Catholic Summer Camps for You

With the arrival of summertime and its hot, sunny weather, Catholic families may start planning for ideal places to send their children for a fruitful and challenging summer camp experience. For those searching for a liturgically based Catholic camp, I recommend keeping an eye for the following positive indicators: whether Mass is offered, lessons on how to pray with sincere devotion, and the option for Eucharist adoration. (1)

A Catholic summer camp is a unique opportunity for both human and spiritual growth. Children experience life-changing activities and form friendships within the nurturing environment of a faith-based program. Furthermore, there are many exciting camps located within wilderness sites, giving the youngsters a chance to see God’s hand in creation up close. (2)

Many summer camps also welcome parents, turning the traditional summer camp experience into a memorable family getaway. For example, Tami Kiser and her husband have established Heart Ridge Ministry, a summer adventure for the whole family. As she wrote about parents’ experiences, “they liked the amount of time spent with family, as a couple, and with peers. They loved all of the fun activities: exploring waterfalls and swimming holes, dancing together, and playing games. And they also appreciated the break from their busy lives to talk about how they wanted to improve their family life.”

“We saw some beautiful expressions of family bonding, family prayer, and genuine charity,” Kiser wrote. “By the end of the week, we were all one big happy family. And let’s not forget that we have a wonderful team of interns who help make it all happen…And most importantly—for without Him we could do none of this—Jesus is front and center. We have Mass, confession, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and morning and evening prayer. We also have a small Blessed Sacrament Chapel available for prayer 24 hours a day.” (3)

Below is a list of Catholic camps from several different areas around the country. It’s best to check out the website, and if the program and setting appeal, call and get further information before signing your child—or family—up!

New Hampshire: Camps Bernadette & Fatima

Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Camps Bernadette & Fatima are one camp, sponsored by the Diocese of Manchester, but with two locations. Camp Bernadette for Girls is located on Lake Wentworth, about a 20-minute drive from Camp Fatima for Boys, located on another lake called Upper Suncook Lake. Though welcoming to people of all faiths and backgrounds, both camps adhere to Catholic teachings and draw very Catholic communities. Campers are expected to take part in all activities, from sailing to making a basket. These daily activities acquaint campers with many different skills. For more information, call 603-931-5500 for Camp Fatima; 603-931-5500 for Camp Bernadette; and visit their website.

Maryland: Camp St. Charles

Camp St. Charles is a Catholic overnight camp and retreat center for girls and boys ages 6 to 13 years old. Built on a waterfront setting with cabins and other facilities, the camp staff focuses on delivering Catholic values and traditions. Camp activities include swimming, canoeing, and paddleboarding, plus other activities focused on “students’ spiritual and personal growth.” They are located at 15375 Stella Maris Dr. Newburg, Maryland, and reachable by phone at 240-233-3106 or online at their website.

Colorado: Annunciation Heights

Located near the Rocky Mountain National Park and at the base of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker, this camp is divided into separate boys’ and girls’ camp locations for children between 4th and 12th grade. Besides all the outdoor activities—hikes, rock climbing, fishing, and riding mountain bikes—the camp focuses on developing a love for the outdoors and, as the website states, “providing a safe and ‘faith-based environment’ to youth, young adults, and families.” The camp is dedicated to the patronage of Mary, Undoer of Knots. For questions and more information, contact 970-586-5689 or email William Muraski at [email protected]. Their website can be found here.

Kansas: Camp Kateri Tekakwitha

Named after St. Kateri and sponsored by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, this camp is for boys and girls grades 5 to 12. Located at the Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg, the camp offers outdoor faith-filled activities that help campers find Christ through the sacraments. As the camp’s website notes, there are “nine days of extreme fun, friends, and faith to launch you into a deep relationship with the Lord.” For further information, check out the website which shows numerous photos of campers horseback riding, playing games, and swimming. A former camper notes that the camp taught him “how to have a relationship with God through silent prayer every day.” For camp information, contact Jennifer at [email protected].

Texas: The Pines Catholic Camp

As the Pines Catholic Camp website states, “there is no better way to encounter Jesus than through the friends and fun you will have at The Pines.” The camp offers week-long sessions for boys and for girls and offers family camping each October. Campers stay overnight for the entire week and are treated to great food, activities, and ways to “encounter Jesus in the piney woods of East Texas.” The camp offers a range of activities, including soccer, basketball, archery, swimming, rock climbing, hiking, and much more. Camp administration also offers a two-week CIT program and a Service Work Week program. For more camp information, contact 903-845-5834 (email: [email protected]) or 214-522-6533 (email: [email protected]).

California: Whispering Winds Catholic Camp and Conference Center

Located in the Cuyamaca Mountains in San Diego County, the camp describes itself as a “refuge” enabling campers as individuals, families, or couples to find God in the beauty of nature. The camp site spans across 161 acres of the Cleveland National Forest, a one hour’s drive from San Diego. Noting that it is the only Catholic-based camp in the area, management offers numerous events such as confirmation retreats, Men’s and Women’s retreats, high school Kairos and grade retreats, parish ministry retreats, and more. Furthermore, the grounds are open year-round! For more information, call the office at 619-464-1479 or the camp at 760-765-1600, or email [email protected]. Visit their website here.

I hope these resources lead you and your children into a fun and fruitful summer, if not this year, then perhaps in the future!

Photo by Anderson Schmig on Unsplash

  1. The Crux Guide to Catholic Summer Camps. (2015, May 18). Crux. Retrieved from
  2. 32 Great Catholic Sleep-Away Summer Camps. (2023, March 21). Aleteia. Retrieved from
  3. Summer Family Camp. (n.d.). Heart Ridge. Retrieved from  

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A convert to Catholicism, Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, restaurant critic, and cookbook author, who is passionate about every aspect of the food world — from interviewing chefs to supporting local farmers and to making the connection between food and faith. Her latest work is Cooking with the Saints.

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