Free Summer Camps In and Around Austin

Camps for eligible campers at no cost


It's never too early to start thinking about summer camps. Especially when registration for some summer camps are already open or closing soon or when they're free.

Free camps? Yes, there is such a thing as free camps. We've done quite some research to find camps in and around Austin (up to a 2.5 hr radius) that are not a financial burden to families, especially families that already have enough to worry about.

Please pay special attention to the age and other eligibility requirements. If your child does not qualify for any of the camps listed below, please share with those who do and/or consider volunteering or donating to any of the camps.

**Please note: Some of the camps are to be determined (TBD). We will update this list as soon as more information is available.**

 

Summer Playgrounds by Austin Parks & Recreation

Summer Playgrounds is a free drop-in program for children to participate in fun, supervised, outdoor activities during the summer months. Summer Playgrounds staff provide quality recreational experiences that promote creativity, teamwork and healthy lifestyles. Activities include organized sports, arts and crafts, games, team building and nutrition lessons.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: Monday-Friday, 9:00am - 5:00 pm, July 6 - August 13
  • Ages: 4 – 12
  • Locations: Bartholomew District Park, Barton Hills Elementary Park, Chestnut Pocket Park, Davis-White Northeast District Park, Dick Nichols District Park, Franklin Park, Garrison District Park, Oak View Neighborhood Park, Quail Creek Neighborhood Park, Ramsey Neighborhood Park, Ramsey Neighborhood Park, Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
  • Contact: 512-974-3922 or SummerPlaygroundsProgram@austintexas.gov
    Website: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/summer-playground-program (Registration is required onsite on your child's first day of attendance.)


Family Clean Creek Camp by the City of Austin Watershed Protection Program


One week of fun for children and their parents/guardians exploring water in Austin’s creeks or Edwards Aquifer.Watershed 4 Day Camp includes hiking and exploring Colorado River with a scavenger hunt challenge, wading in the creek and find out how bugs tell us about water quality, cleaning up and floating on Lady Bird Lake, learning green gardening for clean water.Watershed & Aquifer 3 Day Camp includes wading in the creek and finding out how bugs tell us about water quality, getting down into the aquifer through a local cave, paddling and cleaning up Barton Creek.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: TBD
  • Ages: 9 – 14. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Location: Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake, Barton Creek, Edwards Aquifer.
  • Contact: 512-974-3540
  • Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/CleanCreekCamp

 

APD Youth Summer Camp


Youth Summer Camp is partnership with Kealing Middle School. Middle School aged children enjoy four weeks of free summer camp. Participants experience activities, such as bowling, swimming, volleyball and dodge ball and immerse themselves in the study of subjects such as art, history, social justice, the environment, leadership, decision making, and time and money management.  



Austin YMBL Summer Sunshine Camps


Eight sessions of camp are offered free of charge at both Zilker Park and Lake Travis throughout the summer. Each camp session runs for five days, with campers staying overnight in cabins. Transportation to and from camp is provided. Campers check in for camp and are picked up at the end of camp at the Zilker Park location. Camp activities include swimming, hiking, orienteering, canoeing, team building and challenge course activities as well as arts and crafts. Additionally, nutritious snacks and meals are prepared and served each day by the camps’ kitchen staff. Note that campers must qualify for the Texas public school free and reduced lunch program to be eligible to attend camp.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates
    Summer Kick Off Party: May 27 – ALL families and campers invited!
    Kick-Off Camp (for Camper Ambassadors): June 3 – 4, 2020
    Session 1: June 14 – 18, 2021
    Session 2: June 21 – 25, 2021
    Session 3: June 28 – July 3, 2021
    Session 4: July 5 – 9, 2021
    Session 5: July 19 – 23, 2021
    Session 6: August 2 – 6, 2021
    Session 7: August 9 – 13, 2021
  • Ages: Zilker Camp 8 – 10, Lake Travis Camp 11 – 14. Campers must qualify for the Texas public school free and reduced lunch program to be eligible to attend summer camp.
  • Locations: Zilker Park near Barton Springs Pool, Lake Travis between Lago Vista and Marble Falls
  • Contact: 512-472-8107 or info@sunshinecamps.org
  • Website: http://www.sunshinecamps.org
  • Get involved: Volunteers and donations always appreciated.


 Find the Austin YMBL Summer Sunshine Camps in our Camp Guide.



Academy for Women - University of Texas at Austin Department of Computer Science


The 2021 Academies for Women are free, one-week, virtual programs for high school women - for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors. The academies are designed to dispel myths about computer science and intrigue young women with the potential of computing and the excitement of problem solving. The academies includes team-building activities, educational sessions, and recreation. You must be a Texas resident to apply.


Find the Academy for Women in our Camp Guide.

Academy for All - University of Texas at Austin Department of Computer Science


The 2021 Academies for All are free, one-week, virtual programs for high school underrepresented populations (African-American, Latino and Native American students). They are designed to dispel myths about computer science, intrigue students with the potential of computing and the excitement of problem solving. The academies includes team-building activities, educational sessions, and recreation. You must be a Texas resident to apply.

The academy is open to students going into 10th, 11th and 12th grades in Fall 2021.

Participants will be introduced to the world of computer science, including gaining experience in programming. Participants will work in groups to program patterns into simulated strands of lights and create a virtual lightshow that “dances” to music.


Find the Academy for All in our Camp Guide.




Camp Brave Heart


Camp Brave Heart is a free bereavement camp for children and teens ages 6 – 17 who are grieving the death of someone close to them. It is a traditional, fun, high-energy camp combined with grief education, peer bonding, and emotional support led by grief support professionals and trained volunteers. Camp Erin Central Texas is a program of Hospice Austin and part of The Moyer Foundation’s national Camp Erin program.

Swimming, hiking, campfires, archery, sing-a-longs, crafts and a low-level ropes course are just a few of the activities that campers enjoy. Over the course of three days and two nights packed with recreational and therapeutic activities, campers hear each other’s stories, explore their grief in a safe and understanding environment, and learn ways to help them cope with their loss.


Find the Camp Brave Heart in our Camp Guide.


Texas Lions Camp for Children With Physical Disabilities


TLC offers five sessions for children who have physical disabilities, ages 7-16. Different from many traditional approaches that may group children according to their diagnosis, TLC's program mainstreams children according to their age and gender and not according to their disabilities. This approach allows children not only to experience what it is like to overcome their own obstacles but also the challenges presented to other children who have a different diagnosis. 

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: Session 1: June 6 – 12, 2021, Session 2: June 13 – 19, 2021, Session 3: June 20 – 26, 2021, Session 4: June 27 – July 3, 2021, Session 5: July 4 – 10, 2021 
  • Ages: Children with Physical Disabilities ages 7 –16 
  • Location: 4100 San Antonio Hwy., Kerrville, TX 78028
  • Contact: 830-896-8500 or tlc@lionscamp.com
  • Websitehttp://www.lionscamp.com/become-a-camper.html
  • Get involved: Donations always appreciated.


Find the Texas Lions Camp sessions in our Camp Guide.

Texas Lions Camp for Children With Down Syndrome


Ranked as one of the highlights of the TLC experience, our staff excel at the production of this amazing program offering. To qualify, children must be between the ages of 12-16, be a Texas resident and have Down Syndrome as a diagnoses. In addition, children must be cooperative, have basic self-help skills and be able to participate in a small group setting with 5-8 other children within the broader Camp setting.

Numbers for this program are generally capped at approximately 75 campers for the week, providing an atmosphere adpated for their success and individual programming needs.


Find the Texas Lions Camp sessions in our Camp Guide.

Texas Lions Camp for Children With Cancer


Ranked as one of the highlights of the TLC experience, our staff excel at the production of this amazing program offering. To qualify, children must be between the ages of 7-16, be a Texas resident and have Down Syndrome as a diagnoses. In addition, children must be cooperative, have basic self-help skills and be able to participate in a small group setting with 5-8 other children within the broader Camp setting.

Numbers for this program are generally capped at approximately 75 campers for the week, providing an atmosphere adpated for their success and individual programming needs.


Find the Texas Lions Camp sessions in our Camp Guide.

Texas Lions Camp for Children With Type-1 Diabetes


TLC's program for children who have type-1 diabetes began in the mid-1970's under the general supervision of Dr. Luther Travis. For the last 35 years, the program has thrived under the expertise of Dr. Stephen Ponder.

The program is organized into two, one-week sessions and is especially helpful for newly-diagnosed campers, who are granted priority registration until April 15th of each year. To qualify, children must be between the ages of 8 – 15, be a Texas resident and have a primary diagnoses of Type-1 diabetes.


Find the Texas Lions Camp sessions in our Camp Guide.

Camp Kesem


Camp Kesem runs over 90 weeks of fun, action-packed and 100% free-of-charge camps from coast-to-coast every summer. Serving children ages 6 to 16, our campers experience a warm and loving environment with other children who have similar life experiences. This community – as most of our campers experience – provides the foundation for confidence building, improved communication skills, enhanced life outlook and attitude.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: July 19 – 23, 2021 and August 8 – 12, 2021
  • Ages: Children ages 6 – 16 who have been touched by a parent’s cancer.
  • Location: Forest Glen - Springs, 557 County Rd. 331, Rosebud, Texas 76570
  • Contact: atx@campkesem.org
  •  Website: http://campkesem.org/utaustin
  • Get involved: Volunteers and donations always appreciated.


Find the Camp Kesem camp sessions in our Camp Guide.


Camp Agape


Camp Agape Bereavement Camp for Children serves children ages 7 through 12 who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
Camp Agape Texas is a unique and innovative faith-based summer camp program with all the fun of a normal summer camp including swimming, archery, and fishing, along with group-therapy activities to assist the children with their bereavement process. These activities incorporate the use of art, music, games and play therapies all with the theme of offering true HOPE for their future.


FInd the Camp Agape Bereavement Camp in our Camp Guide.



Camp Glimmer


Every summer, Camp Glimmer gives over 500 disadvantaged youth the opportunity to experience the joys of a first-class summer camp, absolutely free. We aim to create a unique experience that allows children to be themselves and learn in a safe and supportive environment. We encourage kids to know that just because they’re born into a situation doesn’t mean that they need to stay in that situation.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: mid-June and ending the first week of August.
  • Ages: 7 – 12. Participation is offered by invitation only to nonprofit organizations currently funded by A Glimmer of Hope Austin. Check with A Glimmer of Hope Austin for eligible nonprofit organizations.
  • Location: Candlelight Ranch, 6408 Muleshoe Bend Trail, Marble Falls, TX 78654.
  • Contact: austin@glimmer.org
  •  Websitehttp://glimmeraustin.org/camp-glimmer/
  • Get involved: Volunteers and donations always appreciated.


Find the Camp Glimmer in our Camp Guide.


CAMP CPals


Camp CPals is designed for families living with cerebral palsy as a way to relax and enjoy time as a family for a weekend. You will have fun, forget the stresses of daily life, and enjoy the company of other families.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: May 7 – 9, 2021
  • Ages: 5 – 18 years old with Cerebral palsy (you are allowed to bring up to three siblings
    within the same age range. At least one parent or guardian must attend.)
  • Location: Camp For All, 6307 Rehburg Rd. Burton, TX  77835
  • Contact: (866) 74-CPATH or victoria@cpathtexas.com
  •  Websitehttps://cpathtexas.org/camp-cpals/
  • Get involved: Volunteers and donations always appreciated.


Find Camp CPals in our Camp Guide. 



Camp Cell-A-Bration


Camp Cell-A-Bration is a week long camp for 50+ campers ages 6-14 with Sickle Cell Disease. Many of our children with Sickle Cell Disease have suffered strokes, jaundice, pain crisis, chronic blood transfusions, surgeries, acute chest syndrome and damage to their internal organs. Although these children battle this life-threatening disease every day, we want to make sure they enjoy being KIDS!


 Find Camp Cell-A-Bration in our Camp Guide.



Camp Discovery


Camp Discovery is a unique camp experience for children affected by cancer. During Camp Discovery children will experience perhaps the best week of their life by swimming, fishing, climbing, canoeing, laughing, dancing, singing, horseback riding, and simply being with other people who can relate to their situation.

  • 2021 Camp Session Dates: July 18, 2021
  • Ages: Camp Discovery is available to any child in Texas who is battling cancer, is between the ages of 7 – 16, and who does not have a residential camp available to him/her either in his/her geographical residence area or through his/her treatment center. Please ask your nurse, child life specialist, or physician for further details and please have them contact us if they have never heard of Camp Discovery.
  • Location: 4100 San Antonio Hwy., Kerrville, TX 78028
  • Contact: contact@visionworkscamps.org 
  • Website: http://visionworkscamps.org
  • Get involved: Volunteers and donations always appreciated.


Find Camp Discovery in our Camp Guide.



Camp David


Camp David is a week of adventure and discovery, designed specifically for pediatric burn survivors aged 7 – 16. Camp David is unique among burn camps because it also includes siblings and children of burn survivors whose lives are also severely impacted by burn injury.


Find Camp David in our Camp Guide.


 

Camp Ailihpomeh


The mission of Camp Ailihpomeh (Hemophilia spelled backwards) is to serve the needs of boys from age seven to seventeen with bleeding disorders, providing a camping experience for a group of children who have traditionally been excluded from participating in other summer camp programs. The experience of camping with other children in a natural outdoor setting strengthens the child’s ability to cope with the daily physical and emotional challenges of a disability and/or chronic illness.


Find Camp Ailihpomeh in our Camp Guide.


Camp Grace


Austin Oaks Church hosts Camp Grace, a free day camp for kids with special needs and their siblings. All campers with special needs are paired with a volunteer ("pal"), and the siblings are grouped by age and assigned to sibling group leaders. We have several activities ranging from quiet to energy-expending throughout the entire event, and it's completely camper driven.



CampBrainstorm


Camp Brainstorm is a dream opportunity for children with epilepsy located at Camp Aranzazu in Rockport, TX. It is a place to make friends, develop skills, and try new activities in a safe place.. 


Find Camp Brainstorm in our Camp Guide.
 

Camp Registration


Registration for the camps is now open. All camp information is subject to change. Before applying for any of the camps above, please review the camp websites for camp details and potential changes. And again, if your child does not qualify for any of the camps, please share with those who do and/or consider getting involved with any of the camps.

If we missed any camps, please let us know at hello@livegrowplayaustin.com.


Other Camps in the Live Grow Play Austin Camp Guide


For other camps, including Academic and Education Camps, Adventure and Outdoors Camps, Art Camps, Music Camps, Religious Camps, Special Needs Camps, Sports Camps, STEM Camps, check out our Camp Guide. You can search by interest, camp type (day or overnight), location, age, dates, and price.

If you offer camps in or around Austin and are interested in adding your camp to our Camp Guide, go to our Camp FAQ for more information or contact us at hello@livegrowplayaustin.com.

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