The Area’s Coolest Camps for Active Kids

From surfing and soccer to hockey and horses, we've rounded up the very best summer camps to keep kids happy (and off that couch!)

Illustration by Justin Renninger

School ended for Philadelphia kids last Friday, which means one very important thing if you’re a Philadelphian under the age of 18: those super-sweet 80 days of unstructured bliss has begun. And if you’re a parent of one of these happy kids, it means three months of trying to keep them happy, occupied—and as far away from the couch as possible. To help, we rounded up the area’s coolest camps for active (or will-be active!) kids. There’s soccer, baseball, hockey, and just about every other sport you can imagine for the game-geared kids, but there’s also horseback riding, surfing, sailing, outdoor exploration and more for the gym-haters, too. Happy summer! — research by Kelly O’Shea, Joe Vozzelli, Maggie Rusch, Allison Stadd, and Leah Benner

FOR THE NEXT … Chase Utley
BOOK: Phillies Baseball Academy Summer Camp
WHY: Kids get an official Phillies Baseball Academy uniform, an insider tour of Citizens Bank Park (including dugout, clubhouse, batting cages, and media room), professional coaching in all aspects of baseball, and, at the camp’s conclusion, a personal evaluation with feedback on ways to further develop their skills. All they need to bring is a glove.
DETAILS: $425 for one week, $820 for two weeks, $395 per week for three or more weeks. Ages 6-14. Saint Joe’s Maguire Campus, Merion, June 14-18; Upper Merion-Heuser Park, King of Prussia, June 21-25 and August 2-6; Abington Junior High School, Abington, July 5-9 and July 12-16; Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth, July 19-23. 610-520-3400,

FOR THE NEXT … Dancing With the Stars Phenom
BOOK: Philadelphia Dance Theatre Arts and Dance Camp
WHY: Ballerinas will get more than just pirouettes, including dance lessons infused with visual arts, jazz, and fairy tale re-enactment. An intensive program is available for the more advanced dancers. Also, for ages 3-6, a week fit for a royal daughter will include ballet classes, creative projects including the princess essentials—tiaras and wands—and much more.
DETAILS: $225 for June 28- July 9 Arts and Dance Camp, $250 for Aug 2-27 Dance Intensive, $110 for June 21-25 and July 19-23 for ages 3-6; Philadelphia Dance Theater, 7500 Germantown Avenue, 215-247-4272,

FOR THE NEXT … DeSean Jackson
BOOK: Philadelphia Eagles Youth Football Camp
WHY: At this camp — led by college, high school, and pro football coaches (including former Eagles) — kids will get safe, non-contact football instruction that challenges experienced players and introduces newbies to the sport. The curriculum also includes nutrition guidance, a simulated NFL draft, teamwork development, and lessons on football language and strategies.
DETAILS: $335; Comprehensive Skills Instruction for ages 6-14 and Accelerated Skills Instruction (tackle prep) for ages 11-14, Pelbano Recreation Center, 8101 Bustleton Avenue, June 28- July 2; Upper Main Line YMCA, 1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road, Berwyn, June 28-July 2; Katz JCC, 1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, July 12-16 or July 26-30; Newtown Friends School, 1450 Newtown Langhorne Road, Newtown, July 12-16, ; Chesterbrook Academy, 1190 McDermott Drive, West Chester, July 12-16; United Sports Training Center, 1426 Marshalton Thorndale Road, Downingtown, July 19-23; 888 226-9916,

FOR THE NEXT … Sharapova or Nadal
BOOK: Julian Krinsky Tennis Camp
WHY: This program has been helping young players of all levels improve their game since 1978. Instruction focuses on the technical, tactical, physical, and mental aspects of tennis. Players can demonstrate their new skills against other competitors in an end-of-camp “Davis Cup” tournament. All campers receive personalized coaching, and the residential sessions include Saturday field trips and evening activities.
DETAILS: Tennis Residential (nine sessions throughout the summer): $1295 for one week, $1245 per week for two-plus weeks; Day (13 sessions throughout the summer): $565 per week and $125 per day for full day; $440 per week and $100 per day for morning only; $265 per week and $60 per day for afternoon only. Senior residential: ages 14–17; junior residential: ages 10–13; day: ages 7–17; Located at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges; 866-879-5527,

FOR THE NEXT … David Beckham
BOOK: Philadelphia KiXX Summer Soccer Kamp
WHY: Budding soccer stars get the chance to dribble with KiXX players during one of the many five-day camps. Technical and fitness training are put to the test in “World Cup Tournaments” at the end of each day. Campers leave not only with a stronger corner kick, but with plenty of swag, including a KiXX Kamp T-Shirt, soccer ball, and a voucher to the 2010-2011 Kixx Home Opener.
DETAILS: $135-$165 per 5-day session in the following programs: Tot Program, Open Day and Evening Camps, Travel Team Camps, Middle School and High School Pre-season Camps, and Keeper Camps. Offered weekly from June 14-September 3 at various PA and NJ sites. Mail printable registration form to: Philadelphia KiXX Soccer Kamps, Liacouras Center, 1776 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19121, 888-888-5499, (see website for locations)

FOR THE NEXT … Phil Mickelson
BOOK: Julian Krinsky Golf Camp
WHY: This camp uses state-of-the-art video analysis to improve your kid’s golf swing. Campers also get to compare their game to their favorite golfers’, check their ball’s trajectory info, custom-fit their putter, and track their progress all throughout camp. Groups play 9 to 15 holes on a different course every day and an 18-hole golf tournament on Fridays. All campers receive personalized coaching, and the residential sessions include Saturday field trips and evening activities.
DETAILS: Residential (nine residential sessions throughout June 13-Aug 14): $1450 for one week, $1345 per week for two-plus weeks; Day (11 sessions throughout June 7-Aug 20): $640 per week. Senior Residential: ages 14–17; Junior Residential: ages 10–13; day: ages 8–17; 866-879-5527,

FOR THE NEXT … Danny Briere
BOOK: Philadelphia Flyers Ice Hockey School
WHY: Campers are taught using a curriculum designed by the Philadelphia Flyers Coaching Staff and an off-ice conditioning program tailored to fit the recreational and youth travel hockey player. Along with instruction and special appearances from Flyers alumni players, each camper receives two tickets to a Flyers preseason game, an official Flyers hockey school jersey, a Flyers goodie bag, and a report card.
DETAILS: $400 (equipment required) per session. Ages 7-17. Ice Line, 700 Lawrence Drive, West Chester, July 19-23; Polonia Bank Skate Zone, 10990 Decatur Road, August 9-13. Flyers Skate Zone, 601 Laurel Oak Road, Voorhees, August 16-20; 215-952-5735,

BOOK: The Fencing Academy of Philadelphia Youth Training Camp

WHY: The home of two world fencing champions. the Academy promises to have your child lunging and sparring within a week. Don’t forget your saber – all athletes need their own gear appropriate to their level. Athletes should also bring a notebook to record drills, bouts, and comments and lectures offered at the camp.
DETAILS: $330 per 5-day session or $78 per day for Youth Çamp for ages 8-12, August 2-6; $360 per 5-day session or $84 per day for Cadet Camp for ages 13-17, August 9-13; $396 per 5-day session or $90 per day for Elite Camp (invitation only) or ages 14+, Aug 16-20; 3519 Lancaster Avenue; 215-382-0293,

FOR THE NEXT … Roy or Gretchen Jackson
BOOK: Chamounix Equestrian Center’s Work to Ride Summer Camp
WHY: The next best thing to their very own pony, equestrians and horse-lovers alike will learn everything from riding to dressing and grooming. Seasoned riders can even try their hand at polo, and on Fridays parents are able to come watch their children participate in games on horseback.
DETAILS: $300 per one week full-day session or $160 per one week half-day session. Six one-week sessions offered from June 28-Aug 6, for ages 8-15; June 21-25 or August 9-13, for ages 5-7; 98 Chamounix Drive, 267-531-3321,

FOR THE NEXT … Bear Grylls
BOOK: Valley Forge Military Academy Summer Camps
WHY: From archery and sailing to scuba and survival skills, your tough-as-nails tyke will live most of the day outdoors. They’ll also get to challenge fellow campers in every-boy favorites, like paintball, Wiffle ball, and go-carts. They even offer a Parent/Camper Weekend where parents can spend the weekend with their son or daughter and find out first hand what camp life is like.
DETAILS: Day Camp: $430 per week or $3,120 for all eight weeks; sessions offered June 21 – August 13, for ages 6-17. Overnight Adventure Camp: $3,900 for four weeks or $2,300 for two weeks; sessions offered June 26-July 23, ages 9-17; 1001 Eagle Road, Wayne, 610-989-1262,

FOR THE NEXT … East Coast Surfing Champion
BOOK: Belmar Surf and Ocean Day Camp
WHY: By teaching all the different skills that go into becoming a surfer, such as ocean swimming, personal fitness, and riptide and wave navigation, this camp provides a well-rounded program that effectively grooms campers to appreciate surfing on different levels. Summer Time Surf provides the broads and wetsuits; all you have to bring is a positive attitude and your commitment to hang ten.
DETAILS: $375 per week or $100 per day. 10 one-week sessions from June 28- September 3, ages 6-16; 3rd Avenue Beach, Belmar, 732 599-2700,

FOR THE NEXT … Spiderman or –woman
BOOK: Rock Climbing Summer Camp at Doylestown Rock Gym
Campers learn proper safety, including various knots and climbing techniques, before getting to channel their inner mountain climber. Kids staying for a full-day experience climb trickier walls and indoor challenge courses, complete with mini-zip line. Advanced campers will spend the first two days in the gym preparing for three outdoor climbing adventures, where they will experience the thrill of climbing on real rocks. All equipment and transportation provided.
DETAILS: Basic camp: ages 6-12, $99 per five half-day sessions, $180 per 5 full-day sessions, June 21 – August 27. Advanced camp: ages 10-16, $250, June 28- July 3, July 12-16, July 26-30, August 9-14, or August 23-27; 3853 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, 215-230-9085,

BOOK: Nature Explorers Summer Camps at the Tyler Arboretum
WHY: Fur, fins, and feathers, oh my! During this nature-oriented camp, “young explorers” (ages 6-11) and “tiny trackers” (ages 4-5) learn all about the animals of the woodlands, as they search for tracks, scat, feathers, and other animal signs. Campers will get down and dirty to learn about the Arboretum’s woodlands, meadows, streams, and gardens.
DETAILS: Young Explorers: members, $180, non-members, $210; Tiny Trackers: members, $100, non-members, $120. June 21-25; Tyler Arboretum, 515 Painter Road, Media, 610-556-9134, x 215,

FOR THE NEXT … Bob Harper or Jillian Michaels
BOOK: Julian Krinsky Fitness Camp: Smarter Minds and Bodies
WHY: Whether they enjoy yoga, Pilates, or just hitting the gym, your health-loving teen will heart the more than 100 ways to sharpen their fitness skills and brush up on their nutrition knowledge. Teens can also work on their swing with private tennis and golf instruction.
DETAILS: $3,525 per residential two-week program, $1,250 for two-week day program. Camps offered June 27 – August 7, for ages 13-17; Bryn Mawr College, 101 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, 866-879-5527,

FOR THE NEXT … Magellan
BOOK: Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia Junior Sailing Camp
WHY: Beginners will spend most of their time learning basic sailing, rope-work, and water safety, while the more experienced sailors get instruction and experience in skippering, race tactics, rigging, and boat maintenance. Learning will take place on and off the water, including pool activities and instruction in kayaking, canoeing, and lacrosse when the wind does not cooperate.
DETAILS: Members/affiliates: $450 per one-week session; non-members: $500 one-week session. Four one-week sessions from June 21- July 16, ages 8-17; 300 West 2nd Street, Essington, 610-644-6743,

FOR THE NEXT … Allen Iverson
BOOK: Sixers Day Camps
WHY: Supervised by experienced basketball coaches from your community, each five-day session reviews the fundamentals of the game. Campers get to show off their new jump shot and ball handling at the “Skills Performance,” during which parents and family can attend. But just when you think camp and the summer are over, campers will be invited to a “hands on” clinic in September with present members of the 76ers team.
DETAILS: $350. Ages 7-13. Katz JCC, 1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, June 21-25 and Aug 23-27; Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden Street, June 21-24; West Chester East High School, 450 Ellis Lane, West Chester, June 22-26. 610-668-7676,