How to Find Last-Minute Summer Camps

Posted by Victoria Johnson on June 8, 2017

Click here to get a list of camps with openings!

Can you identify with one of the following?

  1. You’re not a planner. You’ve procrastinated on finding camps for your kids and now you feel like there’s nothing good left.
  2. You thought you had everything nailed down, but there was a last-minute cancellation or a change in your schedule.
  3. You felt so busy during the school year with soccer, gymnastics, and clubs that you couldn’t fathom putting your kids in more activities during the summer. Now that you’re faced with ten long weeks of togetherness, you’re having second thoughts.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone! I know this due to the consistent traffic and user registrations on Summer Camp Guru thru the end of May. Google search volume for “summer camp” and related terms for NC & SC is highest in May and June.


In fact, some camp providers are now scrambling to try to fill open spots. This doesn’t mean they are unworthy – it’s often just a fluke of registration volume. Smaller camps that had a waitlist last year may have openings this year.


A List of Day Camps with Openings as of June 7

Many of the camps listed on Summer Camp Guru still have space. Download the list.

You can run a general search on the site to find options that meet your age and location criteria, and then cross-reference the list if you want to be sure they still have openings.

Find Day Camps Now


Tips on Finding Day Camp Spots

You don’t want to waste time plowing through websites only to find that the sessions are sold out. Here are a few strategies.

Target larger camps with general day camp sessions. Providers often have more flexibility with these as they are able to open up new sections as needed. For a target list, use the Activity Type filter on Summer Camp Guru to find options in your area.

Search Google for keywords such as “[your city] sports camps.” Check out the ads that pop up. If an organization is still running an ad, they should still have openings.

Pay attention to Facebook ads. Smart camps will be specifically targeting you (a mom with kids of a certain age in a certain area), so if you see an organization with a sponsored post in your newsfeed, you can be sure they still have spots.

Search Many camp providers use this registration tool. It’s a quick way to find up-to-date options.

Try local pool clubs. They often host day camps or tennis camps that are not widely publicized.

Check the camp’s website before getting your hopes up. They should notate SOLD OUT if sessions are full, or only list sessions with openings. If it appears that they haven’t updated their web page since March, move on.


Get on the Waitlist

Unless you need absolute certainty, go ahead and put your name on the waitlist, and ask what number you are in the queue. There’s a good chance someone else’s plans will change.


Next Year

Visit Summer Camp Guru in March and get a jump start on your planning! Sign up and get on the email list for early-bird announcements:

Sign up for free


Topics: Day camp, Camp planning