Plan your best summer ever with these 2018 sleepaway camps! Our guide includes exciting sleepaway camps in New York as well as picks in nearby states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Overnight camps help kids become more independent and give 'em the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and even find their next passion! You'll find specialized sleepaway camps that focus in on specific themes as well as traditional camps that offer sports, arts & crafts, theater and other great stuff.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
For more camp fun, check out our full guide to summer camps. Stuck in the city for the summer? Try our favorite 101 things to do with kids in New York, plus our favorite family attractions and outdoor activities for kids.
Sleepaway camp in NY
Tucked away on a New England mountainside, this charming upstate camp hails boys and girls from around the world for an unforgettable summer. Campers spend their days soaking up the sun and cooling off with water sports like sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking and windsurfing on Lake George. By land, they test out their rock-climbing or archery skills, or face off in a fencing match. Creatives will love the vast arts program, which offers projects in all mediums including music and filmmaking, while campwide rituals and themed event days like Game-Show Day, Star Wars Day and Harry Potter Day invite everyone to go all-out. Ages 7–17.
Though this camp is just a 90-minute drive from NYC (okay, on a magical day with no traffic) the majestic Catskill Mountains couldn’t feel farther away from the bustle of Manhattan. Two hundred scenic acres are filled to the brim with activities your child won’t be able to fit in that letter they send home. Kids can choose their own adventure: There are seemingly endless trails to explore by horseback, high-speed zip lines, craft classes in jewelry design and candle making, wakeboarding on Lake Masten, heated pools perfect for swimming even on chilly nights and so much more. Campers come together each night for dances, talent shows, theater productions and other special events. Ages 6–16.
Though it also offers year-round retreats of all kinds, Camp DeWolfe is best known for its children's summer camp. Sailing, swimming, kayaking and climbing are just some of the popular activities at this Christian Episcopal–affiliated program. Sessions vary in length and are meant for specific age groups: Explorer Camp for ages 7–12, Discovery Camp for ages 7–13, Adventure Camp for ages 11–15 and Leadership in Training for ages 15–17. Ages 7 to 17.
Active kids longing for some friendly competition, and mentors and coaches who really know their stuff, will find plenty of chances to use that boundless energy: Classes, inter- camp play and camp leagues cover popular sports like baseball, lacrosse, track and beach volleyball as well as ga-ga (a variation on dodgeball), weight training, yoga and Newcomb ball, a variation of volleyball. Aspiring mermaids and mermen can choose activities in the spring-fed Lake Echo like floating on paddleboats, fishing or swimming, or letting loose on the floating pirate ship or slip n’ slide; adventurous kiddos will find heart- thumping adventure on “change-up day” when regular schedules are thrown to the wind, and climbing expeditions, go-kart rides and mountain biking are available. Ages 6–16.
You name it, Camp Hilltop's got it. Youngsters choose from more than 60 indoor and outdoor activities, including trapeze, laser tag, waterskiing, knitting and photography. Campers are housed by age and share bunks with kids who are entering the same grade as they are in the fall, making it easier for little ones to make fast friends and explore exciting camp activities with kids their own age. There's even a horseback riding-specific program that includes trail riding, ring riding, jumping, dressage and horse care, too. Ages 6 to 16.
Kiddos who like to choose offerings that suit their interests will dig this free- form sleepaway camp in the Adirondack Mountains. They can break free from their bunkmates to take a crack at ropes courses (which includes a 300ft zipline through the forest), play paintball and capture the flag, ride ATVs, set out on horseback and even hit the lake for wakeboarding and Jet Skiing. For more downtime, kids can also opt for kayaking, fishing, cooking, puppet making and more. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun sets either—campers might join up with Long Lake Camp for the Arts to enjoy rock concerts, dances and theater, face off in bunk challenges or just chill with some games and a campfire. Everyone can look forward to twice-weekly trips involving white-water rafting on the Hudson, scenic hikes, area amusement parks and more. Ages 8 to 16.
Performance arts camp reaches a whole new level at Long Lake, where children choose from focuses in magic, circus, musical theater, dance and comedy (just to name a few). Surrounded by water, mountains and trees of the Adirondacks, this 50-year- old creative arts camp is known for its ultracustomizable schedules. And when kids aren’t learning puppetry, trapeze- walking or how to produce their own films, outdoor offerings like horseback riding, hiking and paddleboarding await. Ages 8–16.
With one staff member for every two to three campers, Point O'Pines maintains one of the most impressive staff-to-camper ratios in the industry. The camp is set on a sandy beach with views of the Adirondack Mountains and features outdoor clay tennis courts, a 500-acre farm and a ceramics studio. Ages 7 to 15.
Each bunk at this Jewish camp has its own snack garden where campers can pick fresh fruit and vegetables when hunger strikes between meals. While traditional activities like basketball, kayaking and pottery are offered, unusual specialties like sheep shearing, fire spinning and circus arts truly set this camp apart. Ages 8 to 16.
Six activity sessions each day give campers every chance to pursue their passions. Three periods are taken up by “majors,” or concentrations that stay the same for a full three-week session. These include classes as varied as learning an instrument or playing in a rock band, perfecting that pirouette in ballet, grasping the art of leather craft or woodworking—even disappearing in a magic class. The remaining periods are used for “minors,” which are chosen each morning so kids always have the opportunity to try a different skill outside their wheelhouse, work more on their favorite subject or cut loose with waterfront activities like swimming, zip-lining or clowning around (literally, in a circus class). Ages 7 to 17.
At this all-around sleepaway camp, youngsters can design jewelry in the art studio, make clocks in the wood shop, play with animals in the nature center and learn how to water-ski. Other notable facilities include two swimming pools with massive tube slides, an extensive lakefront waterpark with bouncy structures, a ropes course and rock wall. Ages 7 to 17.
Campers at this all-girls program receive professional instruction in sports, as well as the fine arts, and several dance styles. The camp focuses on four core sports -- volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, and soccer. Athletes have the option of starting their day with various Core Sport Clinics, Strength and Fitness Training, or non-core sport clinics like tennis or water skiing. Kids can even major in their favorite sport, meaning they'll get even more personalized instruction. Fun evening activities include bunk games, socials, talent shows and movie nights. Ages 11 to 16.
Founded back in 1963, this campground opened as a place for folks to ride horses, milk cows and kick back in the great outdoors. Today, it offers one-hundred acres of surrounding woodland provide campers with an ideal environment for overnight adventures and exploration! Campers will try everything from rock climbing to rowing to sculpting to dance and water polo, and they're sure to love the camp's private go-kart track, gymnastics pavilion (Big Red), archery area and ropes course, too. Ages 6 to 16.
With a strong emphasis on appropriate competitive athletics, this all-boys camp is organized into mini-camps where kids are grouped by age. Facilities include 14 tennis courts, four baseball fields, two soccer fields with artificial turf, nine basketball courts, a roller hockey rink, an archery range and a thirty-foot climbing wall (just to name a few)! Brant Lake even hosts a passionate Color War to keep competitive spirits high. Ages 7 to 15.
Iroquois Springs' comprehensive program consists of land and water sports, as well as horseback riding, art, theater and extensive outdoor-adventure activities like soccer, ziplining, basketball, swimming and waterskiing. Warm staff emphasize self-esteem boosting and individual development over competition. Ages 7 to 16.
Throughout the summer, kids learn the importance of making and keeping friends; they also spend time playing baseball and softball in the on-site Tiger Stadium. Campers also have access to plenty of exciting activities, including digital photography, movie making, painting, mountain biking, water trampolines, martial arts and rollerblading. The highlight of the summer, though, is the camp's over-the-top color war. Ages 7 to 16.
The camp serves developmentally delayed children, including those who have Asperger's syndrome, autism, MR, ADHD, OCD or PDD/NOS. A psychologist and special-education teacher designed program, Camp Huntington incorporates art, sports and nature studies in a nurturing, structured environment. You'll find the camp also has three goals in mind for campers at all times: participation, recreation and independence. Ages 6 to 21+.
Sleepaway camp in PA
The overall focus at Camp Zeke is wellness, so campers learn the value of a healthy lifestyle. The program is structured with electives, meaning kids can choose from activities, such as Krav Maga, soccer, dance or go for more low-key pastimes such as yoga, running or boating. Those interested in food have the option to try the culinary-arts program. Campers often help prepare the wholesome dishes served in the dining hall using organic, locally sourced ingredients. There's plenty more, too—including dance and circus arts programs. Ages 7–17.
Campers build their own summer experience and gain skills in the areas that interest them, from traditional athletics and water sports to out-of-the-box specialties like magic and fashion design. Super adventurous kids will be in heaven with the camp's Adventure Camp activities, which include archery, skateboarding, in-line skating, hiking, a ropes course, ziplining and mountain biking. Kids of all ages look forward to events like Backwards Day, MTV Night, beach and pool parties and an all-out Color War. Ages 7 to 16.
The WriCampia program in the Poconos is perfect for those craving to pen the next great American novel. Buses transport campers from Manhattan and Westchester for a 12-day escape filled with intimate writing workshops and creative electives. Published authors and playwrights help kids learn the secrets to memoir writing, poetry and what makes a great novel, while campers also enjoy arts activities like photography, ceramics, theater, zine-making and filmmaking. In the evening, everyone gathers around the campfire to swap stories or test their team-building skills in a scavenger hunt or “escape the room” challenge. Ages 7–18.
This stellar camp aims to send kids home with improved self-confidence and social skills at the end of the summer. While younger campers have a structured daily schedule, older kids can design their own program, choosing from more than 65 activities ranging from skateboarding and field sports to pottery and wake boarding. There's even a circus arts program featuring juggling, unicycle, tight wire, clowning, fire eating and acrobatics! Looking for a guaranteed bunk situation with your child's friends? Camp Lohikan honors bunk requests as long as the kids in question are entering the same grade and enrolled in the same session. Further, Lohikan also offers refunds for camp days missed in case your child decideswishes to head home early. Ages 6 to 15.
True to its name, ILC is all about doing it your way, whether that means sticking with a close-knit group of friends for go-karting, a cappella, role-playing games and powerboating on the 100-acre lake, or breaking away from the herd to explore tagging graffiti, riding the rails in the state-of-the-art skate park and holding on tight on the giant swing. Activities even include magic sessions, digital arts like building your own computer or making your own game, and circus arts like trapeze and unicycle. The vibe here is relaxed but well supervised. Ages 6–17.
Give youngsters a gentle introduction to overnight camp with these short sleepaway sessions in the foothills of the Poconos in Milford, PA. Kids can opt for one- or two-week programs at the 1,250-acre facility, where they have ample time to make new friends and delight in first-time experiences like chowing down with their bunkmates in the mess hall or gathering around a campfire at dusk. Bunks house 10–15 kids, meaning each kids gets the individualized attention they need, plus exciting activities like soccer, rollerblading, ziplining, swimming, banana-boating, woodworking, painting and rocketry keep 'em plenty busy during the day. Kesher Junior ages 6–11, Camp Kesher ages 8–14.
This boys-only camp offers a unique mix of science, sports and adventure and caters to your child's interests. Once there, campers take can classes in electronics, astronomy, earth science and computers, and outside fun includes an extensive on-site ropes course includes zip lines and a 50-foot climbing wall—there are even options for riding dirt-bikes and building rockets! Ages 8 to 16.
Give your kiddos a rough 'n tumble time at this energetic boys-only camp! It boasts small numbers for individualized attention and instruction, offering activities ranging from your usual soccer, basketball and tennis to fencing, mini golf, archery, outdoor cooking and high ropes. There's also hearty, social breakfast, lunch and dinner, and rest time scheduled into each day. Ages 7 to 17.
Set on the 800-acre grounds of Camp Swatara in Pennsylvania, this camp offers kids with type 1 diabetes a range of activities, including archery, diabetes education, mini golf, swimming, boating, fishing and a high ropes course. Additionally, it's a great opportunity for kids with diabetes to meet other kids who completely understand their unique challenges. Ages 13 to 18.
Brother-sister camps for kids who like to do it all, Camp Starlight offers creative and performing arts, athletics, water sports and outdoor adventure. It's been around for over 70 years, and boasts a 385-acre boys/girls campus including private lakes. The camp also features covered hockey rinks, a regulation lighted soccer field, and a 12,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor facility for gymnastics, dance, fitness and art programs. Ages 8 to 16.
This camp in the Pocono Mountains, which celebrates both pluralism and Judaism, provides a balanced summer experience while merging well-rounded programming with a sense of family and community. Among its offerings are an outdoor adventure course, a lake and a pool aquatics program, a garden program and many athletic sports. Popular summer events include Maccabiah (color war) and College Day, as well as various off-campus trips to theme parks and overnight trips for the older camps. Ages 7 to 18.
Burgeoning writers polish their technique during these one-week workshops. Campers start their day with a three-hour intensive in their chosen area of study—poetry, fiction, memoir, scripts or journalism—led by a published author or a produced playwright and work to create a finished project shaped by the teacher’s guidance and feedback. In the afternoon, campers take field trips to publishing houses to learn what it takes to break into the creative world and what it’s like to work for these companies. Budding literary stars can also take electives that focus on other applications of their skills such as graphic novels, illustrations, filmmaking, TV writing or embarking on poetry hikes. Ages 9–16.
Sleepaway camp in CT
The active participants at Camp Awosting’s all-girls sister camp are sure to give the boys a run for their money when it comes time to compete. With everything from swimming to sailing, a water trampoline, on-land sports, dance, drama and gymnastics on the agendas, the campers rarely stand still, and they are encouraged to do it all! Mornings and afternoons are packed with exciting happenings, and when the sun goes down, there are coed dances (complete with DJs), movie nights and more to keep everyone entertained. Adventurous campers will love the chance to venture out for a weekly overnight camping trip to Litchfield Hills for campfires complete with ghost stories, plus visits to their brother camp just five miles away. Ages 6–16.
Lads are set loose on a slew of outdoorsy games at this boys-only sleepaway camp in Connecticut. With so many offerings, trying something new could be a daily occurrence, whether it’s wakeboarding on Bantam Lake, mountain biking on nearby trails, piecing together an original video or braving the bungee trampoline. Campers pick up their fair share of survival skills in the breathtaking wilderness setting, but with special events like rock concerts and magic shows popping up throughout the summer, they won’t really be roughing it. Coed get-togethers with the girls at Awosting’s sister location, Camp Chinqueka, provide a chance to mingle and make new friends—plus, there are chances to face off in fun competitions to see which gender prevails. Ages 6–16.
This camp for creative kiddos has so much to offer! Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, this program offers over 30 options for aspiring artists of all kinds. Dabble in digital photography, batik, glassblowing, metalsmithing, ceramics, woodshop, painting and drawing, papermaking and even culinary arts. There are opportunities to try other stuff too, including helping out on the animal farm, trying circus arts and even lighting and sound design. By the end of the summer, your child will have enough material to fill a portfolio. Ages 9–18.
Camp Berger, located in Winchester Center, CT, offers themed sleepaway offerings by week to keep things super fun for your kids. Stop in for Olympic Week, Super Hero Week, Shipwrecked Week (to name a few), and rest assured that your crew will get to participate in activities that are a great fit for them. Berger has plenty of traditional summer camp offerings, including sailing, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, dramatics, archery and more! Ages 8–15.
Ponies and horses mean the world to your girls? Sign 'em up for this unique program that focuses in on the care and keeping of horses, as well as English riding technique. The campground offers practice takes place in one of three rings, a cross-country course and nearby wooded trails. Riding highlights include a supper ride, swimming with the horses and an end-of-session horseshow. Campers fill the rest of their time with activities like arts and crafts, archery, tennis and swimming. Ages 8 to 16.
Sleepaway camp in NJ
Have your kids ever wanted to bunk in a teepee? Now’s their chance! Children sleep in real teepees, alongside seven to nine other children of their gender and age, and over the course of the two weeks these tentmates become like family as they eat, sleep and plan their activities together. As a unit, the children explore all that the camp has to offer—archery, crafts, mountain biking, swimming, canoeing, fishing and outdoor cooking—while embracing nature, the 55-acre lake and each other’s company. The camp is a totally unplugged, back-to-basics outdoor adventure that teaches them to rely on themselves and learn how to adapt to living in nature. Ages 6–15.
Run by the Children of the Earth Foundation, this camp offers junior environmentalists unique, six-day sessions throughout the summer, each focusing on a different topic and geared to a different age group. Please read the website carefully; some camps require prerequisite programs and many require accompanying adults (family camp). Ages 4 to 17, depending on program.
Sleepaway camp in NH
At this brother-sister camp, boys attend Camp Kenwood, while girls head to Camp Evergreen. They'll have access to an amazing rock climbing and ropes course, try sports like volleyball and ultimate frisbee and dive into individual sports like volleyball and yoga. The program also has a rich selection of arts offerings like digital photography, cooking science, music and furniture building. If you're looking for a traditional camp experience with cute cabins and live-in counselors, a private lake and...well, even the opportunity to take aim at huge foam and rubber dinos in archery, this one's for you! There's even a color war...woohoo! Ages 7 to 15.
While this camp offers instruction in most team sports, tennis and waterfront activities receive particular emphasis (the camp has a mile of shorefront property). Campers also take age-appropriate excursions to nearby cities (Boston, Quebec, Montreal) water and amusement parks, and local hiking trails throughout the summer. Ages 7 to 15.
Owned and run by former campers, New Hampshire's Camp Robin Hood focuses on encouraging campers and boosting self-esteem. Separate girls' and boys' programs include activities like riding, archery, riflery, flag football and theater. Waterbugs will also dig the camp's awesome waterfront, complete with tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, boating and paddleboarding. Did we mention that this camp also boasts six tennis courts, three football fields, three outdoor basketball courses, two regulation baseball diamonds, soccer fields, volleyball courts and a street-hockey rink, just to name a few? Ages 7 to 16.
This New England boys' on Lake Winnipesaukee is known for its sports concentration and exciting outdoor adventure program. It's really two camps in one: a mainland campus for ages 7 to 12, and an island campus for ages 13 to 15. Campers and staff embrace the Winaukee "Tree of Values," which highlights enthusiasm, loyalty, sportsmanship, friendship, achievement and cooperation. Ages 7 to 15.
Sleepaway camp in MA
Kids will hardly be able to keep it together on the long, winding drive to Hi-Rock—and not just because of annoying siblings in the backseat. Between the picturesque views, wooden cabins and myriad activities to try, it’s an idyllic camp setting—and every kid knows it. Gender- and age-specific cabins make for a slumber-party–style experience, plus everyone (boys and girls!) comes together for meals and activities. Whether your kiddos are busy scaling a high-ropes course, geocaching in the Berkshires, swimming in the pristine 90-acre lake or playing capture the flag, one thing’s certain: Every summer here is definitely one to remember. Ages 7–16.
Camp Greylock touts one of the smallest camper-to-counselor ratios in the Northeast, divided between junior and senior campers. Set on 300 acres of land in the Berkshires, campers at this boys-only program focus on improving their skills in sports and nonathletic areas. The first "color war" in American camping was also held here in 1917. Ages 6 to 16.
Camp Mah-Kee-Nac offers a solid athletics program with collegiate- and professional-level coaching. The all-boys camp boasts pool and waterfront activities as well as adventure and creative endeavors including wood shop, where kids can craft anything from a folding Ping-Pong table to a canoe. Elective activities are offered everyday except for Wednesday—field trip day. Ages 7 to 15.
This girls-only camp specializes in art, dance, music and theater. Campers create their own individualized schedules, focusing on specific activities (tap dancing, sculpture, acting) that suit their interests. Additional activities include day trips, theme nights, carnivals and campfires. Socials are scheduled throughout the summer with Camp Greylock, a boys' camp located just 30 minutes away. Ages 8 to 16.