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.

Many of these camps are coming to the NJ Camp Fairs this January-February.  Register for the Camp Fairs in NJ as 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. Find a residential camp near you, or search for the one that matches all the activities you seek!  

For 2024, here is our Guide to the Sleep-Away Camps 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. Appel Farm Arts Camp is an overnight camp where campers can be themselves and explore art free of judgment. With small class sizes, mixed age groups, campers explore music, theatre, technical theatre, dance, visual arts, photography, media arts, environmental arts, creative writing, sports, and swimming too.

Brightest Star Musical Theatre Camps

Long Beach Island, NJ 
973.829.1973, Sleepaway Camp
At the sleep away camp for incoming 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. 

Buck's Rock Camp

59 Bucks Rock Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
860.354.5030, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway for Ages 11-17
A freedom-of-choice creative and performing arts camp for teens. Every day is a new opportunity for self-discovery and creative expression. From professionally-equipped studios and performance spaces, to state-of-the-art recording facilities and pool, campers are free to try over 30 world-class programs, including from glass-blowing, dance, painting, sketch comedy, radio, weaving, gardening and so much more! We now offer a tiered tuition system, so families only pay what they can afford.

Camp Hawkeye

165 Camp Good News Rd, Charlestown, NH 
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 Michikamau

Harriman State Park, Lake Kanawauke, Southfields, NY 10975
973.758.9039, Ages: Grades 3-10
ACA Accredited, Sleepaway
Camp Michikamau is our back-to-basics sleepaway camp where kids get to be kids - unplugged and connected to nature.  Campers, grades 3-10, experience enriching, fun, outdoor adventures and make lots of new friends. We're about teamwork, curiosity, building self-confidence, and cultivating independence. We're committed to the development of our campers through our Y values: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. Located in Harriman State Park on beautiful Lake Kanawauke, we create memories and friendships that last a lifetime. and fun of camp to break down social and cultural prejudices, misconceptions and barriers.  

Camp Southwoods

532 Route 74, Paradox, NY 12858
914.214.8780, Ages: 7-16, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
Camp Southwoods is a co-ed, sleep-away camp located right in the heart of the Adirondack Wilderness. Our 2, 3, 5, and 7-week sessions allow for any busy family to be able to craft the perfect session length. With our hands-on approach, parents feel supported every step of the way while their campers embark on the journey of a lifetime. Activities span from athletics, arts, aquatics, and adventure. 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 Vacamas

256 Macopin Rd, West Milford, NJ 07480
973.838.0942, Ages: 6-17, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway 
Disconnect from technology. Welcome to the outdoors. Every summer, hundreds of young people from the tri-state area come to Hands In 4 Youth, home to Camp Vacamas, for a summer to remember and meet friends they will never forget. Our 12- and 19-day trips provide exciting and challenging age-specific adventures for campers ages 6-17.  

DREAM Summerstock VTC: A Sleepaway Musical Theater Intensive

256 Macopin Road, West Milford, NJ 07480
862.205.3525, Ages: 12-19, Sleepaway, Performing Arts Camp
Summerstock VTC Sleepaway Intensive is a comprehensive sleep-away program for the serious Musical Theater performer between the ages of 12–19. Our staff is led by professional actors and directors, and campers will perform in one of three fully produced shows. This summer’s shows are Heathers the Musical, High School Musical, & Pete(HER)Pan, A New Neverland. In addition to show rehearsals, Summerstock workshops include: Songwriting, Shakespeare, Musical Theater Dance, Character Analysis, Hip Hop, Belting for Broadway, and so much more! Our recreational activities such as swimming, boating, archery, hiking, movie nights, dance parties, and of course nightly campfires, perfectly round the best camp experience for everyone. Students who have participated in our summer intensive have been accepted in the most prestigious Musical Theater programs including:  University of Michigan, Pace University, Syracuse University, Boston Conservatory, Ithaca College, NYU / Tisch, Emerson College, Northwestern, Berklee School of Music, HARTT, Montclair State University, Webster University Conservatory, and many more. Past Summerstock campers have left every summer saying it was the best weeks of their lives!

Eagle Island Camp

442 Gilpin Bay Road, Saranac Lake NY, 12983-3064 
845.323.7979, Ages 9-17
Sleepaway, Girls Only Camp
Not only is this one-of-a-kind camp located on an island (how cool is that?!), but it’s one of the most unique summer camps in the Adirondacks. Eagle Island offers one-week and two-week girls' overnight programs for ages 9 -17. Swimming, Sailing, Paddling, Crafts, Nature and so much more!

Fairview Lake YMCA Camps

1035 Fairview Lake Rd, Newton, NJ 07860
Ages: 2-11 graders, ACA Acredited, Sleepaway
Our program at Fairview Lake includes adventure, leadership, ranch, traditional, and specialty programs. Offering 2 incredible sleepaway camps in 2 locations: 1, 2, 3 or more weeks in Newton location, and Lake In the Woods location (Mon - Fri then home on the weekend).

Frost Valley YMCA

2000 Frost Valley Road, Claryville, NY 12725
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.

Girl Scouts Heart of NJ Sleepaway - Camp Hoover 

961 West Shore Dr, Middleville, NJ 07855
Ages: 6-16, Girls Sleepaway
Since 1953, Camp Hoover has been providing unique experiences that create life-changing memories. Time spent among the forests, hills, and lake of Camp Hoover’s 340 acres is a journey into independence—a place where you’ll test your limits, expand your horizons, hone your skills, overcome fears, get outside, unplug, learn, grow, and make friends.

Incarnation Camps

253 Bushy Hill Rd, Ivoryton, CT 06442  860.767.0848
Ages: 7-15 years, Sleepaway/Overnight
A wilderness adventure & classic summer camp located in coastal Connecticut on over 700 wooded acres surrounding a mile-long private lake. As the country’s oldest co-ed camps, since 1886, we provide a fun-filled, traditional camp with experiential learning and group living in the outdoors.

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
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.


210 Deckertown Turnpike, Montague NJ 07827
Ages: 5-17, ACA Accredited, Sleepaway - Since 1887, Trail Blazers has been where young people go outside to grow within! Join us for our 138th summer and get ready for a screen-free adventure in nature. Build outdoor skills, learn environmental science, complete a backpacking trip via hike, bike, or canoe, then fall asleep in a tent under the stars! Also, Mini Camp is perfect for young first-timers.Leaders-In-Training too.

YMCA Camp Bernie

70 Clark Rd, Thompson, PA 18465
Ages: Grades 2-11, Sleepaway 
YMCA Camp Bernie is your local overnight camp, close to home, but a world away, for grades 2 - 11. An overnight camp experience is a unique opportunity for children to gain a sense of independence with the freedom to be themselves. Campers discover new skills through adventurous programs like mountain biking, canoeing, archery, rock climbing wall, zip-lining and much more. Additional programs like horseback riding, and dirt biking at avaiable for purchase as well. YMCA Camp Bernie provides campers entering grades 2-11 with a safe community to enjoy the outdoors and build lifelong memories and friendships. 

YMCA Camp Foss (for girls)
YMCA Camp Mi-Te-Na (for boys)

New Hampshire
Ages: 8-15, Sleepaway 
Kids become part of a community and form friendships as they learn both how to be more independent and how to contribute to a group as they engage in physical, social, and educational activities every day. Daily trips, sports activities, archery, cooking, campfires, lake swim, ropes course challenge and more. 

YMCA Camp Mason

23 Birch Ridge Road, Hardwick, NJ
Ages: 8-15, Sleepaway 
Generations of campers and families from all walks of life have called Camp Mason their summer home since 1900. Today, kids come to camp to make memories and friendships to last a lifetime. Summer camp at Camp Mason helps kids build confidence, self esteem and relationships, while developing independence and empathy. It’s also an opportunity to switch off, go tech-free and enjoy spending time outdoors. 

YMCA Camp Mohawk 

PO Box 1209, Litchfield, CT 06759-3504
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.


Links to Find More Camps:  Click to see the camp directory for ideas.

2024 Camp Guide eBook
Traditional Day Camps 2024 in and around NJ
STEM and STEAM Camps 2024 in and around NJ
Sports Camps 2024 in and around NJ
Performing Arts Camps 2024 in and around NJ
Academic Camps 2024 in and around NJ
Special Needs Camps in and around NJ