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Free and Low-Cost Summer Camps

Philadelphia-area summer fun that doesn't break the bank

Summer should be a time for relaxation, for both kids and parents. Sleepaway camps and day camps are great ways to get kids out of the house, let them pursue their interests, and allow parents some time to work or rest. But they too often come at a steep cost.

We found the Philadelphia area’s best sleepaway camps and day camps that are free, low-cost, or offer scholarships. Because having a fun and fulfilling summer should not have to break the bank.

Sleepaway Camps

Camp Jamison

Camp Jamison believes every kid deserves the chance to sleep in a cabin, hike through the woods, and roast marshmallows with their friends. That’s why their one-week overnight camp available to Philadelphia area kids ages 8-14 is affordable and offers scholarships.

College Settlement

This outdoors sleepaway camp in Horsham, Pennsylvania is for all Philly kids regardless of economic circumstance. The camp offers reasonable prices and financial assistance for families.

Camp Sojourner

This leadership program helps Philadelphia girls ages 8-18 become positive agents of change.  Their overnight camp in the Catskills has sliding scale rates.

Camp Philly

Organized by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Camp Philly offers a low-cost sleepaway camp option for Philadelphia residents in the Pocono Mountains. There are full scholarships available for qualifying kids.

Schuylkill Acts & Impacts

This free program takes local high schoolers on a six-day camping watershed expedition along the Schuylkill River. They will learn about fieldwork, land use, and water quality.

Photo courtesy of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

Arts & Culture Day Camps

Rock to the Future

Rock to the Future is free day camp for young people living in Philadelphia to learn how to play instruments, write original music, and perform in bands.

Fleisher Arts Memorial

This arts center offers immersive visual arts day camps for young people ages 5-18. There is tuition assistance available.

Yes! And… Collaborative Arts

This performing arts organization has four summer camp options for kids of all ages who want to get on stage. One is completely free, and the others offer sliding scale rates starting at $5. Full scholarships are also available.

Taller Puertorriqueño

This Philadelphia organization that preserves promotes Puerto Rican arts and culture hosts an arts and culture day camp for kids ages 6-14. Tuition is based on income and a sliding scale. There are also 25 full scholarships available and the program accepts Pennsylvania Child Care Works/Early Learning Resource Center subsidy payments.

The Clay Studio

Tuition assistance is available for the Clay Studio’s summer clay camps for young people entering 1st-12th grades.

Al-Bustan Arab Arts & Culture

This Arab arts and culture camp held at Bartram’s Garden offers a need-based scholarship.

CraftNOW Create

CraftNOW and Philadelphia Parks & Creation are partnering to bring free arts and crafts instruction to 120 neighborhood recreation centers. This year’s summer camps offer a variety of craft activities provided by the American Swedish Historical Museum, Asian Arts Initiative, The Clay Studio, Museum for Art in Wood, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, and 1241 Carpenter Studios. Spring 2024 update: No info is posted about this year yet.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia City Rowing

Active Day Camps

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

The city’s Parks & Recreation department hosts more than 100 day camps at parks, recreation centers, and playgrounds. Some camps are low-cost and there are fee waivers available.

Starfinder

The full cost of this indoor soccer camp is $100 a week, but families are invited to pay less if they are unable to meet the full cost. Financial assistance is available. Spring 2024 update: No info is posted about this year yet.

Philadelphia City Rowing

Kids in grades 7-12 and enrolled in a Philadelphia public or charter school can learn how to row at this completely free summer program.

Girl Scouts Philly Camp

Girl Scouts Philly is offering a free one-week summer camp in multiple parts of the city that will include outdoor exploration, a field trip, and STEM activities.

Lead photo courtesy of Camp Jamison

Contributing Writer for Philadelphia Family.

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