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 2022, here are some of the best sleep-away camp options with all the activities imaginable: 


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 Bauercrest

17 Old County Rd, Amesbury, MA 01913‎
508-251-9811 www.bauercrest.org
Camp Bauercrest is New England's premier overnight sports camp for boys. Situated on a beautiful hillside overlooking the shores of Lake Attitash, just 40 miles north of Boston, Bauercrest has been a summer home for generations of boys since 1931. We help our campers develop both on and off the field using our S.T.A.R. PRINCIPLES: Sportsmanship, Tradition, Accountability, and Resilience. ACA Accredited.


932 Washington St, Norwood, MA 02062
781.762.7400 www.explo.org/summer-programs
EXPLO is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing K-12 students and educators with learning experiences that are innovative, active, and future-facing. A sleepaway camp offering Junior Program at Wheaton College for grades 4-7, designed to provide children with an exploratory learning experience encouraging active and engaged learners with the goal of trying new things. The Senior Program is for grades 8-10 at Sarah Lawrence College, aimed at bringing that same hands-on learning experience to pre-teens and giving them a sense of independence and the courage to conquer high school. The Pre-College and Career program for High Schoolers at Wellesley College, is their newest offering, designed to provide an in-depth exploration of a topic to high school students potentially interested in that field, providing them with real world experience and allowing them to make connections with industry leading professionals. 

Fairview Lake YMCA Camps

1035 Fairview Lake Rd, Newton, NJ 07860
Fairview Lake YMCA sits on Fairview Lake in Northwestern New Jersey adjoining the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, with access to the Appalachian Trail, the Delaware River, unlimited hiking possibilities and breathtaking views. Fairview Lake YMCA Camps is excited to announce two amazing camp programs this summer.  The program at Fairview Lake includes adventure, leadership, ranch, traditional, and specialty programs for campers entering grades 2-11. With two waterfronts and a fleet of canoes, rowboats, kayaks, sailboats, and windsurfers are at campers’ disposal along with sports fields, basketball, tennis and hockey courts, archery and riffle ranges, high rope courses and climbing walls for a wide variety of year-round activities. Their NEW program, 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! 

Fernbrook Farms

142 Bordentown Georgetown Rd, Chesterfield, NJ 08515
Fernbrook Farms has an overnight camp as well as a day camp. Offering a multifaceted 230-acre preserved farmland where campers come together to enjoy working on the land, learning about nature and farming, and sharing the delicious, organic fruits and vegetables of their labor. Children ages 3 to 15+ get to learn all about healthy, natural food at the educational center. 

Frost Valley YMCA

38 Co Rd 157, Claryville, NY 12725
Located in New York’s Catskill Mountains with one of the most breathtaking natural settings in the country for children, Frost Valley offers a variety of camps for grades 2-10. It is a magical world of play. Nothing to turn on, re-charge, or re-boot; nature does that all on her own. Our imaginations do the rest. They offer sports, arts and crafts, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, canoeing, swimming, singing, storytelling around the campfire, and sleeping underneath a canopy of stars. Traditions include the Olympic ceremony, and the Hirdstock music festival. With over 100 summers under their belt, Frost Valley is guided by a mission to build a healthy mind, body, & spirit for all.  Children from all backgrounds come together to try exciting & new things in a safe environment while building friendships. 

Independent Lake Camp

70 Clark Rd, Thompson, PA 18465
800.399.CAMP (2267)  www.independentlake.com
A premier overnight camp in the Poconos, ILC is dedicated to being a diverse community with powerful individualized programming, and 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-ski, Wakeboard, Lake, Pool, Horseback, Nature & more! We have been offering respect, creativity and understanding in a challenging and nurturing environment for over 30 years. The friendships and connections that are developed at ILC are what makes our community so special. 

Pok-O-MacCready Camps

1391 Reber Rd, Willsboro, NY 12996
518.963.7656   www.pokomac.com
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. Among the 40+ activities offered are: hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, kayaking, blacksmithing, mountain biking, sailing, sports, swimming, and creative arts. Its location in the Adirondack Park gives it access to hundreds of miles of trails and rivers for both day and overnight trips. Facilities available include an early 19th Century working farm, an indoor rock climbing center, tennis and basketball courts, a street hockey complex, modern horse stables, ball fields, swimming and boating docks, and rustic cabins tucked into the fields and forest. A screen-free, nature-filled setting and small cabin groups promote social growth and conflict resolution.

Summer Discovery

Universities across the US and UK
516.447.4907 www.summerdiscovery.com
Day Camp, Pre-college, STEM, CoEd, ACA, 5 - 17 years
Summer Discovery has more than 55 years in the summer experience industry and has provided superior pre-college programs for 40+ years. Today, we’re the leading pre-college experience provider for middle and high school students. In partnership with prestigious universities across the US and UK, we deliver unique on-campus experiences and online learning opportunities. Summer Discovery also offers gifted academic summer programs through Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG). As a leader in gifted education since 1984, SIG provides residential, day, and online innovative academic summer programs for gifted, academically talented, and creative students.

Surf and Turf Camp

Montclair, NJ 
973-306-9505  www.surfandturfcamp.com
Surf and Turf Camp offers a day and overnight camp for boys and girls ages 9-15. Edgemont School in Montclair, NJ is their starting point each day heading out on a different adventure, from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to as far as Canada and California (for their overnight camps). They hike, bike, swim, tour, and boat everywhere at an adventurous speed. Guided by the best and most experienced teachers, who are certified lifeguards, EMT's, and First Aid Trained leaders. 

Timber Lake West

76 Timber Lake Road, Roscoe NY, 12776
516-656-4239  www.timberlakewest.com

Timber Lake West is a traditional, co-ed four-week sleep-away summer camp. They power-pack a full summer of fun into an exciting four-week experience for every one of our campers. Located in New York’s Catskill Mountains, Timber Lake West is just over 2 hours northwest of New York City and 3 hours from Philadelphia. Set on a mountaintop, its 380 secluded acres features its own private spring-fed lake and an outstanding array of summer camp facilities. They are committed  to providing the highest level of service and excellence in the camping profession. Constantly innovating and moving forward, Timber Lake West’s facilities, program and staff development are second to none.

YMCA Camp Ralph S Mason 

23 Birch Ridge Rd, Hardwick Township, NJ 07825
908.362.8217 www.campmason.org
YMCA Camp Mason is located on 460 wooded acres in Northwestern NJ only 1.5 hours from NYC and 2 hours from PA, bordering the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap, a pristine national recreation area that provides the perfect backdrop for our premier summer camp programs. Forests, trails, lakes, professionally built challenge courses, a nature center, sport courts, craft centers and dedicated program areas enable us to provide safe and age-appropriate activities that aim to foster new relationships, build self-confidence and teach new skills. Our small size enables us to give your child the individual attention. Everyone is sure to feel at home!

YMCA Camp Mohawk 

246 Great Hill Rd, Litchfield, CT
860.672.6655   www.campmohawk.org
Established in 1920, YMCA Camp Mohawk, an all girls camp, is located at its beautiful site in Northwest Connecticut. Girls can attend for as short as one week or all summer. Camp Mohawk offers girls a place to discover personal strengths, become more confident and develop an enhanced sense of self. Mature, caring and fun staff guide girls in both cabin life and in the forty-two activities that are offered weekly. Great food, great friends, great fun! As we say here at camp, the Spirit lasts a Lifetime!

Camp Stonewall

26 Chase Road, Thompson, CT, 06277
860-923-9565 x 291
Hailed as “an experience of a lifetime”, Camp Stonewall likes to make history by squeezing in as much fun as they can out of every single day. They love to be loud and silly, honest and true, comfortable and inclusive allowing everyone to push their own personal limits to struggle, overcome, grow and excel. A huge list of 100+ activities are offered, grouped within Athletics & Outdoor Activities, Performing & Culinary Arts as well as Visual Arts & Free Play.


For those who are into the Performing Arts: 

Brightest Star Musical Theatre Camps

Poconos Mountains, Cresco PA
Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, NJ 
Brightest Star School of Performing Arts offers two sleepaway options: their famous Beach Musical Theatre Camp in Beach Haven, NJ and their Pocono Mountain Musical Theatre Camp in Pocono Plateau in Cresco, PA for students ages 6-12. Daily training in voice, acting and dance as well as an introduction to technical theatre skill in areas of lighting, sound, costuming, production, theatre management, etc.  All camps culminate in a full Broadway titled show presented to the public. Plus plenty of outdoor activities.  

Buck's Rock Camp

59 Buck's Rock Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
860.354.5030  www.bucksrockcamp.org
Sleepaway Camp, Art/Design/Making, Music, Performing Arts, STEM, CoEd, ACA, 10 - 17 years
Buck's Rock Camp is a freedom-of-choice creative and performing arts overnight camp for 10-17 year olds. Every summer is completely different. It’s a safe space where young people can grow into whatever they want and need to be. The day starts at 7:30am and ends at 10:15pm. From the professionally-equipped studios and exciting performance spaces, to the state-of-the-art recording facilities and pool, campers are free to try anything and everything! Over 30 world-class programs await our artists every day, from glassblowing to dance, painting to sketch, comedy to radio, weaving to gardening and so much more! Many generations of Buck’s Rockers, including campers, their parents, and decades of dedicated staff make up our unique community. 

Camp Ballibay

1660 Ballibay Rd, Wyalusing, PA 18853
570.746.3223 www.campballibay.com
Sleepaway Camp, Art/Design/Making, Music, Performing Arts, CoEd, 8 - 17 years
Camp Ballibay is a true haven for young people with a love for the arts, and a perfect choice for families seeking a safe, friendly, and creative art, music/rock, dance, or theater camp for their kids. We offer deep, engaging programs for young artists at all levels in a traditional summer camp setting. Young artists ages 8-17 come from all over North and South America, Europe, and Asia to spend 2-7 weeks on our pristine mountaintop campus in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Established in 1964, we have a long history as a diverse, tolerant, and safe camp for creative kids. Since 2011 we've been the #1-rated arts camp in North America, and in 2021 we were named one of the 9 best arts summer camps in the US.

Vanguard Theater Company's Summerstock Theater Camp

256 Macopin Rd, West Milford, NJ 07480
VTC Summerstock is an intensive sleep-away program for the serious Theater & Musical Theater performer, and offers the FULL summer camp experience. Led by professional actors and directors, campers perform three fully produced shows in 3 weeks. Along with show rehearsals, campers take workshops including: Songwriting, Shakespeare, Musical Theater Dance, Music Theory, Sight Reading, and Character Analysis. Recreational activities include swimming, boating, archery, hiking, and of course, nightly campfires, perfectly round out the camp experience. Our campers leave every summer saying it was the best weeks of the year! Located at Hands In 4 Youth - Home of Camp Vacamas in the beautiful foothills of the Ramapo mountains of West Milford, NJ. July 24 through August 13. Financial Assistance is available. 


Links to Find More Camps: 

2022 Camp Guide eBook
Traditional Day Camps 2022 in and around NJ
STEM and STEAM Camps 2022 in and around NJ
Sports Camps 2022 in and around NJ
Performing Arts Camps 2022 in and around NJ
Academic Camps 2022 in and around NJ
Special Needs Camps 2021 in and around NJ