MICHIGAN—The school year may still be in full swing, but now’s the time to start thinking about summer plans.
Whether your K-12 kid likes sports, creative arts, outdoor fun, or can’t wait to delve into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), Michigan’s summer camps offer something for everyone—and they’re enrolling now.
Where: Locations across the Upper and Lower Peninsulas
Age range: 4-18 (Varies by Location)
Offers programs for kids with special needs ✅
Offers transportation for some sites ✅
Typical cost: $75-$300 per week (with free or discounted camp for many families—so be sure to ask about financial assistance)
The YMCA has some of the highest-rated and most affordable summer camps in Michigan. They offer recreational programs for all ages, and have both day programs and overnight excursions. Many of the locations offer special programming options, like leadership camps, zip lining, and horseback riding. There are also theme weeks—like time travel, superheroes, around the world, Harry Potter, and myths & legends.
A typical day looks like this:
Visit the Michigan YMCA camps website for more information.
Detroit Tigers Youth Baseball & Softball Camps
Where: Locations across the southern Lower Peninsula
Age range: 6-14
Typical cost: $395 per week, which includes 4 tickets to a game and a MLB uniform
Discounts are available for multiple campers from the same family; FSA benefit options may also apply, so check with your employer
If you’ve got a slugger at home—whether they’re already a travel player or if they’ve never played ball before—this might just be the holy grail of summer camps.
All drills and activities come from skills used in the Detroit Tigers Major and Minor League systems. As part of their tuition, campers receive their own Major League Baseball-quality Detroit Tigers uniform and four tickets to a Tigers home game.
Wow: On one of their five camp days, kids will visit Comerica Park to meet a current player for the Detroit Tigers. Visit the Major League Baseball website for more information.
College for Creative Studies: Youth and Teen Courses
Age range: 8-18
Typical cost: $325 per week (with discounts available)
The College for Creative Studies in Detroit offers programs for kids ages 8 and up—and they’re all kind of amazing. But we’re going to start by shouting out something that parents of high schoolers really, really need to know about: Your kids can get college credits. And compared to standard college tuition, they’re cheap.
In the Center’s Dual Enrollment Courses and the Precollege Summer Experience, students can earn 3.0 college credits, prepare college-level portfolios, and find out if majoring in a certain subject is right for them. Those programs run from day sessions up to a full month long, living onsite—and there are serious opportunities for scholarships and financial assistance.
For teens ages 14-18 looking for more traditional summer camps, course subjects span the creative arts and both traditional and new technology—like glassblowing, studio drawing, photography, streetwear fashion, game design, automotive design, and 3D modeling. Check out a full roster here, and jump on registration fast—some courses are already sold out.
Black River Farm and Ranch
Age range: 6-16
Typical cost: Starts at about $1,000 up to about $6,000 for a full month (with various discounts available)
If you’ve got a daughter who can’t get enough of horses, this girls-only horse camp in southeastern Michigan may be for her. A family owned and operated camp, Black River Farm and Ranch helps campers of all skill levels bond with kids (and horses) in riding groups as they learn basic horsemanship and riding skills. Other activities include arts and crafts, kayaking, paddleboarding, field games, and archery.
A 3-day “Starter Camp” is designed for younger kids or first-time campers; otherwise, sessions run from 1-2 weeks long, and can be combined for up to a 4-week stay.
P.S. There are more than 70 horses.
Cranbrook Summer Day & Sports Camps
Where: Bloomfield Hills
Age range: 3-18
Typical cost: From about $430 per week (discounts and financial aid available)
Offers transportation from some sites ✅
Offers extended care for most camps, from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. ✅
The Cranbrook Schools summer camps are among the most popular programs in the Metro Detroit area. Over 1,800 campers flock to Cranbrook’s 319-acre campus every summer to engage in programs that range in theme from sports to arts & sciences to toddler skill building. Cranbrook’s STEM camps use state-of-the-art modules developed by the Edgerton Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They also offer camps teaching robotics, theater, jazz, art, and writing. Check out their roster here.
Visit the Cranbrook Schools website for more information.
Summer Discovery at the University of Michigan
Where: Ann Arbor
Age range: 12-18
Typical cost: Big range, from about $3,000+
This summer series at the University of Michigan includes a handful of options, lasting between 2-5 weeks: Pre-college enrichment residential programs for kids ages 15-18, which give them a taste of college life. Combo campus residential programs, allowing kids to try out courses at U-M and another school, like UCLA or the University of Texas at Austin. Career accelerator programs, for students in grades 9-12. And middle school enrichment residential programs for kids ages 12-14.
Resident tuition includes housing, all enrichment and academic programs, three meals per day while on campus, use of all recreational and athletic facilities, and college admission presentations. For commuters, tuition includes college admissions workshops, lunch, term fees, and all academic programs available from Monday through Friday.
Visit the Summer Discovery website for more information.
Lake of the Woods Camp and Greenwoods Camp
Age Range: 6-15
Typical cost: Varies, but generally about $7,150 for four weeks
Both the girls’ Lake of the Woods Camp and the boys’ Greenwoods Camp focus on customizing experiences based on your child’s interests.
Available programs for boys include sailing and fishing, team sports like lacrosse and flag football, and creative pursuits such as painting, journalism, acting/improvisation, and drama. Peruse the Greenwoods Camp brochure for more details.
The Lake of the Woods Camp, Greenwoods’ sister site for girls, offers similar programs, though fewer options are available. Girls can participate in archery, wakeboarding, cheerleading, songwriting & recording, and gymnastics, to name a few. The complete list of girls’ programs is detailed in the Lake of the Woods brochure, which can be found here.
Camp sessions are available in two, four, and eight-week experiences.
Visit the Lake of the Woods Camp and Greenwoods Camp websites for more information.
Where: West Olive
Age Range: 8-17
Typical cost: Starts at $40 per five-day session. (Camp Blodgett reserves 75% of registration for low-income families and 25% for higher-income families. Discounts are available, though all families are required to pay a minimum $10 fee.)
Camp Blodgett is a summer camp experience that is accessible and inclusive to families of all income levels by offering a sliding fee scale. Sessions come with special themes like Superhero Week, Arts Week, and Mystery Week. Campers who are sensitive to sensory stimuli will love Low Sensory Week. Science and math-minded middle schoolers can also look into the STEM Academy, with educational materials developed by the VanAndel Education Institute.
Additional activities, like hiking, archery, swimming, and canoeing are offered. Staff at Camp Blodgett undergo several reference and background checks to ensure the safety of all children. Staff-to-camper ratio is approximately 1:3.
Mixed-gender cabins are offered as a housing option, though parents can opt in or opt out depending on their preference. Two counselors supervise the mixed-gender cabins, and the bathroom and dressing rooms are private for each gender.
Visit the Camp Blodgett website for more information about programming, registration dates, and daily schedules.
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp
Where: Twin Lake
Age Range: Grades 5-12
Typical cost: Around $1,650 for two weeks, with financial aid available
Kids who love participating in the arts—band, orchestra, choir, art, and theater—can take their interest to the next level at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. The camp is located on 1,600 acres of the Manistee National Forest, and your children can choose their own major related to a specific creative focus. Camp sessions are residential, and last about two weeks.
Typical days at Blue Lake vary depending on whichever amazing major your child chooses. However, every day starts around 6:45 a.m. with breakfast, followed by a full schedule of interactive classes, before a rest period and lunch. All classes conclude for the day at 4:30 p.m., leaving your child with free time to have fun and unwind before dinner.
Daily recreation time can be spent hanging out with other students, going to the pool, playing ping-pong, or relaxing at the beach. All activities are staff-supervised.
Lodging, meals, and instruction are all included in the admission fee. Students may qualify for a merit-based scholarship through their application, though need-based scholarships are available as well. Scholarship applications can be filed through Blue Lake’s website.
Age Range: 7-17
Spanish immersion option ✅
Typical cost: From $190 for day camp and from $750 per full session, with scholarships and aid available
With both overnight and day camps, Camp Newaygo is the perfect place for your kids to immerse themselves in a new skill. With over 30 activities to choose from, campers can pick up to three classes per week. Activities include outdoor cooking, windsurfing, animal care, archery, and canoeing.
For children and tweens learning Spanish, check out the Spanish Immersion Day Camp Program, where instructors speak Spanish the entire time.
Thursdays are reserved for exciting top-secret missions, and there are over 104 acres for your children to safely explore while supervised by counselors.
An average day at Camp Newaygo includes meals, free play, designated activities, and snack time. Children have water and sunscreen breaks, and they can take trips to the camp store as needed.
Looking for something to do together? Camp Newaygo offers Mom & Me camp and a program designed for the whole family. For more information on these exciting options, click here.
Bricks 4 Kidz Camp
Where: Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, Grandville, Hudsonville, Northview, Rockford
Age Range: 5-12
Typical cost: From about $70-$160 based on the program.
If you’ve got a tyke who loves LEGO, they’ll flip for the Bricks 4 Kidz camps, hosted at various locations in the Grand Rapids area. There are many themed weeks (mysteries, science, video games, super heroes, pirates, etc.) where campers design arts and crafts projects using LEGO, take their Minecraft creations from virtual reality to real life, and even learn the basics of robotics with LEGO Ninjago. How cool is that?
Most camps have three time options: Morning (9 a.m.-12 p.m.), afternoon (1-4 p.m.), and Day Camp (9 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Since this is bound to be a popular camp series, we’re going to give you extra details. Heads up that the registration info can be a little tough to navigate—but it’s not you, it’s the system. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by going to the Bricks 4 Kidz summer camps website.
- Look for the list of camp locations, and the date registration opens for each place. FYI: The location “That STEAM Space” is on Plainfield in Grand Rapids. “Bricks & Minifigs” refers to this program, which is located on Breton in Grand Rapids.
- Scroll down to see flyers listing the the many camp options. The first flyer is broken down by camp theme, followed by a list of dates and locations for each theme. The second flyer is the same info broken down by weeks, followed by a list of locations and themes. The third flyer is just the second flyer, continued on a third page.
- One you know where and when you want your kid to go, click on over to the registration page. (At this point, you’ll be wondering how much each camp costs—that’s coming next.) Find the camp you’re interested in on the list. It’ll look like this:
- On the right, you should see a green button that says “Select.” Clicking that button will do one of two things—either prompt you to register or take you to an external registration system. Here’s the deal with that: Registration happens through a secondary service, like the city’s parks and rec office, or the city’s public schools. When you click through to that secondary service, you’ll see the price of the camp. It looks different for different locations. Here are two examples:
If you get stuck, we found the program’s Facebook page to be useful. They also have a phone number: 616-438-9993
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Age Range: Grades 3-12
Typical cost: From $1,750 for a one-week session to $9,980 for a six-week session. Financial aid is not available for one-week sessions, however, it is offered for sessions of two weeks or more. Merit scholarships are also available. Research your options here.
The Interlochen Center for the Arts is a prestigious creative institution that has been teaching fine arts for nearly a century. Some of the most famous creatives in the country spent their childhood summers honing their crafts in Northern Michigan. Famous Interlochen alumni include Google co-founder and Lansing native Larry Page, singer-songwriter Josh Groban, actress Felicity Huffman, and actor and Flint native Terry Crews.
Around 2,800 young creatives from all over the world come to study music, theater, dance, visual arts, writing, and more each year. Campers can elect to attend audition workshops and 30-minute private lessons. Coaching and other workshops are also available. During your child’s session, they’ll participate in traditional outdoor activities in addition to their performing arts programming.
For a full list of available programs and descriptions, read through Interlochen’s summer camp descriptions.
Lake Ann Camp
Where: Lake Ann
Age Range: Grades 4-12
Christian faith-based camp ✞
Typical cost: Rates vary depending on the age of your child and which week they attend camp. For juniors, average costs start around $533. Discounts and scholarships are available.
If a faith-based camp is important to your family, Lake Ann Camp offers this type of experience in Northern Michigan. In addition to hiking at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, campers enjoy a variety of activities such as paintball, zip-lining, and tubing on the Platte River. This Christian-based camp incorporates both personal worship and group worship in the Bolthouse Chapel.
Children are encouraged to leave their comfort zones to try something new, though they’re not required to do so. Your child chooses which activities to participate in—Lake Ann stresses that they do not “force campers into participation.” Less adventurous activities, like arts and crafts and walks by the river, are also offered.
Visit the Lake Ann Camp website for more information.
Bay Cliff Health Camp
Where: Big Bay
Age range: 3-17
Primarily offers programs for kids with disabilities ✅
Typical cost: Around $5,800
Bay Cliff Health Camp has been operating in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since the 1930s. Children’s Summer Therapy Camp is one of Bay Cliff’s most prominent programs. Designed specifically for children with disabilities, each activity is based in therapeutic programming. Physical, Occupational, and Speech & Language therapy are provided during the seven-week camp, as well as an array of exciting activities.
Children can play a variety of sports, enter the camp’s talent show, or spend time amongst nature in the woods or at a nearby beach. Younger children between the ages of 3-5 remain at camp for approximately 3.5 weeks and primarily occupy the playroom in their designated area.
At Bay Cliff, kids are permitted to send letters and weekly postcards to parents during the duration of camp. Phone calls with your child are not permitted via cell phone or through the camp line. If you have questions, you’re encouraged to contact the Unit Leader for your child through the camp’s direct line.
For more information on Bay Cliff, including detail on the program’s directors, read more here.
Age range: All ages
Typical cost: From about $523 per week
In operation since 1925, Camp Daggett offers sleep-away recreational and educational programs for children of all ages. Their summer camp features a roster of traditional outdoor activities, including kayaking, swimming, sailing, soccer, and kickball. Arts & crafts, as well as nature activities, are also part of the program. Children participate in cabin and camp clean up every day following breakfast.
During daily free time, children are encouraged to play team sports like volleyball or to spend time visiting and getting to know other campers. The goal of Camp Daggett is to help children develop leadership skills and self-confidence, and to learn how to put other people first.
Financial assistance—as well as a scholarship fund—is available for families who are currently facing monetary difficulties. Visit the Camp Daggett website for additional details.
Age range: 7-17
Typical cost: Day camp is free. Sessions start at $1,250.
Camp Lookout operates on five central ideals: collaboration, unplugged connection, non-competitive culture, playfulness, and free time. The camp provides an inclusive experience, as all activities are available to every camper, regardless of gender or age. Some of the most creative activities at Camp Lookout include kayak soccer, clay sculpting, paddle board yoga, candlemaking, midnight hikes, calligraphy, knitting, and songwriting. Children also participate in more traditional programs, like softball, wiffle ball, trivia nights, football, and birding.
Day camp sessions are available for free and are geared toward campers who live in the area. Sessions last from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and lunch is provided. Residential sessions last between one week and 20 days.
Read through the detailed 2023 Schedule to get a closer look at what your child can expect at Camp Lookout.
Circle Pines Summer Camp & Retreat Center
Age range: 7-17
Typical cost: From $800. Financial aid is available.
Located close to the North Country National Scenic Trail, Circle Pines encompasses almost 300 acres of land. Summer camp here is all about inclusivity, environmentalism, and social justice. In addition to traditional activities, like games, sports, arts & crafts, and swimming, counselors lead critical thinking discussions for the kids. These discussions center around specific topics, including gender expression and identity, social justice issues, environmentalism, immigration, and more. We found that the Parent Handbook offers the best look into this camp’s philosophy and operation.
Meals provided at Circle Pines are nutritious and sustainably sourced, and the kitchen staff ensures most allergies and dietary restrictions are accommodated. The premise behind this summer camp is to balance standard programs with educational activities, providing your children with a well-rounded experience. One-week and two-week sessions are available, and the camp runs from the first week of July through the first week of August.
Visit the Circle Pines Summer Camp & Retreat Center website for more information.
Editorial Assistant Sam Cohen contributed to this story.
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