Special Needs Camps in NC

UNC’s listing of Summer Camps for Campers with Special Needs

Notable NC camps:

Camp D.I.C.E. in Charlotte, NC

A fun filled summer with recreational activities, educational learning, therapeutic activities and more. Day Camp Summer Sessions will run from June 15 to August 7, 8am – 4pm. on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University 100 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216

HEELS Prep – Chapel Hill for young adults with intellectual disabilities

The HEELS Prep Program (formerly the Heels Summer Intensive) introduces young adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) to the skills and understandings needed to achieve their desired goals and enjoy a community integrated adult life. Participants will come away with an increased awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and benefits of adulthood. Program Details Dates: June 15th-19th, 2020 Time: 8:30am-4pm Application Timeline: Completed applications must be received by April 17, 2020 Notification of acceptance by May 6, 2020 10 participants will be admitted Location: Pick-up and drop off on-campus at UNC Chapel Hill. Location TBD. Who can benefit? The HEELS Prep program is for individuals who are… – Age 18 to 26 with a documented ID – Interested in living and working in the community with more independence – Motivated to learn and benefit from participation in the HEELS Prep program


Camp Needles in the Pines for Diabetic Children – Blounts Creek,  NC

Camp Needles in the Pines, located in Eastern North Carolina, is a one week residential camp for children with type 1 diabetes ages 8 to 14 years. Activities include swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, archery, crafts, rifle range, tenting, and improved self-help skills. Camp is located at Camp Boddie, Boy Scout Camp at Blounts Creek, NC. The camp will be held July 26-31, 2020 . Insulin, meters and strips are provided at camp. Parents will be asked to take the camper’s home meter with them when they leave. If you take any medications other than insulin you will need to bring it with you. If you wear an insulin pump you will need to bring your pump supplies including reservoirs, infusion sets, and/or Pods, and tape. The medical staff consists of volunteers from the hospital, medical school, and university.  Registration deadline is May 15, 2020.


Camp Victory Junction – Randleman, NC 

Victory Junction is part of SeriousFun Children’s Network (SFCN), an alliance of 9 camps nationally and 30 camps worldwide that serve children dealing with serious medical condition and chronic illnesses.


Camp Carefree – Stokesdale, NC

Camping weeks each summer for campers aged 6 to 16:

cancer – leukemia & other cancers, JRA spina bifida – spinal cord disorders & injuries neuro-epilepsy & neurological disorders hemophilia –blood disorders, von Willebrand’s & Turner syndrome siblings – well children with a chronically ill sibling kids – well children with a chronically ill parent


NC Therapeutic Riding Center – Mebane, NC

Inclusive Summer Day Camps are open to children ages 5-12, with or without disabilities. Campers participate in a variety of activities from 9 am – 2 pm each day, including horseback riding, arts and crafts, learning about farm animals, and painting ponies.


Camp Royall for People with Autism – Pittsboro, NC

Week-long residential and day camp sessions from age 4 up to older adults. Campers are assigned to weeks according to their age and level. Camp Royall provides typical camp activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, hayrides, and boating in a structured environment to meet the needs of their campers.


Camp Horizon in Boomer and Camp Holiday in Charlotte or Huntersville, NC

Camp Holiday is a summer day camp for campers with Down syndrome, ages 5-21.  Campers enjoy weekly yoga, drama and music/movement classes facilitated by trained professionals. Camp Horizon is a 4-day/3-night traditional overnight camp experience at YMCA Camp Harrison in Boomer, NC. Participating campers with Down syndrome, ages 10-17, enjoy traditional camp activities, including horseback riding, arts & crafts, boating, fishing, swimming and more.  August 19- 22, 2020.


American Diabetes Association Camp Carolina Trails in King, NC

The American Diabetes Association Camp Carolina Trails is an exciting week of summer fun for boys and girls entering grades 3 through 11. Camp includes many sports and activities such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, and arts and crafts. It will be held at YMCA Camp Hanes on 400 acres next to Hanging Rock State Park. Camp Carolina Trails is intended for children with diabetes to develop the critical skills needed to thrive while managing this disease. Attending this camp helps children develop social skills, self-respect and life-long friendships and provides education, nutrition, exercise, emotional well-being and glucose control. Camp Dates: August 9-15, 2020


Therapeutic Recreation Summer Day Camp – Mecklenburg County

for highschoolers with disabilities


Surfers Healing surf camp for children with autism Wrightsville Beach, NC

The mission of Surfers Healing is to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing.


Camp SOAR for kids with ADHD in Balsam, NC

SOAR is a private, non-profit outdoor adventure summer camp serving youth and young adults with learning disabilities and/or AD/HD.  SOAR serves both males and females, ages 8-25.  Most SOAR participants are high functioning, intelligent, and struggle with issues such as impulsivity, disorganization, oppositionality, inattention, challenges with social skills, etc.  Some participants may have additional diagnoses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourettes, high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, among others. See website for the large variety of camps offered.


Camp Trusted Parents in Charlotte

The day camp welcomes rising 2-12 grade students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) ages 7-21, and rising 2nd-8th-grade students without IDD, ages 7-14. The program offers a socialization opportunity that will minimize the invisible line that often separates individuals with special needs from their typical behavior peers. Camp Trusted Parents focuses on building friendships between children with and without special needs, through the use of therapeutic activities and traditional camp recreation, designed to promote fun and socialization.


ABC Tutoring Language Stimulation Camp Matthews, NC

Developmentally delayed children ages 2 to 9 years can maintain learning and language skills gained during the school year by enrolling in the program.


Talisman Summer Camps for kids with ADHD and/or autism – Zirconia, NC

Camps offer both outdoor adventure curriculum as well as traditional camp experiences (plays, s’mores, and campfire songs, to name a few). They provide leadership opportunities, social skill-building, and enhance personal accountability while fostering increased independence and self-esteem.


Life Rolls On adaptive surf clinic at Carolina Beach for people of all ages with disabilities

Hundreds of volunteers, people of all ages with disabilities, and entire families come together for an epic day in the ocean Sunday, August 16th, 2020.


Camp Friendly – Raleigh Area for all Special Needs

Ages 6 to 15 years old Camp Friendly is offered at two locations: Durant Nature Preserve – Located in Northeast Raleigh, Durant Nature Preserve provides our campers outdoor, open space and opportunities for natural resource-based recreation and environmental experiences. You will find more nature-based, adventure type activities at this location. Carolina Pines Community Center – Located on Lake Wheeler Road, Carolina Pines hosts many other camps throughout the summer in addition to Camp Friendly. Utilizing the center’s many sports courts and fields, activity rooms and playground, campers will experience a more traditional type of summer day camp experience.


Camp Exploration in Northeast Raleigh for Ages 16 to 21 years

Camp Exploration is offered at Marsh Creek Community Center, in Northeast Raleigh. Utilizing the center’s gym and fields, activity rooms and playground, campers will experience a traditional summer day camp experience.
  • Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a curriculum day of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Activities include games, nature, music and movement, arts and crafts and field trips.
Camp Exploration offers 2 different sessions according to functional abilities of the camper.
  • Day Session: The Day Session is for campers who can engage appropriately in a small group setting (approximately 6-8 campers with 2-3 staff). Campers are expected to follow basic rules of safety and interaction, be independent with toileting, feeding and personal care needs, and easily understand and follow directions.
  • Personal Assistant: Campers needing more support for behavior, feeding, mobility, participation or personal care & toileting must provide their own personal assistant and register for the Personal Assistant Session. The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department Personal Assistant Policy requires paperwork to be submitted, and signed, from both the service provider and the parent/guardian of the participant for approval. These forms must be submitted no less than 2 weeks prior to the Personal Assistant attending camp. Forms not submitted by the appropriate deadline will not be processed in time and the Personal Assistant may not be authorized to attend camp.