Looking for great family camps this summer? Try these East Coast picks, ranging from stuff in greater New York to picks in Connecticut and other spots within a few hours' drive.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Don't let the idea of family camp scare you away, either—it's a great way to give your kids a taste of camp life, plus plenty of offerings on our list have scheduled adults-only time for you to recharge your batteries. Prepare to be swimming, rock climbing, hiking and roasting marshmallows together in nature—and what's better than that?
Best Family camps near NYC
This affordable family camp experience on the lake gives families plenty of time to learn new skills and pursue their favorite pastimes, plus it's all-inclusive, so you won't need to worry about your meals or keeping busy. You'll be assigned a cottage or suite on the 165-acre property and everyone gets their own bike for east travel around the campsite. Tyler Place offers kids' programming and programming for adults, with the opportunity to enjoy activities separately or together. Hit the indoor and outdoor pools to cool off, and take older kids to the Lake Champlain waterfront to go banana boating or tubing! All ages.
Sign up for a session at this Connecticut resort this summer for a guaranteed great time as a family! It has rustic cabins (with AC, believe it or not!) so you won't burn up on a hot day, and the kiddos will flip for opportunities to get in on archery, arts and crafts, water sports and even the flying trapeze! There's also a Kids Camp so you can scoot away on adults-only adventures like rock-climbing classes. Evenings include fun like campfires, Olympic challenges and big-screen outdoor movies. Ages 4 and up.
For families seeking the camp experience as a team, this great program gives the whole crew the opportunity to leave the iPads at home and enjoy simple living in nature. At the Indian Brook facility, campers of all ages get to help out with barn chores (and meet super cute animals like ducks, cows, pigs, sheep and goats!), enjoy their fair share of traditional camp activities (like tie-dying, storytelling, crafting and putting on skits) and partake in fun sports like canoeing and frisbee. Embrace the camping lifestyle by sleeping in open cabins with no electricity or hot water. 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.
This Catskills camp has the feel of a dude ranch in an East Coast setting. You'll be able to enjoy sports like soccer, archery, boating, fishing, swimming and wiffle ball or get crafty with activities like candle-making, sculpting, woodshop and tie-dyeing. There are also plenty of non-sport athletic activities to enjoy too, like hiking, high ropes, climbing walls and ziplining. Yurts and platform tents provide no-frills lodging options that are easy on the wallet and a fun experience for the kiddos. All ages.
This stunning New England respite is just the place to enjoy your first truly stress-free family vacation. Lodging, recreation and equipment are all included in the cost of camp, which means this summertime excursion is as easy as clicking the booking button and surviving the road trip out there (invest in some good family-friendly podcasts)! Parents can choose to participate in activities like canoeing, fishing and arts and crafts, or they can choose to kick back in a lawn chair while their kiddos burn off some energy. Parents can even enjoy adults-only activities like local beer and cheese tastings, yoga, gallery visits and appointments with a massage therapist. 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.
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.
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.
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.