Environmental Summer Camps 2020

By Finn Halloran

The Appalachian region has a lot to offer when it comes to summer experiences.These programs put the emphasis on fun, but have also been selected for this list because of their care for the environment. Whether it is lessons about taking care of the surrounding ecosystem or activities to instill a love of the outdoors, each camp brings something special and teaches children to love the planet.

Are you aware of a nature-focused summer camp in Central or Southern Appalachia that isn’t on this list? Email voice@appvoices.org and let us know.


Camp Chattooga/Athens Y Camp
Traditional values and camp activities blend to create an atmosphere of development and growth. Archery, camping and kayaking are featured.

  • Session: Seven sessions of six days each, from June 7 to Aug. 1
  • Location: Tallulah Falls, Ga.
  • Age Group: 7 – 14-year-old boys and girls, divided into separate camps
  • Cost: $800

Camp Woodmont
This close-knit and family-like atmosphere fosters growth in kids away from home, and focuses on activities such as a ropes course, fishing and studying different types of bugs. Splashing in the creek after long, hot Georgia days is followed by songs around the campfire.

  • Session: May 31 – July 31, one or two week sessions
  • Location: Cloudland, Ga
  • Age Group: 6 – 14
  • Cost for One Week: $950 before March 31, $995 after
  • Cost for Two Weeks: $1,495 before March 31, $1575 after


Appalachian Mountain Ecology Summer Camp
This field research course has less of the feel of a traditional summer camp and more of a science investigation. Join experienced researchers in looking at the salamander population of this biodiversity hotspot, as well as investigating the watershed health of the region.

North Carolina

Buffalo Cove
Buffalo Cove believes that doing is the best way of learning. Their hands-on approach to wilderness survival skills such as firemaking without matches lets kids delve into nature.

  • Session: July 1 – Aug. 5, three programs between six and 15 days
  • Location: Caldwell County, N.C.
  • Age Group: 8 – 17 year olds
  • Cost: $650 – $1700

Camp Muddy Sneakers
An enriching experience in hands-on learning, Camp Muddy Sneakers aims to deepen campers’ understanding of the natural world. Campers explore streams and forests to learn about various ecosystems and become more involved in naturalism.

  • Session: Ten five-day sessions from June 8 to Aug. 1. Times range from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. for ages 6 – 14 and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. for ages 4 – 6
  • Location: Hendersonville, N.C.
  • Age Group: 4 – 14
  • Cost: $175 – $335

Eagle’s Nest Camp
With activities ranging from ceramics to canoeing, gardening to free swim, and singing camp songs to rock climbing, Eagle’s Nest Camp offers a broad range of summer fun. Kids are able to get in touch with the wilderness while also learning new skills in art and cooking.

  • Sessions: Four sessions from June 13 to Aug. 16
  • Location: Pisgah Forest, N.C.
  • Age Group: Kindergarten through 11th Grade
  • Cost: $1,765 – $4,875

French Broad RiverCamp
A week of river exploration with rafting, swimming and learning. Separate sessions for 8-10-year-olds and 11-13-year-olds.

  • Session: Four five-day day camp sessions from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    June 15 – 19 & July 6 – 10: 6th – 8th Grade
    June 22 – 26 & July 13 – 17: 3rd – 5th Grade

  • Location: Asheville, N.C.
  • Age Group: 8 – 13
  • Cost: $250, scholarships available

Green River Preserve
A camp for curious and creative children, Green River Preserve is limited to 112 campers to increase the individual attention counselors can give. Both educational and hands-on, this camp is designed to nurture connection to the environment.

  • Session: Five sessions from June 7 to Aug. 7, ranging from one to three weeks in length
  • Location: Cedar Mountain, N.C.
  • Age Group: 7 – 14 (Rising 2nd Grade to Rising 9th Grade.)
  • Cost: $1,625 – $4,600

Redesigning Our Future: National Environmental Summit
Three environmentally focused groups are hosting this five-day summit at Catawba College to help young people understand the importance of caring for the environment. Speakers and small groups are part of the experience, and discuss topics such as sustainability.

  • Session: July 7-11 (overnight)
  • Location: Salisbury, N.C.
  • Age Group: 14 – 17
  • Cost: $400 before May 1, $490 after

Wild Western North Carolina
Choosing between weeks featuring either reptiles and amphibians, birds and mammals, or bugs and butterflies, there is certainly an incentive for any animal-loving child to participate in this summer program. After-care from 3-5 p.m. is available for an additional $50 fee.

  • Session: Eight five-day sessions from June 15 to Aug. 7, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. day camp
  • Location: Asheville, N.C.
  • Age Group: 6 – 10
  • Cost: $200


Smoky Mountains Adventure Camp
This excursion into Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains lasts between one to four weeks, and includes such activities as horseback riding, caving, rafting and overnight expeditions. With themed weeks throughout the summer to choose from, this camp is perfect for adventurous and outdoorsy kids.

  • Session: Four one-week sessions from June 27 to July 25.
  • Location: Cosby, Tenn.
  • Age Group: 10 – 18
  • Cost: $995 – $3,195

Tate’s Day Camp
A variety of activities builds the unique environment that Tate’s offers, including marksmanship, a zipline and even a climbing tower. Weekly camp themes keep campers guessing, and this summer experience helps kids get to know their environment through free expression and exploration of the wild.

  • Session: May 26 – July 31 – 7/31
  • Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Age Group: 3 – 13
  • Cost: $280 – $350 per week


Living Earth School
Get back to nature at the Living Earth School, with skills such as animal identification, firemaking and hut building taught in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Expeditions are available for more adventurous and older teens, such as the WIlderness Quest, described as an inner and outer journey.

  • Session: A variety of camps and experiences from June 14 to Aug. 14
  • Location: Crozet, Va.
  • Age Group: 7 – 16
  • Cost: $345 – $825, varies depending on program

Nature Camp
Nature Camp puts an emphasis on learning how to love the outdoors, looking to instill an appreciation for nature in youth. They have been in session since 1942, and value teaching campers natural history.

  • Session: Four two-week sessions from June 14 to Aug. 8
  • Location: Rockbridge County, Va.
  • Age Group: 10 – 18 (Grades 4-12)
  • Cost: $960, financial aid available

Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing
With plenty of outdoorsy programs to choose from, this adventure camp has something for everyone. Wilderness Adventure wants not only to teach kids but to challenge them as well, push their limits, whether that be through mountain biking, caving or kayaking.

  • Session: Multiple sessions for elementary, middle and high school students ranging from one to three weeks between June 28 to Aug. 15
  • Location: New Castle, Va.
  • Age Group: 8 – 18
  • Cost: $1,075 – $2,900

West Virginia

Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies
The Burgundy Center’s summer program is a small affair, only welcoming 36 campers per session, and ensures that each kid is given individual attention. A friendly and non-competitive camp on over 500 acres of mountain land gives kids the chance to play and learn about the great Appalachian Mountains.

  • Session: Four one- to two-week sessions from June 21 to Aug. 22
  • Location: Capon Bridge, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 8 – 15
  • Cost: $1,055 for the one-week junior program (ages 8-10), $1,850 for a two-week senior program (ages 11-15)

Camp Greenbrier for Boys
Boys at Camp Greenbrier are encouraged to be themselves. Through a wide variety of outdoor activities like sports and woodcraft, campers get acquainted with nature. On the banks of the Greenbrier River, aquatic activities abound.

  • Session: Two three-week sessions from June 28 to Aug. 8, 3 week sessions
  • Location: Alderson, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 7 – 15
  • Cost: $3,500 per session or $5,900 for the summer

Camp Rim Rock for Girls
Camp Rim Rock offers horseback riding, theater, arts and crafts, and different types of aquatics to campers over the summer. Learning to be at home on a mountain, on a horse or underwater, this summer experience opens many doors for the campers at Rim Rock.

  • Session: Five two-week sessions from June 26 to Aug. 8
  • Location: Yellow Spring, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 6 – 16 (Rising 2nd to 10th Graders)
  • Cost: $3,050 for two weeks, $5,600 for four weeks

Camp Waldo
Now in its second summer, Camp Waldo is bringing the message of environmental importance to children. Fun and games help children become comfortable in the outdoors, and educational activities teach them to love the earth.

  • Session: June 13 – July 3 (overnight)
  • Location: Hinton, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 10 – 13 (Grades 4-7)
  • Cost: $200, financial aid available

Junior Conservation Camp
With focuses on environmental protection and forestry, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Junior Conservation Camp is a great way to get children introduced to topics like conservation and ecology. Geocaching and sports are a great compliment to more serious topics like solid waste management.

  • Session: June 15-19 (overnight)
  • Location: Ripley, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 11 – 14
  • Cost: $175

Mountain Stewards Summer Camp
An exploratory and adventurous camp, most of the programs at Mountain Stewards are built around navigating West Virginia’s mountainous regions through caving, hiking, rock climbing, and much more.

  • Session: Various four- to 11-day programs from June 7 to July 29
  • Location: Pendleton County, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 8 – 18
  • Cost: $375 – $1,650 depending on program, scholarships available

West Virginia State Conservation Camp
Camp participants can enjoy rappelling, kayaking, and learning about forestry and natural resources, among other things. This camp is also a great chance for kids to learn from professionals in outdoor jobs.

  • Session: June 15-20
  • Location: Webster County, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 14 – 17
  • Cost: $200, scholarships available

Wind Dance Farm Summer Camp
Time spent at Wind Dance Farm is educational and restful. Between gardening and preparing meals, campers relax in hammocks and listen to fiddle music. When not canoeing or hiking the Appalachian Trail, they play unserious games and take a silent siesta.

  • Session: A variety of day camps and overnight camps from June 8 to Aug. 8
  • Location: Berkley Springs, W.Va.
  • Age Group: 3 – 17, depending on program
  • Cost: Varies based on program

Are you aware of a nature-focused summer camp in Central or Southern Appalachia that isn’t on this list? Email voice@appvoices.org and let us know.

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