Summer Camps for Food Allergic, Gluten-Free and Vegan Kids

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Updated for 2019! Sending a child to camp for the first time can be a scary proposition for any parent, let alone the parent of a little one (or teen!) with special needs. Fortunately, there are now enough food allergy camps, gluten-free camps, and even vegan camps to warrant this pretty lengthy list. If there are any we’ve missed, kindly leave a comment below!

Big List of Gluten-Free, Vegan and Food Allergy Camps for Kids

Summer Camps for Food Allergic, Gluten-Free and Vegan Kids

Summer Camps for Vegans and Kids with Food Allergies, Intolerances, or Celiac DiseaseChildren with food allergies, intolerances, or diet-related conditions like Celiac disease require special care in the camp kitchens, dining halls, and anywhere food is involved. Several of the camps listed below have emerged with programs specifically designed to create a safe environment for free-from tots.

In addition to Celiac aware and food allergy camps, there are now many camps that also offer, or focus on, vegan food. As a consequence, they suit dairy-free, egg-free, meat-free, and often even kosher needs. These camps tend to emphasize wholesome kid-friendly cuisine, social responsibility, and many even grow some of their food on site.

Always check with the camp to ensure that they can accommodate your child or teen. This list is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon for safety needs. It is up to you to verify the current camp facilities, food policies, and all other essentials.

Camp Blue Spruce

Camp Blue Spruce is a “worry-free camp for kids with food allergies”, according to their website and information provided. It’s a 5-day, sleep away camp for kids ages 10-14 that promises all of the traditional camping activities, such as hiking, campfires, swimming, field games, and arts & crafts. But unlike “ordinary” camps, Blue Spruce only cooks up meals and snacks that are free of the top allergenic foods. And they even go beyond the top eight allergens, avoiding dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, gluten, soy, and sesame.

Their cooks prepare most of the food from scratch, using fresh ingredients. All of the manufactured products at Camp Blue Spruce are carefully vetted and will mostly come from allergen-aware companies. Plus, a professional team of medical staff is on hand for 24 hours a day throughout the camp session. All this, and the kids get to enjoy a beautiful Oregon camp setting, too!

Camp Celiac – California

Camp Celiac serves up three gluten-free meals a day while offering traditional camp activities. Their activities include things like a ropes course, rock climbing, ziplining, boating, swimming, archery, arts and crafts, skit night, and outdoor sports. As for other dietary needs:

There are dairy-free and nut-free alternatives at every meal and ingredient lists are posted for all menu items; campers sensitive to other foods need to review the lists for their additional dietary restrictions. Nuts and nut flours are used at Camp; we do not operate a nut-free facility.

Camp Celiac – Rhode Island

As the name implies, this is a sleep away camp catering specifically to kids with Celiac disease. Therefore their entire menu is gluten-free, and they can accommodate lactose-free needs. However, the camp no longer caters to other food allergies (including milk allergies) or sensitivities. It seems that was a bit too overwhelming for them. But if gluten- and lactose-free are your child’s needs, then they can handle it.

Camp Common Ground

This unique camp is for kids of ALL ages! Yes, it is a family camp that welcomes wee little ones, teens, and adults. Expect a plethora of camp-style events in addition to some unique and relaxing activities, and of course, good food. The camp focuses on local and organic food, and the menus are vegetarian. They have an abundance of vegan offerings (dairy-free and egg-free), and also have gluten-free options for every meal. Their kitchens are “nut aware”, meaning they do not serve any peanuts or tree nuts, but contact them to discuss potential cross-contamination issues.

Camp Emerson

Wow, I wish camp looked like this when I was a kid (see photos at the top of this post). For the full blown summer experience, Camp Emerson looks like the place.

Though it is a somewhat “traditional” sleep away camp (if by traditional you mean tennis, waterskiing, and martial arts classes are par for the course), Camp Emerson is described as “The Food Allergy Specialist”. They support dairy, nut, wheat, soy, egg and fish allergies, and gluten free foods are always available. They even have a full time Registered Dietitian who works with each food allergy family to prepare their child’s own menu for camp. You can see their very detailed Food Allergy Brochure for more details.

Camp Exploration

Otherwise known as “Vegan Camp,” these day and overnight camps offer experiences for kids is 100% dairy-free, egg-free, and “animal cruelty-free.” Non-vegan kids are of course welcome to attend, and the camp draws happy campers from all over the world. I found the following information on their food:

The meals at Camp Exploration are often planned around a theme: garlic bread and spaghetti on Italian night, tacos piled high with vegan cheese and guacamole at the taco buffet, and even a roll-your-own-sushi dinner. Kids also enjoy campfire classics as well, including vegan franks and beans, chili, and s’mores made with amaranth crackers, organic chocolate, and vegan marshmallows.

Camp IHC (Indian Head)

Shared by Dee Dee below:

Their entire camp was just certified tree nut and peanut free by Kitchens with Confidence, and they also have a “Gluten Free” certification for part of their kitchen space, also by Kitchens with Confidence. Their kitchen staff also received Allergen and Gluten Training by AllerTrain, an ANSI accredited Allergen and Gluten Awareness program.

And they state on their website:

Indian Head employs two special chefs who handle any and every dietary restriction (celiac disease), allergy (gluten), or food sensitivity (dairy). Just let us know what your child’s restrictions are and we’ll find a way to make sure they’re always full, and always happy. Additionally, Indian Head Camp has been a nut free facility for the better part of two decades!

It concerns me that they list dairy as a food sensitivity, so be sure to double check on their level of knowledge if your child has a milk allergy!

Camp Interlaken

This is a Jewish sleepaway camp, and according to an article I read on camps for food allergies, they are nut-free. This isn’t stated directly on their website, so I would contact them directly to clarify. They are probably able to accomodate other food allergy issues, particularly milk, since some camp attendees may keep strictly kosher. Again, contact them directly to find out.

Camps Kenwood & Evergreen

This is a peanut-free and tree nut-free overnight camp that is “Proudly Welcoming Gluten Free & Dairy Free Eaters.” In fact, for almost a decade they’ve happily provided safe and tasty meals for kids with various food allergies. Camp Kenwood is for boys, and Camp Evergreen is for girls, but both are located in the same area. Ansd here are some specifics they provide on their food allergy protocols:

Through our forward-thinking food distributor we are able to purchase brands like Boar’s Head, Kinnikinnik, Andrea’s, Udi’s, Divvy’s, Annie’s and more! We have dedicated appliances and surfaces in our kitchen to prevent issues like cross contamination, and a refrigerator in the center of our dining hall so that campers can keep their personal condiments safe and accessible. Whenever possible our special meals look and taste just like what everyone else is eating. Our posted menus clearly mark what may contain gluten, egg or dairy so that campers have the opportunity to eat what is being served to each table. And when a bunk has a party on a special occasion the Amy’s pizza arrives at the same time as the other slices!

Camp Manitou-Lin

Margaret of MI Gluten Free Gal let us know about this YMCA camp. According to Margaret, it’s a peanut-free camp, and they accommodate dairy, soy, and egg allergies and anything else you can think of. They’ve even catered to olive oil, cranberry and celery allergies. They also have dedicated gluten-free prep space, utensils and pans. Gluten-free campers eat in a separate room where gluten is not allowed during the week. I’m not sure if food allergies are handled in the same manner, but you can read more on Margaret’s post: Camp Manitou-Lin Makes Celiac Campers Rejoice.

Camp Sabra

This is a kosher camp that offers activities like sailing, water-skiing, wake boarding, ropes courses and videography alongside education on Jewish traditions. And in terms of food, they are quite accommodating:

We serve our campers three well-balanced meals (and snacks!) each day with plenty of options to accommodate all of our campers’ tastes and dietary needs. All food is prepared on site. Even our bread is baked in our kitchen daily.

Camp Sabra is Kosher under the guidance of Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis, and peanut, tree nut and sesame seed free. For other allergies, please contact the Camp Sabra staff. If your child has special dietary needs, our Camp Director will gladly work with you to ensure that they are met. If possible, we will accommodate any allergy request we can.

Camp Sloane YMCA

Viewer Mary emailed this recommendation:

This post for food allergy camps prompted me to finally bite the bullet and contact the summer camp director at the YMCA camp where my older two non allergic children are going this summer. It is a sleep away camp (with day camp as well) in the Berkshires in Lakeville, CT and also happens to be the place where I met my husband. It is an incredibly special, positive place and I have been so afraid to find out whether my youngest could ever go.

I heard back from the camp director tonight with a wonderful response letting me know that the camp has been entirely nut free since 2009 (!!!!!). And they do not allow any products with nuts or risk of cross contamination into camp!!! I’m so happy that my kiddo will have this option but also wanted to share in case anyone is looking for a nut safe camp that happens to be about the most special place on earth.

The handbook at Camp Sloane also states:

We can accommodate most food allergies, and encourage parents to contact camp if their camper has special dietary needs.

Camp Sweeney

The Children’s Medical Center for Food Allergy previously hosted a camp at Camp Sweeney. They no longer have a food allergy specific camp, but the folks at Camp Sweeney said their  diabetes camps can accommodate campers who have food allergies in addition to diabetes.

Camp TAG

Camp TAG is back! These 5-day food allergy camps for kids ages 4-13 are now run by FAACT, but their mission holds true. They were created as a safe place specifically for children with food allergies, eosinophilic disorders, asthma, and non-allergic siblings. Teens, ages 14+, can serve as volunteer counselors and receive about 35-40 community service hours for the week.They describe it as a “bonding and empowering” 5-day camp for kids and their parents with “95% fun and 5% educational” activities. For safety, each camp has full-time nurses on staff, and the curriculum was designed and reviewed by FAACT’s Medical Advisory Board. For 2017, Camp TAG has 4 locations across the U.S, but they may add more.

Camp Wildwood

Back in 2008, we reported that this Kansas City area summer camp was trialing a week-long camp catering to special diets. For that week, their site was dedicated dairy-free, gluten-free, and peanut-free. To the best of our knowledge, they no longer have a camp specific to special diets, but it sounds like they learned from that experience.

We do not allow campers to have food, snacks or candy in the cabins to protect the health of all participants.  If you have any food that your camper will need, you may bring it to check-in and it will be kept in the kitchen.  Picky eaters always find something to eat. We accommodate dietary needs, and we’re vigilant about food allergies.

Camp Wingate*Kirkland

This is a is a co-ed, overnight camp with long sessions that range from 2 to 7 weeks for kids ages 7-15. And they actually contacted us to share their allergy-friendly policies:

We are a peanut, tree nut and sesame-free camp located on Cape Cod, MA. We easily accommodate other food allergies as well including, dairy, egg, soy and wheat.

Camp Woodbrooke

This is a Quaker-based camp for youth of all ages that includes an emphasis on community service, cooperative decisions, and fun. This family run camp is mostly vegetarian (meat options are available on request, with several dairy-free and vegan choices. Many of the meals use produce from the camp garden and are made from scratch. They also reportedly cater to special diet requests, including food allergies.

Challenge Camp

My friend Cheryl sent us this recommendation:

I had an amazing experience with a chef who totally ‘got it’ for my son, at Challenge Camp in Westchester County. If you want to be filled with hope that chefs like that exist, I recently shared it on freedible. The camp supported the chef (who has worked at the camp for years) in her amazing approach. And when I say supported, I mean that she was authorized to order top-8 free blueberry pops for the WHOLE camp because it was the only option that worked for both my son AND several campers with celiac disease. Frankly, that’s impressive!

According to the camp’s website:

If your child has a food allergy(s) or concerns please let us know and Chef Carrie will ensure that a meal consistent with your child’s dietary restrictions is available. Challenge Camp is a Nut Free camp, and can accommodate most dietary requirements. Our caterer will work directly with concerned parents to ensure we can meet your camper’s needs.

GIG Kid’s Camp (Camp Sealth)

Once a year, the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) descends on a camp or two for their Generation GF camp. They professionally support children with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. This year, Camp Sealth on Vashon Island has one full sessions supported by GIG for gluten intolerant kids. For this camp, GIG dietitians work with volunteers to prepare meals in a separate kitchen to assure kids get nutritious gluten-free meals and snacks. We have been told that the GIG kitchen staff can accommodate most other food sensitivities with the gluten-free diet. Since the GF/CF diet is fairly common among gluten-free kids, they can most likely accommodate dairy-free campers. But check with their staff to confirm.

Lake Of The Woods & Greenwoods Camps

Lake of the Woods is for girls, Greenwoods if for boys, and both are nut-free, peanut-free camps with food allergy-friendly policies. They do not serve any food in their dining hall that may contain peanuts or tree nuts. They also have a gluten-free bar at every meal, and non-dairy milk options, including soy and rice milk. There is a designated chef who prepares allergen-free meals for campers with soy, dairy, egg, gluten or multiple food allergies. And they have multiple nurses present on the campgrounds.

NJY Camps

This information was sent to us directly from the camp:

Located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, NJY Camps are able to work with almost every food allergy and food allergy combination. With a dedicated GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) certified kosher kitchen, NJY Camps offers children the opportunity to go to camp with their non-allergic friends. Meals are matched to the main kitchen menu and campers eat at their bunk tables with their friends. The kitchen is supervised by a celiac mom and every staff member, whether food service staff, bunk staff or head staff, is trained in working with campers with food intolerances.

There is a full medical staff including eight nurses and three doctors on staff full time to ensure the health and safety of all of our campers and staff. NJY has several camps that offer a variety of options for attendance from one week to full summer. There are also family weekends in which the whole family can come and enjoy playing outside!!

Point O’ Pines Camp

Point O’ Pines is another nut-free camp, but it’s just for girls. They also work with parents of children with other food allergies before and during camp, and provide direction to their kitchen to provide fresh and nutritious food for all campers. They reportedly have a chef dedicated to campers with dietary restrictions, and use color-coded utensils and cutting boards while cooking to avoid cross-contamination. Once prepared, the food is covered, labeled and stored in a separate location. We’ve also read that they have a doctor and four nurses are staff during their camps.

The Center for Courageous Kids

The Center for Courageous Kids® is designed specifically for children living with medical challenges who cannot attend a traditional camp. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, they are dedicated to uplifting children living with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Their 168-acre campus includes a Medical Center and helipad, Equestrian Center, Bowling Alley, Indoor Swimming Complex, Gymnasium with Climbing Wall, Lodges, Dining Hall and Theater, and more.

They used to offer a weekend sleep away retreat for severe food allergies and a camp for Celiac disease, but we didn’t note these on their schedule for this year. However, they have special weekends for kids and their families (parents attend too!) with autism, diabetes, asthma, and various other conditions. Plus, their application form for all camps includes providing information about food allergies.

The YWCA / AAIA Outdoor Education Center

In partnership with Alberta Allergy Information Association, the YWCA center used to host one sleepaway camp a year for children with severe food allergies. Unfortunately, that specific camp was discontinued, but for all of their camps they still reportedly run a nut aware facility. Their kitchen does not use any products that have nuts and “we avoid food suppliers who list that their products may contain any nuts.” As a result, they have many children who are anaphylactic to nuts attend their summer camp and have a great experience. They also accommodate the health and safety of other food allergies and special diets when given notice.

YEA Camp

  • Website: www.yeacamp.org
  • Locations: Molalla, OR; Ben Lomand, CA; High Falls, NY

Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp is for kids and teens ages 12-17. From their website:

YEA Camp focuses on helping campers develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to take inspired action on the issues that matter most to them. Our program inspires and develops youth leadership. In addition to the educational and cultural enrichment this process provides, campers will work with a supportive community of their peers, and will be mentored by nurturing and experienced counselors, with whom long-term friendships can be developed.

YEA camp has an all-vegan food policy, even though  most of the attendees are not vegan. Fortunately, that does mean that dairy-free and egg-free campers can usually enjoy the cuisine. Sample food includes French toast, pancakes, and vegan sausage for breakfast, and veggie-loaded stir fries and pizza parties for dinners.

Big List of Gluten-Free, Vegan and Food Allergy Camps for Kids

Picking Other Celiac or Food Allergy Camps Near You

If the locations above aren’t accessible to your family this year, consider your options locally. Many summer camps, whether day or overnight, can accommodate food allergies, intolerances, and special diets. For helpful tips on how to safeguard your child while allowing them to enjoy the interactions of summer camp see the following articles: Preparing to Send Your Allergic Child to Camp and The Allergy-Friendly Camp Packing List.

Big List of Gluten-Free, Vegan and Food Allergy Camps for Kids

Food Allergy Camps We Hope Come Back

Camp Ye bik’ehgo (Tempe, AZ) – In 2016, they were enjoying their 5th annual camp, but we’ve yet to see an update or website for the current year. Ye bik’ehgo (pronounced yeh-bee-kheeh-goo) is the Native American Apache word for RESPONSIBLE. This is a 3-day half-day summer day camp for kids with food allergies, and their friends & siblings. They mix typical day camp activities with lessons emphasizing things like self confidence and how to deal with bullies. The camp has on-site medical professional to handle medication and food allergy action plans, no more than 1:6 adult:child ratio, adult and child training regarding signs of allergic reaction and anaphylaxis, and more.

AFAA Camp (Mound, MN) – Unfortunately, in 2016, the AFAA Camp was cancelled, and we aren’t sure if it will be returning. This camp provides a traditional camp experience, both overnight and day options, for children, who because of their food allergies might otherwise be unable to safely participate in a mainstream camp program. AFAA Camp provides a safe camp experience for children with food allergies; food allergy & anaphylaxis education for children, their siblings and their parents; and leadership training for food allergic teenagers and young adults. The camp is unique in that it promotes improved self-care, self-image and independence for children with food allergies. It also normalizes food allergies among a group of peers.

Big List of Gluten-Free, Vegan and Food Allergy Camps for Kids

Have another Allergy-Friendly Camp to Share? Leave a Comment!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

40 Comments

  1. Pingback: Safely Enjoying Camp with Celiac and Food Allergies - Food ASC

  2. Phill Troyan on

    I inquired about an overnight camp named Muskoka Woods,in Rosseau Ontario. As part of registratipn on line I expressed the importance of my daughters food allergies.less than 10 minutes after sending the email the head chef of the camp phoned me and discussed menus,precautions taken, restrictions and about trained staff.His response was so thorough and so quick I immediately felt safe for my daughter.I will send her to this camp in the future.

  3. My kids have been going to NJY Camps for 6 years. My son has Celiac Disease and my daughter is dairy free and gluten sensitive. There are no food worries here! They love camp and can’t wait to go back in July.

  4. Denesa Reece on

    Wish i could email this to the HR Department at my job, Pine Cove Camps Inc…com We cater to the whole family, even those with food allergies..

    • Just click on the “Share” button Denesa, right at top there is an “Email this” option. I couldn’t find any information on the Pine Coves website about handling food allergies. If you have some information to share that is more specific, please do let me know!

  5. My kids have been to Camp Blue Spruce and they loved it! First time my youngest ever got to eat from the cafeteria, just like everyone else. And they’re great with allergens outside the top 9. Btw, the age range for campers is 9-17 and the teens get to do more adventurous stuff like white water rafting and ropes courses.

  6. Gate Hill Day Camp in Stony Point, NY accommodates diverse food sensibilities as well. My son is vegan & we’ve been going there for 6 years.

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  8. Pingback: Gluten Free Summer Camp for Kids - Gluten free recipes - gfJules - with the REAL Jules

  9. Camp Cultivate at UT Gardens on the University of Tennessee ‘ s Knoxville campus has food allergy friendly day camp sessions for children. This is a great summer program sponsored by local allergy practices and the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET).

  10. Camp Wingate-Kirkland does an unbelievable job with special diets and food allergies. They managed my son’s multiple FA with ease and care. The Rubenstein’s really put their heart and soul into making camp home to every camper

  11. My son has attended the Children’s Medical Center Food Allergy Camp in Gainesville, TX twice. He had such a great experience! Dr. Bird and staff really take their time and bond with the kids in addition to taking great care of them!

  12. Pingback: Gluten Free Summer Camps | Gluten Free

  13. Pingback: Summer Camps for Food Allergies | Food Allergies

  14. Love this! I went to YEA camp two years ago and it was so incredible! Im glad to see so many summer camps are beginning to help make sure everyone is included 🙂

  15. Pingback: Summer Camp Series: Food Allergies | It's an Itchy Little World

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