10 Free and Affordable Summer Camps for Boston Kids

affordable summer camps in Boston
Photo courtesy of Camp Harbor View

Summer camps can be pricey, but not all fun and enriching programs have to cost a pretty penny. We’ve rounded up several inexpensive summer camps in the Boston area that can provide your child with everything from performing arts experience to sailing lessons. Four weeks of summer camp for $5? Yes, please. 

1. Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston: Many of the local Boys and Girls Clubs offer summer camps for children ages 6-12 that include arts and crafts activities, science and technology projects, field trips, swimming, and sports. Each club has its own summer program application process and fees, which are kept affordable from year to year.

2. Camp Harborview: Put on in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, Camp Harborview takes place on Long Island in Boston Harbor for four weeks each summer. Campers must live in Boston and be between the ages of 11-14 by July 1. The camp, which focuses on fun activities like swimming and sports as well as developing leadership skills, costs $5.

Photo courtesy of Camp Shriver

3. Camp Shriver: This unique camp accepts campers ages 8-12 with and without disabilities, with the camp population split half and half, to participate in its summer sports programs at UMass Boston and Stonehill College. There is a $25 registration fee.


Photo courtesy of Community Boating

4. Community Boating Junior Program: Kids ages 10-18 can sign up for a full summer of boating classes and open sailing for as little as $1 at Community Boating, located on the Esplanade near the Longfellow Bridge. Not strictly a camp, participants can come and go and use the facilities as much as they like from June-August. Fees are based on a sliding scale that ranges from $1-$325.

5. Days in the ARTS: This summer residential program near Tanglewood provides Massachusetts fifth, sixth and seventh graders the opportunity to be immersed in theater, dance, visual arts, and music for one of eight week-long sessions during the summer. There is a fee associated with the program, but scholarships are available and no student is turned away based on an inability to pay.

6. MIT Summer HSSP: Everyone from rising seventh graders to students entering their first year of college is welcome to attend MIT's Summer HSSP program. It takes place in six-week sessions on the weekends and covers a range of subjects both academic and nonacademic. The program costs $40 and financial assistance is available.

7. Northeastern University Young Scholars Program: This six-week summer program is open to Boston-area students who have completed their sophomore or junior years and are interested in participating in a hands-on science and engineering experience. There is a $150 commitment fee.

Photo courtesy of Youth Enrichment Services

8. Youth Enrichment Services Outdoor Adventure: Serving kids ages 7-18, Youth Enrichment Services in Boston offers two one-week programs, Outdoor Adventure Sessions and Outdoor Adventure Intensives, that aim to introduce Boston kids and teens to the great outdoors. Campers can attend for $125 if they are income-eligible (regularly $200).

9. Youth Engaged in Action: Have an aspiring activist in your home? YEA is a free three-week course offered to 150 income-eligible 13-year-olds, designed to help them become young leaders by studying government, discussing positive action and challenges, and considering financial wellness. Interested applicants should apply as early as possible. 

Photo courtesy of Tenacity  

10. Tenacity Summer Tennis & Reading Program: To avoid the summer slide, Tenacity serves almost 5,000 Boston students with their Summer Tennis & Reading Program, found at 23 public parks around the city. Students aged 6–16 meet daily for free three-hour sessions split between fitness and summer reading. 


Originally posted on 2/1/16; updated by Fiona Haley on 3/3/18

Camp Shriver UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
02125 Boston , MA 42° 18' 52.6608" N, 71° 2' 25.674" W
Camp Shriver Stonehill College
320 Washington St.
02357 Easton , MA 42° 3' 40.734" N, 71° 4' 39.4824" W
Northeastern University Summer STEM Program and Young Scholars Program
110 Forsyth St.
02115 Boston , MA 42° 20' 17.826" N, 71° 5' 19.8744" W
American Repertory Theater and 826 Boston Summer Theater & Writing Camp
3035 Washington St.
02119 Roxbury , MA 42° 18' 59.904" N, 71° 5' 51.7128" W
Community Boating Junior Program
21 David G Mugar Way
02114 Boston , MA 42° 21' 35.478" N, 71° 4' 23.1384" W
Youth Enrichment Services Outdoor Adventure
412 Massachusetts Ave.
02118 Boston , MA 42° 20' 28.3992" N, 71° 4' 57.1656" W
84 Massachusetts Ave.
02139 Cambridge , MA 42° 21' 32.5476" N, 71° 5' 41.1936" W