Kayla Quock

Allergy-Friendly Summer Camps for Kids

Allergy-Friendly Summer Camps

Summer is nearly here! While you set out to find the perfect cone of gluten-free ice cream or test out your best allergen-free recipes for a barbecue, your child likely has one thing on the brain: summer camp! The last thing kids should worry about when they’re at camp is whether their food is safe. There are so many allergy-friendly summer camps across the country specifically designed for children with a diverse range of food allergies and intolerances. We’ve done our research and come up with a starting list of gluten and/or peanut-free camps.

Please note: Nima does not certify, review, or accredit camps. We recommend you do thorough research and contact camp offices ahead of time to get information about specific food safety practices.

Camp Wingate*Kirkland

Location: Yarmouth Port, MA

Accommodations: Peanut-free, tree nut-free, and sesame-free. 

About: Inclusivity is the driving mission of Camp Wingate*Kirkland. Founded in 1957 in Cape Cod, this completely peanut-, tree nut- and sesame-free overnight camp for kids aged 7-15 offers a unique experience (kids choose their activities each day!) rooted in tried and true camp values. Camp Wingate*Kirkland’s Dining Hall is a space for bonding and connecting with fellow campers instead of concerns about food. Chef Tom, the camp’s resident chef, adjusts menus so that everyone can enjoy them and ensures no cross-contamination occurs in the preparation areas. The camp partners with families to make sure that all food consumed outside meal times is ingredient-checked before sent to the bunks. Bunk staff are additionally trained for their campers’ allergens and all staff are trained in epinephrine use.

Camp Blue Spruce

Location: Falls City, OR

Accommodations: Dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, wheat-free, soy-free, gluten-free, sesame-free, and more.

About: This “worry-free camp for kids with food allergies” is free of foods that cause 90% of allergic reactions, including wheat and peanuts. Boys and girls aged 9-17 spend five days and nights in August fueled with delicious allergen-free meals prepared by a certified nutritionist and skilled kitchen staff. Before campers arrive at Camp Takawingo, this year’s hosting facility for Camp Blue Spruce, a dedicated cleaning crew will sanitize the kitchen and ensure that everything is safe. Safely fed, kids do many fun indoor and outdoor activities, including swimming, hiking, Frisbee golf, arts and crafts, campfires, and much more!

YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer

Location: Fombell, PA

Accommodations: All food allergies and dietary restrictions. 

About: Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer does its best to make sure everyone is a happy camper when it comes to eating safely and well. Whether your child is gluten-free or allergic to peanuts, this co-ed overnight camp accommodates all dietary restrictions and food allergies by offering as many substitutes as possible during mealtimes. While most food is served family-style, gluten-free and vegetarian options are provided self-serve at the kitchen counter, reducing the risk of contaminating serving utensils. When they’re not feasting on healthy, made-from-scratch food (meals are all-you-can eat), campers have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities, which are all handicap accessible, including zip lining, rock climbing, swimming, and hiking.

Camp Westminster

Location: Roscommon, MI

Accommodations: Gluten-free, casein-free, and more.

About: Offering overnight sessions for kids aged 7-17 as well as a family camp, Camp Westminster is a nut-restricted camp all summer. If your child is a camper who needs to avoid any of the top 8 food allergens, you can register him or her for Free to Be Camp, a special week-long camp that designed for kids with particular food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances. For additional health support and reassurance about food safety, there’s a registered nurse on-call 24/7 and a trained Health Officer on camp at all times. Camp Westminster is a ministry of Westminster Church of Detroit, which means that faith-based activities and worship times are built into the day’s busy schedule along with swimming in Higgins Lake, playing games, and eating yummy meals.

Camp Emerson

Location: Hinsdale, MA

Accommodations: Peanut-free, tree nut-free, shellfish-free, sesame-free, and more.

About: If you’re curious what a food allergy specialist summer camp looks like, be sure to check out Camp Emerson. Completely free of peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and sesame, Camp Emerson proudly supports all food allergies and that because gluten-free options are always available, Celiac campers thrive. What’s neat about Camp Emerson is that it’s not only campers who understand concerns about food safety–30% of the staff has food allergies, including Celiac disease, and the camp director and owner, Sue Lein, is allergic to eggs. At Camp Emerson, your child will be part of a community that supports one another during meal times and beyond. Campers leave the summer feeling empowered in their eating, less anxious about their health, and bonded to peers and staff.

Camp Pontiac

Location: Copake, NY

Accommodations: Nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and more.

About: Set in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains just two hours from New York City, Camp Pontiac provides “unparalleled health, safety, and emotional care” in the overnight camp programs they offer. Maintaining the health and wellness of their campers is one of Camp Pontiac’s top priorities. Their culinary services are fully nut-free and managed by an experienced food and beverage company that adheres to strict guidelines in food preparation, handling, and service. Having an on-campus nutritionist as well as a gluten-free dietary specialist means that all campers have plenty of food options, giving them enough energy to take on each fun day!

The Great Gluten Escape at Gilmont

Location: Gilmer, TX

Accommodations: Gluten-free.

About: Are your gluten-free kids or teens looking for a camp where they can be themselves without feeling isolated during meals? Gilmont Camp and Conference Center was recently certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group as a Gluten Free Food Service Facility, which means that it regularly maintains standards for keeping food preparation and handling safe. During the Great Gluten Escape, a completely gluten-free week-long camp experience, all campers and staff spend a week eating delicious, certified gluten-free food while focusing on community and peer support. Additional counselors and junior counselors who are gluten-free are brought on board during this week to provide peer support. Although Gilmont is a Christian camp, the Great Gluten Escape is not centered around a Biblical theme.

Camp Eagle Hill

Location: Elizaville, NY

Accommodations: Gluten-free.

About: Unlike other gluten-free camps, Camp Eagle Hill has a separate, dedicated gluten-free kitchen space designed for campers and staff who are gluten-free. This significantly reduces the risk of cross-contamination among food items and ensures products are being ordered, stored, and prepared with health and safety in mind. A large salad bar, available during each lunch and dinner, provides many options to campers with dietary concerns while the small ratio between campers and counselors means that campers receive individualized care and support throughout their time at Camp Eagle Hill.

Camp Celiac

Location: North Scituate, RI

Accommodations: Gluten-free.

About: Camp Celiac is a one-week camp offering a safe, gluten-free environment for approximately 145 kids and youth aged 8-16. The camp staffs two full-time nurses who handle all non-emergency medical needs and are appropriately trained to manage food allergy reactions. With a rich history of over two decades, Camp Celiac attracts campers from all over the world, which means the kitchen staff is always working hard to creatively accommodate all gluten-free eaters. To learn more about the lead chef at Camp Celiac, Laura Hahn Carroll, check out this blog post we wrote about her!

Tip: Thinking about sending your child a care package? Include extra Nima capsules along with camp-approved gluten and/or peanut-free treats! This will ease your child’s transition from home to camp while reminding them of your support, even from afar.

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Has your child had positive experiences at a food allergy-friendly camp? We’d love to hear about it!

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