It’s time to book summer camps, and the BEST recommendations are always the ones you get from other parents.

Check out the winners of our annual readers’ poll in the Classes and Camps Category below. Then download our Free Summer Camp Planner to get organized. Can’t get enough camp content? Find even more camps listed in our Summer Camps Directory, learn about Featured Camps, or pick up a copy of our print Summer Camps Issue.

Congratulations to these fabulous winners!

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Outdoor Adventure Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Trackers Earth

WINNER: Trackers Earth Portland 
Trackers Earth really takes full advantage of all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer in the Pacific Northwest. The award-winning camp fosters a love and appreciation for all things outdoors with its fun, educational classes, like hiking, kayaking, canoeing, climbing and more.

TOP 5

Audubon Society of Portland

Avid 4 Adventure

Boy Scouts of America

Friends of Tryon Creek

Mazamas Wild Day Camp


Arts & Crafts Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Children’s Healing Art Project

WINNER: Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP)
CHAP’s virtual Art Club, held each Wednesday at 4 pm, is still going strong! (The organization continues to pause in-person art visits to children in the hospital.) Even better, the Art Club projects are designed to use already-in-your-house items, so each class is fun, creative and accessible. And everyone can support CHAP’s wonderful mission by donating, including art supplies or volunteering in the studio. Pro tip: Follow CHAP on Facebook for fun art ideas your kiddos can do at home.

TOP 5

Crafty Mindz

Grace Institute Home of Grace Art Camps

Portland Craft Bar

Vibe of Portland

Willowbrook Arts Camp


Climbing/Obstacle Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Circuit Bouldering Gym.

WINNER: The Circuit Bouldering Gym
Who says you have to be an adult to climb? The folks at The Circuit Bouldering Gym teach an array of indoor bouldering classes geared to kids from ages 5 to 14. Budding boulderers not only learn technique and gain strength, but also problem solving in the gym’s safe, fun environment. And with three locations — Southwest, Northeast and Tigard — in the Portland area, there’s a gym for everyone.

TOP 5

Parkour Visions

Planet Granite

Portland Rock Gym

Skyhook Ninja Fitness

Stoneworks Climbing Gym


Dance Classes/Camps

 Photo: Jingzi Zhao, courtesy Oregon Ballet Theatre School

WINNER: Oregon Ballet Theatre School
For children who live in their tutus and dream of jeté-ing across center stage, the Oregon Ballet Theatre School is the place for them. OBT offers a variety of classes, for toddlers to dedicated students learning pointe, and many are taught by professionals. Youth dancers are also all encouraged to audition to perform, including for OBT’s fabled Nutcracker.

TOP 5

BodyVox Dance

Moonstar Dance Studio

NW Dance Project

The Portland Ballet

Westside Dance & Gymnastics Academy


General Day Camps

Image courtesy Trackers Earth

WINNER: Trackers Earth 
One of the best parts of sending your kids to camp at Trackers Earth Portland is that there is so much for them to do and learn! Sporty kids will love paintball and climbing, outdoor adventurers will enjoy kayaking and hiking, and your little art lover will delight in ceramics, photography or even blacksmithing! With locations all over (and outside of) the city, Trackers is a convenient choice for parents, too.

TOP 5

Mittleman Jewish Community Center

North Clackamas Parks & Recreation Department

Portland Parks & Recreation

Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District

YMCA of Columbia-Willamette


Gymnastics Classes/Camps

Image courtesy The Children’s Gym

WINNER: The Children’s Gym 
At The Children’s Gym, the instructors channel your kiddo’s energy into cartwheels, handstands, flips and more. Even better, all classes are noncompetitive, co-ed, and of course, fun! And since each child learns at their own pace, The Children’s Gym separates students by age and skill level (new students are automatically placed into the introductory level class for their age). The Children’s Gym offers in-person classes and camps with strict COVID protocols, including proof of vaccination.

TOP 5

The Circus Project

Echo Theater Company

My Gym Happy Valley

Oregon Gymnastics Academy

Westside Dance & Gymnastics Academy


Horse/Animal Classes/Camps

Image courtesy The Oregon Zoo

WINNER: Oregon Zoo
With COVID-19 still circulating, the Oregon Zoo has once again canceled their animal-centered summer camps for 2022. In the meantime, visit the zoo’s Facebook page for live videos of all their animals and critters in action: Facebook.com/oregonzoo.

TOP 5

Horse Sense Riding School

Oregon Horsemanship

Oregon Humane Society

Phoenix Farm

Royal Ridges


Inclusive Camps

Image courtesy Camp Yakety Yak

WINNER: Camp Yakety Yak
Located in Lake Oswego, this enriching camp is designed especially for children with special needs and physical disabilities. Yakety Yak staffers prepare an individualized day camp experience for kids in inclusive and educational group activities, including games, classroom skills and hands-on projects. Neurotypical siblings of campers are also encouraged to join.

TOP 5

B’nai B’rith Camp

Camp Exceptional

Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp

Tucker Arts Camp

Upward Bound Camp


Overnight Camps

Image courtesy Camp Namanu

WINNER: Camp Namanu
Hiking and boating and cooking, oh, my! The storied Camp Namanu, along the shores of the Sandy River, provides the quintessential overnight camp experience — fireside stories and sleeping in rustic cabins included. While Ranch Camp is still sadly paused, half-week camp sessions are back for Blue Wings (campers in grades two to three) as well as for kids in grades four through 12.

TOP 5

Big Lake Youth Camp

Camp Tamarack

Camp Tilikum

Camp Two Roads

Trackers Earth Portland


Performing Arts Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Northwest Children’s Theater and School

WINNER: Northwest Children’s Theater and School
In-person summer camps are back at Northwest Children’s Theater! Budding thespians, grouped by age from 4 to 14, can partake in a variety of performing arts classes at NWCT’s Northwest theater (as well as upcoming, additional locations on the east and west sides of Portland). Campers learn everything from character and world creation to acting to improv musical theater.

TOP 5

Broadway Rose Theatre Company

The Circus Project

Echo Theater Company

Oregon Children’s Theatre

School of Rock


Science/Math Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

WINNER: OMSI – Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
Sure, OMSI has everything your science-loving kid dreams of for summer camp: robotics, food chemistry, astronomy, even forensic science! But there’s plenty of opportunities for children who don’t necessarily want to become the next Bill Nye, including animation, flying drones and caring for exotic pets. Camps are grouped by grade with options for kindergarteners to eighth graders. Pro tip: This camp is super helpful for parents who are looking to do just one drop-off for siblings of different ages.

TOP 5

Mad Science of Portland and Vancouver

Math Gamers

Oregon Zoo

PJA Summer Discovery Program

Saturday Academy


Sports Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Portland Parks & Recreation

WINNER: Portland Parks & Recreation 
Parents love the convenience, wide range of choices and affordability — particularly the “pay what you can” pricing model — of PP&R’s summer camps. Kids love it, too, including the songs, puppet shows, hiking, crafts and more. Camps are geared to kids ages 5 to 12.

TOP 5

Lil’ Kickers

North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District

Rose City Futsal

Soccer Shots

Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District


After-School Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Trackers Earth

WINNER: Trackers Earth Portland
Trackers Earth Portland makes sure that afternoons (and more importantly, after school for all us busy parents) are the best part of your child’s day. During the weekly, approximately two-hour sessions, the expert staff at Trackers teaches kids woodworking, ceramics — even blacksmithing!

TOP 5

Mad Science of Portland and Vancouver

Northwest Children’s Theater and School

Oregon Children’s Theatre

Portland Early Learning Project

Saturday Academy


Swim Instruction

Image courtesy Portland Parks & Recreation

WINNER: Portland Parks & Recreation
Swimming lessons are a quintessential youth experience. And PP&R is known for helping kids, from as early as babies blowing bubbles to tweens perfecting their backstroke, become confident in the water. Even better — it’s only $6.75 per class. Pro tip: Class spots are limited, but PP&R offers a wait list.

TOP 5

Children of the Sea Swim School

DolFUN SWIM Academy

Farber Swim School

Multnomah Athletic Club

SWIMBABES


Music Classes/Camps

Image courtesy Music Together of Portland

WINNER: Music Together of Portland
Music Together of Portland believes that all children are born with musical talent. Foster your child’s love of singing and dancing with their variety of weekly classes, grouped from babies to age 8. One of the best parts of Music Together’s classes are the options! Choose between totally indoor, completely outdoor, a hybrid of both, or join in from the comfort of your home with online classes.

TOP 5

Ethos Music Center

My Voice Music

Portland Music School

School of Rock

Youth Music Project


Spring & Winter Camps

Image courtesy Trackers Earth

WINNER: Trackers Earth Portland
Trackers Earth Portland is always a solid choice for parents looking for fun, safe and educational camp experiences for their kids. There’s the variety of classes — hiking to blacksmithing — the multiple locations and the number of times and days camps are held. It’s no wonder that Trackers Earth Portland is a repeat multi- winner for PDX Parent Picks!

TOP 5

BaxterSports

Mad Science

Northwest Children’s Theater and School

Portland Parks & Recreation

Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation

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