Environmental Summer Camps

Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s time for summer camps! Environmental programs can help your child become a stronger individual, make lifelong friends and foster independence while learning about the outdoors. We compiled this list of environmental summer camps to help you get your kids outside and learning. —By Kaley Bellanti

Green River Preserve

Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, N.C.
Age: 7-17; Session: one week
Cost: $1000-2000
Green River Preserve is a co-ed overnight camp located on 3,400 acres of wildlife preserve in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Campers will crawl into caves and waterfalls, snorkel in rivers and creeks, track wildlife, hike and explore archaeological sites. Visit: greenriverpreserve.org

Campers learn to canoe at Camp Hidden Meadows, surrounded by the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests.

Sea Turtle Camp

Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Age: 13-17; Session: 11 days
Cost: up to $2000
Sea Turtle Camp is an 11-day adventure where campers work alongside the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital staff to care for sea turtles. Campers will learn about and help with coastal conservation, spending 20 community service hours working on eco-service projects that will teach them about salt marsh and wetland sustainability while directly improving the health of the North Carolina coast.
Visit: seaturtlecamp.com

UNC Wilmington Marine Quest

Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Age: 5-17; Session: one week
Cost: $800
Campers will have the opportunity to learn about marine life off the coast of North Carolina. Younger campers will spend their time exploring beaches and marshes, while the older campers will participate in ocean research cruises to learn about marine technology. Visit: uncw.edu/dpscs/marinequest/

Piedmont Wildlife Center

Location: Durham, N.C.
Age: 4-18; Session: daily from 9-3 Cost: $200-225/week
The Piedmont Wildlife Center’s summer camp program specializes in different themes each week. A few of this summer’s special camps include: “Way of the Cougar,” “Survival in the Natural World” and Swamp Crawler”. Visit: kidsprogramspwc.wordpress.com/camps/

Blue Jay Point County Park 4-H Camp

Location: Wake County, N.C.
Age: 8-14; Session: one week, mid-June Cost: $400
Campers have the opportunity to learn outdoors skills through hands-on activities such as horseback riding, archery, arts and crafts, ropes courses and more. Visit:

EARTH camps are held at Buffalo Cove, a beautiful 200-acre camp located at the headwaters of the Yadkin River in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Camp Katuah

Location: Raleigh, N.C.
Age: 7-15; Session: one week
Cost: $500
Master the basics of permaculture, a blend of natural science, native traditions, technology and ecological awareness. Campers will learn about natural paint, solar ovens, earthen ovens, gardening and more. Call: 828.664.0067

Gwynn Valley Camp

Location: Near Brevard, N.C.
Age: 5-13; Sessions: 1 to 4 weeks
Cost: Varies
Experience farm life and learn about your connection with the land. Campers will milk cows and goats, pick vegetables, feed animals, gather eggs and more. Campers will also spend time hiking, swimming and riding horses. Visit: gwynnvalley.com


Location: Deep Gap, N.C.
Age: 8-17; Session: one week
Cost: $500-1400
Buffalo Cove is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching children self-confidence and positive interaction with the earth. Campers learn traditional earth skills, campcraft, woodslore, hiking, canoeing and more. Visit: buffalocove.com

Ocean Adventure Camp

Location: Topsail Island, N.C.
Ages: 5-12; Sessions: Day or Week
Cost: $190/week
Campers learn to conserve the coast by spending time in the ocean, beaches and marshes. Camp themes include, “Mysteries of the Deep,” “Shark Days” and “Squirmy, Slimy and Spineless.” Visit: ematopsail.webs.com

4-H Camp Explore

Location: Greenville, Tenn.
Ages: grades K-8; Session: one week
Cost: $250
Campers learn about the environment and explore natural surroundings doing stream analysis, forest ecology, lake exploration, canoeing, woodworking, leather crafts, archery and other activities. Open statewide to the first 180 students that make a reservation. Visit: clydeaustin4hcenter.com/CampExplore/

Children have the opportunity to work with farm animals at Camp Idyllwild in Duck River, Tennessee.

Camp Idyllwild

Location: Duck River, Tenn.
Age: 5-11; Session: one week
Cost: $2000
Inspiring a love of nature, campers will build forts, explore creeks, hike, make arts and crafts, watch birds and learn about organic gardening. Visit campidyllwild.com

Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies

Location: Capon Bridge, W.Va.
Age: 8-15; Session: one week
Cost: $650
At the Burgundy Center, children and teens learn to respect the natural world, as campers are introduced to plant, animal and earth science. Campers participate in overnight trips, helping to foster their relationship with nature and the outside world. Visit: burgundycenter.org

Camp Hidden Meadows

Location: Bartow, W.Va.
Age: 7-16; Session: one week
Cost: $800
Camp Hidden Meadows provides campers with activities such as white water rafting, horseback riding, caving, hiking, woodworking, ice cream making and more. They also offer week-long horseback riding and rock climbing camps. Visit: camphiddenmeadows.com

Mountain Adventures Summer Camp

Location: Spruce Mountain, W.Va.
Age: 12-17; Session: one week
Cost: $850 plus
This camp defines adventure; campers will participate in activities that develop self-confidence while educating them about their natural surroundings. Activities include white water rafting, rock climbing, caving and more. Visit: mountain.org/summercamp

Rust Nature Sanctuary Summer Camp

Location: Leesburg, Va.
Age: 4-17; Session: one week
Cost: Varies
As part of the Audubon Naturalist Society Summer Camps program, this camp is located on over 40 acres of nature reserve. Campers will have fun with games, hikes, songs and other camp traditions in a natural setting. A counselor training program is available for campers over 13. Visit: audubonnaturalist.org/default.asp?page=547

Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in Virginia is full of adventures like the ropes courses pictured here

Wilderness Adventure

at Eagle Landing
Location: New Castle, Va.
Age: 8-17; Sessions: 1-2 weeks
Cost: $895-1795
At this outdoor adventure program, campers will indulge in rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, rappelling, caving, ropes courses and more. Visit: wilderness-adventure.com/

4-H Camps

Location: West Kentucky, North Central, J.M. Feltner and Lake Cumberland, Ky.
Age: 9-14; Session: one week
Cost: Varies
Children will learn about the environment doing activities such as fishing, hiking, swimming, riflery, archery, canoeing and more. Visit: ca.uky.edu/

Bear Creek Aquatic Camp

Location: Kentucky Lake, Ky.
Ages: 10-18; Sessions: 1-2 weeks; Cost: $300 plus
Bear Creek Aquatic Camp is a Girl Scout camp located on Kentucky Lake, featuring over 200 acres of waterfront property and 2 miles of shoreline. Campers learn sailing, windsurfing, archery, horseback riding, hiking and more. Visit: kygirlscoutcamps.org/bear_creek_aquatic.htm

Camp Crooked Creek

Location: Louisville, Ky.
Age: 11-17; Session: one week
Cost: Varies
Camp Crooked Creek is a Boy Scout camp where campers spend time learning about the wilderness and participate in activities such as: hiking, fishing, swimming. Scouts will also have the opportunity to earn merit badges. Visit: lhcbsa.org/59/BoyScoutSummerCamp

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