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Five Guidelines When Looking for Summer Camps

What to Know When Beginning Your Camp Search

By Choice Camps Staff

Updated Aug. 30, 2009, 12:25 p.m.

You've decided that you are going to send your kids to camp this summer. Step one is over, but what's next? You need to select which summer camp you are going to send your child to. This can be a very difficult process, but with these 5 guidelines, Choice Camps can show you how to research stress-free. Not only do you need to choose which summer camp is best for your child, but which camp is the best for you. There are several aspects of camps that are involved in the research process.

It is best to begin your search early. You want to narrow down your search to a few different camps and then ultimately make your decision on which one you want to send your child to. The first aspect to research is the type of camp that is the most beneficial to your child. The choices are day camp, travel camp and sleep-away camp. A main factor in deciding between these camps is the age of your child. This detail is further discussed in our article, "Age Appropriateness for Camp". In deciding which type of camp is appropriate for your child, you need to factor in his or her age. Age groups for each type of camp generally are:

Day Camp: Ages 4-14

Sleep-Away Camp: Ages 5-16

Teen Travel & Tours: Ages 13-18

Of course any age in which your child feels comfortable attending a particular type of camp is fitting for them. Many children do not like being away from home longer than a day, even as teenagers. Day camps are perfect for that mindset.

The second aspect to research depends on your child's interests. Hundreds of camps nation-wide are geared towards specialty programs. Children can now attend performing arts camps, sports camps, cooking camps, acting camps, circus camps, aviation camps and many more. Websites like allow you to narrow your search down by specialty camps. While it is overwhelming to make this decision, asking your child if they want to go to a specific summer camp is your best choice. There are also hundreds of traditional camps that focus on a well-rounded program. The activities available also might sway your decision. It is very critical in your search to look for summer camps that spark your child's interest. This is a way to narrow down the camps that you are looking into.

By now, you should have a long list of the summer camps you are considering. Pricing is the third aspect in your research that sets camps apart from one another. Depending on your family's budget, there are certain summer camps that might be overwhelmingly expensive. It is crucial to select a camp that you are comfortable with price-wise. Websites such as allow you to narrow your search by pricing. While it is understandable you want send your child to the best camp possible, there are numerous camps that are just as great with a lower tuition. Some of the top camps have the most reasonable prices.

The fourth aspect essential to your research is location. Although, most day camps and travel camps use a bussing system, it is important to decide the distance that you are comfortable sending your child. Sleep-away camps are a good example of this. You and your child should talk about how comfortable they are with going to a camp far away. Sometimes for children who become homesick, being far (2+ hours) can make the situation harder. It is crucial to consider being able reach your child quickly in case of an emergency regardless of the type of camp.

Feedback is the fifth and final aspect critical to your research of summer camps. Several online resources contain customer reviews of various camps. You want to consider this substantial information in your decision. Camps that have feedback are a huge plus because ultimately you want to know if other children and parents enjoyed the camp. This is definitely a great tool in helping make your final decision.

Research is the perfect strategy when looking for camps to send your kids to. Ultimately though, you need to ask your son/daughter what they want. If you can sit down and talk to them about their desires in a camp, together, you can reach a great decision.

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