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America's Most Expensive Summer Camps

By Lori Garcia |

With my kids home all summer, I only wish I had the foresight to research summer camp options. My shameful lack of planning has forced my kids into a summer of too much TV and the dissolution of brain cells by video gaming. Relax, I’m only kidding…sort of.

But for those of you who planned ahead, chances are your kid is gearing up for one awesome summer childhood experience at summer camp. From nature hikes, to macramé, campfire songs, and s’mores, this summer is sure to be one to remember.

Of course, summer camp experiences vary greatly. Did you know there’s a whole elite class of summer camps out there that run upwards of $10,000 per 7-week session? There are, and yes, they are way cooler than any camp your parents ever sent you to.

We’ve rounded up America’s most expensive summer camps; check out what makes them so special after the jump!

Camp Takajo – Naples, ME: This mission of this boys only camp is simple: to instill strong morals and build character to help boys unlock their full potential. How does Camp Takajo do it? Through a wide variety of athletics, water sports, hobby activities, skill activities and pioneering. Traditional land and water sports are offered along with courses in woodworking, journalism, nature study, performing and visual arts, and so much more. Pioneering experiences include backpacking, mountain and rock climbing, ropes courses and canoeing. Fee: 7-week program, $10,850.

Timber Lake Camp – Shandaken, NY: Timber Lake’s goal is to teach children the value of making and maintaining friendships, while building self-confidence and resilience. Timber Lake uses athletics such as basketball, roller-hockey, baseball, golf, and lacrosse to create an atmosphere of teamwork. In addition to a large variety of water sports, adventure activities include zip-lining, rock climbing, mountain biking and raft building. Arts courses include candle making, ceramics, pottery, woodshop, digital photography, and movie making. Fee: 7-week program, $10,850.

Camp Vega – Echo Lake, ME: This girl’s only camp boasts an enormous gym for gymnastics, cheering, and even stunting. Small group figure skating lessons led by professional figure skating instructors are also available, as well as dance studios, theater programs, music and studio recording, equestrian services, ropes courses, and a variety of water sport options. Camp Vega also offers arts and crafts studios with instruction on everything from jewelry making to ceramics to stained glass art. Wildlife and wildness experiences are also on the agenda. Fee: 7-week program, $10,600.

A+ Summer High School – Stanford, CA: This intensive one-week summer program at Stanford University is designed to engage 9th and 10th grade students in high-level academic activities to promote high school success and achievement. Fee: 1-week session $2,695.

Camp Laurel – Readfield, ME: With huge sporting fields and courts for a large variety of sporting activities, including a full-size roller hockey arena, and indoor gymnastics center, Camp Laurel has got your camper covered. Water activities include swimming, sailing, canoeing, waterskiing, and windsurfing on Echo Lake. Additional activities include climbing towers, metal smithing, ceramics, and equestrian fun. Fee: 7-week program, $10,800.

Tripp Lake Camp – Poland, ME: This girl’s only camp offers everything from arts to athletics. Their art center teaches copper enameling, fine arts, nature arts and crafts, photography, pottery, jewelry making, and even video and film making! Archery, golf, lacrosse, dance, and field hockey are just some of the sports Tripp Lake Camp offers in addition to a full array of water sports, equestrian activities and even rock climbing. Fee: 7-week program, $10,850.

What are your thoughts on these elite summer camps?

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About Lori Garcia

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Lori Garcia

Lori Garcia is a writer and mother of two living and loving in Southern California. When she's not fussing with her bangs, you can find her shaking her groove thing on her personal blog, Mommyfriend where she almost never combines true tales of motherhood and mayhem with her degree in child development. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lori's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “America's Most Expensive Summer Camps

  1. Jon Blumenfeld says:

    One of my friends went to camp Takajo and really enjoyed it. I’m looking for summer camps right now and I can’t imagine paying that much for my kids to go there. Surprisingly I can’t find many resources that cover summer programs. This is all I have found so far.
    http://www.teenlife.com/?SPNat_AtoC

  2. Janet says:

    I went to Camp Wohelo for years (an all girls camp, part of the Luther Gulick Camps that also includes a boys camp – Camp Timanous). The camp is right on Sebago Lake in Maine and therefore has alot of water related activities. There are also arts & crafts, dance, drama, and a few other things I can’t seem to remember. I recently found their website and was surprised to see how much it costs for the program. Not as much as the ones listed here, but still up there. It was a great experience to have growing up, but I don’t think I can afford to send my daughter there when she’s old enough. Kind of makes me sad…

  3. Mark says:

    There is a wonderful, and FREE, service that helps parents choose the right summer program for their child or teenager. Student Summers (aka The Camp Lady) can help find the right summer camp, summer experience or pre-college enrichment program that fits your child’s personality and skillset, within your budget. Did I mention that it’s completely free?! Highly recommend.

  4. I went to Timber Lake forever, albeit at a lower price tag back in the 80s and 90s. Though not exclusive to fancy camps, I was bullied incessantly – by other campers AND camp staff. My experience was that if you didn’t have the right clothes, car, etc., you just didn’t fit in, and they let you know.

    I believe strongly in sleepaway camp, I just know that just because the price tag is higher, doesn’t mean you’ll get a better experience, and well, may very well get a terrible one.

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