How To Find An Affordable Summer Camp

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Summer camp is a classic childhood experience, and a win-win for both parents and kids. Kids get the opportunity to make new friends, get out of their comfort zone, and gain some independence. Parents get the satisfaction of knowing that their kids won’t spend all day in front of the TV. More practically, they know someone is taking care of their kid while they’re at work.  

The only possible sticking point is the price. After all, camps provide food, entertainment, and, in some cases, beds. A lot of camps may be out of your price range, but there are still places that provide a great camp experience at an affordable price. Here’s where you should look.

American Camp Association

The American Camp Association should be your first destination if you’re looking for a summer camp. Their website  lets you search camps by several categories, including activity, location, and, most importantly, price. All camps listed meet their strict quality requirements, which should give you peace of mind.


Your local YMCA is another great option for those looking for an affordable summer camp, and you don’t need to be a member to sign up. Programs offered vary by location, so check their website to see what’s available in your area.

Colleges and Schools

Colleges often provide affordable summer camps, but some programs tend to fill up quickly. You should also check with your kid’s school - even if they don’t provide camp themselves, they may be able to point you in the right direction.  

Your Parks Department

Most parks departments have some form of child entertainment, including summer camp. If yours doesn’t offer this service, check with another government department - police and fire stations have been known to hold camps.

Here are a few other tips to help keep down costs:

-Be flexible with your schedule. The more dates you have available, the better opportunity you have to find a good deal. See if camps have waitlists - you never know if someone else will cancel.

-Ask if financial assistance is available. Many summer camps have scholarships, payment plans, or other forms of financial aid.  

-Day camps are generally cheaper than sleepaway camps, though it takes more planning to drop your kid off in the morning and pick them up at night. You could also look into half-day camps.

-Search camps by activity, and make sure they line up with your kid’s interests. You may want them to try new things, but it’s important that they have a good time!

By Luke Smith

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