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Family camp ideas for NYC families in summer 2014

Why should the kids have all the fun? These family camps offer all the activities and sports, plus plenty of together time to recharge.

Photograph: Herb Swanson
AMC Family Adventures

Day camps and sleepway camps for kids fill a vital need for NYC families, without question, but why not incorporate a family camp into your summer plans this year? A family camp stay means you'll be off the hook for organizing the details of your clan's summer vacation, as meals, lodging and activities are all included in the package. If you think you need to be a certain kind of family for a family camp, think again. Whether you want to go on an outdoor adventure in the mountains, chill along the Atlantic coastline, cozy up to sheep, cows and goats with a farm stay or find inner peace at a yoga retreat, there's a family camp for just about everyone.

RECOMMENDED: Summer camps for kids

Family camps in NY

Appalachian Mountain Club Family Adventure Camps

City families who fancy hiking and learning outdoor skills will dig this camp in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. These alfresco adventures range from the “Wee Wanderers” level, for families with two- to five-year-olds, to above–tree line, hut-to-hut hikes for families with kids nine and up. Activities include hiking and paddle excursions, map and compass skills, and rescue dog demos. Families stay in AMC’s lodges (private room, private bath) or high mountain huts (bunks). Meals typically consist of a breakfast buffet, a trail lunch and a sit-down family-style dinner with at least one kid-friendly option. Camps run June 27–Aug 24, and last 2–6 days. Family membership $75; $267–$614 per person, teens ages 13–17 $150–$475 and children ages 12 and under $67–$362, depending on program.

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Camp Medomak

You’ll find a blend of action (for kids) and relaxation (for grownups) at Camp Medomak in mid-coast Maine. While the kids scull, sail and swim in the tree-lined lake, grown-ups can join in, or enjoy a beer and cheese tasting, a relaxing massage and a lobster dinner. After dinner partake in activities such as kickball, softball and scavenger hunts, or just gather around the campfire and look for shooting stars. You’ll stay in one-room cabins with queen beds and hot showers. Healthy meals, prepared by a professional chef, are served family-style and feature local produce. One-week sessions from late June through mid-August. $895–$1180; kids ages 5–12 $740–$1070; kids ages 2–4 $635–$965.

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Family Camp Weekend at Camp Onas

This Buck’s County camp is infused with Quaker values—peace, simplicity, equality and community—and open to all. Low-key activities include high ropes, archery, and arts and crafts, or just hanging out at the fishing pond. For those in search of additional inner peace, there is optional quiet contemplation in a wooded grove. Families stay in open-air pavilions or tents with bunk beds (you can request one of the few indoor rooms for an extra $45). Mealtimes are communal buffet events, with several options for picky eaters. Camp runs May 24–26. $95 per person; kids ages 2-14 $45; under 2 free.

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Family Nature Camp, College of the Atlantic

At this oceanfront camp in Bar Harbor, Maine, your family can go on tide-pool walks, naturalist-guided ecology hikes in nearby Acadia National Park and nature cruises along the coast. Add whale-watching, wildlife lectures and science fun with the “Bug Man,” and you won’t hear, “I’m bored” for six whole days. Families stay in suites in the college’s residence halls. In the dining hall, you’ll eat meals made from mainly local, organic ingredients, humanely raised meat and freshly caught Maine seafood. Camp runs July 6–12, July 13–19, July 20–26. $935 per person, children under 16 $480.

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Camp Kaleidoscope

Here, families with children on the autism spectrum can relax and play in an emotionally and physically safe environment. Located on a 700-acre former farm in northern Vermont, the camp is staffed by an autism-aware team that includes speech language pathologists and occupational therapists. In addition, each family is assigned their own helper, usually a graduate SLP student. Each morning, kids are busy with universally accessible activities, while grownups can relax, dabble in arts classes or take in an autism education session. You will stay in private cabins or an eco-lodge, with private bathrooms and electricity. Meals are mostly vegetarian, with exceptions to accommodate dietary challenges (there are also gluten- and casein- free choices at every meal). The camp has many kid-friendly options, and most meals and snacks are made from local and organic ingredients. For kids ages 3 to 11 on the autism spectrum and their families. June 28–July 1. $250–$500 per person, on a sliding scale.

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Family Week at Omega

Two hours’ travel by car or train, will take you to this serene Hudson Valley retreat center. At the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, your kids can join in age-based activities ranging from “Little Forest People,” where little ones commune with gnomes and faeries, and Rock Music Camp and Super Soccer Stars for the 8-to-13 crowd, to live-action role-playing for teens. What to do while they’re having all this fun? You can energize your chakras with Afro-Flow Yoga, which combines meditative yoga with dance movements from West Africa and the Caribbean. Or head to the Wellness Center for a facial, massage or reiki session. Lodging options include tents, dorms and private family rooms. The normally vegetarian menu incorporates meat and fish, and special kids’ options, for family week. Camp runs Aug 4–9. $350–$450 per person, kids ages 6–17 $220–$275, plus five nights lodging and meals from $370 for tents to $1,050 for a deluxe green room.

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Farm & Wilderness Family Camp

If your brood is ready to unplug and seek a simpler life, you’ll find it here. Set next to a reservoir in central Vermont, Farm & Wilderness has its own farm, featuring resident cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks, along with an organic garden. Campers learn about sustainable farm life firsthand as they partake in barn chores and pull vegetables for dinner. Supported by a small staff, families take over running the camp for the week, choosing their own activites (hiking, canoeing, crafts) on 4,000 secluded acres of lakes, woods and fields. Stay in a rustic open cabin quipped with bunks and foam mattresses, but no electricity or hot water. Composting outhouses and hot showers are nearby. The camp is almost self-sufficient, so expect abundant veggies and super-fresh meat with very little processed food. Camp runs Aug 17–23. $435 per person, kids ages 5 to 15 $235, under 5 free.

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Windsor Mountain Family Camp

The hills are alive with the sound of Latin dancing, a cappella singing, stained-glass making and junkyard bands at the Windsor Mountain Family Camp. And all the usual camp activities are thriving, too, if some of your nearest and dearest want to do a spot of kayaking or tree-fort building, or perhaps some archery or zip-lining. You’ll sleep in dorms, bungalows and cabins. Meals are made up of homemade fare that includes fruits and veggies from the camp garden, vegetarian options and plentiful snacks. Camp runs Aug 20–24. $425 per person or $1,650 for a family of four.

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Frost Valley YMCA Family Camp

You don’t need to head west of the Mississippi to treat your little cowpokes to some rollicking, Western-style fun. Just cross the Hudson and head west to the Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills. Among the many options there is a rodeo, complete with barrel races, put on by the equestrian staff. Riding lessons and trail rides are also available, as are mountain boarding and fly-fishing. Lodging includes everything from an 11-room castle to yurts, platform tents and cushy lodge rooms. Meals have gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options, and the whole campus is tree nut– and peanut-free. Camp runs Aug 24–29, with the option to extend into Labor Day weekend. $253–$673 per person; kids ages 4-17 $176–$522; kids under 4 free.

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Tyler Place

You may be seeking family togetherness, but the idea of bunking in a sleeping bag with your kid’s stinky foot in your face gives you hives. At Tyler Place you’ll find indoor and outdoor pools, guided mountain biking, a 7,000-square foot Field House for family fun and separate bedrooms for parents. It’s the adult-friendly touches that set this place apart. Wine-tasting tours, Pilates and tennis round robins, plus adults-only evening cocktails and candlelit dinners, set the tone. Add grown-ups’ night out and you’ve got a recipe for family harmony. Lodging includes cottages and suites with one to four bedrooms, fridge, microwave and daily housekeeping. Enjoy farm-to-table meals with vegetarian options, homemade baked goods, healthy kids’ food and picnic baskets to go. Weeklong sessions run May 23–Sept 6. $791–$2,758 per person; kids ages 2.5 to 10th grade $602–$917.

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