RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Family camp is a beautiful thing! It's a great way to give your kids a taste of camp life, plus you get to join in on the fun. You'll be swimming, rock climbing, hiking and roasting marshmallows together in nature—and what's better than that?
Family camp near New York
Leave the iPads at home and hightail it to this family-friendly escape in Vermont for a dose of simple living. Campers learn about sustainable farm life by helping with barn chores—your brood will adore visiting with the resident cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks. Plus, letting the kids pull their own vegetables for dinner from the organic garden, or baking pies using apples from the orchard, really drives home the idea of farm-to-table eating. Woodward Reservoir is a prime spot for swimming and canoeing, and the surrounding woods are flush with trails for hiking. Embrace the camping lifestyle by sleeping in open cabins with no electricity or hot water. Nighttime entertainment is of the unplugged variety (crafts, music and storytelling), but you might be surprised how much the kids come to enjoy it. All ages.
No need to labor over the details of your family’s summer vacation when you book a stay at this all-inclusive spot. Tyler Place is a welcoming resort that provides endless recreation for the entire crew, plus it removes the task of organizing meals and lodging from your plate. Cottages and suites nestled on 165 acres of woodlands and meadows serve as the safe and comfortable base from which kids can come and go as they please—everyone gets their own personal bike for speedy transportation around the property. Hit the indoor and outdoor pools to cool off, and take older kids to the Lake Champlain waterfront to go banana boating or tubing. Parents can indulge in wine-tasting tours, Pilates and candlelit dinners, while the tots can enjoy nature walks, scavenger hunts and more. All ages.
While youngsters on the autism spectrum might be overwhelmed by the controlled chaos of a typical summer camp, this program creates a safe haven just for them. Parents and kids can bunk up in a cabin, tent or Eco-Lodge at Common Ground Center, a 700-acre former farm in northern Vermont, where the staff of speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists makes it possible for special needs kids to experience all the joys of the outdoors. Tots head to Kidville each morning for fun activities, while the adults bask in art and nature as well as autism education. While away the rest of the day with calming nature walks, music workshops, watercolor painting and swimming. Kids ages 3–11 on the autism spectrum and their families.
Skip the agony of pitching a tent and bunk up in a country cabin at Club Getaway with your whole clan this summer. Loads of outdoor adventures await at this rustic lakeside resort in Connecticut, and though you won’t exactly be roughing it, you’ll be happy you’re sleeping in an air-conditioned abode when a 90°F day rolls around. Get in some serious bonding time with the kids by taking on archery, arts and crafts, or even the flying trapeze as a group, then let the littles play under staff supervision at Kids Camp while you steal away for an adults-only excursion. How’s rock climbing sound for date night? Evening entertainment for the whole family ranges from outdoor movies and campfires to game shows to Olympic challenges. Ages 4 and up.
This Catskills camp has the feel of a dude ranch in an East Coast setting. The rollicking rodeo put on by the equestrian staff every year will have everyone whooping and hollering, but the Western-style adventure doesn’t stop there. Little cowboys and cowgirls can saddle up for riding lessons and trail rides or pull on some waders for a fly-fishing adventure. Yurts and platform tents provide no-frills lodging options that are easy on the wallet and a fun experience for the kiddos. Take your pick of programming like swimming, archery and theater games, or settle down for arty endeavors like origami or candle- and jewelry-making. All ages.
This stunning New England respite is just the place to put your first truly stress-free family vacation in the books. Lodging, recreation and equipment are all included, which means you and the tots can set your sights on the gorgeous, tree-lined lake. Canoeing, sculling, sailing and kayaking are waterfront favorites, but dry land ain’t so shabby either, with berry picking, ultimate frisbee and kickball to choose from. Mom and Dad will totally want in on local beer and cheese tastings, massages and group yoga, but make sure to plan around the weekly lobster dinner served in the farmhouse dining room—even the tots will want in on the quintessential Maine feast. All ages.
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. All ages.
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 nature arts and crafts and a presentation from 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. All ages.
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. All ages.
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. All ages.