Skip to content
    • Life at River Mountain
    • Accommodations
    • Food
    • Adventure
    • Location & Transportation
    • Safety
    • Sustainability
    • Staff
    • Digital Wellness
    • Expertise
    • Experiential Learning
    • Retreat Types
    • Typical Day
    • Journal
    • Back at Home
    • Screen Time Resources

Convenient to Arlington County, Montgomery County, and Fairfax County families, River Mountain summer camps are ideal for DC parents’ busy schedules


When we first started investigating locations for River Mountain Retreat and our kids summer camps, our #1 consideration was to be conveniently located to Washington D.C. and Maryland parents. The DC community has been a leader in youth development, education and wellness, and we wanted to ‘connect the dots’ to provide young people in the DC area a growth experience in the wilderness, through adventure and by unplugging.

Buchanan State Forest Camp Washington DC River Mountain

We scoured northern Virginia and southern Pennsylvania for months trying to find the ideal location. Through our travels and explorations, this 150-acre outdoor haven kept calling us back. Nestled deep in a valley between two soaring ridge lines (Tussey Mountain and Warriors Ridge) with Sweet Root Creek running down the middle, and adjacent to 30,000+ beautiful acres of Buchanan State Forest, our overnight sleepaway camp is a kid’s paradise (and an adult’s paradise). Down below, I listed some of our summer activities that you can share with your kids.

Buchanan State Forest Camp River Mountain Map Washington DC

Parents’ schedules these days are busier than ever. Work, school events, sports games and practices, band events, school plays, there’s always something going on. My wife and I are constantly on the go with our 2 boys, Will and Hayes, from baseball and football events, to choir practice, to drums, then hit repeat. Understanding this parental reality drove us even harder to be near the homes of DC families to make travel more convenient. When parents are making decisions on things to do in the summer for their kids, being located nearby is super helpful in accommodating busy schedules.

While convenience may not be your number one priority when determining your child's activities, we realize that it is a factor for you and that matters to us. Collectively, the River Mountain leadership team has 8 kids between the ages of 8 to 18, and we’re always running in a thousand different directions. We get it. And that brings me to my most important point - if there’s ever anything we can do to help with travel logistics, please let us know. Our staff will do whatever it takes to make your life easier and to ensure your child arrives safely and on time.

As always, if you have any questions about River Mountain and our summer camps, email or call me anytime. Happy to help.

Ryan Tyrrell

Summer Activities
Mountain Biking
Bouldering and Rock Climbing
Overnight Backpacking
Barn Basketball
Frisbee Golf
Star Gazing
Horseshoes and Bags
Ping Pong, Pool, and Foosball
Low Ropes Course
Creek Snorkeling


Becca G – Faces of River Mountain

By Meghan | April 1, 2020

Meet Becca Gurney, Founder of Design Choice, a boutique graphic design studio in Washington, DC. Becca and her team work with progressive clients to make the world a better place, by encouraging entrepreneurial endeavors, advancing social justice and women’s causes, and supporting women in leadership positions. She’s also the creative genius behind our print designs and an absolutely awesome human.

Read More

National Day of Unplugging

By Meghan | March 5, 2020

Tomorrow is National Day of Unplugging. Take time to unplug from your phone and reconnect with each other and the world around you at River Mountain Digital Wellness Retreat!

Read More

Field Trips at River Mountain

By Ryan | February 11, 2020

River Mountain’s school programs teach screen time management and digital citizenship to help students flourish in school and at home.

Read More

The Benefits of Camp

By Ryan | February 6, 2020

There’s a lot of great research about the benefits of camp experiences for young people. Over the past 12 months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several of those researchers, including our own team member Pete Allison from Penn State, and I’m grateful for their work establishing a greater understanding of camps’ impacts on child development.

Read More

Restorative Vision – Nature and Wellness Retreat Design

By Meghan | February 3, 2020

Every element of River Mountain Retreat is intentionally designed to add to the restorative experience of our guests. One key aspect of this is in the design of our cabins and wellness retreat facilities.

Read More

Best Summer Camp for Active Pittsburgh Kids

By Ryan | January 9, 2020

Only 2 hours away from the Steel City and featuring all the outdoor activities that kids love, River Mountain is the best summer camp for active Pittsburgh kids.

Read More

A Decade of Technology

By Meghan | December 31, 2019

Looking back on the past decade of technology – rapid developments, rapid adoption and rapid optimization. It all happened so fast.

Read More

Reconnecting Over the Holidays

By Meghan | December 20, 2019

As a parent, the holidays are hectic. Parties, presents, and of course, the kids being off from school. With all of the running the season brings, it’s easy to forget that this is a time of year where we can pause, exhale, and find joy in what surrounds us.

Read More

The Benefits (and Accessibility) of Nature

By Ryan | November 23, 2019

A lot has been written in recent years about the “benefits of nature” — fantastic books like Florence Williams’ The Nature Fix and ground breaking research like the work being done by Utah professor David Strayer.

Read More

Design and Development – A Restorative Relationship with Nature

By Ryan | November 6, 2019

From the beginning of the River Mountain land development process, we’ve had 3 goals in mind…

Read More

Upcoming Camps