Summer camps encourage kids to adventure, explore and build resiliency while creating memories that last a lifetime. It’ also gives parents the break they need! There are awesome overnight summer camps that give your kids the opportunity to gain independence, learn new skills and make friends in exciting and beautiful settings (while you get a little time to yourself in). We’ve put together a short list of some of the best! Read on to find out more.

photo: USAG- Humphreys via flickr


Nike Basketball Camp at George Fox University
Just a half hour drive from Portland, Nike’s overnight basketball camp at George Fox University is an opportunity for athletes of all ages to gain essential individual and team skills from positive, professional-level coaches. Campers can choose from a position-specific or complete-player curriculum and have the opportunity to play in a league format that is tailored to their skill level. Camps for athletes ages 8 to 18 run through July and begin at $550.

George Fox University
414 N Meridian St
Newberg, OR

Camp Westwind
Camp Westwind is a non-profit residential camp located on more than 500 acres of woodlands along the Oregon coast just north of Lincoln City. Summer youth camps focusing on providing integrated, exceptional wilderness experiences have been offered at Westwind since 1937. Activities for campers in grades 2 and up include kayaking, archery, disc golf, horseback riding, backpacking, games, crafts, and of course beach fun and games. Coed sessions run all summer and there are options for campers of every level, from three-day camps for young beginners to multi-week teen leadership programs. Programs fees begin at $350.

Camp Westwind
Otis, OR

photo:Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via flickr

Trackers Earth
Trackers Portland is a multi-faceted program that offers training in outdoor skills from several locations in the greater Metro area throughout the year to kids ages 4 and up and adults. Their summer camp program focusing on outdoor adventures, leadership, and traditional skills is based out of Sandy, Oregon, but also offers expedition-style excursion camps to adventurers in fifth grade and above. They also offer weekend camps and extended stay options for explorers that just can’t get enough of ranching, wilderness survival, gardening, or outdoor role-playing skills and activities. Camps run all season and start at $550.

4617 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Portland, OR

Camp Namanu
Camp Namanu has been operating on the banks of the Sandy river since 1924. Now operated by Camp Fire Columbia, this is the place to go for an iconic summer camp experience that includes cook and camp outs, hiking, boating, swimming, and challenge courses. Camp Namanu prides itself on fostering friendship and community and encourages cabin groups to tailor their experiences to their interests- there’s even an option to stay in tree-house cabins! A wide range of possibilities exist for program length from three-day mini camps to extended stays and special programs for horse-lovers are offered at the Namanu Ranch! Camps for K through 12 run all summer and start at $200.

10300 SE Camp Namanu Rd
Sandy, OR

photo: moonjazz via flickr


Big Lake Youth Camp
Camp Big Lake, located outside of Sister, Oregon, offers traditional camp activities like canoeing and swimming in addition to BMX, cross country, digital photography, drama, gymnastics and more along the shores of Big Lake. While there, campers ages 7 and up get to choose their daily focus activity, or they can enroll in a week-long intensive program in their area of interest. Big Lake plays an important role in the camp itself, enabling campers to participate in a broad range of water sports including wake sports, paddle boarding, wind surfing and sailing! Week-long sessions run all summer and begin at $425

Big Lake
Willamette National Forest, Or

Oregon’s Museum of Science and Industry offers hundreds of classes and camps throughout the year to young people of all ages. Their overnight camps offer unique experiences for young people to explore a diversity of landscapes from the coast to the mountains and desert in their expedition programs or stay in a residential camp to focus on skill building, life sciences, and earth and space sciences. These camps, which range from just a few days to a week or more are a perfect way to introduce your budding astronomers, geologists, biologists, and outdoor adventurers to the outdoors, there’s even programs for ambitious young documentarians! Prices start at $300.

1975 SE Water Ave


Columbia Gorge School of Theatre Camps
The Columbia Gorge School of Theatre offers an immersive experience in the theater arts for young people ages 8 to 18 from the Lewis and Clark College campus in southwest Portland. This camp offers specialized programming for each student in a wide range of theater arts including acting, music, singing, dance, and TV and film craft with small class sizes and ample performance opportunities- every student gets to perform in a show! When not in class students participate in recreational activities including sports, arts and crafts, and field trips. Camps run the entire month of July and tuition begins at $1100. No audition is necessary but the limited (60) spaces fill up fast!

Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd
Portland, OR 97219

—Ruby McConnell


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