If you’re scrambling to find activities to keep kids entertained during the summer, consider enrolling your child in a sleepaway summer camp. Here kids form lifelong memories with their close peers and continue learning while school is out.
Virginia is a beautiful place to visit in the summertime, offering fantastic hiking trails through the Blue Ridge Mountains and water sports opportunities along the famous Chesapeake Bay. So it’s not surprising that there are several top-notch camps in the Old Dominion state.
Out of all the options, these are some of the best sleepaway summer camps in Virginia. Each review covers where they’re located, the length of sessions, and what types of activities are available in each camp.
|2, 3, 6 weeks
|Richmond Debate Institute
|Camp High Road
|2, 4, 6 weeks
|Passages Adventure Camp
|Camp Mont Shenandoah
|3, 6 weeks
|YMCA Camp Silver Beach
|1, 2, 3 weeks
1. Traveling Players
Traveling Players is an expert when it comes to theater summer camps and programs. Their overnight and day camps in Leesburg guide children toward improving their performing skills and giving them the perfect place to express themselves.
Kids and teens participate in some of the best plays ranging from Shakespeare to Greek Mythology. Their days will consist of rehearsals, fun activities, mentorship, and other hands-on training.
The camp is located on a 100-acre campus near the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains. The camps serve students in 2nd to 12th grade with 1 to up to 6-week sessions. Campers stay in electric-powered lodges with 8-12 other children.
The mission “to enhance self-expression, self-reliance, problem-solving skills, and heighten appreciation for life’s challenges” is accomplished throughout the many activities in the program.
2. Richmond Debate Institute
Since 2018, RDI has hosted annual 1-week camps for students ages 10+. This year, students can join their 7-day residential Scholars camp held at VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. RDI Scholars will follow a daily schedule of classes, team meals, afternoon study, and team socials.
Debate is a skill everyone should practice since it can play an important role in daily life. Their summer camp engages students in thought-provoking debates related to history, governance, and international affairs. RDI’s resident instructors guide students through a complete Monday to Friday full-day camp, and reserve the weekend for morning exercise at Monroe Park, art tours at the Institute of Contemporary Art, team movie screenings, and more.
You can give your child the tools to speak with conviction and civility by signing them up for the RDI’s debate camp.
3. Oakland School
For 74 years, Oakland School Summer Camp has provided a wonderful way to advance a child’s academic and social confidence. This five-week educational summer program is designed to hone learning skills without sacrificing any of the fun of a traditional summer camp.
Rising second graders through middle school students benefit from individualized learning plans, small class sizes, and one-to-one instruction daily. Each day is divided between academics (phonics/reading, English, and math) and typical camp activities like science and nature, horseback riding, archery, soccer, basketball, art, and swimming.
The camp runs from June 26 through July 27. Children ages 9 and above have the opportunity to take advantage of the whole summer camp experience, and all campers have the option of just staying for the day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
4. Camp High Road
Camp High Road is a fantastic adventure camp located only an hour outside Washington D.C at their 620-acre campus. There are summer programs available for rising 3rd graders through high school students in 12th grade. Both co-ed and single-gender weekly sessions are offered at Camp High Road.
Even though it’s a Christian camp affiliated with the United Methodist Church, any camper is welcome in their camp regardless of their faith. Bible study is incorporated into many camp activities but is not the week’s primary focus.
Some activities that campers can enjoy at Camp High Road include archery, horseback riding, mountain boarding, a high ropes course, rock climbing, hay rides, and swinging through the treetops on an 800-foot tall zip-line. The camp’s picturesque lakefront offers water sports like kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.
The camp’s goal is for participants to have fun, make new friends, grow spiritually, and gain newfound confidence. There are multiple sleepaway camps for varying age groups, including specialty camps on horseback riding and singing.
5. Camp Strawderman
Camp Strawderman is an old traditional camp in Virginia for young girls between the ages of 6 to 16. It offers exceptional views of the Shenandoah Valley and Allegheny Mountain Range, which campers can explore via the on-site nature trails.
Activities available at Camp Strawderman include arts and crafts, choir practice, tennis, dance, archery, swimming, and lakeside yoga. The summer camp also offers an excellent equestrian program where campers can ride, groom, and learn more about caring for horses. The girls start to bond with these animals throughout their time here.
Since Camp Strawderman is a Christian summer camp, a non-denominational service is held every Sunday in the facility’s open-air Chapel in The Pines. It’s also a rest day for campers, making it a popular day for parent visits.
Girls have more than 300 acres they can explore while staying away from technology and enjoying nightly campfires where they sing songs and cook smores.
6. Passages Adventure Camp
If your child wants to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, enroll them in one of Passages Adventure Camps. Each session lasts between four days to one week with a full itinerary of exciting pursuits for campers to enjoy.
Led by a team of experts, campers can partake in West Virginia’s Rock Week, where they climb massive peaks and grow more comfortable using the right equipment. River Week is also a popular session, allowing campers to paddle through North Carolina’s scenic rivers and lakes. Children also visit the Charlotte Whitewater Center, where they can experience thrilling rapids first-hand. Other sessions include a hiking expedition and wilderness survival training.
The summer camp programs are offered by Peak Experiences, a well-known rock climbing gym with locations in Midlothian and Richmond, Virginia. Children ages 11-17 are welcome to apply, and the facility also offers day camps for younger children.
7. Camp Mont Shenandoah
Located in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, Camp Mont Shenandoah offers plenty of outdoor opportunities for children during the summer. The camp has been a prime destination for young women since it opened in 1927.
Camp Mont Shenandoah boasts a wide range of daily activities, including archery, crafting, horseback riding, culinary classes, musical theater performances, hiking, and sports like soccer and lacrosse. Campers can also hang by the Cowpasture River waterfront, where they can swim, canoe, or relax on the private beach.
Girls ages seven to sixteen n are welcome to enroll in one of the camp’s three or six-week sessions. A shorter one-week session is also available for first-time campers that want to adjust to spending long periods away from their parents. It’s considered a home away from home by the many kids that attend each year, and girls can experience personal growth through the lessons and experiences at Camp Mont Shenandoah.
8. Camp Varsity
Nestled in the foothills of Virginia’s iconic Blue Ridge Mountain, Camp Varsity boasts excellent facilities and an even better view of Gaar Mountain. The sleepaway camp is open to girls and boys ages 7-15. Sessions are offered weekly, but campers can extend their stay longer.
Since Camp Varsity opened its doors in 1966, children have enjoyed fun summers in Northern Virginia’s vast wilderness. Campers can access some of the area’s best hiking trails and interact with the camp’s resident horses and chickens. Other exciting activities include crafting, gardening, canoeing, fishing, paddle boarding, horseback riding, talent shows, and yoga.
Camp Varsity always plans exciting themed camp days where campers can create long-lasting memories. A few themes they have used in the past include a Country Fair, Battle of the Bands, Fairy Tale Week, Star Wars Day, and Olympic Week.
9. YMCA Camp Silver Beach
The YMCA is known for having stellar summer camps, and Virginia’s Camp Silver Beach is no exception.
One-week sessions are available for young campers, and two to three-week sessions are offered to older children and teenagers. Teens can also enroll in their Expedition Camp, where they stay in a tent, hike the Blue Ridge Mountains, and learn how to survive in the great outdoors.
Situated on the breathtaking Chesapeake Bay shoreline, Camp Silver Beach offers great water sports opportunities. Kids can spend their days on the water on a banana boat, kayak, sailboat, or slide down a massive water slide. Those who want to remain on dry land can play beach games, zipline, soccer, dance, skateboard, and much more.
Other activities include archery, basketball, drama classes, photography, and tennis. As you can see, there are plenty of things to do for children ages 8-16. There are one-week, two-week, and three-week options.