The multitude of day, instructional-based, sleep over, single-focus and specialty camps for K-12 schoolchildren in the DMV are varied and unique. According to online camp resource guides, Maryland and Virginia each offer, on average, 600 summer camps per year. That's about 1,800 possible camps to choose from in this area!

Here are some one-of-a-kind local summer camps.

Single-Focus Camps

Most traditional summer camps offer boys and girls a wide range of activities within a single program. County recreational facilities pack a wallop of fun, including arts and crafts, sports, aquatics and nature in a single camp week. Some schools and private organizations focus on a single camp offering and specialize in that one topic, giving campers ample opportunities to learn and become proficient in specific areas.

Examples of Single-Focus Camps

  • Basketball: for boys and girls (ages 6 - 14) by the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics. nba.com/wizards/jr-wizards-camps-clinics

  • Cheerleading: for boys and girls (ages 5 - 14) by All Star Legacy. allstarlegacy.com/summer-camps-clinics

  • Cooking: for boys and girls (ages 3 - 8) by Cooking Thyme. cookingthyme.com/summer-camp.html

  • Fencing: for boys and girls (starting at age 8) by Fairfax Fencers. fairfaxfencers.com/camps

  • Flag Football: for boys (ages 7 - 14) by Quince Orchard High School. qofootball.com/cougar-camp

  • Foreign language immersion: for boys and girls (ages 2.5 - 8) by Communikids. communikids.com/class-type/summercamp

  • Horseback Riding: for boys and girls (ages 5 - 12) by Twin Oaks Riding Academy. twinoaksriding.com/camp.php

  • Math: for boys and girls (ages 5 - 15) by MathTree. mathtree.com/summer-camps

  • Modeling: for girls (ages 11 - 17) by The Model Source, Inc. modelingcamp.com/washington-dc-modeling-camp.html

  • Musical Instruments: for boys and girls (all ages) by Levine Music. levinemusic.org/education/summer/camps-classes-and-workshops

  • Sewing: for girls by Cupcakes and Lace, LLC. cupcakesandlace.com/workshops/va-workshops-camps

  • Soccer: for boys and girls (ages 5 - 16) by D.C. United. dcunited.com/camps/summer

  • STEM: for boys and girls (ages 8 - 15) by the Woods Academy. roboticsengineeringandgameplay.com

  • Visual Arts: for boys and girls (ages 6 - 12) by Artworks Fine Arts Studio. artworksclasses.com/camps

  • Yoga: for boys and girls (ages 4 - 12) by Circle Yoga Cooperative. circleyoga.com/kids_family/summer-camp

Specialty Camps

Specialty camps are single-focus camps, but stand apart because of their location, topic of concentration or unique approach to camping.

Examples of Specialty Camps

  • The International Spy Museum delights its campers through top secret missions in which children are strongly advised to wear disguises while learning codes and thrilling escapes. Summer camps are for boys and girls ages 10 - 13. spymuseum.org/education-programs/kids-families/spy-camp

  • Bach to Rock focuses on music while getting students excited about performing. They offer a camp for kids who want to play instruments and join a rock band, a glee club for those who want to sing and opportunities to record a studio demo, learn how to be a DJ and use professional sound tools to record original music. b2rmusic.com/camps

  • Club Scientific Chesapeake provides enrichment that combines science and technology, encouraging campers to gain a life-long passion for "inquiry and discovery." Its founders, Bob and Sue Hagan, approach their business with down-to-earth information to support their mission of providing the most comprehensive science curriculum that gives children opportunities to experience science as it occurs in the real world. clubscikidzmd.com/programs/camp-locations

  • NOVA DC Academy offers an English-language immersion camp experience for international students by pairing them with native speakers. This intriguing camp gives students ample opportunities to socialize and learn about other cultures in a sensitive, educational, fun setting. novadcacademy.com

  • The Virginia Space Flight Academy offers six coed overnight camps for boys and girls ages 11 - 16. The academy's offerings are dedicated to the pursuit of rocketry science, offering beginner (junior) and advanced opportunities to build and launch rockets using sophisticated programs. vaspaceflightacademy.org

  • Flute teachers Carrie Rose and Melissa Lindon offer summer camps for young flutists who are in fourth through ninth grades. Campers practice playing in ensembles, learn about music history and even do yoga to encourage proper breathing for better flute playing. rosearts.org/flute-a-rama

  • The National Inventors Hall of Fame in Alexandria provides a unique approach to summer camps, encouraging campers to use creative brainstorming and hands-on problem-solving to invent things. Their invention camps are designed for boys and girls in kindergarten through sixth grade. As an added bonus, their camps offer seventh, eighth and ninth graders the opportunity to assist younger campers through counselors-in-training sessions. campinvention.org

  • The National Maritime Heritage Foundation offers beginning and intermediate camps in sailing, ensuring that even the least experienced children know how to maneuver small boats. dcsail.org/youth-kss

Conglomerate Powerhouse Camps!

The DMV area offers several conglomerate summer camps that may be considered powerhouses due to their extensive range and quantity of smaller offerings under one roof.

Examples of Single-Focus Camps

  • The Smithsonian Associates offers a staggering 102 camps to boys and girls. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Smithsonian Associates is its rich backdrop of museums, which provides enough visual materials to easily live up to its slogan with camp offerings that are "entertaining, informative, eclectic and insightful."

  • Children from kindergarten through ninth grade will be intrigued learning about the civil rights movement, Egyptian history, 2D and 3D paper projects, the solar system and the engineering process behind things that spin. They will also have loads of fun discovering how mammals communicate, why there are disgusting things in nature and how to dig fossils. smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/camp

  • The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington provides services to children in 17 branches throughout the DMV. The YMCA offers 12 different categories of camps, with scores of offerings within each group. Of noteworthy interest are the leadership and teen camps which take camps to the next level by offering opportunities for boys and girls to lead the next generation of campers. ymcadc.org/summer-day-camps

  • St. Stephens and St. Agnes School in Alexandria includes 48 unique camps among their three campuses. The selection they provide to boys and girls spans the gamut, from apiary and beekeeping to automotive repair to fossils to family archives. They even offer a summer camp for diehard fans of Harry Potter! summertimes.org/Page/Our-Programs/Specialty-Camps

  • Hopefully these summer camps inspire you to book your children on a one-of-a-kind summer camp adventure in the DMV area.


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Amanda M. Socci is a freelance writer who lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband and two daughters. Amanda is passionate about many things, including school fundraising, Girl Scouts and recycling with art. Amanda can be reached at SocciWriter@gmail.com.