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.
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.
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.
This leadership program helps Philadelphia girls ages 8-18 become positive agents of change. Their overnight camp in the Catskills has sliding scale rates.
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.
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.
Arts & Culture Day Camps
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.
This arts center offers immersive visual arts day camps for young people ages 5-18. There is tuition assistance available.
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.
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.
Tuition assistance is available for the Clay Studio’s summer clay camps for young people entering 1st-12th grades.
This Arab arts and culture camp held at Bartram’s Garden offers a need-based scholarship.
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. For the list of craft activities, please visit www.craftnowphila.org/summer-camp/.
Active Day Camps
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.
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.
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 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