Finding educational summer camps that are both fun and challenging can put your internet skills to the test. You can find long lists of various types of summer camps on camp websites; however, these sites may not help you find the best camp option if you want your teenager to have a summer learning experience or attend an academic summer camp.
In particular, if you are looking for a summer camp or program at a boarding school, it is important to learn about boarding schools and how to find the best camp for your teen. Some advantages of applying for a summer camp or summer program at a boarding school include:
- Experienced faculty – Boarding schools generally hire their own faculty and staff to direct and manage their summer programs. They are experienced, well-trained, and have extensive academic and campus life experience.
- Unique Settings – Boarding school summer camps have unique settings, including on the beachfront, near rivers, in the mountains, and even the desert. This allows campers a chance to have some real adventures in amazing places and experience the great outdoors. Whether you are seeking a boarding school camp near you or out-of-state, there are some great options.
- Stellar Facilities – Boarding schools have amazing facilities that generally include: dorms, classrooms, libraries and media centers, athletic facilities, and health center, as well as easy access to transportation (e.g. airports, trains, rapid transit).
- Student Transfers – Some boarding schools reserve a limited number of spaces for campers if they wish to apply for the academic school year. Attending an academic camp allows students to experience the campus directly before they apply and/or get ready to attend the school in the fall. This can be a real advantage.
To ensure a top notch educational summer camp experience, our focus in this article is on sharing summer learning experiences on boarding school campuses, but we also provide some general resources at the end for other types of summer camp lists..
Best Educational Summer Camps
During the summer, many boarding schools transform their campuses to cater specifically to summer campers in elementary, middle school and high school. Ages tend to be in the range of 11-17 years old, but some offer programs for younger campers in elementary school.
Boarding schools are able to offer specialized educational summer programs in diverse areas such as: Spanish, STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). In addition, you will find specialized camps for interests in aviation, computer science, drones, aquaculture, creative writing, horsemanship, woodcraft, leadership, and much more. Summer programs at boarding schools combine plenty of time to learn, but also time for rest, relaxation, fun, friendship, and educational trips.
Now, let’s turn our attention to a short list of western boarding schools to stimulate some ideas, as well as provide a more expansive list of boarding schools with summer programs in the U.S.
Academy by the Sea (California) – “Along their chosen learning track, summer campers will make friends and learn in a structured team-oriented and values-based environment. With our support, campers will cultivate self-esteem, self-confidence and self-discipline.” Set on a beachfront boarding school campus in the quaint village of Carlsbad, this summer program is geared for campers entering grades 7-12 (ages 11-17). Summer campers choose a specific track for summer classes and activities, but join the overall summer camp for recreational activities. The academic summer camp learning tracks typically include: aviation, science, and computer science. Their flagship program offers leadership training and they also offer athletic performance.
Culver Academies (Indiana) – “Rooted in our values and virtues, the Summer Schools & Camps is full of all kinds of Culver moments. It is character in action, citizenship at play, and leadership lived together, side by side. The time shared here, and its impact, are profound and life-changing.” Culver offers woodcraft (ages 9-14) and leadership development camps (upper school, ages 14-17). For the Upper School, they offer summer learning through a list of choices such as: horsemanship school, aviation school, naval school and a girls school.
Hockaday School (Texas)– Hockaday is a great option if you are seeking a writing camp. Geared for grades 5-8, “the Summer Writing Institute will include a thematic approach to writing, drawing from a variety of literary fiction and non-fiction sources. Short works will be analyzed to identify theme, structure, punctuation, diction, and figurative language Students will respond to pieces through prose and/or poetry, creating original writings for peer review.”
The Orme School (Arizona) – “Since 1929, campers from around the world have been coming to the temperate high desert of Arizona to enjoy one of the most unforgettable experiences of their lives – Orme Summer Camp – and this year will be no exception. Our gorgeous Western landscape and beautiful oasis of a campus make for an unrivaled living experience. Set on western landscape, Orme offers horsemanship camp (ages 12-16), fine art camp (ages 12-16) and a caravan camp (ages 14-17.” The Caravan Camp offers teens a chance to travel and experience new places such as Hawaii.
Oregon Episcopal School (Oregon) – This camp at Oregon Episcoplal School offers a number of options through their adventure program and some additional offerings for returning campers. “Our Adventure Program is built for the rising 6th-8th grader with challenging and enriching programs that expand knowledge, skills, and expansion of their idea of place. Our days will be dedicated to different themes, such as indigenous history, fur traders, and Westward Expansion taking us to national parks and experiential museums on the coast, towards the mountains, and right here in the Portland Metro area.”
Hawaii Preparatory Academy (Hawaii) – “Summer at HPA is open to all and offers a great introduction to the K-12 HPA experience. Students come from Hawai‘i Island and around the world to expand their academic potential and discover learning adventures within our extraordinary ecosystems, landscapes, and culture. Summer programs offer learning opportunities through enrichment courses and sports.” Specialized four-week academies for ages 11-17 include: Young Authors Academy, Arts Academy, Sustainability Academy, Marine Explorations Academy, and ELL (English Language Learners) Academy.
Boarding Schools with Summer Programs:
From various sources across the web, the list below includes the following boarding schools offering academic camps and/or summer educational experiences:
EAST and WEST COAST:
Baylor School, Tennessee
Cardigan Mountain School, New Hampshire
Cate School, California
Chatham Hall, Virginia
Choate Rosemary Hall, Connecticut
Cushing Academy, Massachusetts
Dunn School, California
Eagle Hill School, Massachusetts
Emma Willard, New York
Forman School, Connecticut
Rectory School, Connecticut
The Athenian School, California
The Bolles School, Florida
The Hotchkiss School, Connecticut
The Hun School of Princeton, New Jersey
The Lawrenceville School, New Jersey
The Taft School, Connecticut
The Webb Schools, California
MILITARY BOARDING SCHOOLS:
Army and Navy Academy / Academy by the Sea
Admiral Farragut Academy
Culver Academies / Schools and Camps
Fishburne Military School
Missouri Military Academy
Randolph Macon Academy
INTERNATIONAL BOARDING SCHOOLS:
TASIS The American School, Switzerland
Canada – Upper International, Columbia
FAITH-BASED: If you are seeking a faith-based summer program, you might want to search for summer programs with this in mind or contact your church.. For instance, there are summer programs offered by some Catholic, Christian and Quaker boarding schools. Keep in mind that all boarding schools have a strong mission, vision and set of core values.
SUMMER CAMP RESOURCES:
Here are some general resources to find summer camps near you.
Boarding School Review – Best Summer Boarding Programs
Private School Review – Summer Programs
American Camp Association