Family sleepaway camp vacations offer fun, adventure and family bonding at reasonable rates. So, think about going to camp together with your kids this year. Plan ahead, and check out these great family sleepaway camps.
Parents who wish to relive their childhood camp days — or who simply want to enjoy quality family time away from the distractions of modern technology — are flocking to family camps for recreation and to enjoy the great outdoors with their kids. Family camps welcome parents to enjoy the overnight-camp experience that is usually exclusive to tweens and teens. One of the fastest-growing trends in the camp industry, about 10 percent of camps in the U.S. now offer family programs, more than double the amount in 1995. Families stay in tents or cabins, eat communal meals in the dining hall, and participate in a variety of outdoor activities. No cooking, driving, or planning an itinerary on this vacation!
Most family camps run three to seven days, and generally include all activities, food, and lodging. The price ranges anywhere from $200 to $1500 per person, although it is often less expensive than the typical family vacation. Family camp is ideal for families with children ages 7-12, however most camps welcome infants (some even provide the option of childcare), and many camps have teen-specific programs as well.
Here is our list of Top Family Camps located in the East. In addition, our favorite family camping chain, with locations throughout the US and Canada is Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts.
Appalachian Mountain Club Family Adventure Camps
Headquarters: 10 City Square
Boston, MA 02129
Available at five AMC lodges in the White Mountains and Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and in the Moosehead Lake Region of Maine, these specialized camp experiences are very popular with families with kids from age five through teens. Programs include guided lodge-to-hut hiking programs with easy-to-moderate hikes and naturalist programs for an all-inclusive rate covering lodging, all meals, guides, instructions and equipment. Typically, guided one-to-three-mile hikes are done in the mornings and afternoons in addition to stream exploration or a paddling trip. There is free time mid-day, a gathering time with other families before dinner, and a campfire, sing-along, night hike or movie after dinner. Special teens-only “break-out” activities are programmed during select camps.
1090 Ossipee Lake Rd
West Ossipee, NH 03890
Calumet has 65 campsites for families that are ideal for tents and RVs. All have water and electric hook-ups, a fire-pit, a picnic table, and a spot for your car. Most sites have sewer hook-ups, and the bathroom facilities are centrally located. There is no minimum or maximum stay, which makes Calumet ideal for go-with-the-flow or hesitant campers. There is also a summer mid-week package plan for families at a special rate, which includes meals and lodging. The site is located on a half-mile of lifeguard-patrolled beach, and hiking, biking, canoeing, and volleyball are also offered. An all-you-can-eat breakfast is $4pp, and other meals are extra. Additionally, there are supervised teen evenings and all-camp game nights.
Common Grounds Center
473 Tatro Road
Starksboro, VT 05487
Families can pitch their own tent, stay in a private cabin, or rent a room at one of the houses at this 700-acre Starksboro farm. There are miles of hiking trails, diverse wildlife and vegetation, a scenic wetland, and a shoreline along Lewis Creek. Large open fields are available for baseball, soccer, volleyball, or any other group sport. Artsy activities include music, crafts, dance, and yoga. There are separate adult and children’s programs in the morning, and multi-generation activities in the afternoon. Three meals are served each day at the camp; all are vegetarian and organic. For those with older kids, there is a specific family camp just for families with teenagers, which features community-building projects and age-specific activities. Rates are all-inclusive of meals and activities.
Deer Valley Family Camp
254 Deer Valley Drive
Fort Hill, PA 15540
This YMCA camp offers a summer family camp with programs for all ages. There are staffed morning day camp programs for ages 3 and up, and a teen program that includes whitewater rafting and rock climbing. While the kids are busy, parents can enjoy activities such as tennis, hiking, and horseback riding. Early evenings consist of family activities like movies, while later evening activities like entertainment shows and campfires are geared more towards adults. Meals are served family style in the dining hall, and families stay in cabins with single beds. The cabins don’t have private bathrooms; instead they are all located near washhouses equipped with showers, washing machines and dryers.
178 Liberty Road (Summer)
Washington, ME 04574
13220 Westmeath Lane (Winter)
Clarksville, MD 21029
Medomak is a weeklong, all-inclusive family camp that runs throughout the summer. Families stay in one-room cabins with private bathrooms. Some comforts include reading lights, rocking chairs, queen beds for the parents, twin beds for the kids, and a writing desk. Activities range from typical camp activities (archery, sailing) to the more atypical (stretch classes, blueberry picking). Medomak also offers events just for parents like gallery visits, local beer and cheese tastings, and sessions with an on site massage therapist. All meals are served family-style in their farmhouse dining room, and— it is Maine, after all—a lobster dinner is offered once a week. Tuition includes all dining hall meals, lodging, activities, and equipment.
Tyler Place Family Resort
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
Located on Lake Champlain, this family-run resort has been welcoming guests with kids from ages 0-18 for over 75 years. Accomodations range from cozy cabins to rooms in a main lodge, and the atmosphere is low-key. Kid’s programs for all ages run in the mornings and evenings, while afternoons are for family together time. Activities for kids and adults range from watersports to tennis to biking to pottery-making and much more. The food is fabulous and the staff is incomparable.
Top Learning Camps for Families in the East
For families that are looking for something outside of the typical camp experience, many places offer family-oriented, camp-like learning programs. These camps are not always all-inclusive, yet are still relatively inexpensive for what they do offer. Parents and their children can learn about outer space, the arts, or other cultures over the course of a week or weekend. The following activity-specific camp is best for families with school-age children ages 6-13 or older.
1 Ames Avenue
Chautauqua, NY 14722
Located on western New York’s Chautauqua Lake since 1874, this day camp has hosted the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Gershwin. A range of activities for each age group — from golf to baseball, swimming to tennis — form the active core of a program specializing in lectures on theatre, ballet, the symphony and politics. The typical Saturday-Saturday week is spent together in one of the many local B&Bs or at a historic host hotel, such as the small and luxurious Spencer Hotel in the camp’s midst. Check their website for each week’s programs and be prepared to book a year in advance.
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