Top Family Camps In The West - My Family Travels

Family sleepaway camps in the West make fun, adventurous bonding experiences possible. They make vacations that focus on family closeness affordable, too. Parents can relive their childhood camp days and show their kids the great outdoors. Kids can enjoy a classic summer sleepaway camp experience and make new friends their age.

Hikers enjoy a day in the sun at Camp Concord, Photo c. Camp Concord
Hikers enjoy a day in the sun at Camp Concord, one of the top family camps in the West. Photo c. Camp Concord

Family travel experts see multi-generational family camps and ranch holidays trending as the demand for easy, top-value vacations continues. Families love spending time together in places with activities and attractions that appeal to all ages. That’s especially true when the destination makes it possible for everyone in the family to try new things.

At YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch, for example, learn mountain biking. You can rent one or bring your own, and take advantage of their Terrain Park and instruction to develop skills. Stay in tents or cabins, eat communal meals in the dining hall, and participate in a variety of outdoor activities. There’s no need to clean up. Plus, there’s no cooking, backseat bellyaching, or planning an itinerary on this vacation.

What Is a Family Camp in the West Like?

Most family camps run three to seven days, and generally include all activities, food, and lodging. The price ranges upwards from about $200 per adult per day to about $1500 per person weekends. Family camps are often less expensive than the typical family vacation. Family camp is ideal for families with children ages 7-12, however most camps welcome infants. Some programs provide the option of childcare or group kids’ activities so adults can play together. Other camps have teen-specific programs as well.

Why not consider going to camp together with your children this year? Here is our list of Top Family Camps located in the West. 

Camp Concord

2748 E Olivera Road
South Lake Tahoe, CA 94519
Concord is situated on 29 acres of the El Dorado National Forest between Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake in the Sierras. After several years and the pandemic interruption, Camp Concord has merged its family camp and groups businesses to become “The Happiest Place on Dirt.” They now proudly offer high quality and affordable organized camps for families over weekends or full weeks from mid-June to early August. The daily schedule includes canoeing, crawdad fishing, archery and tie-dyeing.

Families are welcome to break away from the schedule and enjoy many off-site activities like golf, a ropes course, rafting and bicycle trails. Families stay in cabins with electricity, and easy access to restrooms, showers, laundry facilities and the main lodge. Twice a day, Concord’s staff holds special activities for children ages 4-12. It’s the time for adults to enjoy a Social Hour. Tuesdays, there are group trips to local casinos while staff provide affordable babysitting.

Fixed canvas tent at Camp Oski, one of three family camps run by UC Berkeley Alums at Lair of the Golden Bear camp. Photo c. Lair of the Golden Bear.
Fixed canvas tent at Camp Oski, one of three family camps run by UC Berkeley Alums at Lair of the Golden Bear camp. Photo c. Lair of the Golden Bear.

Lair of the Golden Bear

Camp Blue Rd – Exit off Highway 108
Pinecrest, CA 95364
Located in Stanislaus National Forest in Pinecrest, this beautiful mountain retreat affords families an escape from everyday obligations. The “Lair” is run by UC Berkeley Alumni and is open to all. Select from three separate camps: Camp Blue, Camp Gold, and Camp Oski which are different in size and have similar programming. Count on staff and camper talent shows, age-appropriate programs for toddlers to tweens, guest speakers, pools, art, hiking, and music programs. Try your hand at paddle tennis, softball, swimming and music lessons or standup paddleboarding. Head off campus for golf, fishing, massage and horseback riding at nearby facilities, for an additional cost.

Summer campers at Camp Oski sleep in rustic tent cabins with canas siding, electricity and up to six metal frame beds. Bathrooms are located a few steps away from the cabins. There are also 15 modern, year-round cottages with heat and en suite bathrooms. Winter rentals include hot meals in their dining room and bedding. There are also rustic lodge rooms. Family-style meals are served three times daily, with other dining options available when the hall is closed. The property has laundry facilities, a business center, maid service and a store. Families can opt for a week-long, mini-week, or weekend stay.

Two women pose for a picture in a fun frame from the Montecito Sequoia family camp. Photo c. Montecito-Sequoia Lodge
Two women pose for a picture in a fun frame from the Montecito Sequoia family camp. Photo c. Montecito-Sequoia Lodge

Montecito-Sequoia Lodge

63410 General’s Highway
King’s Canyon National Park, CA  93633
Montecito Sequoia Lodge offers families a laid-back, busy (as busy as you want) family vacation among the mountain air and giant sequoia trees. Open year-round, the lodge and facilities promise a scenic Northern California vista between the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. In summer, it’s known as one of the top all-inclusive family camps in the West. Whether camper or lodge guest, take advantage of hiking, biking, rock-climbing, a myriad of crafts and various water activities available on a private lake. 

Repeat family visitors appreciate the organized kids programs available for ages 2 to 18 and the infant play area for babies 6 to 23 months-old. Book off-duty counselors for babysitting. Cabins range from Rustic Mountain View cabins dating to the 70s with shared bath to more upscale New Forest Cabins, Lakeview Suites and Lodge rooms. Some facilities sleep up to 8 guests. While they have electricity, there’s no running water. Use the nearby bathhouse for washing up. Meals are freshly prepared, California style cuisine that is served buffet style.

snowshoeing in Rocky Mountains National Park
Snowshoeing is a sport that all ages can enjoy together in winter. Photo c. YMCA of the Rockies

YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch

1101 County Road 53
Granby, CO 80446
YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch, on the Western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, is one of the quieter family camps in the West. That’s why we love it. A dense evergreen forest surrounds tall, woodsy lodges built in the late 70s. Yurts, private cabins, tent and RV sites, nondescript recreation facilities, a dining hall and a few out buildings complete the facilities. The beautiful setting and comprehensive programming attract repeat visitors year in, year out.

The Y’s staff put Christian principles into practice, promoting the values of honesty, respect, responsibility, caring, and faith among very diverse guests. The noted kids’ summer Camp Ouray teaches hiking, mountain biking, swimming and other recreation to ages 7-17. Yet, families may enjoy the same activities by booking rooms as lodge guests. Special Fall and Winter Family Camp weekend rates include snowshoeing, cross country skiing, mini-snowmobiling and more.

The celebrated YMCA Family Camp runs over four days at the end of summer. All ages come together to learn arts n’crafts, canoeing, fishing, archery, horseback riding and golf (additional fee). Keep in mind that, although horwesback riding

Snow Mountain Ranch even has its own purpose-built summer and winter tubing hill. It’s a must-try activity for all ages, no matter the weather. Snow Mountain Y has won several awards from Colorado Parent magazine including one for its iconic Waterfall Hike. Don’t miss parents’ favorite trek because in a short distance, kids can spot wildlife, plants, trees and learn about the environment.

Family on snow-covered porch of cabin at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park.
Embrace the snow at your cabin, on the trails, or down the hills on an Estes Park winter getaway. Photo c. YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park.

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center

2515 Tunnel Road
Estes Park, CO 80511
The other YMCA of the Rockies resort is also within a few hours’ drive of Denver. The main difference is that Estes Park itself is a very popular tourist destination for active outdoorsmen. This YMCA makes it possible to enjoy affordable family vacations and mulitgenerational family reunions in the eastern part of the Rockies. Expect endless opportunities for four-season sports, creative workshops and educational activities. In summer, relay races, scavenger hunts, minigolf, mountain biking, pickleball and tennis offer old-fashioned family-together fun. Accommodations range from lodge rooms, to cabins with 2 to 4 bedrooms, to large reunion cabins with 6-16 bedrooms. Guests prepare their meals in cabin kitchens or take them at the family buffet at reasonable prices. Both sites welcome pets in the cabins.

The only drawback is the altitude at over 8,000 feet at both Y Camps in the West. Taking one aspirin daily the week prior to arrival should help. The staff recommends staying hydrated with up to 64 oz of water each day, and building up your activity level slowly. Rest if you feel fatigued or dizzy, avoid alcohol while at altitude and be sure to reapply sunscreen often.

At this Western family camp and its sister Snow Mountain Ranch, meals, activities and housing in comfortable wooden cabins or the lodge are included in modest Family Camp rates.

Camp Sacramento

P.O. Box 81
Twin Bridges, CA 95735
The California state capital of Sacramento (a fun city) manages Camp Sacramento on heavily wooded land in the Sayles Flat area of the Eldorado National Forest. Although it’s only 14 acres, the rustic complex has 61 cabins — some dating to the 1930s. Described as rustic and charming, they have porches, wood walls and bare lightbulbs. For running water, head to the shared restrooms, which have private shower stalls.

Camp Sac is the place to play together at affordable four-day Mini Camps or six-day Weekly Camps. Go for archery, volleyball, baseball, hiking, basketball, Bingo and arts n’crafts. Join in daily activities scheduled for age-appropriate groups from 3-17 years. Or, sign up for the program for ages 18+. Get ready before arrival for the Pajama-rama breakfast and Cabin Decorating Contest. Camp facilities also include a dining hall, lodge, camp store, campfire pit, ping pong tables, horseshoe pits, and the scenic American River.

Plan ahead to secure a spot at one of these great family camps in the West. And read on for information on family camps in the East and family camps in the South.

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