It is almost summertime, which means camping, barbecues, and best of all, summer camps for the kids. When someone in the family is in the military, their children have the opportunity to attend fun camps at discounted prices for all the same joy. Let's take a look at some of the most popular summer camps for military kids and where they are located.

What are military-based kids camps?

Military kids camps are places for children of military members to go for the summer to have a fun experience, though the attractions change from camp to camp. Many of the camps that we will discuss are targeted specifically at kids who have family in the armed forces. These camps are supposed to be fun, engaging and built for kids to learn something new and meet friends. The following camps have different age groups that the attendees are divided into. Here are a few of the best and most popular military-based kids camps.

Operation Purple Camp

This camp came from the National Military Family Association and was created to "stand up for, support, and enhance the quality of life for every military family through bold advocacy, innovative programming, and dynamic and responsive solutions." Operation Purple Camp is a place where military kids can go for a free week of fun. Children from all branches and statuses are welcome, including the National Guard, Reserve, Space Force, the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Public Health Service.

The camp has been providing this service since 2004 and has served 3,535 military kids virtually since the start of the pandemic. Just like most summer camps, children participate in arts and crafts and outdoor activities, all supervised by trained counselors and camp staff. The organizers chose the name Operation Purple because purple is the color that results from Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine Corps red, and Navy blue.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.


The Armed Services YMCA offers summer camps with military children in mind. And because it is a service of the YMCA, it is available across the country. The camp is structured to address the unique challenges of military life. Some of these struggles can include isolation, frequent moving, separation and food insecurity.

ASYMCA camps are educational and exciting, offering day and residential options to encourage healthy living and recreation. There are the typical summer camp activities but there is also a focus on meaningful connections, something that military children often struggle with due to their lifestyle.

Military teen adventure camps

Because of their funding and high participation rate, these military teen adventure camps are available coast to coast. As the name suggests, they bring military teens on incredible adventures, including rafting, hiking, camping and other engaging outdoor activities. Military teens have the opportunity to participate at little to no cost. Because there are national locations, each camp is tailored to the outdoor option available in that area.

Military teen adventure camps are hosted by The Department of Defense and the Office of Military Community and Family Policy. Search for camps based on date and location, and you are sure to find something to suit your particular adventuring fancy!

Military kids can have a rough time making friends and keeping them, but these camps can offer a way to make genuine friendships and connections. All while having fun along the way!