The Guide to Summer Adventure Camp for Kids and Teenagers

A picture of a girl rock climbing
Adventure camp gives children an unforgettable summer. Photo © Don Mason / Getty Images

Adventure camp is for hardcore, thrill-seeking kids who love to be active. Although these camps feature age-appropriate activities, campers can be challenged both physically and mentally. Learn more in this guide to summer adventure camp for kids and teenagers:

Get more help on finding the right kids' summer camps. Read the free Summer Camp Guide.

Ages Best Suited for Adventure Camp:

You can find day adventure camps that will accept preschoolers.

Most adventure camps won't accept children younger than 10 for overnight sessions. 

Length of Adventure Camp Session:

Adventure camps usually run for about a week, either through overnight stays or day activities that get kids home at night. Others offer adventure camp sessions for as little as one day or up to several weeks long.

Cost of Adventure Camp:

One day adventure summer camp rates usually start around $50 per child. Week-long camps generally begin at $200 for day camps and $500 for overnight camps. Overnight adventure camp sessions that last more than 2 weeks can cost several thousand dollars. You can sometimes find inexpensive camps too but you want to make sure they don't compromise on safety.

Examples of Adventure Camps:

  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Canoeing
  • Caving
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Ice Climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Marine Biology
  • Mountain Biking
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock Climbing
  • Sailing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Skiing/Snowboarding
  • Snow Climbing
  • Surfing
  • Survival
  • Wakeboarding
  • Whitewater Rafting

Typical Day at Adventure Camp:

Activities will vary based on the camp you choose. Some camps provide your little adventurers with activities they only do once and others focus on a few repetitive activities so your kids can begin to master them.

While adventure camp directors will tell you there's no typical day, a sample itinerary for adventure camp is:

  1. Campers take a walk first thing in the morning.
  2. Eat breakfast.
  3. Hike to a nearby mountain.
  4. Go rock climbing up the mountain.
  5. Eat lunch at the top of the mountain.
  6. Hike back to base camp.
  7. Free time until dinner.
  8. Campers eat dinner.
  9. Singing and roasting marshmallows around the campfire.
  10. Lights out.

What to Look for in an Adventure Camp:

Match your child's interests to the adventure camp. If he doesn't like to swim, surfing camp probably isn't the best choice.

Many adventure camps will teach your kids the basics since they've probably never been exposed to many of the activities before. Just be sure you're not sending your child to an advanced camp if he's not ready for it. For example, if your child has never stepped foot on a skateboard, you wouldn't want to send him to a camp for Tony Hawk wannabes.

Because of the physical demands of adventure camps, you'll want to be sure you ask the adventure summer camps on your short list about:

  • Safety procedures
  • Safety records
  • On-site medical staff

It's also best to be safe and talk with your pediatrician before sending your child to summer adventure camp.

A quick checkup can verify your child is in the best health and ready to take on the physical challenges this type of camp will present.

Summer adventure camp for kids and teenagers can be an excellent resource for burning off energy and meeting other thrill-seekers the same age. These opportunities give your kids an experience of a lifetime.