Summertime is a great time for kids to explore West Michigan while exploring and expanding their minds. West Michigan offers a wide variety of summer camps, from day camps to sleep-away overnight camps. Each camp carries a different theme, so your kids can enjoy the outdoors, focus on STEAM, create art, and much more. Check out some of our favorite summer camp options in our below round-up.
Please be sure to check directly with any property offering a summer camp experience to confirm availability and 2020 dates.
Outdoor Adventures, Animal Encounters & Water Sports Camps
Summer Nature Camp at Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor offers children an excellent opportunity to learn about Michigan’s ecology and natural history by exploring and playing in nearly 1000 acres of woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and swamps at Sarett and other nearby locations.
Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center in Calhoun County is the traditional summer camp with a modern sensibility. Sign up for day or overnight stays. While they have archery, kayaking, and art, one of the most popular activities is Live Action Role Playing (LARP). Any kid who wants to create a character and go on a real-life quest should sign up for any week of overnight camp. Current specialty camps include equestrian, piano, robotics, and how to build a computer. Scholarships are available.
Experience a wildly fun summer at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek! Summer Day Camps provide your child with fun-filled adventures like nowhere else. Campers entering 1st through 7th grades will explore the zoo unlike any other visitors as they hike, learn, create, and play their way through the summer! Campers will have the chance to get up-close and personal with live animals, chat with the experts during keeper talks and behind-the-scenes experiences, participate in a variety of animal-themed games and activities, create crafts and enrichment projects, and explore and play in the natural wilderness that surrounds the zoo.
The Michigan Maritme Museum offers a STEAM focused summer camp for students grades 3-5. The camp runs for one week in the summer, July 20th-24th, 9:30 am-noon. The STEAM curriculum focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The day camp, held on the Museum campus in South Haven, features a maritime themed program through engaging STEAM activities and lessons. Camp includes hands-on activities, lessons aboard the tall ship Friends Good Will, interactive exhibit tours, and a paddle on the Black River in a voyageur canoe.
John Ball Zoo Summer Camp in Grand Rapids is a unique, hands-on learning experience that is fun and educational! Your camper may be prowling past the tigers, creating animal treats, or even cleaning out bongo stalls! Each class follows a particular theme and spends time in the zoo and park setting. Qualified instructors use a variety of methods to stimulate the learning process (role-playing, games, stories, and nature play). Day camp and overnight camp sessions are available.
The TreeRunner Adventure Park Grand Rapids outdoor adventure camp is the ultimate opportunity for children to gain confidence and self-discovery, build relationships, and create lasting memories. This day camp offers a mix of movies, adventure, leadership development, and fun! Kids ages 10-16 are welcome.
Welcome to Action Wake Park in Hudsonville, West Michigan’s premier water sports camps! Action Camps are the perfect place for riders of all levels to expand their skills both at the cable wake park and behind Mastercraft boats. The passionate team will have your camper leaving with a brand new bag of tricks. Plus, camps now include even more activities beyond just cable wakeboarding. Paddlesports at cable camp and wakesurfing (at surf camp & on boat days) have been included in your campers experience. Action Camps supply your camper with all the required equipment, exclusive camp t-shirt, and, of course, professional instruction by their trained and certified staff.
Looking for summer classes? Come to the Critter Barn in Zeeland! The Critter Barn is open six days a week offering hands-on fun and learning for kids ages 3-16 years old. Visit the Critter Barn online for information and registration.
The Mason County Historical Society located in Ludington is offering two exciting opportunities this summer for the area youth to learn about and immerse themselves in history! At Historic White Pine Village, a Pioneer Day Camp is being offered the week of July 28th -31st from 12:30-3:30 pm. Children will love diving into history as they visit
an old steam locomotive, sawmill, schoolhouse, physician’s office, and more as they experience life as it was in the late 19th/early 20th century. The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum is also offering a day camp. The Maritime Day Camp will take place the week of June 23rd -26th from 12:30-3:30 pm. The camps are geared towards children 6-10 years old and children must be pre-registered. Activities will include crafts, snacks, cooking, STEM, games and other fun experiences. Cost is $90.00 per participant/per camp. (photos in email)
Cran-Hill Ranch’s summer camp program in Rodney consists of youth overnight camps for kids ages 7-17 years, a day camp program for kids ages 5-9 years, and a camp called Friendship Camp for people with special needs. They also offer three specialty camps, each focused towards your child’s interests. There are Horsemanship Camps for all of the horse lovers, Adventure Camps for kids who love all things outdoors, and a Water Sports camp for High School students looking for that adrenaline rush out on the lake. You can check out all they have to offer by visiting the Cran-Hill Ranch website.
Mecosta County offers plenty of summer camp opportunities for those looking to keep their kids busy this summer. You’ll find art camps, overnight camps, watersports, horses, and more. Check out the Community Events Calendar for more camp opportunities in the Big Rapids area.
Explore the waters of the Great Lakes through the Young Women in STEM program with Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay. On each trip, nine participants eat, sleep, and work aboard the 77′ schooner Inland Seas while deeply exploring the functioning and health of the Great Lakes. Research includes determining the thermal structure of the lake, and collecting fish, plankton, water, and lake sediment for analysis. Participants also record daily weather observations. With this foundation in Great Lakes limnology research, participants collaborate to design and complete a research project on invasive species or other topics of interest. A professional ROV is also available to assist with collecting data for research projects. At the end of the trip, groups present their research to family members, peers, and the general public who have gathered at the dock.
A world-class golf destination, Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire is home to four championship golf courses: Cedar River Golf Course, The Legend Golf Course, Schuss Mountain Golf Course, and Summit Golf Course. This summer, junior golfers can learn all of the components of the game of golf during Shanty Creek’s Junior Golf Camp. This three-day program includes in-depth instruction, skill building, and on-course experience. PGA professionals lead the camp activities and education including the rules of golf, proper golf etiquette, and the history of the game.
Adventure Camp at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is geared for ages 7-12 and is full of activities to keep kids on the go. Adventures vary and may include nature hikes, adventure exploring, arts and crafts, rock climbing, biking, and more. Full-day and half-day sessions are available. Reservations are highly recommended. Programs must be requested at least 24 hours in advance.
Come adventure in the “land of the midnight sun!” Keweenaw Adventure Company will provide your summer camper with all the equipment, gear, and staff necessary, and take care of the logistics so that you only have to focus on getting your campers there. With activities ranging from Lake Superior sea kayaking to inland stand-up paddleboarding and canoeing, there’s plenty to do on the water. If you prefer the land, they offer the best mountain biking in Michigan and guided eco-interpretive hiking as well!
Museum, Art, Music, & Theatre Camps
The American Museum of Magic hosts Camp Abracadabra, July 20th-24th, for ages 7-13 in Marshall. Campers learn how to perform magic along with the usual crafts and outdoor games of summer camp, but also magic wands, disappearing objects, and a generous dose of hocus pocus. For beginning and intermediate magicians. Camp concludes with a magic performance for family and friends! Camp registration is $125, financial aid applications are available.
Students grades 3-12 are encouraged to attend a two-week summer workshop exploring the world of theatre and honing their own skills through theatre games, role playing, and performance activities. Led by a professional actor at Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater from June 8th through June 19th, the workshop culminates with a special showcase on June 20th for students to show off their new skills. Workshop-goers will also attend two professional Tibbits Summer Theatre and Popcorn Theatre productions.
The Midwest’s only piano-specific summer music camp, Gilmore Piano Camp has welcomed hundreds of young pianists of all experience levels to its natural outdoor setting at Sherman Lake in Kalamazoo for fun and study. The camp provides classical piano training, a wide range of music-related electives, and–of course–lots of traditional camp activities.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts offers a variety of summer camps and classes for children and teens. Class subjects range from photography to sculpture, painting to figure drawing, and more. Camps are a week long and offered in half-day and full-day sessions. Find schedule and registration information on the KIA website.
Art and music camps are available for children in kindergarten through 10th grade at the Holland Area Arts Council. There are a variety of camps to choose from, such as Pop Art, Music Makers, Quilting, and Hand Building Ceramics.
The Grand Rapids Ballet has a variety of camps that are all centered around dance. Their Ballet School has programs for ballet, young dancers, boys ballet, and summer intensive training.
This summer, kids pre-K through high school are invited to use the Grand Rapids Public Museum as a learning lab – experimenting and growing – all while having a great time in one of the area’s most history-rich and cool environments. Campers will explore the wonders of science, history, culture, and more through interactive camps such as making slime, building robots, learning about watersheds, and transforming into a wizard. Camp Curious registration is available online.
The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Manistee is excited to launch the Ramsdell Theatre Camp June 15 – 27, 2020! Limited to 45 students in 7th to 12th grade, students will work with Manistee Area Public Schools drama teacher Amanda Feyen on acting, singing, and tech. There is a cost of $200 per student, and it includes lunch, a t-shirt, and daily instruction. The two-week camp ends with performances by participating students at the Ramsdell Theatre. Registration open now.