Summer Camps in Yorktown - Memories in the Making

For just a moment, think back to summertime as a child. For me, memories of sitting by the pool, playing tag with the neighborhood kids, and going to camp come to mind. I remember the nervousness and excitement I felt that first day. Who would I meet? What challenges would I face? No matter what type of camp you went to, I’ll bet you left with new friends, knowledge of a new skill, and memories that last a lifetime.


If you’re a parent hoping to give your own children those same adventurous experiences, consider some fabulous camps right here in Yorktown. The Watermen’s Museum (voted best Small Museum by Chesapeake Bay Magazine and winner of Peninsula Silver for Best Summer Camp in the 2019 Coastal Virginia "Best of Readers Choice" awards) is offering eight fantastic week-long camps this summer, along with several afternoon camps. Activities are Virginia SOL-based and relate directly to school programs. But these camps aren’t just educational, they’re FUN! Check out the list of topics below, and see which one (or two!) would best fit your child’s interests.

Watermen's Museum (2)

2019 Pirate Camp - $170; July 15-19, July 22-26, July 29-August 2, August 5-9, August 12-16, August 19-23; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising K-10

All lads and lassies will participate in military drills, pirate crafts, and colonial games as they experience life as a colonial pirate. As new crew members, campers will be divided into four watches according to age and experience. Old salts will show them the ropes and teach them about jobs aboard a ship. Activities will change daily to build up skills needed to conduct a  pirate treasure hunt and defend themselves from a pirate raid on the last day of pirate training.

2019 Archaeology Camp - $180; July 8-12; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 3-8

Campers will investigate the mysteries that lie beneath the shores and waters of the York River while exploring the basics of land and underwater archaeology. Activities include learning about tools and procedures, creating a dig site, artifact identification, curation, and site preservation. Campers will even get to use an underwater drone! 

Archaeology Camp Watermen's Museum
Archaeology Camp Watermen's Museum
Archaeology Camp 1

2019 Boat-Building Camp - $180; August 12-16; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 3-8 

Consider this one boat construction 101. Campers will compare and contrast boat types, learn to loft (draw) boat plans, do some rowing, and use hand tools to help build a traditional Chesapeake Bay rowing skiff. 

Boat Building Camp Watermen's Museum
Boat Building Camp Watermen's Museum
Boat Building Camp 1

2019 Nature Explorer Camp - $180; July 29-August 2; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 3-8

Calling all nature lovers! Campers will study and analyze diverse habitats of woodlands, wetlands, dunes, and shallow waters on and near the Watermen’s Museum property. They’ll learn to become good stewards by helping to preserve our shared Chesapeake Bay resources.

2019 Marine Explorer Camp - $180; July 15-19; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 3-8 

Campers will explore the Chesapeake Bay’s animals and plants, measure water quality and erosion results, discuss sea level rise and land subsidence, investigate solutions such as living shorelines, study aquaculture and its positive impacts, and learn how to analyze samples. Students will develop and test their hypothesis and chart the gathered data.

2019 All-About-Boats Camp - $220; July 8-12; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 5-10

Throughout the week, campers will learn about Virginia Indians’ culture and use of the Chesapeake Bay, paddle a canoe or kayak, ride aboard a real Schooner sailing ship (weather permitting!), learn about iconic workboats of the 19th and 20th century, study types of modern boats used by professionals on the water, learn about boat safety, and much more!

Watermen's Generic 2

2019 Maritime Trades Camp - $190; August 5-9; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 5-10

Campers will learn all about boats and boatbuilding, experience the arts of black and copper smithing, try their hand at making rope, go aboard a sailing schooner to set and lower sails, learn how to row, and dive into a bit about boating safety.

2019 Survivor Yorktown Camp - $190; August 19-23; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Rising Grade 5-10

What was life like for the Kiskiak tribe? How did colonists survive? What hardships did people endure during the Battle of Yorktown? What was it like to be a soldier during the Civil War? How will we survive in the future? This camp focuses on using analysis, problem-solving, and team-building skills to investigate what it was like along the shores of the York River.

2019 Afternoon Camp - $75 per week/$25 per day; July 15-19, July 22-26; 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; K-10

Each day of this week-long afternoon camp will feature a different topic and craft or game activity. Campers may learn about blue crabs and their habitat, search for ancient and recent shellfish, discuss fish habitats, examine types of birds, and much more. 

Artifacts Uncovered During Archaeology Camp at Watermen's Museum

The Museum believes education should involve a lot of play, too! So expect lots of fun, crafts, and games. If the weather cooperates, campers will even spend time swimming or wading in the shallows of the York River to cool off at the end of each day. Registration is available until all slots are full. For registration forms, click here: http://bit.ly/31K7FaN

You can sign up for the entire week or for as many single days as you would like. Discounts are available for families with a child or children enrolled in more than a single program session of any type. Each signup earns a one-year Museum membership beginning on June 1, 2019!

Archaeology Camp

Another set of hands-on, thought-provoking camps your kids will love is hosted by the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Read about them below, and call 757.253.4838 for registration information.

2019 Yorktown Adventurers - $42 for 2-day session; July 18-19; 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Ages 4-6

Campers will jump into the history of the American Revolution by testing their skills at the drop spindle and riding into Yorktown with General Washington and his horse Nelson. Day one includes Spin Till You Drop and day two is Yankee Doodle Dandies. Both take place at the Museum’s farm and outdoor encampment.  

2019 Yorktown Discoverers - This camp is now FULL—be sure to sign up early next year! $42 for 2-day sessions; July 18-19; 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Grades 1-3

Children will step back into the 18th century for two dynamic days of history camp. They’ll discover how to make their own paper and cook up some fun in the farm kitchen! Day one is called Paper Maker and Day two is Cooking up History. Both take place outside at the Museum’s farm and outdoor encampment.  

Making pie crust american revolution museum at yorktown
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Continental Army encampment artillery

No matter what your family does this summer, we hope it’s memorable. For a full list of all events happening in York County, go to visityorktown.org.