This is an updated (January 2018) list of summer camps for LGBTQ youth and adults, children with LGBTQ parents, and LGBTQ families. It edits and adds to the original list that I created in 2015.
Hopefully you will be able to find something here that works for you and your family. List includes traditional week-long summer camps, 3-4 Day Retreats, music and art camps, sports camp, spiritual/religious camps, activist camps for college students, camps for children of LGBTQ parents/families, and camps for children and families to attend together. I have also added a list for camps for LGBTQ adults! I have provided a synopsis, cost info, and dates when available. Please let me know if there are any that I have missed!
In 2019, I hope to be adding my own camp to this list, as I am thinking about hosting a summer camp for LGBTQ youth on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in summer 2019! (Please be in touch if you would be interested in supporting this kind of project or want to be on the contact list for your family/child!)
NOTE: This is a long, long post, with many camps listed and many details! For a quick, easy to read chart see TSER’s list of camps. Some of the links are broken, but it is mostly up-to-date, and gives a lot of info at a glance. I have also created a table of contents for my post to help you navigate, which allows you to jump to specific sections and back up to the top as desired.
Aug 15th – Aug 20th (Ages 15-17), and
Aug 22nd – Aug 27th (Ages 12-14),
Aug 15-27th (LIT).
ASPYRE Camp: Greensboro, NC. A Safer Place for Youth to Reach for Excellence (ASPYRE) Leadership Camp is for middle-school and high-school LGBTQ and allied students to learn how to make a difference in their schools and communities through team-building activities and presentations. Due to donations, cost is only $25 per student. 2018 Dates: March 23-25, Camp Weaver, Greensboro, NC.
Camp Eclipse: Newfoundland, CA. “Camp Eclipse: OUT in the Woods” takes a strength based, harm-reduction, and solution focused approach to the issues faced by lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGTQ) youth,” and provides a space for youth to build relationships, find support and have fun! For youth 16-24, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Info from 2015: Cost is $400, youth and families are asked to pay what they can. Minimum $25. No 2018 dates are currently listed on the website.
Camp FYrefly. Canada. Founded in 2004. This camp is a 3-4 day educational, social and personal learning retreat with camp locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Petersborough. Campers are lesbian, gay. bissexual, trans*, genderqueer, non-binary, two-spirit, queer, questioning, pansexual, asexual, and allied youth between the ages of 14 and 24. “fYrefly is an acronym which stands for fostering, Youth, resilience, energy, fun, leadership, yeah!”
“The Camp, guided by an arts-based educational philosophy, is jam-packed with dance, drama, music, writing, visual art, empowerment and reflection exercises, anti-oppression work, personal growth opportunities, healthy socialization, and in-depth learning activities about specific youth topics and social issues. In sum, Camp fYrefly’s programming focuses on four key areas: leadership, individual development, socialization, and resiliency.”
There is a $25 app fee, and the fee for the camp is $300. They will not turn anyone away because of financial need. No 2018 dates are listed on the website yet.
Southeastern LGBTQ Youth Activist Camp: (inactive?)This was on my 2015 list—but I do not know if it is still active. The link on the Georgia Safe Schools Website which supposedly goes to the “Camp Website” is broken. The purpose of this camp, organized by a coalition of orgs across state lines, is to help 14-25 year olds learn more about organizing and ending racism, and other systems of oppression. Here is a great write-up of the 2013 camp, I hope that it is still in existence!
Camp Ten Trees. Pacific Northwest. Along with its week-long summer camp, Camp Ten Trees has expanded to hosting weekend camps in the Spring and Fall for LGBTQA youth aged 13-17 as well as a summer camp for youth and children (aged 8-17) of LGBT and non-traditional families. This camp is social justice-oriented, and along with the typical camp activities, the campers will engage in age-appropriate workshops that explore identity, oppression, social justice, and activism. See website for fall and spring dates–see above for summer camp dates.
TYEF Youth Retreats: Weekend retreats in the summer and fall in a confidential New England location. TYEF retreats focus on providing a space for trans and gender non-conforming kids aged 7-17 (or till end of HS) to socialize, have fun, and participate in a variety of traditional camp activities like swimming, kayaking, archery, arts and more. Cost: $250 a camper, partial and full scholarships available. No dates available yet for 2018.
The Youth Project: This camp is located in Nova Scotia and has two 4-day long camps.
Camp Coyote is for trans-identified and gender-questioning youth age 25 and under, providing a safe space and an opportunity to meet new ppl and engage in activities like “trans-health discussions, campfires, scavenger hunts, swimming, arts & crafts, resources, and more!”
Camp Seahorse is for LGBTQP-identified youth and straight allies aged 25 and under, providing a fun place to be free of homophobia. “Activities include: writing, arts & crafts, scavenger hunts, support & discussion groups, resources, campfires, ghost stories, swimming, and much more.”
2018 Dates will be released in May 2018.
Camp OutDoors: Based in Phoenix and Prescot, AZ. “Out of the Closet and Into the Woods.” This is a 4-day camp for LGBTQ youth aged 11-24, and is one of the biggest LGBTQ youth camps in the nation. This camp is aimed at helping them build leadership skills, work collaboratively, and create community. “Camp activities vary and evolve each year and range from educational workshops on topics like “LGBTQ History” and “Non- Violent Communication” to community activities like our 250 person drum circle, horseback riding, and zip-lining.” Tuition for non-AZ residents is $400, and camp is free for AZ residents, however there are only 150 spots available to AZ campers. Youth are housed based on age, not gender or sexual orientation. No 2018 dates listed, but was held over Labor Day weekend in 2017.
MUSIC, ART AND THEATRE BASED CAMPS:
Animazing Movie Camp: Toronto, Canada. Organized through the 519 Center and Toronto Animated Image Society. This is an opportunity for up to ten young LGBTQ people between the ages of 13-23 to learn how to create their own animated video during a week-long day camp. The first camp was in 2016, and there is info on the website about 2017. Not only is the camp free, but participants were paid for the experience ($500) and given travel stipends! There is no info yet up about 2018, but it looks so cool! and seems like a great opportunity to be mentored by artists.
Fluid Revolutions: Queer Youth Circus Camp: This circus (!) day camp is for LGBTQIA + youth aged 13-18, to learn circus arts and to use performance to better understand themselves and their experiences. Includes workshops about oppression and collective liberation. I appreciate that on the registration they ask if it is ok to tell guardians this is a queer-based camp when they sign the safety waiver. Tuition is based on what you can pay $0-350. Camp was held in August in 2017, no word about 2018 dates. I hope that they continue!
Queer Rock Camp: (Currently Inactive) Olympia (started in 2011) and Seattle, WA (2016). Music camp for queer youth aged 12-21. “Empowering youth and building community through music.” Campers learn how to play musical instruments, write songs, and perform while also participating in social justice workshops. Camp ends with a public showcase. Check out this great write-up.
2018 Dates: These camps are run by collectives, and in 2016, the QRC collective decided to pause their camps in order to address racism and transmisogyny within the organization.
Queer Rock Camp Portland: Music camp for youth, inspired by the Olympia and Seattle camps. Ends with a show-case open to the public! No dates yet listed for 2018, but it looks like 2017 was a great success!
Queer Rock Camp So Cal: Music Camp for LGBTQ and allied youth 12-21. Link goes to Facebook page, as their website link seems to be broken. Inspired by Girls Rock and Queer Rock Camp WA, campers build community through music and will attend “educational workshops and skill shares to amplify confidence, creativity and self-expression.” QRC, So Cal did not hold camp in 2017, choosing to take a year to regroup and organize. They plan to be back in 2018, although no dates have been released yet.
QORDS: Haw River Summit, NC. “A Queer-Oriented Radical Days of Summer” This is a 5-night/6-day camp where campers get instrument instruction, learn song-writing skills, and how to work in groups in preparation for a performance at the end of camp. Open to queer and gender non-conforming youth or youth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQQIA) families, aged 12-17. Campers will also attend workshops on “queer heroes, social justice, consent, gender” and also participate in traditional camp activities like dance, archery, hiking, rock-climbing, and campfires. Check out this awesome Buzzfeed video to get a sense how much fun this camp is! Founded in 2012, inspired by Queer Rock Camp of WA. Tuition is $640 plus $10 deposit, installment plans available, as well as financial aid.
2018 Dates: August 12 – 17 for youth 12 – 14. August 19 – 24 for youth 15 – 17. Registration opened January 1st.
Dreams of Hope Queer Youth Arts Qamp: (Inactive). Pittsburg, PA. An arts camp for queer and allied youth aged 13-19 with workshops/classes on improv, activist action, song-writing, call and response, and more! Unfortunately, at this moment, due to other programming needs, Dreams of Hope Queer Youth Organization is not accepting applications for camp.
The Dubois Center’s Rainbow Camp: Illinois. A one day of fun activities, including swimming, horseback riding, archery, pontoon rides, and an end of the day BBQ. “DuBois Center is a place where everyone is welcomed as a child of God. Come experience camp in the beauty of God’s creation and have a whole lot of fun. Rainbow Camp is for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer singles, couples, and families. Straight allies are welcome too.” 2017 was their 3rd Annual gathering. Cost $40 for adult, $35 for child. Horseback Riding is extra, and there are some early bird rates available. No dates are posted for 2018 yet.
The Naming Project: Minnesota. Camp for youth aged 14-18 (or who have completed 8th-12th grade) who want to explore gender and sexuality in relation to their spirituality. 2015 Theme: Nothing can keep us from the Love of God. 2018 Theme: TBA. Typical camp activities of canoeing, swimming, campfire songs, hiking, along with bible study, worship and reflection time. $300 for the 5 days, scholarships available. 2018 Dates: August 5-10, Locale: Bay Lake Camp, Deerwood, MN
Pilgrim Lodge: Maine. Camp for LGBTQ youth and allies (entering 10-12th grade, and recent graduates). “Camp Pride exists as a space for us to explore our identities, our faiths, and ourselves, in addition to all the regular summer camp activities like swimming, hiking, boating, arts & crafting, and enjoying the beautiful shores of Lake Cobboseecontee. We are an interfaith camp hosted by Pilgrim Lodge, a camp of the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC).” Atheists or youth of no faith are welcome to attend, but should understand that spirituality will be a frequent part of conversation. Campers are housed by age, not by gender. Cost: $495-620, 2018 Dates: July 29th-August 4th.
Spirit Pride Project: Texas. “Spiritual Pride Project (SPP) exists to create a welcoming and safe community for youth and young adults of all sexual orientations and gender identities to experience and share spirituality, community and acceptance.” This camp is for LGBTQIA people aged 12-30, applications are divided between 12-17 yr olds, and 18-30 year olds. Allies aged 14-25 are also welcome. Folks are housed according to “age and appropriate gender identification.” Located in East/Central Texas, cost is $200 per camper, and they work with folks to make it possible for you to come.
2018 Dates: May 18-20th.
Wonderfully Made Camp. (inactive) Located in Philadelphia, this is a weekend retreat for 9th-12th graders who identify as LGBTQI or as an ally. “The idea is to recognize each of the attendee’s individual differences and strengths while also celebrating “God’s welcome” to all people.” Unfortunately some of the links on their Facebook page are broken, and they don’t have any new posts after 2015, so it looks like this camp no longer exists.
YOU Belong: (inactive) Sports camp for LGBTQ Youth aged 15-21 years old. Learn athletic skills, meet professional athletes, and have fun. Unfortunately, I cannot find any info for 2018, and the old link does not lead anywhere. It looks like it would have been a fantastic camp though.
Venture Out: New England and Pacific Northwest Trips. “Backpacking and Wilderness Trips for the Queer, Trans, and LGBTQ + Community.” Run for queer people, by queer people, supporting leadership development, creating a safe space for queer and trans people to be in the outdoors, with the added goal of supporting QPOC access to the outdoors. They include youth trips for kids 12-14 and 15-19 in New Hampshire, cost is $800 and includes food and equipment. Partial Scholarships available. They also have adult trips (see adult camps below for more details) and a Family Camp for parents (see below “children and parents). 2018 Dates: Ages 12-14, August 5th- 9th and
Ages 15-19–August 13th-17th.
For lesbian folks 21 + check out Lezathlon below.
Camp Pride, is a camp organized through Campus Pride held in Asheville, NC. This is a leadership academy for undergraduates (from 2 year, 4 year, HBCU, southern, religiously-affiliated and TCU colleges/universities, aged 18 +), with a social justice focus and emphasis on learning leadership and organizing skills. There is a separate track for faculty/advisers called Adviser Boot Camp. Tuition costs $937 with early bird registration (ended Dec 15, 2017), $1175 after that. Full and partial scholarships available on limited basis. 2018 Dates: July 19-22.
T*Camp: An InterCampus Retreat for Trans/Genderqueer & Gender Questioning Students. Northern and Southern California. This is a 3-day retreat for college students from different campuses to discuss gender and learn from each other. Organizers are hopeful that this will be especially valuable to students who may not have many other trans/genderqueer/questioning students on their campus. Cost: $150.
2018 Dates: Norcal, January 5-7th, registration closed in October. They will be posting dates for the spring retreat in Socal soon.
UMD’s Q Camp: This is specific to University of Maryland, College Park and is an October weekend retreat for LGBTQ students to do team-building activities, discuss identity, and create community. First year students are especially encouraged to attend. Open to both undergraduate and graduate students, though mostly caters to undergraduates.
CHILDREN WITH LGBT PARENTS:
Camp Highlight: Located in Wernersville, PA at a 600-acre camp facility, founded in 2010. This is a week-long summer camp for children (8-15) of LGBT parents, where kids get to meet others like themselves, and build a strong support network. Campers are housed by age. The camp curriculum focuses on the “universal virtues of peace, respect, honesty, acceptance, unity, generosity, responsibility, courage, and cooperation.” Camp activities include hiking, swimming, fishing, mountain boarding, arts and crafts and more. In 2015: tuition was $869, with a ten percent discount for siblings, and there was financial assistance available. I am having trouble finding the latest rates on the website. 2018 Dates: August 12-19th
Starting in 2018, Camp Highlight will also run a Family Camp in April, see more details below. They also host a Winter Reunion each year.
Camp Ten Trees. Pacific Northwest. They have week-long summer camps for LGBTQA youth aged 13-17 and for youth and children (aged 8-17) of LGBT and non-traditional families, and also hold winter and fall weekend retreats. See website for dates. This camp is social justice-oriented, and along with the typical camp activities, the campers will engage in age-appropriate workshops that explore identity, oppression, social justice, and activism.
Welcome Friend Association’s Rainbow Camp: Summer camp located in Northern Ontario for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, 2 spirited, plus and Allied youth, their siblings and children in Queer families, aged 12-17. They also have a two week Leaders in Training program for youth 18-19. This camp includes traditional camp activities as well as workshops that focus on gender, sexuality, health, community, leadership, and creating safe spaces. This is one of the cheaper camps. Although it costs approximately $1000 per camper, cost is only $350, due to fundraising, and there are additional subsidies available and travel funds if needed. LIT: $500.
Dates: Aug 8th – Aug 13th (Ages 15-17) Aug 15th – Aug 20th (Ages 15-17), and
Aug 22nd – Aug 27th (Ages 12-14), Aug 15-27th (LIT). Registration opens February 1st, and spots will fill fast.
For FAMILIES AND CHILDREN to Attend Together
Camp Aranu’tiq is a part of Harbor camps, and hosts a family weekend for families of transgender and gender-non-conforming youth, as well as week-long overnight camps for kids 8-17.
Camp Born This Way: Southern Arizona. A weekend-long camp for transgender and gender-creative children 5-16 and their families. A place that is safe for all to express themselves, and for parents to find support. $50 a family. Scholarships available.
Camp Brave Trails. California. Along with their expanding summer camps (see above), this year Brave Trails will be hosting a family camp weekend for LGBTQ parents and their kids in April, the 13th-15th. There will be yoga classes, parents-night off, hiking, arts and crafts, teen adventures, toddler town, family games and more! Cost: Adults (18+): $200.00, Older Youth (10-17): $145.00, Youth (4-9): $105.00, 3 & Under: FREE!
Colman Family Camps and Retreats: Seattle. Explore 100 acres of forest, and a mile of beachfront on this beautiful property while engaging in typical camp activities! There isn’t much info here about the specific LGBTQ family camp–but it is one of their themed retreats, and will be held April 13th-15th.
Camp Highlight: Located in Wernersville, PA at a 600-acre camp facility. Camp Highlight (for LGBTQ families) will host it’s first Family Camp in April 2018! Now the adults can enjoy the fun too! “The cost is $210 per adult, $160 per child, or $895 per family. To share a cabin with just one other family, there is an additional $100 surcharge. To have a cabin alone, there is an additional $200 surcharge.” 2018 Dates: April 13-15th
Camp it Up!: Quincy, California. LGBT Family camp, with both summer and winter sessions. Activities for adults, tweens, teens, and children. Swim or float in the lazy river, learn new specialty art skills, tie-dye, participate in the carnival, and more fun activities. Summer camp has 1-10 day sessions, and Winter Session is a bit shorter. Sliding scale fees, and there are different costs depending on age. See here. They celebrated their 25th year in 2014.
2018 Dates: Winter–February 16-19th. Summer July 28-August 5th (various options for length of stay). More details here.
Keshmet Camp: near Yosemite. Jewish LGBT Family camp, now celebrating its 20th year! A place where families can feel included and safe, and celebrate their commonalities. Keshet is Hebrew for Rainbow. Child-care available for all ages, allowing adults and children to participate in various activities like yoga, hiking, arts and crafts, S’mores, etc. Check out this great article about summer 2016. 2018 Dates: August 23-26th.
Venture Out: New England and Pacific Northwest Trips. “Backpacking and Wilderness Trips for the Queer, Trans, and LGBTQ + Community.” Run for queer people, by queer people, supporting leadership development, creating a safe space for queer and trans people to be in the outdoors, with the added goal of supporting QPOC access to the outdoors. Along with youth trips and adult trips, Venture Out hosts a Family Camp for adults and kids aged 3-12. They defined LGBTQ Families in a very expansive way: “We define an LGBTQ Family as a family where any member of the family (adult or child) identifies as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, pansexual, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, or more. This weekend is for any and all members of your family – kids, parents, grandparents, care-givers.” Lots of fun activities, food, games, campsites. Families must supply their own tents, camping gear. Cost: $50 per person/$200 per family. 2018 Dates: June 22-24th.
Last but not least, a selection of CAMPS FOR ADULTS!
A-Camp: Started by Autostraddle, to create community, unplug, and have fun like a kid again. 5 nights, meals provided, lots of fun workshops, and special guest artists/singers. [My friend Be Steadwell has performed there in the past, and I am jealous that she got to go! Hoping to make it there one day myself]. Currently held in the Midwest (although originally was held in CA). Also originally for women-identified folks (and accepting of trans women), A-Camp has grown to accept non-binary and trans-masculine individuals, including trans men, especially as some of these folks came as campers before and it seemed unfair to not include them after transition. No cis men allowed. See FAQ. Age 18 + (with campers aged 18-70 attending, about half are under 25, the rest are mostly in their late twenties, but folks who are older also attend).
“A-Camp is a unique, dynamic, ever-evolving home-away-from-home queer adult camp where we’ve cherry-picked what we like about other queer events and women’s conferences – hilarious comedy, diverse panels, a chance to learn from industry experts, the occasional dance party and the opportunity to revel in one another’s awesomeness – added heaps of our own original ideas, and found a way to serve it to you for a fraction of what those other events cost.”
2018 Dates: May 16-21st. Cost $715.
API TransFusion: California. “The retreat will welcome all ethnicities and cultures that fall under the API umbrella, and all identities, bodies, and presentations along the female-to-male spectrum, including trans, gender nonconforming, gender expansive, non-binary, and other identities.” (Huff Post) Retreat includes a variety of programming/workshops that address topics relevant to API trans-masc lives, and the organizers work to create an affirming space where folks can express their authentic selves. $250 for 3 nights and 6 meals. $15 extra for bedding to be provided. 50% scholarships available. Swimming pool on-site. 2018 Dates: TBA. In 2017 the retreat was held in August.
Camp Camp: Enjoy a traditional summer camp making new friends and playing like a kid again! 2018 will mark their 22nd season, and the week-long camp will be held in Maine this year. Accommodations are based on gender (men’s cabin/women’s cabin, and one gender-neutral cabin). Each session has about 200-250 attendees, slightly more men than women (though they strive for 50/50), ages 21-70, though most are in their 40s, 80 percent singles. This is the perfect vacation for folks who like the outdoors, being active, and meeting new people! 2018 Dates: August 19-26th. Cost: $1675 (Options for reducing fees by being staff are available, and there are a few campership funds to help reduce cost as well).
Idapalooza: (inactive) Tennessee. Music Festival and community home-coming for queer folks that supports the communal land community of Ida. Not sure if this continues, last info on the website is from 2016.
Lezathlon: Summer athletic event for lesbians in LA, California! This camp is about a love of sports and competition. You can sign up to be a spectator or a participant and there are several different passes available, including day passes. Packages include housing (cabins and yurts), transport, and food. Must be 21 + to attend. 2018 Dates not posted yet. Statement on who can attend, which unfortunately does not clear up my question about who they consider a “woman.” “This is a lesbian event for women (or however you wish to define your sexuality or gender). But we are inclusive of the entire LGBTQ+ community. We welcome any person regardless of their gender identity or expression. However, we only allow women to compete in the official Lezathlon Tournament.”
Camp Lost Boys: Albert, CO, A camp for Men of Trans Experience, celebrate male/masculine identities in an outdoor space. This is not workshop based or academic, it is about having fun in the outdoors! Get the chance to experience a boyhood you may not have been able to experience. $330 for shared cabin (10-20) plus registration fee, $490 for private cabin (1-2 people). Note that while there are many ways to be male/a man, this is for male/men-identified folks only, and is not a space for non-binary identified folks. “If you feel you do not identify as male or a man, this may not be the experience you are looking for and we would hate for you to be uncomfortable. There are other camps that exist and are open to a more non-binary experience of gender and we are happy to point you in that direction. ” This camp is organized in part by men of color who are paying attention to race/inclusion, and over half of the attendees the first year were men of color. 2018 Dates: April 6th-8th
Gender Camp: 6 days. Most folks tent-camp although there is also limited indoor accommodations for extra charge. Gender Camp is focused on the “nuanced needs and interests of transgender and gender diverse people in the context of exploring intimacy, personal growth, transparency, radical honesty, equality, compassion, sexual freedom, and the power of community. The programming is designed to support participants in reevaluating assumptions, considering new possibilities, stretching boundaries, and supporting the exploration of new territory within interpersonal relationships at an individual pace.” 2018 Dates: East Coast–June 8th-14th, 2018 Near Mount Storm, West Virginia. West Coast–dates and place TBA.
CampOUT: Our Haven Nature Sanctuary, French Lick, Indiana. “An annual event produced by La Fraternitié du Loup-Garou. It’s the original camping experience for masculine gender outlaws. Created originally in 2005 as a safe space for trans-masculine leather folk to learn and have fun, CampOUT has since expanded to include supporters from outside that community and welcomes attendees of any lifestyle, gender identification or expression, attraction, and orientation. CampOUT is five days and four nights of education, social events, play, fellowship, and fun!” 2018 Dates: Not yet released. Week, Weekend, and Day passes available.
TransMission: California. Spring, Summer and Winter Dates. $450 (4 days/3 nights). Weekend retreats focused on healing circles, writing, outdoor activities, reflection, hanging by the pool (summer), for trans-men and trans-masculine folks. Retreats sell out quick, so be sure to sign up soon. See dates/location details here.
Venture Out: New England and Pacific Northwest Trips. “Backpacking and Wilderness Trips for the Queer, Trans, and LGBTQ + Community.” Run for queer people, by queer people, supporting leadership development, creating a safe space for queer and trans people to be in the outdoors, with the added goal of supporting QPOC access to the outdoors. There are too many fantastic trips scheduled for the 2018 year to list them all here, but they include Winter Getaways, Nature Reflection, Classic Backpacking, Trans-masculine, and POC centered trips in NH, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon. There are different skill levels from beginner to experienced, and prices range from $275-800 depending on location/length of trip. Check out more details here.
Google searches, comments from people responding to my posts on Facebook, and these excellent websites/articles: