Photograph: Andy Jacobsohn

The best sleepaway camps in NY and beyond

Pack for the best sleepaway camps in NY and beyond if your kiddo is looking for a summer experience like no other

By Paulina Jayne Isaac

Alright, parents, here’s a big question for you: Do you or don’t you send your kid to sleepaway camp? There are some who will jump at the idea. While others have hesitations. Saying goodbye to your kiddo for a few weeks (or more) can feel nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Pairing the right kid with the right camp could be just what your child needs this summer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC

The East Coast is a great place for a summer camp. The nature provides a beautiful backdrop and whether the camp is in Upstate New York or a quick drive away in Connecticut, your child is guaranteed to make lifelong memories.

Nothing's off limits, so prepare for an adventure! If you have the jitters, read what the experts have to say about summer camp here. Breathe a sigh of relief! 

Sleepaway camp in NY

Photograph: Courtesy Adirondack Camp

1. Adirondack Camp

Things to do Camps

At first glance, Adirondack Camp looks like paradise. If paradise was an overnight camp nestled between the Adirondack Mountains and Lake George that is. You get what you pay for at this sleepaway camp. The steep price tag comes with a jam-packed daily schedule full of water, land, and art activities. Some of their offerings you won’t find at your everyday camp. If snorkeling, archery, wake surfing, and culinary arts, sound like fun activities for your kid, then consider Aditorincak Camp this summer. Ages 7–17. 

Appel Farm Arts Camp
Photograph: Courtesy Appel Farm Arts Camp

2. Appel Farms Arts Camp

Things to do Camps

Two-week, four-week, six-week, or eight-week sessions are available at Appel Arts Camp. Most campers choose to stay for a month, but the two-week session is great for first-timers. In addition to being able to customize the length of your child’s stay at camp, you can also customize what they focus on during the summer. Each child chooses two majors and two minors to learn. Some options are theater performance, dance, music, creative writing, and photography.


3. Camp Awosting

Things to do Camps

Think of Awosting 1900 as one giant adventure for your son(s). The all-boys camp offers a one-of-a-kind summer camp experience. It even attracts international campers and considers itself an informal and friendly environment. With more than 30 choices of activities, your son may come home knowing martial arts, canoeing, and how to waterski. The younger campers receive more personal attention, while the pre-teens and teenagers are allowed to enjoy more freedom. Ages 6–16.

Photograph: Courtesy Camp Eagle Hill

4. Camp Eagle Hill

Things to do Camps

Camp Eagle Hill takes sleepaway camp one step further. Your child will spend the summer in Upstate New York and still have the chance for day trips. If you want your kid to explore another city, you can pay an additional $500 fee for Philadelphia and Amish Country or spend $700 to travel upstate all the way to Niagara Falls. Of course, if you don’t splurge for the add-on, your child will still have a blast in the 100 acres of woodland. Ages 6–16.

Photograph: Courtesy Camp Mah-Kee-Nac

5. Camp Mah-Kee-Nac

Things to do Camps

Camp Mah-Kee-Nac is another all-boys camp focused on instilling traits in its campers through teaching a strong commitment to the community and keeping them busy with action-packed days full of activities, sports, and art. The goal is that by the end of the summer, the campers will realize their own power and have the confidence to be their true, authentic selves. What more could a parent want for their kid? Ages 7–15.

Photograph: Courtesy Long Lake Camp Adventures

6. Long Lake Camp Adventures

Things to do Camps

The fun is still on at Long Lake Camp Adventures! The Westchester County camp nestled in the Adirondack mountains is enforcing COVID-19 precautions to make sure campers can partake in (safe!) fun. The overnight camp has been around for more than 50 years and has experience with preventing the spread of viruses on campgrounds pre-pandemic. The campers will still enjoy horseback riding, cheerleading, engineering, and blacksmithing—they’ll just do it safely as to ensure the health of all campers and staff. Ages 8-16.


7. Camp Lokanda

Things to do Camps

The co-ed sleepaway camp in the Catskill Mountains has been around since 1937. With more than eight years of experience, it’s safe to say that Camp Lokanda knows a thing or do about kids. Their secret? Create a place where campers can disconnect. That means that there’s a strict no-screens policy. Prepare your kid to leave their phone, iPad, tablet… whatever at home because it’s not going with them. Once they move on from that electronic withdrawal, they’ll see the beauty that is Camp Lokanda.

8. Camp Lakota

Things to do Camps

Though this camp is just under two hours from NYC, 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! The options are endless: Soccer, lacrosse, basketball, softball, GaGa and tennis are just a few of the sports on offer, and kids will also get their fill of water sports such as sailing, swim team, banana boats and waterskiing. Lakota also caters to equestrians, gymnasts, artists and skateboard fanatics (the campground just got a new skateboard park!) Ages 6–16. 

Camp Schodack
Photograph: Courtesy Camp Schodack

9. Camp Schodack

Things to do Camps

A lot goes into every aspect of Camp Schodack. The atmosphere is down-to-earth and new campers are always welcome. But, it doesn’t end there. New Camper Day allows for first-timers to visit, see their bunk, and let their parents meet the staff. Plus, if your kid has a case of nerves, they’ll also be placed with a “Big Sister” or “Big Brother,” so that they have a friend who can look out for them during the summer.

Camp Stonewall
Photograph: Courtesy Camp Stonewall

10. Camp Stonewall

Things to do Camps

It’s actually difficult to believe all of the different types of activities that kids at Camp Stonewall can choose from. There are fun games like capture the flag and hopscotch. Then there are more advanced sports like cricket, lacrosse-basketball, and badminton. There are also arts-focused activities like candle making, crochet, and scrapbooking. It’s pretty much necessary to continue going back to Camp Stonewall year after year—that’s the only way to get through the lengthy list of activities!


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