Sleep away camp! Bunk beds, campfire songs, tall trees, docks and boats, crafts with yarn and sticks – many of us remember a camp experience like this from our childhood. Sleep away camps can be life-changing and there are plenty in easy distance of Vancouver. Many are dotted throughout Howe Sound, and the Fraser Valley has its fair share as well.
YMCA Camps (Elphinstone)
The ultimate camp experience! YMCA overnight camps are a home away from home. The beauty of YMCA Camp Elphinstone creates the perfect backdrop for your child to find new friends, discover new experiences, and create new memories that last a lifetime. Whether it’s learning the basics of sailing, going on a memorable four-day hike or navigating ropes courses, families can choose from a wide range of activities for their kids to enjoy throughout the summer.
With 60 years history in providing fun, outdoor challenges to youth and adults on gorgeous Gambier Island in Howe Sound, Camp Latona offers three summer camps for kids from 5 to 17 feature campfires, hikes, games, ocean swimming, canoeing and lots of personal exploration and growth.
Located in the beautiful Upper Squamish Valley, Camp Summit is a non-religious, outdoor adventure and traditional overnight camp facility offering various programs for youth and adults. Summit offers a co-ed summer camp experience for campers aged 4 – 17. Campers can sign up for anywhere from 3 to 5 days or one or two weeks depending on their age, interest and comfort.
Evans Lake is located in Paradise Valley just north of Squamish. For over 50 years, Evans Lake has served as an important destination for outdoor education and camps for kids. Its mountain vistas, pristine lake and spectacular surrounding forest, along with the friendships and challenges, Evans Lake creates unforgettable experiences.
At summer camp, kids are encouraged to unplug, breathe fresh air, sing their hearts out at campfire, make friends, and develop their spirituality in a variety of ways. Mornings are spent with archery, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, arts and crafts, afternoons, it’s “Campers Choice” to do more of whatever activity they love most. After dinner, kids will enjoy camp-wide game like Capture the Flag, followed by vespers and campfire. And, of course there’s swimming or playing at the waterfront, dress-up meals, dance parties and a talent show. Located on Gambier Island, this lovely camp offers options for 5-7s to teens as well as Mom and kids camps and Dad and kids camps.
Summer camp at Keats is truly a unique place, where children and youth can grow, learn and explore in a safe and nurturing environment, surrounded by supportive and guiding roles models. This Christian camp is 90 years old and located in a truly magical setting.
Campfires, games, swimming, and sleeping in a cabin – can it get any better? At Timberline Ranch, it sure does! Overnight camps offer a little bit of everything for campers looking to experience it all, including horseback rides, archery, climbing wall, mountaineering, and games – and you are guaranteed to hear the stories for months to come!
Campfire songs, mountains views, and glorious lake swimming – it’s a traditional sleep away camp located in the forest on a huge property right next to Cultus Lake. Campers at Stillwood bunk together in cabins, and during the day try out activities like the climbing tower, zip lines, archery, crafts, frisbee golf, swimming, and more. This Christian camp also features on faith-based activities, including an on-site worship leader. If your little person is almost ready for a sleep away camp, there’s Woodchucks Camp, which is a special shorter option for 6 to 8 year olds. They also have a special camp for single moms and their children.
Harriet Fancott is the Editor and Social Media Manager for Vancouver Mom. She has over 20 years experience in the arts, tech and mom-based blogging arenas. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring all that Vancouver has to offer from festivals and events to playgrounds and beaches to sushi and ice cream (although not together).