Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
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Pack Your Bags, We’re Heading To Summer Camp!

Pack your bags, adolescent shyness, and awkward teen years! Time to make memories; we are heading to summer camp! Michigan is known for being a great outdoor state. Therefore, summer camp is a tradition and highlight for many. Summer camps have grown far beyond the traditional outdoor activities of hiking, kayaking, and singing around the campfire. Now, many include day and overnight camps in art, science and technology, sports, adventure, or even adult camps! Here’s our roundup of modernized and seasoned summer camps happening throughout Michigan:

Art Camp

Pack Your Bags, We're Heading To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp

Is your child a rising star in art related studies?  Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is one of Michigan’s most renowned art camps. Blue Lake is in the heart of Michigan’s Manistee National Forest. Their programs offer fine art education for all ages. A diverse set of courses in music, art, dance, and drama are available. The grand finale is the Summer Arts Festival. More than 175 performances take place during this festival. Blue Lake also offers adult camps and hosts two public radio stations. These serve Grand Rapids and West Michigan with classical and jazz music, NPR’s Morning Edition, and All Things Considered. 

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Interlochen Center for the Arts

Located a little further north, check out Interlochen Center for the Arts. With a similar philosophy, they offer world-class educational opportunities.  Students can study music, theatre, visual arts, film, creative writing, and dance. They are dedicated to providing a lifetime of enrichment and professional growth. Adult programs are offered through workshops and classes in a variety of art disciplines. Broadcasting across Northern Michigan, Interlochen Center for the Arts also hosts a public radio station with featured news and classical music. 

Science and Technology Camps

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of University of Michigan MMSS

There’s no question that the world of science and technology offers a bright future for talented young minds. If your child is more interested in robots than swatting bugs, the iD Tech Camps offered at the University of Michigan is definitely worth it. The campus offers week-long day camp courses for ages 7-17. There are programs in coding, game design, robotics engineering, 3D printing, and more! The University of Michigan also hosts summer academic opportunities. There are over 10 courses in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics!

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of National Inventors Hall of Fame

Live on the other side of the state? The National Inventors Hall Of Fame offers week-long day camps in science, technology, engineering, and math. These take place at local schools and tech centers, making their programs more accessible throughout the state. They offer programs like Invention Playground for preschoolers.  Invention Project is available for 5th-9th graders. Counselor-in-training and leadership intern opportunities are available for high school and college students. To find which of these diverse programs are available near you, check out their easy to use locator map, found here!

Traditional Camps

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Van Buren Youth Camp

Looking to immerse your children into the more traditional rugged outdoors, cabin bunks, and dining hall experiences? Look no further than Van Buren Youth Camp. Established in the 50’s, this co-ed camp sits on Great Bear Lake. It focuses on creating their own culture through games, skits, projects, songs, teamwork, community service, and even kissing Cleo the Moose! Their typical day outline affords insight into what kids grades 1-12 will experience through their various programs. They even offer a women’s wellness weekend and a camp-toberfest fundraiser for adults to take part in!

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Crystalaire Adventures

Explore Michigan’s northern wilderness like never before with Crystalaire Adventures. They offer amazing camping, backpacking, sailing, and biking adventures over 3-7 days for ages 10-17. Their programs provide the ultimate exploration of North and South Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes. They even plunge into the U.P’s  McCormick Wilderness, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Area. Have a group you want to take on a custom wilderness trip? They do that too! Get wild as you explore unique Michigan places and truly begin to gain a sense of identity and belonging on their ultimate adventures.

Can’t bare to send your kids off into the wild? Check out their sister camp, Camp Lookout for ages 6-15. This camp offers 1-2 days, one-week, and two-week programs right along Lake Michigan!  

Day Camps

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Western Michigan University – Aviation Camp

If you’re looking for day camps that offer a little bit of everything throughout the summer, we highly recommend checking with your local universities, colleges, and public schools. Western Michigan University is a great example. They have an array of day camps. Camp opportunities include athletics and themed camps, such as ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Out of this World’ for grades K – 12.

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Michigan YMCA Camps

Your local YMCA also hosts classic, adventure, performing arts, and special interest camps. Camp is held throughout the day, for week long segments. Some YMCA locations host overnight camps and high school leadership opportunities. For working parents, the summer can be a struggle keeping your kids active, engaged, and out of the proverbial boredom zone. Check with your local YMCA. Most offer child care summer camps with structured daily activities for a weekly fee.

Adult Camp

Pack Your Bags, We're Headed To Summer Camp! - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Camp No Counselors – Michigan

While many of the camps listed above offer adult alternatives, nothing quite compares to Camp No Counselors. This is the ultimate adult summer camp. This camp was featured on Shark Tank and is receiving a lot of publicity. Their Newyago, Michigan location offers three nights of lodging and accommodations. Meals, snacks, s’mores, an open bar all weekend (you heard us right), and outrageously-themed parties are all included. This camp even offers all of your favorite camp sports, games, and activities. Sign us up! With registration filling fast, they proudly carry the motto “play like a kid, party like a grown-up.” They are hosting 2017 dates Thursday, June 22 to Sunday, June 25, but we recommend you do yourself a favor and take Monday off too.


Have your bags packed yet? Michigan offers some of the most unique, wild, and adventurous summer camps around. Each allows campers to gain a better sense of belonging and friendship while developing leadership and self-confidence. We encourage you to explore Michigan a little differently this summer and join a summer camp!


Have you or your child thrived at a Michigan summer camp? Recognize them below along with your favorite memories in the comments!

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