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Top Outdoor Summer Camps in Portland

Published Jan 7, 2020 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Summertime is approaching, and it's time to decide where to send the kids to camp. Here are our favorite outdoor and adventure choices in Portland.

Top Outdoor Summer Camps in Portland

Now that spring has finally sprung and the weather is heating up, it is time to start thinking about summer. We absolutely love the idea of sending your kids to an outdoor summer camp. Why not let them soak up some sweet Vitamin D and have a blast with their best friends! In order to help, we’ve filtered through all the local outdoor kids camps and compiled a list of only the best and brightest.

Camp Namanu

Open to campers entering grades kindergarten to grade 12, Camp Fire Columbia's Camp Namanu offers two diverse programs. Resident Camp is a traditional sleep away camp at the 552-acre camp near Sandy, and Namanu Ranch Camp gives young equestrians the chance to take care of their very own horses for one full week. All campers are encouraged to take part in activities such as swimming, rock climbing, nature exploration, and much more.

Photo Credit: Camp Namanu

Lake Oswego Hunt

The premier Portland-Area day equestrian camp is geared for young horse lovers of all skill levels. Each camper's skill level is carefully assessed and matched with a suitable horse. Campers will learn the basics of horse care and the fundamentals of proper riding that will help them develop into accomplished, safe riders. Horses, helmets, and tack are supplied.

Camp Tilikum

Every summer 2,500-plus kids in 1st to 12th grade explore Tilikum’s 93 acres of wooded hiking trails, grassy meadows, and pristine lake through day and overnight camps. Camp Tilikum takes pride in creating space for kids to connect with God, experience creation, establish friendships, and unplug from technology.

Friends of Tryon Creek

Full-day and half-day nature camps have specific themes that will guide conversations and activities. All camps include hiking, songs, crafts, stories, games and fort building in the meadow. Campers will develop a ecological understanding and spend most of their time outdoors. Each camp will end with a special ceremony where parents and family members are invited.

Photo Credit: Tryon Creek

Rewild Portland Ancestral Skills Camp

Rewild Portland's Ancestral Skills Camp is a combined nature and art camp. Nature-based crafts, self-directed play, reflection, and storytelling are the key activities used to help campers immerse themselves in the natural world and connect to nature.

Adventure WILD

Based at the Mazama Mountaineering Center, Adventure WILD's summer day camps encourage campers to explore the outdoors, learning about urban nature and the beautiful green spaces around us. Each week’s theme includes nature, science, and art components, tailored to the ages and interests of the week's participants. Every Friday is indoor rock climbing day, where young adventurers will learn the basics of climbing technique.

Royal Ridges Retreat

Royal Ridges Retreat is located a 45 minute drive from central Portland, 25 miles northeast of Vancouver, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range. With 390 acres of stunning hills, pastures, streams, and trails, Royal Ridges is a great destination for kids to spend their summer. Summer camps are designed for kids and teens in 1st to 12th grade. Camps are activity and nature oriented, so campers should expect to spend a lot of time outdoors. Day and overnight camps are available. 

Photo Credit: Royal Ridges Retreat 

Big Lake Youth Camp

Big Lake Youth Camp carefully selects its staff who lead hundreds of campers every summer in fun, adventurous activities. There are three core camps to choose from. REG Camps are action packed, and campers pick one skill-building activity, like archery or canoeing, that they focus on week-day mornings and try other activities in the afternoons. RAD Camps give campers the opportunity to focus on their favorite activity for the entire week. Adventure Camp is designed for younger kids who are entering the world of summer camping for the first time. The week is shorter, the pace is slower, and campers will get to try a bunch of different activities.  

Trackers Earth Portland

Trackers Earth award-winning summer camps are known among Portland parents as one of the best summer programs in the region. Campers journey into the wilderness where they make forts and campfires, go off-trailing, learn fun skills like archery, fishing, survival, and much more. Parents love Trackers Earth's programs for the excellent staff who have authentic outdoor skills and experience as educators. Camps are open to children ages four to 12th graders. 

If this article sparked your curiosity and you are now in hot pursuit of discovering the most epic outdoor summer camp for your kids, we highly recommend checking out our comprehensive list of summer camps. Finding the coolest local kids camps and classes is our specialty, and we are more than happy to help!

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