8 Great Overnight Summer Camps in the U.S.

camp counselor with kids and kayaks

Overnight summer camps provide kids with opportunities they might not get in the comfort of their home. With a variety of camps available in every region across the country, fun is never too far away.

Summer Fun in the Northeast

Camp Kenan

With over 90 years of experience, YMCA Camp Kenan in Barker, New York is a great overnight summer camp for children 7-to 14-years-old who wish to spend only a week away from home. Campers can choose to attend one of the seven sessions that are available in July and August, all of which have a special theme. Camp Kenan's proximity to Lake Ontario and the 30 different activities it offers for kids provides an action-packed experience for all participants.

With an American Camp Association accreditation that requires an extensive list of standards to be met, Camp Kenan sets a high standard for both enjoyment and safety.

Camp Eagle Hill

Looking for an extended summer camp? Camp Eagle Hill offers a full session that runs from the end of June to the middle of August, a one month July session, and a shorter August session. Kids in 1st through 10th grade are eligible to enroll in any session and the older teens have the chance to go on day trips to Boston, Baltimore and Washington D.C. while also participating as a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) at the campground.

Camp Eagle Hill promotes physical activity on a daily basis by implementing sports and other active programming into their schedule. Campers may choose to try mountain biking, gymnastics or dance during these times. There is plenty of time for more restful activities as well.

Located in Elizaville, New York, Camp Eagle Hill lies close to the borders of Massachusetts and Connecticut, making it a convenient option for campers located in the Northeast region. The camp only takes around 250 kids to ensure that staff-to-camper ratios are low and to make sure each child has an opportunity for more individualized attention. Each kid will be part of a small group during their stay in the cabins which promotes positive relationship building and friendship.

Camping in the Midwest

Camp Foley

Located in Pine River, Minnesota, Camp Foley offers coed one-week, two-week, and four-week sessions for kids who are 8- to 16-years-old. With five activity periods throughout the day to try one of the 30 different land, water, wilderness, creative arts and leadership activities that are available, campers will find themselves immersed in memorable moments and learning experiences. By having such a broad range of experiences and designated activity periods, your child could play paintball one hour and then be waterskiing the next!

With a 1:4 staff-to-camper ratio and knowledgeable counselors who have passed an 11-day training, Camp Foley takes the utmost efforts to ensure your child is safe and his needs are met. Since the camp sets a high standard for safety and enjoyment, it has been accredited by the American Camp Association.

Cub Creek Science and Animal Camp

Making friends with shy arctic fox
Making friends with shy arctic fox

Take a walk on the wild side with this Missouri summer camp that focuses on animal encounters, nature and the world of science. At Cub Creek Science and Animal Camp, kids who are 7- to 17-years-old can surround themselves with wildlife during any one of the one- to six-week sessions that are available throughout the summer. From lemurs to wallabies, campers can touch, hold and learn about these animals as they engage in outdoor activities and lessons. Campers also have the option to participate in ropes courses, caving and camping.

The majority of Cub Creek Science and Animal Camp's staff are college students who are majoring in education, general science or animal science. Staff go through at least two weeks of training to ensure that they know how to provide a positive experience for all children. The camp meets the requirements for American Camp Association accreditation.

Exploring the South

Camp Chatuga

Fun at the lake at Camp Chatuga
Camp Chatuga

Camp Chatuga offers children in 1st through 11th grade the opportunity to experience overnight camp for anywhere from three days to four weeks - a perfect balance for first-timers and veterans. Children who attend this South Carolina adventure will get to choose from over 30 activities to make their experience more personalized and exciting. With sports, music, crafts, and so much more, there is literally a place for every child to fit in.

For those campers attending two week or longer sessions, a special trip is planned and may involve rafting, riding a zipline or tubing down a river. Parents can breathe easier knowing that the camper-to-staff ratio is 4:1. Camp Chatuga is also accredited by the American Camp Association.

Camp Jam Atlanta

Do your children talk about playing in a rock band one day? Do they sing into their hairbrush while they get ready in the morning? Are they interested in improving their musical abilities? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Camp Jam is a great overnight camp option for your kids. Although there are locations across the United States, Camp Jam Atlanta offers two-week-long programs in June on the campus of Brenau University.

With openings for kids ranging in age from 7- to 17-years-old, campers of all ages can be immersed into the musical world by participating in stage performances, songwriting, open mic nights, and so much more. Overnight campers get to stay in dorm rooms where counselors and campus security make sure they are safe and protected throughout their stay.

Experience the West

The Painted Turtle

child with horse after riding
Horse riding at The Painted Turle

If you have a child with a medical condition that could prevent him from attending traditional overnight camps, then The Painted Turtle should be on your list of camps to check out. Week-long sessions are offered for a variety of conditions, such as kidney disease, liver disease, hemophilia and many others. By taking each child's needs into consideration, The Painted Turtle is able to offer safe activities and a supportive cabin environment so that campers get the most out of their time away from home.

Parents can take comfort by knowing that a physician and medical staff are on-site the entire time, assuring that your child will never be far from help if they need it. This camp serves children 7- to 16-years-old and is located in beautiful Lake Hughes, California, just North of the greater Los Angeles area. Also accredited by the American Camp Association, The Painted Turtle exists to provide an enriching experience for children who may not have gotten the same opportunity at a traditional overnight summer camp.

Camp Granite Lake

Nature awaits campers at Camp Granite Lake, formerly Altogether Outdoors Camps, located near Boulder, Colorado. With outdoor programming offered to children 9- to 15-years-old for one or two weeks during the summer, campers can escape from the busyness of their everyday lives and engage in activities like hiking, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and so much more.

With an American Camp Association accreditation, team-building activities and knowledgeable staff, this camp is a great fit for kids who would enjoy spending some time in the great outdoors. Parents can even read biographies about the overnight camp staff that will be providing supervision to the kids while they are enjoying their adventure.

Camp Resources for Parents

Once you've narrowed down your list to just a few options, be sure to contact each camp and ask to speak to a staff member about the specifics. For example, you may want to ask about programming, schedules, meals or daily routines. Any information you can gather about the experience will be helpful in finding the right fit for your child. If you are unsure of which camp is right for your child or what things you need to consider before making a decision, resources like Finding the Right Sleep-Away Camp for Your Child from Care.com may be be helpful to you.

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8 Great Overnight Summer Camps in the U.S.