Outdoorsy Summer Camps in the Inland NW – 2021

Amy Silbernagel McCaffree

Here’s our annual list of regional summer camps and nature-based schools to help #OutThereKids live their full-potential during this COVID-era summer.

Bogus Basin Mountain Discovery Camps

Day camp for ages 9-12 and teen overnight camp, ages 12-16, at Bogus Basin Mountain, in collaboration with Boise Parks & Rec. Bogusbasin.org

Camp Ashwell Day Camp – Girl Scouts

The regional program center for Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and North Idaho, located near downtown Spokane, hosts themed day camp sessions for all girls entering grades K-8 (troop membership not required). Activities include STEM experiences, arts and crafts, swimming, and other hands-on, experiential, skill-building fun. Snacks and lunch provided. Gsewni.org

Camp Easton – Boy Scouts

This Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Inland Northwest Council property on the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene, near Harrison, Idaho, offers an advanced aquatics program, shooting sports, scout crafts, and nature and recreation activities, including sailing, canoeing, snorkeling, scuba-diving, and zipline. The local council also allows BSA, non-BSA, and wedding party groups to rent its facilities, year-round, including campsites, RV pads, and cabins when camps aren’t in session (more details at Campreservation.com.) Nwscouts.org

Camp Four Echoes – Girl Scouts

Located along 2 miles of Lake Coeur d’Alene shoreline near Worley, Idaho, girls sleep in whimsically named camping units, like Teepees in Sky Meadows and Treehouses in Smugglers Cove. Girls Scouts also offers a variety of themed, overnight camps for girls in grades 1-12 (troop membership not required to attend). Activities include waterfront recreation (kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and windsurfing); nature exploration, hiking, biking, and outdoor skill-building; STEM activities; and adventure-based sessions for those in 7th-10th grades. Facility rentals are also available Sept.-May. Gsewni.org

Main lodge at Camp Four Echoes at dusk with all the lights on and reflection of lodge and lights on the calm, flat surface of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Camp Four Echoes main lodge. // Photo courtesy Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

Camp Grizzly – Boy Scouts

Regional camp property along the Palouse River, near Potlatch, Idaho, offers mountain biking, all-terrain vehicles, survival, blacksmithing, animal science, and other recreation and skill-building. The local council allows BSA, non-BSA, and wedding party groups to rent its facilities year-round, including campsites, RV pads, and cabins when camps aren’t in session (info at Campreservation.com.) Nwscouts.org

Camp MiVoden

Located on the northern shore of Hayden Lake, Idaho, Camp MiVoden offers overnight camps for age 8-16. The camp is affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Mivoden.com

Camp Spalding

Located near Newport, Wash., along Davis Lake, there are overnight camps for grades 1-12 plus a family camp. Activities include canoeing, horseback riding, rappelling, and more. Founded by Presbyterian churches. Campspalding.org

Young campers at Camp Spalding in a large circle holding onto the edge of a huge round parachute to play games.
Group games at Camp Spalding. // Photo: Amy McCaffree

Camp Sweyolakan – Camp Fire Inland Northwest

Run by Camp Fire Inland Northwest, Camp Sweyolakan (Swe-o-la-kan) on Lake Coeur d’Alene has overnight camps for boys and girls ages 6-18. Campfireinc.org

Camp Zanika – Camp Fire North Central Washington

Located along the shore of Lake Wenatchee, camp includes overnight sessions for grades 1-12. Activities include fishing, hiking, kayaking, and backpacking, with optional add-ons, such as river rafting and horseback riding. Campfirencw.org

Dart-Lo Day Camp – Camp Fire Inland Northwest

Located along the Little Spokane River, children age 3-18 enjoy outdoor activities like games, swimming, and a low ropes course. Campfireinc.org

Lutherhaven 

A variety of programs are offered among its three properties in North Idaho: a main camp at Lake Coeur d’Alene, Shoshone Creek Ranch Camp, and Shoshone Mountain Retreat. Lutherhaven.com

Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures – Outdoor Adventure Summer Camp

Children grades K-12 learn leadership, teamwork, and outdoor skills along with self-confidence and appreciation for the natural world through activities like hiking, biking, rafting, climbing, canoeing, overnight camping, and more. Parents are welcome to join excursions. Missoulaoutdoors.com

Montana Natural History Center – Outdoor Discovery Day Camps

Program in Missoula, Mont., are for children ages 4 through 5th grade. Themes include learning about rocks and fossils; fish and stream ecology and fishing techniques; camping, survival, and wayfinding skills; and more. Montananaturalist.org

Northwest Outward Bound School

Wilderness courses and other programs for middle and high school-aged youth, and LGBT+ youth. Destinations in the Pacific Northwest include the North Cascades, San Juan Island, Mt. Rainier, and the Salmon River among others. Recreation activities include backpacking, kayaking, rock climbing, rafting, mountaineering, and more. Outwardbound.org

Peak 7 Adventures

With offices in Spokane and Portland, Peak 7 offers adventures and courses for backpacking, mountaineering, rafting, and rock climbing. Peak7.org

S.O.L.E. – Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education

Based in Sandpoint, Idaho, S.O.L.E. aims to “ReWild your child” this summer with their Junior Naturalist Experiences program (ages 4-9) and adventure-based outdoor leadership camps for ages 10-12 and 13-17. Soleexperiences.org 

Spokane Parks & Recreation – Youth Outdoor Programs

Day camps (ages 8-18) are organized according to recreation focus, including disc golf, horseback riding, outdoor adventure, and wilderness survival. My.spokanecity.org/recreation/outdoor

Twin Eagles Wilderness School

Specializing in helping children connect with the natural world and develop self-awareness through nature-based activities, Twin Eagles summer day and overnight camps provide wilderness and adventure challenges, and survival skill-building, such as foraging, wildlife tracking, and fire and natural shelter-building. Twineagles.org

A group of muddy kids.
Muddy summer campers and staff enjoying hands-on learning at Twin Eagles Wilderness School. // Photo courtesy Twin Eagles.

University of Montana Youth Camps

Day camp sessions in Missoula for grades K-5 with various recreational activities, including indoor climbing skills, rafting, hiking, soccer, and other team sports. Umt.edu/crec/YouthCamps

Wild Walls Indoor Climbing Clubs

Located in downtown Spokane, the Beginner Club (ages 7-10) is for learning basic skills for belay certification. For youth ready to advance their skills and technique, there’s Climbing Club (ages 7-14). Clubs meet once a week and include one-month membership with rental gear. Wildwalls.com

Wenatchee Valley Museum – Super Summer Adventure Camps

Day camps for kids grades K-6 with science and nature themes. Wenatcheevalleymuseum.org

WSU Cougar Kids Camp 

Day camps for grades K-7 at Washington State University’s Pullman campus, hosted by the University Recreation department. Urec.wsu.edu

Washington Trails Association (WTA) – Youth Volunteer Vacation

Week-long trail work crew projects for youth, ages 14-18, to develop outdoor and leadership skills while building and maintaining hiking trails as a team. Locations this summer include the Cascades, Mt. Rainier, Olympic Peninsula, and Puget Sound. Wta.org

YMCA Camp Reed

Located at Fan Lake, north of Spokane, YMCA of the Inland Northwest offers overnight camps, and family camp, that include swimming, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, ropes course, and climbing wall. Ymcainw.org

Y Day Camps – Spokane          

Weekday program for children entering grades K-8. Ymcainw.org

A teen boy holding a fish.
Photo courtesy YMCA Camp Reed.

Listing of Nature Schools in the Inland NW – 2021

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