Camp, From Next Door to Across the Globe

Summer camps range from just down the road for a few hours a day to international travel for weeks at a time.

With so many choices it can be overwhelming to figure out what type of camp would be a good fit for your child. Here’s a primer on what's available to help you narrow your choices.

Day camp

A traditional day camp is six hours (half-day options may be available) and offers a variety of activities such as sports, swimming, art and music. These camps are located at YMCAs, public schools, or private settings.

(Check out for local camps.)

Is this a good fit?

Most of the activities are outside so if your child loves the outdoor and sports or team-building activities, this is a good choice. Since the activities are varied this would also be a good fit for a child that likes variety.


Specialty sports 
camps usually are one sport
 such as baseball or soccer that the child plays for 3 or 6 hours. There may be an option for tennis, golf, surfing or sailing camp. This type of camp is typically owned by private organizations although some towns may run sports camps.

(Find a variety of sports camps at

Is this a good fit?

If your child loves a specific sport
 and would like to improve skills, this would be a great option. It could even be a way for your child to try a new sport, such as surfing, that might be new to her.


Art and musical theater

Specialty art or musical theater camps focus solely on the arts. Musical theater camps typically showcase a production such as Beauty and the Beast. At an art camp a child would use a variety of art forms, like painting or drawing.

(Go to, where you can sort camps by arts or theater and drama, as well as by location.)

Is this a good fit?

Is your child creative and prefers the indoors? Then these types of camps would be worth looking into. It may be a good way to introduce the arts, since many of these camps are for just one week.


An educational camp focuses on learning a new skill or subject matter. Since it is camp and not school, these types of camps tend to be hands-on with an emphasis on fun.

(At you can search for camps that specialize in academics generally or specifically in areas such as STEM.)

Is this a good fit?

If your child is curious and always asking questions about how/why things work, this may be a good match for her. If a child is interested in learning a new skill such as computer programming or speaking Spanish some educational camps offer that as well.


Overnight camp is when a child lives at the camp for a week or longer. These camps tend to offer options such as sailing, boating, archery, horseback riding and other activities that may not be available close to your home.

(Go to to find options from across the state and country.)


There are two types of travel camps. One type is when your child goes on day trips and the other, sometimes referred to as “teen tours,” is when she travels with a group for an extended period, usually a few weeks or a month.

Is this a good fit?

Some of these camps travel to places by plane so it would give your child the chance to travel to a place that you might not have gone as a family. If your child enjoys experiencing new destinations, then this would be a great fit for him.

Cheryl Maguire is a freelance writer.

Categories: Camps & Classes