A Rite of Passage developing independence at an Overnight Camp

Is it time for your child to experience some independence while enjoying fun, new adventures and creating long-lasting friendships?  Sleepaway Camp has long been an important stage in a kid’s life where they gain confidence, responsibility and independence, not to mention great friends that may last a lifetime. It is a safe environment, away from their families, where they can learn fabulous, new skills, and experience making decisions for themselves. We have found many great options for overnight camps providing excellent activities and learning opportunities for our kids in a safe and nurturing environment.  Find a residential camp near you, or search for the one that matches all the activities you seek!  

Register for the Camp Fairs in NJ as many of these camps will be present to meet and greet you. This is a tremendous opportunity to meet camp directors who can answer all your questions, give you information and show you videos and photos, plan a tour of the camp and even sign you up. Many are filling up quickly. Click to see the camp directory for ideas.

For 2023, here are some of the best sleep-away camp options with all the activities imaginable: 


Appel Farm Arts Camp

457 Shirley Rd, Elmer NJ 08318
856.358.2472, Ages: 7-17
ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
For more than 60 years, summers at Appel Farm have sparked the imaginations of thousands of young people as they interacted with artists from around the world in beautiful rural southern NJ. Safety, Community, Personal Growth, and Fun guide our program to ensure that all campers experience a summer that will last a lifetime. 

Brightest Star Musical Theatre Camps

16 Ridgedale Ave, Cedar Knolls NJ 07927
973.829.1973, Day Camp, Sleepaway Camps 
At the sleep away camp for grade 6-12, students participate in daily classes and rehearsals, preparing for a full Broadway-style presentation with lights, sound, costumes, scenery, etc. Students arrive on Sunday and present the show on Friday night. Intensive for beginners and advanced theatrical students. Students stay in beautiful beach cottages and lake lodges.
The day camp for grades 3-8, is 2-weeks long and held in Morristown; concludes with full show.

Buck's Rock Camp

59 Bucks Rock Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
www.bucksrockcamp.org, 860.354.5030
Ages: 11-17,  ACA Accredited, Sleepaway Provides education in the creative and performing arts. Campers make their own choices in a day, leading them to discover new art forms and engage in hands-on, experiential learning. Working artists and teachers offer world-class instruction in over 30 different arts, including dance, glassblowing, improv, weaving, lighting design, ceramics, and more. We now offer a tiered tuition system, so families only pay what they can afford.

Camp Bogglefox

160 Big Pond Rd, Huguenot, NY 12746
Ages 10-13, Sleepaway
An overnight camp that focuses on Choice, Youth Voice & Self Direction. We provide a camp experience created in collaboration with youth to foster imagination, play and exploration. 

Camp Hawkeye

165 Camp Good News Rd, Charlestown, NH 
www.CampHawkeye.com, 781.315.1297
Ages: 7-17, Sleepaway 
Camp Hawkeye is the un-traditional sleepaway camp for ALL HUMANS with a commitment to creating a diverse community.  With 80 campers and 35 staff, Hawkeye is perfect for first time campers of any age. Campers and staff are from a variety of social, ethnic, economic, religious, and geographic backgrounds as well as across the gender spectrum. Hawkeye is different; with the feel of family and the healthy experience of the outdoors, Camp Hawkeye uses the joy and fun of camp to break down social and cultural prejudices, misconceptions and barriers.  

Camp O-AT-KA

593 Sebago Road, Sebago, ME 04029
Ages: 8-16, www.campoatka.org 
207.787.3401, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway
Located on the shores of Sebago Lake, boys have been coming to O-AT-KA for over 117 years to explore interests, gain skills, make lasting friendships and grow to be self-assured young men of character. Campers from around the world are immersed into a supportive, unplugged environment with robust athletic, art, and wilderness trip programs. Two to seven weeks sessions. info@campoatka.org.

Camp Southwoods

532 Route 74, Paradox, NY 12858
www.campsouthwoods.com, 914.214.8780, Ages: 7-16, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
Camp Southwoods is a 4-week sleepaway camp located in the Adirondack Mountains in NY. A home-away-from-home where daytimes burst with fun-filled ah-ha moments, and evenings settle in by the campfire and canteen. A REAL camp experience, where BFFs are created all summer long! Under the guidance of dedicated leaders and super-stoked counselors, campers thrive through laughter, learning, and the freedom-feeling elation of the mountain air.

Camp Tioga

1635 State Rte 2036, Thompson, PA 18465
973-832-7504  www.camptioga.com
Promoted as a “Pennsylvania summer camp with a family atmosphere that makes a positive difference”, this camp offers endless activities of your choosing such as athletics & fitness, water sports, creative arts & performing, adventure, special activities as well as a traveler’s program. This is a unique experience which is certain to please everyone as they achieve their individual goals and preferences. Their Core-Four Values are built around Friendship, Independence, Confidence, and Inclusion. They have a Four Week Program which balances between innovation and traditional camp experiences and keeps campers excited for each day’s special events and activities.  A 2 week program is available for first time campers. Programming includes our flying trapeze and circus program, two heated swimming pools, waterfront (including 150' waterslide, boating, and Wibit obstacle course), Creative Arts, Media & Podcast Studio, Sports, Archery, Fitness and on-site spin studio, and on-site movie theatre.  This technology-free setting was founded in 1997 is family owned and operated.  

Camp Wigwam

57 Wigwam Pass, Waterford, ME 04088
www.campwigwam.com, 207.583.2300
Ages: 6-16, ACA Accredited, Boys Sleepaway
The Wigwam summer camp is a very personal one with only four boys and one counselor in each cabin. One 7-week program begins in late June through mid August, with a 4-week option in between. A high percentage of returning staff, experienced personnel and the involved ownership of the Strauss family, Camp Wigwam fosters individual, physical and emotional growth in a less competitive atmosphere, guiding campers to live and learn within a community of his peers.

Cross Roads Camp & Retreat Center

29 Pleasant Grove Road, Port Murray, NJ 07865
www.crossroadsretreat.com, 908.832.7264
Ages: 8-18, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway
A welcoming and inclusive community providing life changing and sacred adventures for renewal, growth, and joy. Cross Roads is a summer and year-round camp and retreat center in northwestern NJ for children, young people and adults.  Offers faith formation, leadership development, and the opportunity to just unwind and quiet the soul, in addition to activities such as swimming, sports, crafts, a rock wall and low and high ropes courses, plus great food!  

Fairview Lake YMCA Camps

1035 Fairview Lake Rd, Newton, NJ 07860
973.383.9282  www.fairviewlakeymca.org
Ages: 2-11 graders, ACA Acredited, Sleepaway
Our program at Fairview Lake includes adventure, leadership, ranch, traditional, and specialty programs. Our newest camp, Lake in the Woods, located on the Blair Academy campus, is a unique experience where campers spend Monday-Friday at camp and are home on the weekends!  Both of our locations provide opportunities for kids to try new things, make friends, meet role models and gain confidence. 

Frost Valley YMCA

2000 Frost Valley Road, Claryville, NY 12725
frostvalley.org, 845.985.2291
Ages: 7-16, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
Summer camp offers children a magical world of play. There is nothing to turn on, re-charge, or re-boot; nature does that all on her own. We offer sports, arts and crafts, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, canoeing, swimming, singing, storytelling around the campfire, and sleeping underneath a canopy of stars. Our traditions—hoopla, stories, songs, and cheers, the annual Olympic ceremony, and the Hirdstock music festival—introduce campers to the roles that creativity and imagination play in sports, education, and of course, play. Located in the Catskill Mountains and among one of the most breathtaking natural settings in the country for children.

Independent Lake Camp

70 Clark Rd, Thompson, PA 18465
800.399.2267 or 570.727.4160
Ages: 6-17, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
A premier overnight camp in the Poconos, ILC is dedicated to being a diverse community with powerful individualized programing, top notch facilities & staff. Choose from 2-8 week sessions with an impressive array of activities including, Circus, Trapeze, Sports, Fitness, Archery, Art, Theatre, Dance, Magic, Music, Recording studio, Skatepark, Digital Arts, Moviemaking, D&D/RPG, Rocketry, Climbing Wall, High Ropes, Water-Skiing, Wakeboarding, Lake, Pool, Horseback, Nature & more. We have been offering respect, creativity & understanding in an inspiring and nurturing environment for over 30 years.

Pok-O-MacCready Camps

1391 Reber Road, Willsboro NY 12996
www.pokomac.com, 518-963-7656
Ages: 6-17, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway Grounded in a century of tradition, Pok-O-MacCready fosters personal growth for children by empowering them to achieve independence, create lifelong friendships, and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world in the Adirondacks and beyond. Activities include: hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, kayaking, blacksmithing, mountain biking, sailing, sports, swimming, and creative arts. A screen-free, nature-filled setting and small cabin groups promote social growth and community building.

Summer Discovery and Summer Institute for the Gifted 

Universities across the US and UK
www.summerdiscovery.com, www.giftedstudy.org
516.447.4907, Ages: 6-18
ACA Accredited, Sleepaway, Pre College
In partnership with top universities in the US and UK, Summer Discovery delivers transformative academic and extra-curricular pre-college summer experiences aimed to develop middle and high school students for the 21st century, all while teaching transferable and soft skills coveted by employers and university admissions teams. Academic programs for gifted, academically talented, and creative students in grades 1-11 through Summer Institute for the Gifted.

Timber Lake West

76 Timber Lake Road, Roscoe, NY 12776
Winter: 516.656.4210 | Summer: 845.439.4440
Ages: 8-16, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
Timber Lake West is a true 4-week sleep-away summer camp. Both sessions experience their own unique Color War, in camp and inter-camp tournaments and leagues, trips and more! Whichever session you choose, your child will start and end camp with their bunk. Set on a mountaintop in NY’s Catskill Mountains, our 380 secluded acres features its own private spring-fed lake and an outstanding array of summer camp facilities. From our Art Barn to our go-kart track, there is something for every kid at West. 

Trail Blazers

210 Deckertown Turnpike, Montague, NJ 07827
www.trailblazers.org, 212.529.5113
Ages: 5-17, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway
Our overnight camp program helps your camper develop an appreciation for nature, a collaborative and self-determined spirit, and the ability to set and reach goals for themselves and with a group. Days are filled with small group adventures driven by a schedule that each group tailors to its interests. Every day brings your camper opportunities to develop care and respect for themselves, their friends, our community, and the environment. Offering three sessions throughout the summer lasting15 days, including a general outdoor adventure program, farmstead program at stony-creek farmstead, intensive canoe program, intensive mountain biking program, Leaders in Training for teens, and APEX for teens. 

YMCA Camp Bernie

327 Turkey Top Road, Port Murray, NJ 07865
www.campbernieymca.org, 908.832.5315
Overnight: entering grades 2-11
Day Camp: entering grades K - 11
ACA Accredited, Traditional Day, Sleepaway 
Join us for a summer of friendship and adventure at YMCA Camp Bernie! We are committed to offering programs and community connections that positively impact lives through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, building spirit, mind and body for all.  

YMCA Camp Ralph S Mason 

23 Birch Ridge Road, Hardwick NJ 07825
www.campmason.org, 908.362.8217
Ages: 8-16, ACA Accredited,Traditional Day At YMCA Camp Mason we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. Since 1900, YMCA Camp Mason has inspired kids with countless opportunities to laugh, lead and make lasting friendships. Together, our proven programs and trained counselors engage and encourage young people and deliver meaningful and memorable experiences that keep families coming back year after year after year. 

YMCA Camp Mohawk 

PO Box 1209, Litchfield, CT 06759-3504
www.campmohawk.org, 860.672.6655
Ages: 7-15 (overnight), 5-12 (day)
ACA Accredited, Sleepaway, Traditional Day Girls Only Camp
YMCA Camp Mohawk is a traditional all-girls overnight and day camp in Litchfield, CT. Our main goal is to provide girls and young women the space to become stronger, more confident individuals while making friends, having fun and learning new skills.

Camp Stonewall

26 Chase Road, Thompson, CT 06277
www.campstonewall.org, 860.326.2127
Ages: 7-15, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
CSW is a co-ed sleepaway camp nestled on a prep school campus, with 40 daily activities in adventure, athletics, culinary arts, drama, music, dance, and visual arts. In addition to attracting participants from the US, campers also come from around the globe for sessions of 1-7 weeks.


Links to Find More Camps: 

2023 Camp Guide eBook
Traditional Day Camps 2023 in and around NJ
STEM and STEAM Camps 2023 in and around NJ
Sports Camps 2023 in and around NJ
Performing Arts Camps 2023 in and around NJ
Academic Camps 2023 in and around NJ
Special Needs Camps in and around NJ