Boulder Camps + Classes

The Best Colorado-area Overnight Summer Camps (and how to choose one)

Overnight summer camps have been teaching, entertaining and challenging American children for generations. In fact, they hold such a place in our collective hearts that countless tv shows and movies have been made about it. (Here’s a few of my faves if you’re looking for something to watch this weekend: Parent Trap, Salute Your Shorts, Camp Nowhere, and Meatballs.) While the typical summer camp may have begun as an East Coast experience, there are a number of great camps in and around Colorado, including:

  • Camp Chief Ouray (Granby, CO) – Camp Chief Ouray has grown to be a premiere overnight camping option for boys and girls from all over the United States and the World. Whether your camper is a first timer or has attended various residential camps before, CCO provides a unique opportunity for independent development in a caring community. We are dedicated to growth in spirit, mind, and body, in an outdoor setting and Christian environment. We are committed to developing five core values: Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Faith for daily living. Explore and grow through a strong tradition of quality programming and fun — and make life-long friends in the process.
  • Cal-Wood (Jamestown, CO) – Cal-Wood is a place for adventure! Summer days are spent exploring our forests, meadows, creeks, and historical sites while making new friends and bonding with old. Campers will learn to embrace the mountains whether they are spending their nights in a quaint log cabin by the main lodge, sleeping under the stars in a tent on a beautiful remote piece of Cal-Wood’s land, or venturing out into local Colorado wilderness on a multi-day backpacking trip. If you are an aspiring artist, a curious engineer, an outdoor enthusiast, an inquisitive historian, an avid hiker, an observant naturalist, or just a kid who likes to smile, we have a program for you! Bring your friends for an unforgettable summer!
  • Ajax Sleepaway Overnight Camp (Meredith, CO) – We are a high alpine adventure camp, that provides a rustic yet comfortable atmosphere. To us camp is about learning self-discovery in an environment free from expectations, pressures, or outside influence. We feel summer camp communities provide a venue that can make the world a better place by, without purposefully trying, promoting tolerance, acceptance, and above all the ability to help campers learn about their passions. Further, we want to create and instill a love of adventure and the outdoors that can last beyond the scope of the summer. We provide opportunities for this growth by providing our campers with choice, and allowing them the time and experience to find out what their passions are.
  • Avid4Adventure (CO and WY) – At Avid4 Adventure’s Overnight Camps, campers experience the transformative power of adventure, igniting a lifelong passion for being active outdoors. With the support of our experienced instructors, campers build confidence, practice good judgment and learn to intelligently assess risks as they take on new challenges.
  • Ramah in the Rockies (CO) – Welcome to Ramah in the Rockies, the only Kosher outdoor adventure camp in the country with an intensive Jewish program! At our machane (camp), we strive to nurture the character development of Jewish youth by providing them the opportunity to challenge themselves physically, intellectually, and spiritually. We hope you’ll take some time to explore our website and discover what makes our kehillah kedoshah (holy community) such a special place!
  • Blue Mountain Ranch (Florissant, CO) – Blue Mountain Ranch offers activities for every kid not just the athlete. We have over 400 acres and are surrounded by Pike National Forest making this the ideal place to cut loose from all the rigors of academia. Your child will smile till it hurts. Here your child can try his or her hand at mountain climbing, archery, fishing or arts and crafts projects just to name a few. How about riding seven miles through the National Forest or whooshing down a 3,000+ foot alpine slide? We’ve got it all.
  • Camp Granite Lake (Golden, CO) – Camp Granite Lake is a place to experience the magic of summer camp in the Colorado mountains! Located less than an hour from Downtown Denver, we have 135-acres for campers to explore, and an eight acre lake we use for sailing, boating, fishing and swimming. Campers live in comfortable, rustic, cabins with bunk beds and cubbies, and eat their meals in our lakeside dining tents.

When you’re ready to choose a summer camp for your child, here are some tips to help you find a camp where your child will excel.

  • Consider a 3-day intro session. Many (but not all) camps offer an abbreviated session for younger or new campers who are interested in getting a taste of everything that camp is about but not ready for a full week or several weeks away from home.
  • Get in touch. While the website and information packet are a great place to start, the best way to get a feel for a camp is to talk to the people who actually run it. Don’t hesitate to give them a call or even schedule a visit to see it for yourself.
  • Ask about scholarships. Most overnight camps are expensive – there’s really no other way to put it. But many also offer scholarships, so reach out to the camp (starting early is your best bet) to ask about scholarship opportunities that you may qualify for. You can also ask about discounts (such as for siblings) or payment plans to help make the finances work for your budget.
  • Book early. Most overnight summer camps start booking right after the first of the year, so don’t wait until spring to go searching for the right place only to find out that it’s fully booked for the summer.