Just for Kids

20 Summer Camps We Love

Fun activities that keep kids healthy, happy, sharp and social while school is out.

By Kim Doleatto April 24, 2024

It's that time of year again—when families wonder what the little ones will do while school is out for summer. So we put together this handy list to keep kids moving, learning, and making friends and memories this summer. Spots are filling up fast, but there are dozens of camps to choose from throughout both Sarasota and Manatee counties. Here are the ones on our radar.

Sarasota County Summer Camps

From cheer camps to boating, and runway design to pickleball camps, there are a variety of themed camps to choose from countywide, including day camps, adventure camps and week-long specialty camps. Attention teens who are 16 and older: The county is also looking for camp counselors and provides training. Ages 6-18

Sarasota Fishing Camp

Beyond experiencing the thrill of the catch, kids learn how to tie basic knots, care for gear, boat safely, release fish properly, cast-net, select bait and identify and respect our local marine life and shores. Ages 8-16

Manatee Performing Arts Center

Kids build confidence and communication skills through singing, acting, dancing and technical design, and parents enjoy a live performance at the end. Choose from three different sessions. Ages 6 to 17


Kids explore Turtle Beach, Lido Beach and the mangroves as they live the #saltlife with stand-up paddleboarding, surfing and swimming in the ocean. They'll also learn about water safety and marine biology, fostering an appreciation for wildlife and the environment. Ages 7-14


Kids of all music levels come together and make their rock star dreams come true. Your child will learn guitar, drum and piano basics as the band prepares for its big rock concert. They'll learn the songs they love and give a performance to friends and family at the end of the week. Ages 8-17

Florida Studio Theatre

Creativity and expression flourish on stage through acting, dancing, singing, playwriting and improvisation. Children step out of their shells and learn empathy when they step into someone else's shoes to play a role. Parents can offer a standing ovation when their child performs live in a play at the end of camp. Ages 5-17

Astro Skate

With daily and weekly options here, kids stay busy with more than just skating. The camp includes crafts, kickball, dodgeball, a talent show, dress-up days and "bring your own bike or scooter" day. Off-site field trips to parks, bowling lanes, the movies, laser tag and more make for a fun-packed day, week or more. Ages 5-11

Circus Sarasota Summer Camp

Coordination, focus and confidence get a boost as kids do acrobatics, teeter on the low wire, swing on the trapeze and learn to juggle. Plus, they're taking part in Sarasota's circus arts legacy. On the last Friday of every session, friends and family are invited to a live showcase. Ages 6-15

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature Summer Science Camps

While learning about everything from ocean predators to outer space, natural disasters and extinct species, campers get to unravel answers to the million-and-one questions they always seem to fit into a single day. Ages 7-14

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

From busting marine monster myths to offering first-hand encounters with marine wildlife, Mote will immerse campers in all things under the sea. They'll even learn about STEM applications through Mote's underwater robots and some of the discoveries they've made, along with chemistry experiments that are messy and maybe even smelly. Ages 5-13

Lina Rincon Art Gallery and Studio

From into the woods to beneath the sea, and from dragons and fairies in fantasy land to trips across the continents of Earth, kids gain art inspiration from nature and beyond in this intimate art gallery setting. Ages 6-10

Dream Oaks Summer Camp

Dream Oaks camps celebrate the abilities and develop the comprehensive skills of children with special needs and chronic illnesses. Camp themes include "Pirate Fever," "Lost in Space," "Camp Hollywood" and more, and offer overnight options. Ages 7-17

The Pickleball Club

Lakewood Ranch's indoor pickleball destination offers weekly and monthly camps for elementary, middle and high school kids all summer long, with options for all skill levels. Grades K-12

Cat Depot's Critter Camp

Leave the cute cat videos on the screen and get up close and personal with Cat Depot kitties. Campers do cat-themed science activities, crafts, service projects and animal-themed yoga. Once a week, a guest speaker from another local animal organization visits. And, of course, campers meet some of Cat Depot's adoptable cats for an hour every week. Ages 8-14

Nailed It DIY Studio

Get unplugged and messy. These hands-on projects will have campers using woods, fabrics and metals to create their very own projects, building confidence, craftiness and maybe a gift for the home along the way. Ages 7-14

Sarasota Scullers

With water everywhere around us, it only makes sense to dive in. Whether they're beginners or advanced, campers will learn water safety basics, rowing techniques and how to work the water as a team while staying fit and applying leadership skills. Ages 11-18

Zoo Camp at Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Reptiles, winged friends, conservation, zoo-keeping and botanical gardens are among the themes campers will explore at Zoo Camp. It's a walk on the wild side that's both fun and educational. Ages 6-11

ATA Triumph Martial Arts

No experience is necessary to join this camp, where campers move through taekwondo training and follow up with themed activities and games throughout the day for fun, fitness and friend-making. Ages 6-11

Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex

Take a break from the summer heat and hit the rink to learn gliding, turning, stopping and all-around skating basics. (Advanced classes are also available.) Crafts and a movie break up the day and, at the end of each day, skaters will have free time to play with friends. Ages 5-12

Sarasota Art Museum

Artful campers explore new themes, activities and projects inspired by the art  and artists on view at the museum. Plus, teaching artists work with campers to install their very own art show. From using textiles to creating collages, little artists blossom. Ages 5-12 

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