The Texas hill country is a prime destination for summer campers from all over Texas. With its many rivers and lakes, the region is well suited for kid-friendly recreation. Our list includes many of the oldest and most respected summer camps in central Texas.
With a 10-acre spring-fed lake, air-conditioned cabins and a counselor ratio of 4 to 1, Camp Balcones Springs is a top choice for highly active campers. Kids get to canoe, kayak and play on slides and a water trampoline. In addition to the daily activities, the camp teaches Christian values and focuses on helping the children develop compassion for others and build healthy relationships.
Established in 1939, Camp Longhorn actually interviews children prior to admission. A brief application is also required. Even with all of these requirements, there’s often a waiting list. The camp actually has three sites, on the Colorado River, at Inks Lake and surrounding two private lakes. A full day of activities is scheduled every day, ranging from horseback riding to sailing. All fees must be paid before May 1, 2016.
A girls-only camp along the scenic Guadalupe River, Camp Mystic offers activities ranging from cheerleading to archery. Situated amid majestic cypress trees, the camp has historic cabins that date to its founding in 1926. The camp also has a Christian focus, striving to help children get in touch with their spiritual side.
Serving boys from 6 to 16, Camp Stewart is a non-denominational Christian camp with activities ranging from riflery to ceramics. The 500-acre site also has tennis courts, a football field and six baseball diamonds along the Guadalupe River.
Focused on helping children 7-14 learn about their Jewish heritage and identity, Camp Young Judaea also packs plenty of fun into every day. A fairly structured camp, the camp encourages the children to pitch in with the day-to-day operation of the camp. Activities include magic class, Israeli cooking, yoga, tennis and an art class featuring local Wimberley artists.
Tucked away in one of the most beautiful parts of the hill country, Laity Lodge has been serving little campers since 1967. Kids can canoe in the Frio River and climb the steep limestone cliffs nearby. Though it’s a co-ed camp, some activities are strictly for girls or boys. The camp prides itself on unusual activities, such as a slip-and-slide slathered with beans, and friendly “fights” using everything from Jello to shaving cream. Occasionally, the camp also holds rodeos. But perhaps the greatest amenity here is the cold, refreshing spring-fed water of the Frio River.