If you were a kid who went to summer camp every year, or it was once in a lifetime experience, the memories – good or bad – are indelibly etched on your psyche. But while most remember ghost stories told around campfires and endless hours of leather craft and ceramics, rich kids go to specialty camps that cater to their tastes – or at least, the tastes of their parents. Prices range from just under $2000 to over $25,000, for anywhere from 1 to 10 weeks and the camps are located all over the world.
9 Fiji Shark Studies Camp/ $6,000 plus airfare for 24-days
Open to high school kids who have their scuba certification, campers get to with swim bull, lemon and tiger sharks at Fiji's Shark Reef Marine Reserve. The camp also includes formal training on shark behavior and biology, and a chance to contribute to shark research and conservation programs. When the sun goes down, the mood waxes legendary and locals share tales of Dakuwaqa, the ancient Shark God. The 24-day camp in paradise costs around $6000 plus airfare.
8 Pali Adventures/ $6,900 for 1 month
Just about any young person's fantasy can be nurtured at Pali Adventures, a 74-acre camp in the San Bernardino Mountains in Running Springs, California, about an hour and a half from Los Angeles by car. Kids aged 9 to 16 years old can choose from 16 theme camps that focus on Hollywood Stunts, Rock Star talent, Fashion, Culinary skills and Secret Agent tactics, as well as film-making, trapeze flying, water sports, dancing, acting and leadership. One week at Pali costs $1865, 2 weeks is $3600 and a whole month is bargain priced at $6900.
7 ActionQuest /$5,200 plus airfare for 5 weeks
If your kid would rather be in the water than on land, and your pockets are as deep as the dark blue sea, ActionQuest has a variety of ideal marine-focused swimming, sailing, whitewater rafting and snorkeling camps around the world, including British Virgin Islands, Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, Galapagos, Ecuador, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Sweden. A 5-week adventure runs around $5200 plus airfare. They also offer a 5-week transatlantic voyage on a 112-foot yacht, staffed by 24 high schoolers for close to $7000. Airfare and other expenses are extra for all excursions.
6 International Riding Camp/ $15,000 for 10-week package
A unique combination of equestrian, cultural education and rich girl fun, International Riding camp offers two options for teenage females. They can learn polo and cross-country jumping at the New York/Southampton camp, that also includes chauffeured, limo shopping in New York City as well as an extended stay-and-play date at a luxury condo in the Hamptons. The 10-week stateside package costs around $15,000. If you're on a budget, send your princess on a one-week trip to Moscow to be trained by Russian equestrian trainers, while staying at 4-star hotels and enjoying the ballet and museums. The price tag: $8500.
5 C'est Si Bon! Cooking School/ 12 days is $4,750
Dorette Snover, renowned culinary instructor, has operated the C'est Si Bon! Cooking School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina since 1997. Every summer she offers a culinary trip/camp where teenagers learn culinary skills and history. This year's 12-day trip was to Paris, France as well as to the enchanting ancient village of Poudenas, deep in Gascony along the Gélise River. Food inspired teens are encouraged to engulf themselves in the history and culture during their stay and must write an essay and get two professional referrals, one from a culinary professional, to compete for a camper spot. Program tuition for 12days is $4750.
4 Camp Laurel/ $6,500 plus expenses for 4 weeks
For active kids between 7 and 15 years old, Camp Laurel in Readfield, Maine is paradise. They have two baseball fields, two soccer fields, a lacrosse field, a hockey field, five basketball courts, a roller hockey arena, a beach volleyball court, a 3,000-square foot indoor gymnastics center, an 8,000-square foot indoor fieldhouse with an additional 10 basketball hoops, and 15 all-weather tennis courts as well as every kind of watersport imaginable at Echo Lake. For the extended stay, 50 day camp, it'll cost you $11,400 plus other expenses for laundry, etc. If you're pinching pennies this year, opt for Camp Laurel South where 4 weeks of camp is only $6,500 plus expenses.
3 Camp Takajo/ $11,000 for 50 days
Camp Takajo, also located in Maine, is an all-boys camp dedicated to instilling moral and ethical values into young men through sports, games and special events. The camp prides itself in focusing on integrity, self-respect, respect for others and an appreciation of nature. Making junior the boy you always dreamed he would be doesn't come cheap. For 50 days of summer camp, you have to fork over about $11,000…plus you have to take him and pick him up in Maine.
2 Stagedoor Manor/ $5,645 for a 3-weeks
If your 10 to 18 year old child is destined for a career in film or on stage, there couldn't be a better camp choice than Stagedoor Manor. Located near the picturesque Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, Stagedoor Manor has an impressive list of former campers including Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Robert Downey Jr. and Lea Michele. They can concentrate on anything from acting, dancing and singing to production, set decoration, lighting – anything to do with film and stage, including guidance from agents, managers and talent agents. The cost isn't as much as many others but it's also not in the Girl Scout camp price range either: $5,645 for a 3-week session.
1 Princess Prep/ $3,995 plus airfare for 7 days
For many little girls, the princess fantasy is strong and unyielding. Limited to 7 to 9 year old girls, Princess Prep stresses drawing upon the positive qualities and etiquette of princesshood and applying them to whatever path they choose in real life. The campers stay in the Kensington & Chelsea borough, one of the ritziest districts in the UK, and tour many royal hotspots like the State Apartments that house Princess Diana's dress collection, as well as ride horses in Hyde Park, tour the Tower of London, marvel at the glory of the Crown Jewels and Buckingham Palace, and see a production at the theater in London's West End. The cost is quite extravagant as well: $3995 plus airfare for 7days.