County. 

2. Camp Crystal Lake

Camp Crystal Lake is a 140-acre overnight summer camp and education center owned by the Alachua County School Board. Each summer season, students in grades 2 through 9 spend one or two weeks at this oasis containing freshwater lakes, miles of wooded trails, a ropes course, and more. 

At the beginning of each session, campers can create their own unique schedule by selecting five camp activities. Choices include dance, archery, yoga, stand-up paddle boarding, and art. 

Through these activities, Camp Crystal strives to create a safe space where campers feel empowered to explore new interests, grow relationships with their peers, and test their independence. 

Campers are divided into cabins, each accommodating up to 20 people. Cabins include basic furnishings, indoor showers, and beautiful lake views. Outdoor education is a huge part of their program, so if you’re a teacher or principal looking to take your class or school on a field trip, this is a great option. 

3. Camp Dovewood

Blending Christian values, horseback riding, and traditional camp activities, Camp Dovewood provides all-girls summer camps. Each day at Camp Dovewood starts with a visit to the Chapel where girls pray, sing, and worship. After breakfast, campers choose activities to fill their day. 

Many options, like grooming, stable management, and riding lessons, are related to equestrianism. In the grooming course, girls learn skills like bridling and saddling. Riding classes include instruction in English, Western, and Freestyle. 

Aside from equestrian activities, their Florida summer camps include courses on gymnastics, drama, swimming, and bible study. Regardless of what you choose, you’re guided by strong female Christian role models.

While the activities are diverse, the goal is singular—to help girls mature socially, spiritually, and intellectually so that they can become God’s stewards. 

4. Busch Gardens

Animal lovers entering grades 7 through 12 can feel right at home at Busch Gardens’ educational science programs. Operating for more than 20 years, Busch Gardens camps are a mixture of animal adventures and thrilling theme park rides. 

To say there’s never a dull moment here is an understatement. Campers are housed at Busch Gardens’ onsite dormitory, Mzinga Lodge, and also get to spend two nights camping next to animals at SeaWorld. These Florida overnight summer camps last five days (Saturday through Thursday) and are divided into two grade-based groups. 

The first group, Tampa Legends of Land & Sea, is designed for rising 7th to 9th graders. During the camp, students watch lions at night, observe dolphins and other sea creatures at SeaWorld, ride roller coasters, and get face-to-face time with a diverse group of animals.  

High school students in grades 10 through 12 are invited to the Zoo Fundamentals camp, where they get hands-on experience helping zoo keepers. Some activities include preparing animal meals, practicing training techniques, and learning the basics of wildlife conservation.  

5. Camp Idlewild

Spread over 140 acres, including a private lake, Camp Idlewild in Land O Lakes offers weekend camps for special needs children and young adults in Central Florida.

More specifically, Camp Idlewild’s curriculum is designed to support children of all abilities. Program activities include nature walks, sports, treasure hunts, yoga, drumming circles, swimming, and more. 

Each of them is designed to challenge campers so they can grow and develop new skills in a supportive place. Their facilities include large cabins, a swimming pool, and a sports center. 

While all of the sessions offer more or less the same things to do, each weekend has a different theme with accompanying special events. Some themes include Surfs Up, Space Quest, and Jungle Mayham. Day camps are offered by Camp Idlewild as well. 

6. Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp

If your teen or tween can’t get enough of fishing, then look no further than the Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp. The day and sleepaway camps in St. Petersburg welcome aspiring anglers ages 9-15 to spend a week on the water honing their fishing skills. Four sessions are available throughout June and July. 

A typical day starts with kids heading out to explore Tampa Bay in bay boats with professional fishing guides. After four hours of fishing, campers head to a local marina for lunch. 

Following that, they attend a session led by a marine industry professional or learn additional fishing skills like knot tying, tackle rigging, and cast netting. Kids can also relive their best catches and cheer on new friends by watching a highlight slideshow. 

In the evening, campers can shore fish, swim, kayak, or just relax before returning to their waterside dorm on the University of South Florida campus. Apart from the summer, they also offer programs throughout the school year in the spring and fall. 

7. Camp O’ the Pines

Camp o’ the Pines has nearly 70 years of experience operating as an overnight Christian summer camp in Northwest Florida. The camp welcomes boys and girls ages 8-12 to participate in a combination of outdoor activities and spiritual guidance. 

Camp o’ the Pines runs five one-week sessions throughout the summer months, giving campers plenty of flexibility to choose the most convenient camp. 

During their week away, campers can participate in activities such as zip lining, arts and crafts, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. When they’re not busy running around, children are encouraged to attend prayer activities at Chapel o’ the Pines. 

At the end of each busy day, they head back to their air-conditioned cabins. Up to 18 campers sleep in each cabin, and all are staffed by a camp counselor. Meals are served family-style at The Skillet, and the offerings are a blend of kid favorites and healthy options.