Best Summer Day Camps in the D.C. Area

February 21, 2014 8:00 AM

Some of a child’s fondest memories are formed at summer camps where they learn independence, work as a team, make friends and enjoy the outdoors. Day camps are less intimidating than overnight camps – an excellent alternative for those kids who are not ready to take on a sleep-away summer camp. Washington, D.C. is lucky to have a number of reputable day camps within a two-hour drive. With many camps on different schedules throughout the summer, children can sign up for multiple camps. Other notable summer camps where children stay overnight can be found in a previously published article, Best Sleep Away Summer Camps.

Camp Arena Stage
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
1524 35th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 554-9066

Children who appreciate the arts should consider Camp Arena Stage. Camp is held on the campus of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. Sessions are four weeks, two weeks or children can sign up for both. The programs encourage young people to use their imagination and self-discover through the arts. Each camper is able to choose five specific daily activities they want to explore from media, dance, music, theatre, visual art and much, much more. The environment is safe and welcoming. Extended day and early drop off is provided at an additional cost.

Mulford Riding School
15105 Lee Highway
Centreville, VA 20121
(703) 946-7595

Horseback riding can be both a calming and intense sport. Equestrians in the making take away years worth of knowledge at Mulford Riding School’s summer riding camp in Northern Virginia. Kids are educated abut horses, learn how to ride, learn horsemanship and learn to play games on the horses. Space is limited and fills up quickly, so sign up today.

RelatedBest Summertime Theatre Activities For Kids In D.C.

Sidwell Friends School
3825 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 537-8133

Sidwell is a private school with two campuses, DC and Bethesda. The school may sound familiar because the President’s children attend Sidwell. There are different programs to choose from with day camps, sports camps and specialty camps. Camps run for six weeks, each week with a different theme. Hours available are full day, morning only and extended day. Children must be potty trained in order to attend camp.

Smithsonian Summer Camp
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive S.W.
Washington, DC 20560
(202) 633-3030

The Smithsonian offers a summer camp from June 23 through August 15, 2014. Camps run on a weekly basis, with each week costing just under $450. There are over 10 different camps to choose from, with programs like Around The World and Mystery Theater. Children in kindergarten through 9th grade are invited to participate, and each program is divided by grade. Smithsonian also offers a before-camp and after-camp class for all ages, helping parents who are unable to drop off or pickup within the designated 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. timeframe. Registration began February 13, 2014.

Summer Safari Day Camp
National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 633-4888

If your child is an animal lover, the National Zoo hosts a safari camp. Held on zoo grounds, the camp includes art projects, experiments and, of course, interaction with the animals. Daily camp includes a snack and refreshment, so children must pack their own lunch. Sessions are divided into four levels based on grade, Kindergarten through 7th grade.

Related: Best Summer Camps Or Workshops For Teens Around Washington DC

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