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The Best Summer Camps in the U.S. for Kids With Unique Interests

Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban concrete jungle of NYC. She writes Kids in the City Kids in the City a weekly column and blog for the Staten Island Advance, contributes to SheKnows, Time Out NY Kids Time Out N...

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different

Ah, summer camp. It really is an important childhood rite of passage that every kid deserves to experience. Sure, leaving home for the first time is scary, but going to camp creates memories that will last a lifetime. Not all summer camps, however, are created equal.

Now more than ever, kids need a good summer camp where they can unplug from today's modern conveniences and learn a new skill while out in nature. If you're looking for the best-of-the-best sleep-away camps for your child, these 20 should be on your radar.

1. Cheley Colorado Camp, Colorado

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different
Image: Cheley Colorado Camp

Located at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Cheley Colorado Camp is an amazing summer camp for kids that offers a number of activities from horseback riding and hiking to archery and riflery. If your kids love adventure and the outdoors, this is a terrific option.

2. Four Winds Westward Ho camp, Washington State

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different
Image: Four Winds Westward Ho Camp

Situated on Orcas Island near Seattle, Washington, Four Winds Westward Ho is a place where kids can get away from technology and modern comforts and discover new friendships and interests in the great outdoors.

3. Virginia State Parks YCC, Virginia

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different
Image: Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps

For something completely different, consider sending your kids to the Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps. This three-week residential program allows kids to live and work in the state park, preparing meals, performing chores and enjoying nature.

More: Summer Travel is the Perfect Excuse to Sneak in Educational Activities

4. Camp Wicosuta, New Hampshire

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different
Image: Camp Wicosuta

This all-girls camp in New Hampshire is located just south of the White Mountains on Newfound Lake. Girls enjoy water sports, creative arts, horseback riding and other outdoor adventures at Camp Wicosuta.

5. Thrill Coaster Tours

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different
Image: ThrillCoaster Tours

Not your traditional camp, this teen program is all about roller coasters. Thrill Coaster Tours allows kids to visit various amusement parks and try out different roller coasters all over the country. The "campers" travel by luxury bus and stay at Marriott hotels as they go from city to city.

6. Sanborn Western Camps, Colorado

From roller coaster tours to surfing, these 20 summer camps all offer something a little different
Image: Sanborn Western Camp

Located on 6,000 acres of aspen, spruce, Douglas-fir, and ponderosa pine-filled forests, and an hour west of Colorado Springs, Sanborn Western Camps provide the perfect place for kids to do everything from fly-fishing to horseback riding and community service to science projects.

Next Up: Camp Chief Ouray, Colorado

Updated by Sarah Long on 5/30/17.

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