It’s the middle of winter, but all you’re thinking about is summer. It may seem like the sunshine and warmth are a lifetime away, but, in a matter of months, you’ll be back outside basking in the glory of it all.
As a parent, you know how quickly time passes — soon enough, your kids will be done with school and ready for their summertime slate of activities. So, start the planning now by perusing our list of the country’s most incredible summer camps:
1. Camp Moosilauke — Orford, New Hampshire
For more than 100 years, Camp Moosilauke has welcomed campers onto its rolling, lush New Hampshire grounds. The boys-only camp cultivates a peer-positive culture to push their attendees to be their best selves. They spend much of their time outside, participating in a trio of activities: land sports, waterfront activities and outdoor adventures. So far, so good — CampRatingz has Camp Moosilauke in fifth place in its online rankings of more than 8,000 U.S. camps.
2. Teton Valley Ranch Camp — Dubois, Wyoming
Would your child enjoy getting in touch with the west’s cowboy roots? If so, Teton Valley Ranch Camp might be the place for their summertime adventure. Both boys and girls can attend this long-standing establishment, a 2,300-acre property with the silhouette of the Teton Mountains as its backdrop. Indeed, the Wyoming wilderness helps teach campers about leadership and stewardship, as well as their own capabilities. While at Teton Valley Ranch Camp, expect your kiddos to try fly-fishing, horseback riding and riflery, among other activities.
3. SOAR Adventure Summer Camp — Balsam, North Carolina
SOAR stands for “Success-Oriented Achievement Realized,” and that’s precisely what your child will come home feeling after a summer at this camp. This particular institution welcomes campers with ADD, AD/HD and learning disabilities to spend part of the season staying outside in tents. Each of SOAR’s outdoor adventures is designed to boost your child’s self-confidence and social skills — they’ll be more adept at handling life’s curveballs, too. And, although SOAR’s base is in North Carolina, you can also send your son or daughter to their other locations in Florida, California, Wyoming, Costa Rica, Belize or Peru.
4. SummerTech — Purchase, NY, or Weston, MA
SummerTech welcomes both overnight campers and kids who commute back and forth each day. Either way, as the camp’s name implies, campers will learn all about the latest tech innovations and processes. Kids get to choose main classes, which will present buildable skills. They also get to select the electives they take, which could fall into such areas as gaming, art, analog, sports, music or more. Then, after dinner, campers take part in either a social activity or a gaming session. Needless to say, some parents have trouble getting their commuter kids to go home when camp concludes at 9 p.m.
5. Pali Adventures — Running Springs, California
Pali Adventures provides campers with an interesting spin on the traditional summer camp. Attendees get to decide which of 18 dream jobs they’d like to explore. They’ll pick between such jobs as broadcast journalist, stunt person, rockstar or fashion designer. The careers they choose to experience will dictate the activities they do each day. Dabbling in these professional paths serves a purpose beyond future career planning — Pali Adventures strives to boost kids’ autonomy and self-esteem, too.
6. Camp Chief Ouray — Granby, Colorado
Camp Chief Ouray has more than a century’s worth of experience in creating summer memories that kids won’t forget. It helps that the camp stretches over some of Colorado’s famously gorgeous terrain. Outdoor adventures at Camp Chief Ouray help kids to develop the organization’s core values, including honesty, respect and responsibility. Interestingly, grown-ups can sign up for stints at Camp Chief Ouray, too. Not only do they host a family weekend, but they also have adult camps in the off-season — so, there’s fun for the whole family here.
7. Tripp Lake Camp — Poland, Maine
Girls who attend Tripp Lake Camp can expect to make lifelong friendships — at least, that’s the mission of this Maine-based destination, which has been around since 1911. Your daughters will learn self-assurance through the camp’s many activities, including equestrianism, canoeing, art, outdoor adventures and waterskiing. You’re likely to have a very happy camper on your hands at the end of summer, and you can keep the good times rolling by enlisting your girls in Tripp Lake’s winter camp, too.
Seize the Summer Now
Even in the middle of winter, you and your kids can start thinking about summer 2020 and beyond. What do they want to do? Perhaps one of these seven camps fits the bill.
If so, don’t wait — research registration dates or application requirements so that your child has the best chance of getting into the camp of their dreams next summer. That way, when warm weather rolls around, they’ll be excited about more than just the sunshine. They’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime camp to look forward to, all because you started your quest to find it in the middle of winter.