Outdoor games, group singalongs, arts and crafts—many of us have cherished memories of summer camp from our own childhoods, so it only makes sense for you to want your child to experience those same joys.

But back then, you were the kid attending summer camp without a care in the world. Now, you’re the parent who has to think about the logistics, like camp costs. And just how much does summer camp cost now anyway?

Campers building with popsicle sticks

Ultimately, it depends. However, understanding how camp costs break down can help you choose the right camp for your family. Today, we’ll teach you how to lower your camp costs and navigate financial aid options to make summer camp more accessible.

Understanding the Factors that Affect Camp Costs

The amount you can expect to pay for camp will depend on a few different factors. These can include:

  • Where the camp is located
  • How long the camp lasts – how many hours of the day and days per week
  • Whether it’s daytime only, or a sleep-away camp
  • The types of activities offered
  • Whether a camp has meal or snack options
  • If a camp has options for bus services and early or late pickup
  • If the camp is a specialty program

Across the United States, one single day at a summer camp costs an average of $178.49. By comparison, sleep-away camps are much more expensive, averaging out at $448.53 per day. However, costs vary greatly by geographical location due to facility and labor costs.

Unfortunately, camp tuition has skyrocketed across the board over the last 2 years. But that doesn’t mean your child has to miss out on these fantastic summer experiences. If you’re struggling with finances, you can look into:

  • Financial aid options and programs specific to the camp you’re interested in
  • Camp discounts – the early bird gets the worm and this is definitely true for summer camps which are known to run Early Registration specials
  • Free camp programs for families in need

The good news? There’s almost always a way to shave off some of the costs of attending summer camp.

Location Matters: How Geography Impacts Prices

When it comes to choosing an affordable summer camp, location matters. In fact, you may find yourself paying more for a summer camp that’s:

  • By the beach
  • In a coastline state such as California or New York
  • Located in an urban area compared to a rural one

If you want to send your child to a local camp, you’ll have to take your cost of living into consideration, too. After all, if you live in a more expensive state, there’s a good chance you’ll see a higher camp price tag.

Camp Duration: Short vs. Long-Term Costs

How much does summer camp cost? A big deciding factor also lies in the amount of time your child will spend there.

When it comes to summer camps, you have two major types:

  • Sleep-away camps – These camps last 24 hours a day, meaning kids stay at the campsite or facility for the duration of the program. Since this demands 24-hour supervision from staff, costs tend to triple or quadruple.
  • Day camps – These camps typically last from sometime in the morning to the late afternoon or evening, with 9 am to 3 pm being a popular time slot. Since staff isn’t hired for a 24-hour shift and the facilities don’t need areas for washing up or sleeping, the costs are often more manageable, making this an ideal option for families looking to save a little.

The length of a camp program affects its price, too. Most camps go on for a minimum of one week, but you can find summer camps that last anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks.

Tailoring Camp Costs to Your Budget

The best way to tailor camp costs to your budget is to understand your options. To that end, consider cutting your costs by:

  • Looking for programs that offer discounts or financial aid
  • Choosing a shorter program
  • Sticking with day camps instead of sleep-away camps
  • Checking your area for local discounted and free camps for families in need
  • Attend summer camp fairs in your area – some school districts and community organizations put them together. A lot of camps will offer discounts to attendees

Camp Galileo’s Value: Quality and Affordability

Girl coloring on lawn

So, how much does summer camp cost? The short answer is it depends. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to find quality camps that your child will enjoy without breaking the bank.

At Camp Galileo, we offer programs in different locations, allowing parents like you to browse for a program that’s aligned with your budget and needs.

We also pride ourselves in doing what we can to serve our community, including providing families in need with the opportunity to enroll. Flexible enrollment policies and scholarships are just two of the ways we’re making sure more people can have a Camp Galileo experience, and we’re constantly working toward expanding financial aid options.

If you’re interested in learning more about our financial aid options or the enrollment process, reach out to us at any time.

Explore our locations across California, Chicagoland, Seattle, and Colorado! Located in the San FranciscoCalifornia Bay Area? Be sure to check out our San Jose and Los Gatos summer camps or find the location nearest you with our Camp Finder.

Unlock your child’s creativity and curiosity at Summer Camp Galileo. Discover more!


Parents. How to Handle the Rising Cost of Summer Camp. https://parents.com/kids/camp/summer/what-summer-really-costs-parents/

National Library of Medicine. The Effects of Summertime Experiences on Children’s Development. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK552668/