Sending your children away for weeks at a time can prove worrisome, and proper research is required. Not to fret, the research has been conducted for you. All of these camps are outstanding and less than a three-hour drive from Washington, DC. Well-balanced camps make for a great summer. Mark those calendars and give your kids something to look forward to.

Cheerio Adventures
New River Outdoor Center
754 Fox Knob Road
Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363
(276) 579-6731

Camp Cheerio is part of the trusted and long-living YMCA organization. The Virginia location is Cheerio’s adventure camp with activities including climbing, high ropes, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, zip lines – the list goes on. Each cabin, grouped by age and grade, is assigned two counselors. There are six different summer programs, seven-day and 14-day sessions, divided by age and the intensity of activities. The camp provides the appropriate outdoor gear to each camper. A photographer documents all camp sessions and photos are available for purchase. Keep in mind, cell phones are not allowed on the Cheerio premises. If interested, contact Cheerio right away, as they usually book to capacity at an early date.

Camp Horizons
3586 Camp Horizons Way
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
(540) 896-7600

If your child wants to try new things, build confidence and feel like part of a close-knit community, Camp Horizons is just the place. Camp Horizons accepts boys and girls ages six to 17. Campers come from across the country, making Horizons a diverse and eye-opening experience for all. Sessions last one or two weeks, and there are 13 sessions to choose from. Programs offered are equestrian, discover, journey, explorer and adventure – allowing children to connect with those who have similar interests. A typical day at Camp Horizons consists of four different activities, cabin clean-up and a community meeting.

Camp Quest Chesapeake
P.O. Box 176
Vienna, VA 22183
(571) 357-2267

This is an intimate camp setting, with typical attendance averaging 75 campers ages 8 to 17. Camp Quest Chesapeake is a Camp Quest affiliate that focuses on education and recreational activities. As reinstated by the Camp Quest mission statement, freethinking is highly encouraged and the camp aims to give an educational adventure shaped by fun.

Camp Virginia
P.O. Box 10
Goshen, VA 24439
(540) 997-5518

In May 2012, Virginia Living voted Camp Virginia the best summer camp in Virginia. Camp director Shep Lewis, said of Camp Virginia, “Our focus on the values of sportsmanship, teamwork, integrity, and gratitude while providing competitive athletics, outdoor opportunities, and new experiences.” The staff is well qualified and the average counselor has ten years of experience. Day-to-day activities are mostly held outdoors, as the camp is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains: basketball, baseball, tennis, horseback riding, woodworking, swimming, hiking and many more. There are two summer sessions available, each lasting two weeks. A discount is offered to those children who wish to attend both sessions.

Sheridan Mountain Campus
3052 Vaughn Summit Road
Luray, Virginia 22835
(540) 743-6603

The Sheridan School is one of DC’s top learning institutions. Just a short drive from the main city campus, Sheridan Mountain Campus is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border of the Shenandoah National Park. “The quality of experience campers enjoy at Shenandoah is a result of every action -from answering a camper’s question to designing our programs -being thoughtful, deliberate and well-orchestrated. Our exceptional administration and dedicated camp instructors specialize in Youth Development through Adventure Education. This fosters an environment that allows campers to engage in age-appropriate activities and social situations,” said director of Sheridan Mountain Campus Morgan Tebeau. The camp is relatively small, with a five to one camper to counselor ratio that ensures campers get deserved attention. Some activities children can expect to partake in: field games, arts and crafts, zip line and water games. Other brain-stimulating activities include instincts for survival, teambuilding courses and wilderness skills lessons.

Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Her work can be found at