Sleepaway camps are often what we think of when we think "summer camp." We close our eyes and picture swimming in a lake surrounded by pine trees or sitting around a campfire at night. These sleepaway camps deliver, too, plus they allow parents to have their own summer vacation for a week or more, checking out the best cocktail bars, going to summer music festivals or spending lazy days on Chicago beaches.
RECOMMENDED: Chicago summer camp guide
Sleepaway summer camps
This Jewish summer camp in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, offers an overnight experience full of fun and learning in a beautiful area of Wisconsin. Archery, water skiing, jewelry making and Ultimate Frisbee are just some of the cool things campers can do. June 19–August 12. $2,375–$4,750. Ages 7–17.
This JCC camp has had the same director for more than 30 years, and many alumni still have fond memories. This overnight Jewish camp has something for every kid, with heated pools, water skiing, ceramics, sports, lots of other camp activities and 600 wooded acres just outside the Wisconsin Dells. Find more details here. June 21–August 14. $329–$7,295. 4th–12th grade.
If you have a little equestrian on your hands, send her 90 miles west of Chicago to Oregon (Illinois, that is) where she can ride on more than 200 acres of beautiful wooded area and horse trails. Although the camp has been around for more than 50 years, kids stay in modernized dorms. Swimming, hiking and plenty of fun camp games round out the experience. June 26–Aug 12. $600/week. Ages 8–15.
Techie tweens and teens can participate in a two-week computer camp at Lake Forest College, just north of Chicago. Your mini Einstein could learn Minecraft coding, design a website, make apps and more. Kids get the dorm room experience when they choose the overnight option. June 12–July 29. $1,425–$3,295. Ages 8–17.
This beautiful camp with locations in Kenosha and Evanston invites kids who love theater to practice choreography and acting to prepare for a performance at the end of summer. General activities like sports or swimming, plus karaoke night and evening banquets, round out the camp. Find a full schedule here. June 19–July 31. $1,250–$5,600. Ages 7–18.