Remember when summer vacation was a chance for all school-aged children to leave the confines of the classroom or living room and spend endless hours outside? Well, one way your parents may have encouraged this is by sending you to a sports or adventure camp. You enjoyed it because you were outdoors but there are countless other benefits to these camps that will help kids thrive in social settings, stay healthy and most importantly have fun.

Sport Camps – promotes exercise, helps focus, develop social skills, and creates healthy habits

Just like it sounds, kids will be spending most of their time doing physical activities both indoors and outdoors. The primary goal here is teaching them that exercise and physical activity is the key to growth, overall health and encourages the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

Camps with sports at their core will help develop your child’s crucial life skills including leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition. They’ll realize that to succeed as a team requires working together to solve problems and tackle situations head on. Competition, which is everywhere, will also help them succeed whether it be in sports, school or later on in business.

Eckerd College Summer Watersports Camp,www.eckerd.edu/waterfront/watersportscamp727-864-8288

Adjacent to Boca Ciega Bay, the school provides the perfect environment for learning water sports! Classes include sailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, saltwater fishing and more for ages 5-17. The camp is June 4 through Aug. 3, with half-day classes from 9 a.m. to noon and/or 1-4 p.m. All watersports equipment and life jackets are provided.

Protential Sports, www.protentialsports.com, 813-843-9460

Our summer camp program is design to give your child structure, fun and physical activities during the summer months. Fun in weekly field trips to places like Busch Gardens, MOSI, Movies, and more… The sports curriculum is set up so your child will learn a multiple number sports daily. The daily schedule provides five sports per day along with a rest time and lunch.

Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Camp, www.raysbaseball.com/camps 

The Rays Baseball camps have become nationally recognized as the premier baseball camp in Florida. Our mission is to teach children the fundamentals of the game through professional instructions that place an emphasis on structured teaching and personal attention. The Rays training programs provide a fun and engaging atmosphere to ensure each child increases his or her love of the game while also assisting in the advanced development of their baseball and softball skills.

Innisbrook Golf and Tennis Camps, http://www.innisbrookgolfresort.com/tampa-resort-activities/family/727-942-5241

Camp Nessie offers children (age 3-11) an engaging environment to interact with kids their own age while participating in memorable activities. Camp Nessie is built on FUN. Fantastic Staff, Unparalleled Facilities, Nothing but Good Times. Each day at Camp Nessie is uniquely themed with great crafts and fun games.

Tampa Bay Skating Academy Summer Camps, www.tbsa.com813-854-4010,727-723-7785

Have a cool time on the ice this summer. Ice skating camps are offered to beginner and intermediate level skaters ages 6-12. Daily camp sessions include on and off ice instruction, arts and crafts, catered lunch and supervised on-ice free time. There also are camps for experienced skaters, including a hockey camp in Oldsmar and a figure skating camp in Countryside.

Tampa United Volleyball, www.tampaunitedvolleyball.com, 813-787-6221

Tampa United Volleyball Academy has served the Tampa Bay community for 15 years. Club volleyball has helped numerous girls cultivate self-confidence and self-esteem, understand athletic challenges and sportsmanship, and grow into fine young women. Volleyball opens many doors for female student athletes who need assistance financing their higher education or simply wish to use volleyball as a springboard for being admitted to a particular school.


Adventure camps are a great way to get kids to try and learn new things.  These programs challenge our kids mentally as much as physically. Some camps include ropes courses, scuba diving, working with animals, and learning new skills.  This may also require them to conquer a fear. In a supportive program, the staff will engage kids to talk about why they are scared of the activity, helping them face that fear head on and allow them to build confidence and trust.

AquaCamps, www.flaquarium.org813-273-4015

Join the excitement! Get NAUI open water certified during this SCUBA camp for 12-15 year olds. Ages 10-14 can participate in travel camps, enjoying activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and tubing around Tampa Bay. On location camps for ages 6-9 include science experiments, field trips and the opportunity to see live animals. AquaTots and AquaKids programs for 3-6 year olds include crafts, games and live animals. Register online!

Busch Gardens Adventure Camps, www.buschgardens.org888-800-5447,

Busch Gardens offers a variety of camps. Resident camps marry the best of Busch Gardens’ offerings into multi-day, sleep-away programs for students in grades four through college. From single-day to week-long adventures, day camps provide campers in prekindergarten through ninth grade with hands-on, educational experiences with animals and the outdoors. Sleepover camps are one-night overnights perfect for groups and students in first through 12th grade who are looking for enriching up-close encounters with amazing animals.

History Adventures, Tampa Bay History Center,www.tampabayhistorycenter.org813-228-0097

Paint, dance, and swashbuckle your way through Tampa’s past! Campers explore each week-long theme through hands-on activities, arts & crafts, games, music, literature, and interactions with historians and other experts. Summer 2012 themes include: Art Infusion, Viva Tampa!American Girls, and Pirates and Explorers. TBHC’s History Adventure Camps are open to children ages 8-11.

Nature Discovery Camp, www.hccfl.edu/ifs813-757-2186

Explore the 400 acre English Creek Preserve and discover the true wild Florida! Campers in grades two through five will enjoy hands-on activities, hikes, games, crafts and field exploration. Sixth through eighth graders will split their time between field studies and a fully supplied science lab as well as building an underwater ROV! All camps include an off-site field trip.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, www.lowryparkzoo.com813-935-8552, Ext. 268

This summer, the Zoo School is headquarters for more than 100 week-long camps for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Kids and teens can learn about nature, science and the animal kingdom while hiking through the zoo, exploring behind-the-scenes and cooling off in the water play areas. Adventure camps include animal encounters, keeper talks, educational shows, games, crafts and more.

Tampa Parks and Recreations Summer Camps,www.tampagov.net/dept_parks_and_recreation813-274-8615

The city of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department offers a nine-week camp filled with friendship, adventure and fun. Available at 25 community centers across the city, children will enjoy sports, arts and crafts, games and more.

Pathfinder Adventure Camps, www.pathfinder-ed.org/community/summer-programs.php727.328.0300

Perhaps your child isn’t ready for a full week away? Or maybe you want an adult weekend getaway while the kids enjoy a camp adventure? These weekend camps in Hillsborough County for students in fourth grade or higher are a great option. Pathfinder also offers week-long overnight camps in Manatee County. Activities include tree climbing, zip lining, archery, canoeing, camp fires, night hikes, ropes courses, arts and crafts, cookouts and more.

Skyland Camp for Girls, www.skylandcamp.com828-627-2470

Celebrating 95 years, Skyland is an overnight camp in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. Skyland’s enrollment is limited to 50-65 campers (ages 6-15) per session. While many camps boast enrollment in the hundreds, Skyland believes in providing a summer filled with personalized experiences, magical moments, exploration and confidence-building activities. Whether it’s getting on stage for musical theater, shooting a bulls-eye, hiking to the top of a mountain or cantering on a horse, there are many firsts every single day at Skyland.

Valley View Ranch Equestrian Camp, www.valleyviewranch.com706-862-2231

A horse lovers’ paradise since 1954, this camp takes 60 girls ages 8-17. Instructors teach beginner to advanced riders. Campers spend four to six hours daily with their own horse. They’ll also enjoy swimming, pottery and more.

For a complete list of camps visit:  www.TBParenting.com