Where Are The Free or Affordable Summer Camps and Youth Activities in Philly?

Is this an access, apathy, or a marketing issue?

5 min readMay 8


Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

The last day of school is June 13th and I’m having a hard time finding free or affordable summer camps and youth activities.

What’s going on?

Registration for 2023 Summer Learning Programs closed May 6


Are there a lot of free and affordable programs and they are having a hard time marketing and promoting their programs because they don’t have the capacity or staff?

PhiladelphiaSummerCamps.com — Has a comprehensive list of camps, but fees aren’t listed.

Google Search Snapshot #1 — Free and affordable camps

The Philadelphia Inquirer normally has a good comprehensive camp guide, but it’s behind a paywall and Broke in Philly’s 2022 Summer Camp guide is a link to an old Inquirer article — which is also behind a paywall.

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s webpage and Summer Quick Reference Guide is archived from 2019 and The Summer Camp page says it has over 100 camps, but only features Camp Philly (a 1-week overnight camp that isn’t accepting applications now). However, if you scroll down, you’ll find the “Finder App” where you can search and find 35 “summer camps” or you can click on the Theme Camps link where there are 5 camps featuring rowing and other theme-based camps ranging from $25 for a 2-week session to $300.

I know the City has more programs, but right now they’re not easy to find. The City’s guide and Summer Camp page need to be updated ASAP so parents can quickly find information and register before it’s too late.

In another search two sites popped up claiming they had “free and affordable summer camps”, but I only found listings with $165-$770 per week encampment fees with outdated GSK and Philadelphia Parks and Rec links. Some camps offer sliding-scale fees and scholarships, but neither of these sites offered a current list of affordable summer camps unless you’re wealthy.




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