Free/Almost Free Camps in Philly: 2015 Edition

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Finding camp opportunities for your soon-to-be-sprung student doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several free or low-cost programs throughout the city designed to open doors and allow kids to build new skills while they meet kids from all around the city.


Rowing Camp

Run by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, this is a wonderful learn-to-row camp for city youth aged 13-17 years old. The program is just $25 for two full weeks of camp (Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)/ Campers must be competent swimmers, but no rowing experience is necessary. If your child does it as a 13 year old, they can return the following summer as well.


Philadelphia Department of Recreation Camps

Speaking of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department — from swimming to art, from golf to adventure, sports to performing arts — the department has a camp for just about everyone. These camps are centrally located or embedded in neighborhoods. They are affordable and run throughout the summer.


Apple Camp

This is a free camp in Apple store locations throughout the region. Camp typically runs for 90 minutes a day for three consecutive days and includes instruction in iMovie, GarageBand and other Apple favorites. Participation includes screen time in the hip Apple store, the finished project, and a t-shirt.


Asian Arts Initiative Youth Arts Workshop

Based on a sliding scale with a suggested fee starting at $0, this arts camp has separate programming for middle schoolers (morning) and high schoolers (afternoon). Youth in grades 6 through 12 work to create art while building critical thinking skills and community relationships.


Camp Save a Life

A free week-long camp held each year at the Red Cross House for youth ages 10 to14. Campers learn disaster preparedness techniques and leadership skills. Youth become certified in CPR and First Aid while gaining skills in swimming, leadership and communication. Most importantly, they have fun while learning how to keep their families safe!


John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum Camp

Spend time at the refuge this summer and earn your Refuge Youth Conservation Award! Campers explore the refuge’s wild habitats while learning about the plants, insects, and birds. Campers spend a significant time outside. For ages 6 to 11 years old. Snacks provided. A donation of $10 per camper is suggested to assist Friends of Heinz Refuge in the costs.


Spells Writing Lab

A free 6-week writing camp with morning sessions for ages 7 to 12 and afternoon sessions for ages 12 to16. Each week-long program focuses on a different writing theme, such as adventure stories, songwriting, mysteries, or animation. Campers find inspiration for stories through interactive games, group brainstorming sessions, and outdoor play. Students may sign up for individual weeks or for the entire 6-week session. Registration is free, but requires a refundable deposit of $25 per student.


Project Flow

Rising 9th graders in the city apply in early April for this free, full-time, 6-week summer program. Participants explore and advocate for all things water.  This requires some planning ahead, as applications are due in early April.


Treehouse Books

This 4-week afternoon camp is just $25/week for children ages 7 to 13. Campers are grouped by age, with younger children reading picture books and tweens and teens reading chapter books. The texts are linked to Black History while also encouraging readers to explore Philadelphia. For a full day camp experience, pair with the Neighborhood BikeWorks morning camp right next door.


Starfinder Soccer Camp

This free camp runs from Monday-Thursday from 9am-12pm with locations in Germantown, Hunting Park, and Manayunk.  Kids ages 6-14 years old can learn the game, develop skills, and enter an amazing organization for soccer development around the city.


Richie Ashburn-Harry Kalas Foundation Baseball Camp

Teach your kids a little bit of Philly baseball history while they learn the game. These camps run four days/week for kids ages 6-12, with locations throughout the city, the surrounding suburbs, and even down the shore!  They are free and run from 9-12 Mondays through Thursdays.


Do you know of a free or low cost camp in the Philadelphia region? If so, please leave a comment so that we can help connect kids and camps!


  • Richie Asburn/ Harry Kalas Baseball Camps are at various locations throughout the city. Kids get amazing instruction and play a game every day. It runs from 9-12 Monday through Thursday. My son did it last year in Roxborough and can’t wait to do it this year in both Roxborough and Mt. Airy.

    • Thanks Barbara! I’ll add this one to the list.

    • Solid Rock much STEM Camp

      Solid Rock uncle llocated on Tabor Rd in northeast Philadelphia offers a hands on Science and horticultural program. Campers will partake in cool science activities such as rocket building, volcano building and eruptions, along with a daily horticultural lessons. The entire five week program is 150$ plus a 25$ registration fee that includes a free T shirt.
      Can you pass the information. Above on?

  • This is a great list! Is there any way you could post reminders and updated info in like February? I know the city is notorious for releasing current year camp info really late, but most other camps have early registration discounts that end in March or April; I know my camp planning is always done in February, so finding out about these great options so late is frustrating.

  • great list Jen! Not sure how free or almost free it is but Taller Puerto Riqueño also has a summer arts camp. There are scholarships at least—Outreach/Summer-Camp.aspx

  • Very low cost camps held 8:30 to 5 @ various public school locations throughout philadelphia focusing on reading and math, they also do arts and crafts, swimming, and have weekly field trips.

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  • First of all thanks for this! I just moved out here and couldn’t find anything for my kids for my kids to do! I found another site that was disappointing because they charge for this information! 🙁 🙁 The Boys and Girls Club has summer camp at their various locations…it varies depending on location but it’s pretty reasonable. Free to $50 per week from what I’ve found. If anyone is aware of any basketball camps under $100 please post. Also I think some. Obie theaters have free or very cheap movies certain days for kids over the summer…if anyone has details I would love to know!

  • NSBE National Society of Black Engineers holds an STEM camp every summer in Philadelphia at different locations. This year they will use Rhodes school.

    • Andrea, I am looking on this website for camps but I haven’t found anything. I am talking about the

  • Hi there! Writing from Tree House Books. Unfortunately, Neighborhood Bike Works does not offer a camp at their North Philly location anymore. Can you please remove that from our listing. Thanks for including Tree House!

  • Pingback: Free or Close to Free Summer Programs |

  • Info on Camps in Philly that are free or close to free or reasonable

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  • City Wild is a summer camp for curious kids ages 10-13 that offers off-the-beaten-path adventures and behind-the-scenes excursions to explore nature in the urban environment. Check out the video at http://www.landhealthinstitute/ Financial aid is available.

  • Pingback: Summer Camps 2016 – Independence Charter

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