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Overnight camp activities, day camp style! Island Ford camps are brought to you in partnership with the National Park Service.

Island Ford Park is the headquarters of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. It is located 3.3 miles away from the Dunwoody Nature Center at 8850 Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs. We have partnered with Island Ford for over 10 years in offering camps to children ages 9-13. At Island Ford, campers have the opportunity to explore the Chattahoochee River, canoe on the pond, hike the trails, and participate in activities and games that are best suited for our older campers. We frequently hear from campers that their experience at Island Ford is their favorite camp of the summer!



Dunwoody Nature Center’s outdoor summer camps at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – Island Ford are week-long, nature-themed day camp experiences for children ages 9-13. Combining traditional day camp fun and sleepaway camp activities, we offer the best of both worlds to kids of all backgrounds. We frequently hear from campers that their experience at Island Ford is their favorite camp of the summer!

A rotating set of themed camps keeps kids engaged in age-appropriate activities that inspire a love of nature through exciting adventures in the great outdoors. Campers are engaged in advanced activities like canoeing, hiking, and science-based nature surveilling at the Island Ford campus of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Our small class sizes and emphasis on learning through play make our camps some of the most popular in the Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Alpharetta, and Roswell areas; we welcome campers from all around the Atlanta metro area.


The Island Ford unit is the headquarters of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. It is located 3.3 miles away from the Dunwoody Nature Center, at 8800 Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs. We have partnered with CRNRA for over 12 years in offering Dunwoody Nature Center camps. This partnership allows us to give kids ages 9-13 an immersive nature experience on the banks of the Chattahoochee River.


We offer a 10% off discount on all our Summer Camp offerings for Dunwoody Nature Center members. There’s a reason most camp families have a membership – in many situations, being a member pays for itself within a few weeks of camp! We highly encourage you to evaluate our membership options and see what works best for you and your family.

Member discount code: member24

Memberships will be verified after registration.


If you have any questions that are not covered in the camp descriptions, Fast Facts, FAQs, or our Policies & Procedures, please email or call us during normal business hours.

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Island Ford Summer Camp 2024 Fast Facts

$ 389

  • Members receive 10% off!
  • For Ages 9-13
  • From: 9:00AM – 4:00PM
  • Drop off/Pick up: Hewlitt Lodge Visitor Center, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – Island Ford,  8800 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Island Ford full-day program for children aged 9-13 operates under Bright From the Start exemption category #7 which states: Day camp programs for children five (5) years and older that are operated between school terms, whose primary purposes is to provide organized recreational, religious, or instructional activities. The day camp programs may operate during summer and other school breaks and shall operate for no more than twelve (12) hours per day.


JUNE 3 – 7 | Junior Ranger

Campers will get a taste of what Park Rangers do as they become Junior Rangers! Using their Junior Ranger booklet, campers will learn to safely navigate in the wilderness and explore the watersheds of the area in a canoe while discussing essential conservation methods. They’ll learn about native plants and animals that inhabit the National Park and the importance of the Chattahoochee River to the local Native Americans. At the end of the week, the campers will receive Junior Camper badges in a presentation led by the rangers of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area.

JUNE 10 – 14 | Explore the Hooch

Campers will have a wonderful time learning about the habitat around the Chattahoochee River while hiking, canoeing, and rafting in different sections of the river. Depending on weather and river conditions, we plan either a float trip, canoe trip, or visit another park along the Chattahoochee during three of the five days of camp, with Island Ford as our base camp. An itinerary of our explorations will be provided a week before the camp begins.

This camp is for children ages 10 – 13 only.

JUNE 17 – 21 | Water World

Island Ford Park is located right along the Chattahoochee River and is the headquarters for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. With this wonderful resource at their fingertips, campers will spend the week enjoying and learning about the value of the ‘hooch. Did you know Atlantans get their drinking water from the Chattahoochee? Or that beavers, herons, and otters call the river home? Get your toed wet and enjoy a week of all things WATER! This week will include field trip excursions to other parks on 3 of the 5 days of camp depending on the weather.

JUNE 24 – 28 | Scales and Slime

This week is all reptiles and amphibians at Island Ford! The Chattahoochee River is home to many animals, and lots of reptiles and amphibians make their home near the river. Georgia had about 170 species for frogs, salamanders, crocodilians, lizards, snakes, and turtles. We will learn about out local native species and hopefully encounter some as well while we hike the trails, paddle in the pond, explore the creeks, and play on the river this week.

JULY 8 – 12 | Legends and Myths

The Chattahoochee River and surrounding areas (that extends the length of the state) was historically home to Native American Cherokee and Creek tribes. This week of camp will focus on Native American myths and legends that have been passed down over the ages. Campers will learn different ways Native Americans made shelters, and will get to try to make some of their own! Campers will explore the many rock outcroppings present in the park, learning about the history of the area while practicing primitive survival skills such as foraging & fire making!

JULY 15 – 19 | Trekkers and Trailblazers

This week is dedicated to that adventurer in all of us! Campers will spend the week hiking. exploring, and blazing at their own pace. They’ll learn new ways to adventure as they navigate the trails safely, set up a proper camp site, and become experts in Leave No Trace principles. At the end of the week, campers will put their newly-learned skills to the test in an all-out, end of camp treasure hunt!

JULY 22 – 26 | Birds of a Feather

Your camper will have a flappin’ great time learning all about birds! There are many wonderful birds that call Island Ford Park their home, including owls, crows, hawks, songbirds, and waterfowl galore! Campers will explore Island Ford Park on their feet and in canoes as they keep a keen eye out for feathered friends. They’ll learn the best birding techniques, bird songs, bird biology, and conservation efforts through fun games & activities!


Can I add a membership on February 1 when I register?

You must add a membership on our website, it will NOT be available on the camp registration system.

How do you know if I am a member or not when I register? Do I need to put in a member number?

We will check memberships as we process registrations. There is no member number. If you are not a member and attempt to register during the members-only time frame, your registration will be canceled.

What if I need to cancel camp?

Our cancellation policy is after your registration is processed, we offer an 80% refund if the start of camp is two weeks or more away from your cancel date; if it is within two weeks of the camp start date, there is no refund.

Can I transfer to another camp instead of cancelling?

You may transfer to another camp week with no penalty if we have space available in the week you would like.

I forgot my password to my Sawyer account, can you help me?

Your email address is your user name and then you will need to reset your password on the Sawyer login.

When will I find out more information about what my child needs to bring to camp?

You will receive an email from the camp director one week prior to your camp starting. You may also find the information below, in the general camp FAQs.

Is there before and after care at Island Ford?

No, we do not offer before and after care at Island Ford. The day runs from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

I have a child at Dunwoody Nature Center and a child at Island Ford this summer. How do I handle the drop off and pick up?

You will need to drop the child off at Island Ford first and then bring the DNC child afterwards. When you pick up, you will need to get the DNC child first and then pick up the Island Ford child.

How does the waitlist work?

When a spot becomes available, we will notify all persons on that waitlist by email that there is a spot available. The first one to log into their account and register for the spot will get it. You will not be automatically moved into the camp class.


What will my child be doing during the day?

Our campers spend the camp day participating in specific camp-themed nature activities, both inside and outside. They’ll play games, make crafts, do experiments, hike on the trails, and play on the playground.

Each camp has one Creek Day, where there are several water-themed activities planned and campers are allowed to play and explore in the creek. For the creek-themed camps, there are two planned Creek Days. There will be an email sent with specific instructions for what to bring for Creek Day.

When do the campers get to go in the Chattahoochee River?

Our time in the river is very dependent on weather conditions and water quality.  The Park Service makes the final call on our permission to access the river. Park Rangers will  test the water, watch the weather, and let us know if we can swim and float on the river. Our schedule might need to change due to weather and water conditions. We will make other plans in the park if we are unable to swim and float on any given day.

Any time we are in the river, life jackets will be required; these will be provided by the park service.

What does my child need to bring to camp?

Campers should dress for the weather, wearing comfortable summertime clothes and closed-toe shoes. Campers will need to bring a snack, a lunch, and a refillable water bottle every day. Please apply sunscreen and bug spray prior to drop off. Please send sunscreen and bug spray if you’d like your child to reapply during the day. There will be an email sent with specific instructions for what to bring for Creek Day.

Who are the camp teachers, and what is the teacher-to-student ratio at camp?

Our summer camp teachers are either trained naturalists or formal school teachers. All of our summer camp teachers are First Aid and CPR-certified. We have one teacher to ten campers for our half day camps. We have one teacher to thirteen campers for our full day camps. All of our camps also have Junior Counselors (teenage assistants).

My child is on the autism spectrum, has ADHD or other behavioral challenges. Can he or she attend camp at the Dunwoody Nature Center?

We find that if your child is in a regular classroom at school without an aide, then they usually do great at our camps. Our teachers are wonderful, but most are not trained in special education. If your child requires a special education classroom or teacher, then camps at the Dunwoody Nature Center might not be a good fit.

Do you have extended care options?

No, there are no extended care options for Island Ford camps.

What happens if my child is sick/injured at camp?

Please monitor your child’s health from home. Please do not send your child to camp if any persons in the home are sick.

If your child is sick at camp, we will separate them from the group and give you a call or the emergency contact you provide. You will need to come and pick up the child as soon as possible. No refunds will be given due to illness.

How do I get a receipt or statement for my childcare spending account?

All receipts will be available on your Sawyer account page.


Registration & Payment Policies

Registration is online only; we accept Debit and Credit (MasterCard, Visa, and Discover). Membership will be verified at the time your registration is processed.

Refund & Transfer Policies

If you cancel more than two weeks prior to your camp start date, 80% of your registration fee will be refunded to the card you registered with. Within two weeks (and during the camp), no refunds will be issued for any reason.

Alternatively, your registration fee can be transferred to another camp week during Summer 2023 that has open spots remaining. Your registration fee cannot be transferred to any other school break camp sessions in 2023 or to Summer Camp 2024. You may also choose to donate your camp fee to the Nature Center for a tax-deductible donation.

All registration changes (including cancelations) must be requested in writing via email to No phone calls, please.

Behavior Policy

The Dunwoody Nature Center’s goal is for every camper to have the opportunity to have fun and discover their strengths. In order to do this, every child must feel safe at camp. Please review the Behavior Policy with your child before arriving at camp, as this is what helps us ensure everybody’s safety and the quality of our programs. Download the Behavior Policy here.


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Island Ford camps are brought to you in partnership with the National Park Service.
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