2023 Summer Camp Guide: The Best Camps in Chicago, the North Shore and Beyond

It’s that time of year again, when parents scramble to find the right summer camps to keep kids busy, active and engaged while school is out. From traditional day camps to sports camps and academic enrichment programs, there are countless summer camps offered throughout the city and suburbs for kids of all ages and interests and the breadth of options can be daunting.

To help you narrow down the options, check out our Better List, which includes a comprehensive lineup of Chicago and North Shore area summer camps, including:

St John’s Northwestern Academies Summer Programs 

Chicago and the North Shore offer a wealth of summer camp programs that cater to kids of every interest and age group. Not sure how to choose? Check out these 11 excellent options. Read more.

If you’re looking for more information on what kind of camp to send your child to, and what to consider when choosing a camp, or just a couple great camps we recommend, check out our articles below:

Sending Your Kids to a Sleepaway Summer Camp? Here’s What to Consider

kids summer camps

As a kid, when the school year ended and the first day of summer would roll around, I would become obsessed with counting down the days until I would go to Girl Scout summer camp. The night before I boarded the camp bus and headed to the mountains of New Mexico for two weeks felt like Christmas Eve. I’d barely sleep anticipating the excitement of seeing old friends and making new ones, hiking, going horseback riding and making s’mores around a campfire. Summer camp was my happy place where I could completely be myself and indulge in pure, carefree fun. Read more.

Is Your Teen Ready to Be a Babysitter or Camp Counselor?

If your teen has the qualities that you would want in a babysitter – someone who is dependable, organized and punctual – then they may be a good candidate. Start them off with some training with an American Red Cross babysitting class. They’ll learn valuable skills and it will help them determine if caregiving is something that they really want to do. They will also learn how to start a babysitting business of their own and perform basic first aid skills. Read more.

What Kids Bring Home From Sleep-Away Camp

My son is about to leave for his fourth summer at overnight camp. His first year, I was obsessed with making sure he was okay. My phone displayed his local weather and I ran to the mailbox daily, then eagerly scoured the camp photos posted each night. I was Sherlock Holmes, determined to find clues to his happiness. Is that a smile on his blurry face in the background?

I worried. Did he have enough sunscreen? Was he warm enough? Why is he wearing the same shorts three days in a row—didn’t I pack enough? I thought his entire experience hinged on my preparation. What I discovered in those photos is that it doesn’t matter so much what you pack; once kids are at camp, it’s a free-for-all. Read more.

Top 3 Questions to Ask When Searching for a Summer Camp

Top 3 Questions to Ask When Searching for a Summer Camp

Today, as children’s lives are increasingly filled with academic drills and social media friendships, the life-changing impact of summer camp is more important than ever. Whether day- or overnight-camp, kids are provided with opportunities to safely choose their own adventures under the guidance of highly trained role models who are neither parent nor teacher. Read more.

For Parents: P.S. I Hate It Here! Kids’ Letters from Camp

Parents, we know sending your kids to camp can be nerve-racking! Have a good laugh with the P.S. I Hate It Here! book series. Diane Falanga, Chicago author, parent and owner and principle designer of Space Defined Interiors, collected hilarious and heartwarming real-life letters by children ages eight to sixteen to their parents about their adventures at summer camp. The letters are laugh-out-loud funny and will have readers reminiscing about their own camp days. Learn more.

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