Have the Best Week Ever at One of These Chill Summer Camps for 2019
Summer’s just around the corner. Make plans for fun with our guide to eight amazing Scout camps.
Click here to see more Scout Camps featured in previous years
DIVE IN: There are waterfronts — and then there’s the waterfront at Camp Morrison, located high in the Rocky Mountains. The clear glacial waters of Payette Lake offer the ultimate swimming, sailing and snorkeling experience.
LOOK AROUND: As you walk to merit badge class, keep your eyes open for deer, foxes and eagles. You might spot a black bear, too, which is a good reminder to keep food out of your tent.
CLIMB ON: Here, you don’t get the Climbing merit badge; you earn it. Instead of climbing an artificial wall, challenge yourself on natural rock. Learn advanced techniques and how to stay safe while having fun.
Southeast Louisiana Council
COOL IT: Wild Water Wednesday offers a break from merit badge instruction and a chance to take advantage of open aquatics areas — especially the 40-foot slip-n-slide by the lake!
STAY LATE: The V-Bar fun doesn’t stop when supper ends. Each evening features something special. We’re told the Watermelon Bash, ice-cream social and Friday night closing campfire are not to be missed.
GO GUMBO: They’re called “gumbo troops,” and they’re made up of individual Scouts who, for whatever reason, couldn’t attend summer camp with their troop. Now everyone can experience summer camp and make new buddies.
Camp Raven Knob
Old Hickory Council
Mount Airy, North Carolina
JUMP RIGHT IN: The docks at Lake John Sobotta give you multiple jumping-off points into aquatics awesomeness. Earn a merit badge (or three) — or just have fun kayaking, rowing, sailing or getting your lifeguard certification.
SHINE ON: At 9 p.m. each Tuesday, the nature staff invites you to a “frog hunt,” where you’ll search for nighttime wildlife. It’s required for Scouts earning the Reptile and Amphibian Study merit badge but open to all.
GET CRAFTY: Head to the handicrafts area to tie-dye a T-shirt or braid your own paracord survival bracelet. You can also finish up requirements for merit badges like Art, Basketry and Wood Carving.
Camp Buffalo Bill
Central Wyoming Council
FIRE IT UP: Bring long pants and sturdy shoes if you want to earn Metalwork, one of the camp’s most popular merit badges. Learn to manipulate red-hot metal that was heated in a handcranked coal forge.
GET OUT THERE: Venture into Yellowstone for an unforgettable experience at the country’s first national park. Choose from a menu of five-day backpacking, kayaking, rafting or climbing adventures.
JOIN THE CAST: The fast-flowing North Fork of the Shoshone River is one of the nation’s best fly-fishing spots. Lucky for you, Camp Buffalo Bill is right on the river, giving you a shot at catching trout all week long.
Great Lakes Sailing Adventure
Michigan Crossroads Council
Mackinaw City, Michigan
SET SAIL: Step aboard the Retriever, a sailboat that’s your home for a week of crisscrossing the northern Great
Lakes. The 52-foot Retriever has room for up to 12 participants — usually 10 youth and two adults.
LEARN ON THE JOB: No sailing experience? No problem. A seasoned sailor will teach you the basics of sailboat handling, navigation and marine safety — plus the right way to cook, sleep and live on a boat.
DROP ANCHOR: Pick which ports you’ll visit on Lake Huron or Lake Michigan. Sample that famous Mackinac Island fudge, hike the trails of Beaver Island or fill your camera roll with photos of lighthouses.
Fire Mountain Scout Camp
Mount Baker Council
Mount Vernon, Washington
GAIN ELEVATION: Climb, jump, balance and swing at the Fire Mountain COPE course. COPE, or challenging outdoor personal experience, takes teamwork and confidence-building to new heights.
STAY COOL: Want a break from the summer heat? Average summer temperatures at Fire Mountain are in the upper 70s, and the camp’s huge evergreen trees offer plenty of shade. Bonus: The bug population is low.
TAKE THE PLUNGE: Fire Mountain’s lake features a swim beach complete with palm trees and sand. Head to Sea Dog Marina to try sailing, rowing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
Shaver Lake, California
PICK A SPOT: Find Chawanakee on the banks of Shaver Lake, a popular recreation destination in the Sierra National Forest. One look and you’ll see why vacationers visit to water-ski, fish for trout and camp among the pines.
MAKE A SPLASH: Head to Boy Scout Cove on Shaver Lake to earn your Canoeing, Kayaking, Lifesaving, Rowing, Small Boat Sailing or Swimming merit badge in a setting that belongs on a postcard.
SAY ALOHA: Celebrate Hawaii on the mainland during Aloha Friday. Wear your Hawaiian shirt to the luau-style barbecue in the afternoon. That night, head to the Point Campfire Bowl for an unforgettable closing show where troops show off their best skits and songs.
Massawepie Scout Camps
Seneca Waterways Council
Tupper Lake, New York
BREATHE IT IN: The camp’s location in the Adirondacks means cool temperatures at night and the call of loons in the morning. But don’t sleep in! With nine ponds and lakes on property, there’s more climbing, kayaking, biking, swimming and log rolling than you could fit in a week.
SWITCH IT UP: For something different, try the Mountain Fox program for older youth. Leave your troop after breakfast to enjoy daylong outings to climb a mountain, conquer Class IV rapids and more — while still making it back for dinner!
GO FOR IT: Massawepie is the launch point for three- and six-day backpacking, canoeing or fishing treks through the Adirondack Mountains. Choose one of 12 predesigned treks — or customize your own.
Where are you headed this summer? Whether it’s one of these camps or another, let us know below.
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Camp Barstow-Lake Murray, SC
How about Camp Cherry Valley (GLAAC) located on Catalina Island?
Camp Mattatuck of Connecticut Rivers Council!
When we promote only the “Best” camps, are we negating the efforts of the great numbers of volunteers trying to upgrade their camps with today’s limited funds? It is the counselors who make a camp Great! Support our youth leaders well and our Scouts will have the “Best” camping week of their lives no matter how limited the resources.
While every camp has its own unique features and programs, the best summer camp is your local Council’s camp. That’s where you build loyalties, usually less expensive, and, most importantly, most accessible to everyone in your troop.
Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation in Pearson, Wisconsin – The Land of Sky Blue Waters!
My son is headed to The Summit! (not for Jambo)
This is great. Always wanted to go to Camp Chawanakee. Kinda feel like Camp Emerald Bay should have made the list though.
Camp woodruff was the best!
Don’t forget about the smaller camps like Mount Norris Scout Reservation located in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Scouts experience a small-town vibe while earning lots of merit badges and hiking and canoe trips. My son has been to 7 different scout camps, and Mt. Norris is the one he chooses to work at as a staff member.
I wish they told us exactly what makes them better, most seem like every average scout camp I have been too, and I have been to 5 in the North Carolina/Virginia Region.
Should mention H Roe Bartle Scout Camp near Osceola, Mo. where over 4500 acres of Ozark hillsides provide over 40 different MBs on three camp grounds. Camp has three pools, three mess halls and three ceremonial rings. Camp offers a variety of outposts to challenge skills in both Scout and adult leaders. The Truman Lakefront offers boating , skiing, canoeing, and kayaking. This is the land of the Great Mic-O-Say.
H Roe Bartle Scout Camp, Osceola, Mo where over forty different MB’s are offered on over 4000 acres of ozark county hillsides. Camp has three pools on three camp grounds and off The Truman Zlake where lakeside Mb’s Offer boating, skiing canoe and kayaking. On the reservation of the Great Mic-O-Say. Bartle should have been mentioned.
Bartle is probably the most unique because of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. An experience all boys should share. It provides a rite of passage missing in our society today, not to mention the pride of being a member of the tribe!
Our troop is wanting to try a new summer camp. do you know who we might contact directly for more info? thanks
Camp Cris Dobbins, Elbert, Co.
Great staff and programs. Well run. Scouts enjoy the mild weather.
Here in CT, we LOVE our local CAMP MATTATUCK, since 1939!..great programs, excellent staff..where “future world and community leaders” cross paths…over the years, the best things have improved and new things added…zip line, shooting sports, all Scout skills- my Scouting there helped shape me as a man…our song says “Your true Scouts will sing your praises, MAttauck, All Hail!”…we sure do!…old js….
Philmont has the ABC’s of a great camp. Adventure,Being prepared and Camping.
Long days and longer lasting memories. I have been 5 times as youth and adult and it has never been the same twice, as they say never a dull day.
Camp Arrowhead in Marshfield, MO!
I have to agree with Stickman, more like resorts than scout camps. Too long scout camps have been competing with each other for troops, making it more and more plush, enticing the leaders, etc. The cost is now above what a scout could reasonable earn.
Sabbattis in Longhouse council. Even more rustic wilderness than Massawepie, ALL cooking is patrol cooking, camping treks, badges, you name it. Mike the CEO of Boy scouts started here, and came back for it’s 60th reunion.
These are probably great camps, but I find it dissapointing Camp Meriwether on the Oregon coast was not included.
Thank for the email and keep up the GOOD work in Scouting
Having spent 15 years as a camp visitor, I have been to many camps, including some listed. I would like to add the Montana MoHAB high adventure experience in the Montana Bob Marshal Wilderness. Contact the Montana Council or Google Montana scout camps for information and reservations.
our troop went to Chawanakee and came back all saying the food was terrible. great site…but bad food.
Come to Tuscarora Scout Reservation in the Baden Powell Council, NY. Here we have 8 program areas one of which is called Eagles Nest. Eagle badges taught there all summer long!
Our Texas troop takes about 50 boys most years to Camp T.Roe Bartle near Iconium, MO. The Native American themed Tribe of Mic o say is a character building tradition there which brings boys back year after year to progress in their knowledge and service. Most boys earn at least 6 merit badges during each summer, and participate in special activities all over the 4200 acre, rolling forest, and lake. Scouts come back while in college, or as adult leaders because it is so worth while. Heart of America Council is the place for more information or see their website.
Camp JNWebster in Ashford CT. Great staff, great program, lots of merit badges, all kinds of activities, FUN! FUN! FUN!
Camp Fire Mountain in Mt. Baker Council is a sad joke. We had the misfortune of attending last summer. Their merit badge system is managed using age-based quotas; only a certain amount of slots are available to each age. We had many disappointed Scouts who signed up months in advance for merit badges, only to arrive and be told that they were full. Then there was a mad scramble to sign up for alternates. Some of the merit badges had no supplies available – leatherworking. The staff was apathetic and unhelpful. Our Troop leadership has decided to never go there again.
Seven Ranges Buckeye Council Ohio. They are implamenting a STEM Program this year
I enjoyed my annual Summer Camps at amp Cherokee in Yanceyville NC from the mid 1970s til 1983… especially the evening Council Fire and the OA skits and callouts! #EagleScout! #Prepared4Life!
I’ve been up in the mid north east and found Camp Rainey Mt BSA camp the most best camp in all that region. It caters to all not to there council like around them. My favorite of all. Great personal, Great staff, and the best food of all. This camp goes all out during the whole 8 weeks in service. This I know for we do the last week. Please try this camp and see the difference. # 1 camp for our Troop. Going back this year. Beautiful hills to hike. Awesome lake to do all merit badges and new friend to meet and old friend to see. Come take a squat youll lone it.
Camp Chawanakee is a blast. But man, that lake is freezing cold with all that snow melt. But, the Scouts didn’t mind the temperature.
We’re missing on diversity in these photos. (other than the lifeguards)…
Don’t we want young people of color to want to go to camp?
Wonderfull Camp Babcock-Hovey located in Ovid, NY
Camp Orr, Buffalo River, Arkansas
Buffalo River is one of the only natural rivers which the Corp of Engineers has not dammed for flood control. Very natural, one of the few like this a real gem!
Canoeing, climbing, hiking, cycling
Very nice but I think you forgot one. Osweppie Scout Camp in White Hall Mich. which is Chicago Area Council
Blue Ridge Scout reservation, Hiawassee VA.
Contains Three great camps; Powhatan, Ottari and Claytor Lake.
Incredible water opportunities, high adventure and super base camps.
Fire ring and OA tap out at Ottari is a religious experience.
WoW! have you ever been swimming in a glacier lake? how about one in the mountains? if the air temperature is only 70, imagine what the water temperature is like! for a comfortable swimming, lifesaving boat-swamping, andor BSA Lifeguard class, come south, you will enjoy your aquatics experience
Maine High Adventure runs super canoe treks in the North Maine Woods–run by the Katahdin Area Council.
Mountaineer Area Council
Dual 1/4 mile zip lines
80 foot climbing tower
$250,000 Shooting sports complex
Waterfront on Lake Strawn
Camp sites for 150 campers
Bunk shelters at many sites
New Trading Post
First High Adventure certified camp in WV
Great stop off to or from the Summit
Great food and dining facility
Camp Mitigwa, Boone, Iowa.
These are more like resorts than Scout Camps. Explains why Summer Camp is over $500 in places. That’s $1600 in popcorn. Alot of kernels..
Cherokee Scout Reservation – Old North State Council – Yanceyville, NC – https://www.csr.camp/ – Over 1700 acres with great staff and programming for over 50 years!
Tell us your favorite Scout Camp. Would like to hear?
Not mentioned with the Fire Mountain Scout Camp article is the 1080’ Zip Line over the lake. Longest in Washington state.
That is the only redeeming feature. The camp’s merit badge program is badly managed.