Summer Camps for Gifted Kids and Teens – Updated for 2016

NOTE: This list was originally compiled in 2015 and has been updated for 2016. As always, let me know if there is a program that should be included.

I went looking for summer camp options for the young people in my life and found so many amazing options of academic camps that I just had to share them with you.

academic summer camps

Academic summer camps for gifted students

Not a lot of sports camps here. And probably not many that offer daily canoe trips or nightly bonfires.

Most of these camps aren’t just for gifted kids. Some are. Most of them are for high-achieving students that are looking to get more out of their summer experience.

Here’s where you’ll find summer camps where kids can learn new skills and explore their passions. There are camps catering on everything from computer programming to biomedical research. They can check out possible career paths, discuss big ideas and great books, visit vibrant cities, or become accustomed to life on a college campus. All good and worthy things to spend time on.

Important Note: Not all camps are current for 2015 (most are) but I include them so you can begin planning now. Some of the competitive camps have deadlines coming up – no pressure or anything!

This isn’t a comprehensive list. I’m sure there are other summer camps that need to be included. Share them with us in the comments or on Facebook and I’ll get the list updated.





















































Let me know what’s missing by adding your favorite camp in the comments below or share on Facebook.

Happy camping!

53 Responses

  1. Both of my kids have been so passionate about their experiences through the years at Satori Camp, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA. Nothing but positives — transformative, supportive & engaging.

  2. Hi there! Thanks so much for highlighting our programs in this list. In addition to the residential programs you mentioned, Summer Institute for the Gifted also has a multitude of day camp locations nationwide for gifted students ages 5-12. Could we also add these locations to your list? They can be found on our website:

    Thank you!

  3. Hi – here’s another one, a brand new program for math enthusiasts. One of the faculty is a former student of mine at MIT, and knowing her and her family I am able to recommend this program most enthusiastically!

  4. IndianaAnna says

    Indiana – Ball State – Indiana Academy Summer Adventures

  5. Another Talent Search one is Center for Bright Kids (CBK) in Colorado, covering the western states. Their camps are run at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO

  6. Oakland University in Michigan has STEM camps for K-12. More info at

  7. What a stellar list! For Kentucky, you might also check out the Governor’s Scholars Program (for rising high school seniors) and the Governor’s School for the Arts (for rising juniors and seniors).

  8. Amanda Davey says

    Check out Da Vinci Academy in Elgin, Illinois (a school for gifted and academically talented students). Their summer program is awesome! The website is not updated for this summer yet, but it will be soon. To see some info from last season,


  9. Take a look at the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY) out of the University of Wisconsin- Madison. We have summer programs for 4th through 12th grade students. You can find all of the information at

  10. What a great list! May I suggest including Traveling Players Ensemble in Virginia? We have a program that was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as a model summer arts program, based on our comprehensive and intensive curriculum. Details can be found at Thanks!

  11. Please look at Project Scientist in the Charlotte, NC area,

  12. Thank you for posting this list!

  13. The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy offers amazing STEM enrichment summer programs each year. Details can be found at:

  14. Acera School in Massachusetts is starting a summer camp program this year. It’s a school for gifted kids with an emphasis on creativity and investigational learning. The offerings range from art/craft to full on science (zebra fish genetics).

  15. Hello! We offer a mixed-age, choice-based camp for gifted in North Texas called Camp Pursuit. Would love to be included in the list! You can read more/vet us at Thank you!

  16. IndianaAnna says

    Here’s a link to summer programs at Wright State in Dayton Ohio. Some of them are specifically for gifted kids and others are open to all.

  17. Areteem Institute is hosting three educational summer camps this year, at UCLA, Boston College & the University of Chicago. They are for gifted students in grades 6-college and focus on Math, Science, Humanities & Career subjects. More information can be found at or by calling (949) 679-8989. Thank you!

  18. Zoom Academy hosts fun STEM classes in Irvine all summer! Check it out

  19. I am looking for a general chemistry camp for 2015 summer. Does anyone and any information? We live in southern California but will go anywhere in the States.

  20. Great list of programs. There is a great residential 2 week intensive entrepreneur program at UCLA in July, taught by business school approved faculty and offers offers college credit; plus, a chance to win $1,000 in start up money for the winner of the business pitch competition.

  21. Cora Hastings says

    Hastings College Scholar Academy is GREAT for Nebraska. I strongley suggest putting that on the list.

  22. Great list! How about Stanford’s Pre Collegiate Summer Institutes?

  23. BE WARNED……

    The Center for Bright Kids in Denver used to be called Rocky Mountain Talent Search. My sons attended college through the University of Denver with this organization with the promise of earning college credit. When my oldest son graduated high school and applied to the University of Michigan, he put the Univ of Denver on his application and asked for transcripts so he could transfer those credits. RMTS aka bright kids told us that U of Denver has those records, U of Denver said no, Bright Kids have those records and that no credits are earned through these programs at U of D or anywhere else. My kids also attended Purdue Univ and I also learned that no credits were awarded even though they were advertised as an advantage of these programs. We spent a ton of money earning “early college credits”, at the end of the programs they even gave us letters stating how many credits were earned. Now I know that no university will take those letters stating credits earned and neither U of D or Purdue will give transcripts. My oldest son who has done everything right looked like a liar on his application because U of D would only write a letter stating he never attended, and that was after 27 phone calls (I counted). At least purdue stated that there were no transcripts given, they did not say that he did not attend the university.

  24. IndianaAnna says

    My son has applied to attend Air Camp in Ohio this summer and I hope he gets to go. It sounds like a wonderful aeronautical, engineering, and science experience

  25. for Oklahoma, we have FREE STEM camps offered by our colleges/universities for kids going into the 8th grade-12th grade. Application deadlines vary, but most are April/early May.

  26. Great list! Axis Enrichment is a summer camp in Austin, TX tailored for gifted children and taught by certified gifted and talented teachers.

  27. Leigh Johnson says

    I’m a little late, and some of these will need to be accessed for 2017, but Kansas also offers summer camps at Wichita State University:, Kansas State (some for girls in STEM that are particularly good) and Fort Hays State:
    The Kansas Historical Society also offers a unique archaeology opportunity (Kansas Archaeological Training Program KATP) that runs for 2 weeks each summer in early June. This is for adults and older children (10-13 must have full time supervision; older students can work independently but still must have an adult in attendance) and could be used as a family vacation activity.
    It is set up for 3 weekends and 2 weeks, but you can attend for as little as one day during that time. Training is provided.

    • The Common Mom says

      Thanks for sending these in! We’ll try and get them added for this year and definitely for 2017!

  28. Thank soooooo much for this amazing compilation of gifted camps!

  29. It’s past the application deadline for this year, but Research Science Institute is held at MIT for kids between their junior and senior year of high school. Participants are matched with mentors in the Boston area to do research in all areas of science/math.

  30. This is an amazing compilation. Kudos and thank you!

  31. Chris Rodriguez says — They have a lot of STEM based summer camps for kids in grades 3-12.

  32. Hello! If you are planning to update this list for 2017, we’d really appreciate it if you added MathILy and MathILy-Er, a pair of selective summer programs for mathematically excellent high school students.

    MathILy is taking place at Bryn Mawr College in 2017 ( and MathILy-Er is taking place at Willamette University in 2017 (, though they share an admissions process and admit students from across the world. MathILy is on par with programs like HCSSIM and MathCamp, while MathILy-Er is meant for students who are a little bit earlier in their mathematical development and helps these students take the step from local mathematics programs to the selective national ones.

  33. Take a look at the Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies summer camps. It is not exclusively for GT, but we seem to attract many — small program, attentive and fun, inspiring, knowledgeable staff, a chance to focus on an area of your interest. Lots of fresh air and fellow campers interested in the same stuff.

  34. Do any of the camps have room and board?


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