Summer Camps in the Upstate

Winter has made a late appearance in the Upstate, but spring will be here for good soon enough, with summer right behind—and that means it’s time to start thinking about what to do with the kids during the summer months. Depending on which school district you reside in, there are only a couple of months until parents begin to hear that familiar phrase—“I’m bored!” Luckily, the Upstate offers a huge assortment of summer camps and activities to keep kids active, engaged, and away from TV and video games. Here’s a look at a few.

Greenville Parks and Recreation offers several different options of summer day camps. Camp Kaleidoscope includes swimming, arts and crafts, and field trips to local water parks, while the Wanderers Teen Camp is geared to ages 12-14 and offers extended field trips to places like Carowinds and Six Flags along with video game tournaments and visits to local soup kitchens.

Over at the Roper Mountain Science Center, their Summer Science Exploration Camps feature over 100 hands-on camps with both half-day and full-day sessions. Fun learning opportunities range from robotics and model rocketry to dinosaurs, gardening, and sea turtles. Classes are geared to specific age groups ranging from K4 through 8th grade. 

Most of the major colleges in the area also offer summer educational activities. USC Upstate hosts camps that focus on athletics, science, writing, robotics, and drama. Furman University programs offer both traditional day camps as well as residential ones, and Bob Jones University has a large selection of academic, arts, and sports camps. Clemson University has a variety of summer camps ranging from academic subjects to sports to outdoor camps to equestrian training and more.

In Spartanburg, the Chapman Cultural Center offers its own summer camp program focusing on art, theatre, and dance. Kids can learn how to dance or paint or even learn about physics and chemistry. The Spartanburg Museum of Art has camps where kids can create clay sculptures and collages and learn about art from around the world. The Spartanburg Youth Theater has acting and theater classes as well as programs where kids can bring storybook characters to life.

The Arts Center in Greenwood offers a variety of enrichment programs both at their facility and offering arts classes at camps of other organizations. The Cherokee County YMCA hosts several programs including ones where kids can learn magic tricks, hold snakes, and interact with Sir Purr of the Carolina Panthers football team.

If your child is a member of the Boy or Girl Scouts, there are a number of scout camp programs. The Girl Scouts of South Carolina offer several sleep-away camp options such as Camp WaBak in Marietta that offers horseback riding, swimming, and arts and crafts. The Blue Ridge Council of Boy Scouts also has sleep-away camp options in Oconee and Pickens Counties and along the Saluda River where boys can learn archery, shoot BB guns, and build rockets.

These are only a few of the many options that parents and kids have to choose from this summer. For a more complete listing, visit the Calendar page.

Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine,, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, See the South, Beckett Media, The Simpsonville Sentinel and many other print and online publications. For clips and examples of her work, please visit her website at  

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