America’s Best Summer Camps
If you are looking for a true American experience for children ages 7-15, our 100-300 acre co-educational and single-sex campuses in Maine, Northeast Pennsylvania and New York state’s Adirondack Mountains are among the finest camps in the world. our 100-300 acre co-educational and single-sex campuses in Maine, Northeast Pennsylvania and New York state’s Adirondack Mountains are among the finest camps in the world. Our camps are on beautiful, spring-fed lakes which play host to swimming, water-skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, stand-up paddling, canoeing and so much more. Spectacular mountain and wooded views are the backdrops for these picturesque campuses located in some of the most beautiful, remote regions of the United States, yet within easy driving distance of major cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Campers participate in dozens of programs – many of which are exclusive to America’s finest summer camps – that are among the best in the U.S. Most importantly, children are encouraged to learn new skills, make new friends, become independent and have fun. Are you ready for your child to have the ultimate American experience?
Camp Laurel is a full season overnight summer camp for kids ages 7-15 in Readfield, Maine.
- Seven Week Summer Camp Located in Maine
- Five Week International Option
- 3 Hours from Boston
- June 27 - August 14, 2020
With over 70 years of tradition, Camp Starlight prides itself on its friendly campers, caring camp staff, quality camp program, and beautiful facility.
- Seven Week Summer Camp Located in Pennsylvania
- 2 1/2 Hours from New York City
- June 28 - August 16, 2020
Camp Champions is a summer camp for boys and girls ages 5-18 located in the Hill Country of Central Texas.
- 1 1/2 Hours From Austin
- 1 - 6 Week Sessions
June 2 – August 10, 2019
Horseshoe is an All-Boys Sleepaway Camp in the Northwoods of Wisconsin offering four week & full season options.
- 4 Hours From Milwaukee
- Full Season: June 22 – August 13, 2020
1st Session: June 22 – July 17, 2020
2nd Session: July 19 – August 13, 2020
Weequahic is one of the best sleepaway camps in Pennsylvania. We offer a traditional co-ed summer camp experience.
- Three or Six Week Summer Camp Located in Pennsylvania
- 2 1/2 Hours from New York City
- June 27 – July 18, 2020 (3 weeks)
July 20 – August 9, 2020 (3 weeks)
June 27 – August 9, 2020 (6 weeks)
Camp Laurel South
Camp Laurel South is an overnight summer camp for kids ages 7-15 in Casco, Maine.
- Four Week Summer Camp Located in Maine
- 2 Hours from Boston
- June 25 - July 19, 2020
July 22 - August 15, 2020
Elmwood Day Camp
Elmwood Day Camp offers programs in swim, athletics, performing and creative arts, science and team building to children ages 3-11. Door-to-door, round-trip transportation in Westchester and NYC.
- 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8-week sessions
June 29 - August 20, 2020
Specialty Camps & Summer Programs
Brant Lake Dance Camp
A Professionally taught and run Dance Camp for motivated girls who love dance. Ages 11-16.
- Two 2 week sessions or one 4 week session
- 4 hours drive from NYC or Boston
- June 27th - July 11th 2020 (2 weeks)
July 12th - July 28th 2020 (2 weeks)
June 27th - July 28th 2020 (4 weeks)
Brant Lake Sports Academy
A professionally run summer camp for motivated, sports loving girls who have completed grades 6-10.
- Two-and-a-half week summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains of NY State
- 4 Hours from NYC or Boston
- July 29th - August 14th, 2020
Retreat & Event Centers or Rentals
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Expert insight and advice from our summer camp blog.
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Why Choose One of America's Finest Summer Camps
Beautiful Summer Camp Locations
Beautiful Summer Camp Locations
At America’s Finest Summer Camps, children ages 7 ½ to 15 from all over the world have the opportunity to spend the summer on 100-300 acre campuses on magnificent lakes surrounded by the beauty of spectacular mountain regions.
The rural settings provide perfect co-educational environments for children to learn new skills, gain independence, make friends, and most importantly, have fun. The facilities at America’s Finest Summer Camps are among the very best in the United States.
All of the summer camps are easily accessible from major USA airports and cities, such as Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The Camp Directors are experts in international travel and will work with you to make all your travel arrangements.
Summer Camp Safety and Staff Training
Summer Camp Safety and Staff Training
Safety is the major priority at each camp. Each summer camp maintains a 3:1 camper to staff ratio. Prior to the summer, employees are provided with comprehensive training programs and complete any necessary certifications.
All of America’s Finest Summer Camps are accredited by the American Camp Association and pride themselves on their reputation in the American camping industry as being safe, welcoming, quality programs and facilities… homes away from home.
Summer Camp Activities
Summer Camp Activities
As part of a daily structured program, during the course of their stay, campers may participate in more than forty activities including a full spectrum of the following:
- Athletics (with a focus on tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, fitness, gymnastics, golf and hockey)
- Waterfront (swimming, water-skiing, sailing and canoeing)
- Outdoor Adventure (high and low ropes courses, mountain biking, fishing and nature)
- Creative Arts (including drawing, painting, metals, woodshop, model rocketry and radio station)
- Performing Arts (with an emphasis on musical theater, dramatic production, set design, costuming, voice, dance, hip hop, ballet and jazz)
- Equestrian programs are also offered at some summer camps. Specialty camps, theater productions, themed days, and out-of-camp trips supplement the fun.
The action always goes well into the evening, when campers might decorate a sweet creation, go on a scavenger hunt, take part in a game show, perform an MTV music video with their cabin-mates, or enjoy a theater production.
International Summer Camps
International Summer Camps
A sleepaway summer camp is also the perfect setting for international children. They can immerse themselves in American culture while practicing their English.
Children come to the United States to attend camp from such countries as France, Spain, the UK, even as far away as Korea, and everyone is welcome.
You will find that each camp typically employs a very diverse, staff consisting of camp counselors from all over the world who are fluent in many languages. The lessons learned by living with others are priceless, and American children are eager to make new friends while learning about other nations.
An Enriching & Comfortable Environment
An Enriching & Comfortable Environment
The best summer camps place a great deal of value on friendship, family, and tradition in a warm, friendly atmosphere. At each of America’s Finest Summer Camps, campers live in modern cabins that feature plumbing and electricity. The 8-12 cabin-mates and 2-4 counselor staff members assigned to each cabin quickly become a summer family. They enjoy family-style meals in campus dining halls and come together daily as a camp for community meetings and/or evening activities.
Whether it’s for three, four, five or seven weeks, campers form bonds that last a lifetime and leave with a strong connection to the camp community.
America’s best summer camps are operated by the most qualified professionals in camping. Emphasis is placed on fun as well as safety. All of America’s best summer camps are ACA accredited, and maintain strict local, state and national guidelines. Many of our camp directors attended camp as children and have a passion for continuing the American camp tradition. American summer camps facilitate an inclusive family environment that seeks to bring people of multiple faiths, cultures, and interests together through common interests. Every year, we interview thousands of potential staff members to identify those precious few who truly have what it takes to create the perfect camp environment with their skills and personalities.
Our Camping Experts
Jem & Debbie Sollinger Owners/Directors • Camp Laurel
Jem & Debbie Sollinger
Owners/Directors • Camp Laurel
Jem started as a camper at Laurel in 1980, went on to be a counselor, Campus Leader and now serves as Director with his wife Debbie. Jem is a graduate of Union College where he was a varsity soccer player and captain of the Alpine Ski Team. He is actively involved with the American Camp Association and is a former member of the Tri-State Camping Conference Steering Committee. Jem is a member of the Board of Maine Summer Camps, Maine Youth Camping Foundation and Temple B’nai Chaim in Georgetown, Connecticut. A native of Westport, Connecticut, Jem assumed the directorship of a soccer camp in Fairfield County when he was just 19 and found his calling. Jem lives in Weston, Connecticut with his wife Debbie and daughters Anabel (Laurel camper), Madeline (Laurel camper) and Tess (CIT – Camper in Training).
Debbie became a Director of Camp Laurel in 2007 and has spent every summer since 1998 (the year she and Jem met) in Maine. She works closely with the Head Counselors, staff and campers, focusing on camper and staff relations. Debbie hails from Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended the Park School and was a member of the varsity lacrosse and field hockey teams. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Debbie is a Certified Social Worker and a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She is training at the Ackerman Institute in New York City to become a family therapist. Debbie is on the board of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
David & Allison Miller Owners/Directors • Camp Starlight
David & Allison Miller
Owners/Directors • Camp Starlight
David, a native of Newton, Massachusetts grew up as a camper in Maine, where he spent 12 summers as a camper, counselor, Hockey Specialist and Division Head. He graduated from New York University and, prior to entering the camping industry, worked in the entertainment industry as a casting director, talent manager, and independent film producer. His lifelong dream to be a director of a summer camp became a reality in 1999 when he purchased Camp Starlight. He currently resides in Florida with his wife Allison and his two children Hayley and Griffin.
Allison, originally from Old Westbury, N.Y., focuses on camp operations and administration as well as staff and camper relations. She graduated from N.Y.U. and then earned a law degree from Cardozo School of Law. She spent her legal career as an associate at a prestigious national law firm and served as in-house counsel at a major auction house. She later became V.P., Head of Human Resources for that same company, where she was responsible for hiring, training, and development of the North and South American staff. However, she sees her role as the mother of two children, Hayley and Griffin, as the most valuable experience she brings to Camp Starlight.
Cole & Kate Kelly Directors • Camp Weequahic
Cole & Kate Kelly
Directors • Camp Weequahic
We’ve enjoyed many years in camping and education as both directors and coaches. We directed prestigious camps for both girls and boys in New England for 7 years. Prior to joining the camp world, Kate spent 4 years directing a dorm and coaching at Northfield Mt. Hermon, earned a Masters of Education from Harvard, and was a three time captain of the Dartmouth women’s soccer team.
Cole spent the years before choosing the life of a summer camp director earning an MBA from the University of Georgia as well as a M. Ed from the University of Virginia. He also served as two time captain and, later, assistant coach of Virginia’s men’s golf team.
Roger & Dagni Christian Owners/Directors • Camp Laurel South
Roger & Dagni Christian
Owners/Directors • Camp Laurel South
Laurel South’s Directors are Roger and Dagni Christian. Roger and Dagni each have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Additionally, Roger has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. They are very committed to working with children and have more than 25 years of camp experience. Roger and Dagni’s ability to motivate campers and staff, combined with their patience, warmth and skill in relating to campers and parents, make them a highly qualified and enthusiastic pair. They are members of the American Camp Association (ACA) and the Maine Camping Association. Roger currently serves as a Standards Visitor for the ACA. Roger and Dagni have two children.
Most parents know there is no better way for children to spend their summer vacation than to play sports, enjoy the sunshine, and make lifelong friends in the great outdoors. But many of today’s children instead stay inside playing video games or watching television, often alone. Modern technology has made it difficult to get kids excited about what has traditionally been associated with an idyllic childhood.
Helping their kids pack a bag and head off to summer camp offers a perfect solution for parents who have trouble getting them off the couch and outside to play. Choosing the right program can be challenging, especially when parents never attended camp.
The best summer camps offer adventure, friendship, independence, and a diverse array of fun and exciting programs. There are a lot of options to sort through. Parents looking for summer camps for children are often overwhelmed, but choosing the right one doesn’t need to be difficult. Following are some of the options offered by top-rated summer camps and how parents can choose the right one.
The right summer camp will help children develop life-long skills that can enhance their sports performance, artistic talents, and sense of adventure. Top-tier programs offer a variety of activities, making it easy for children to try different things and determine for themselves what skills they would like to hone.
Activities such as swimming, sailing, hiking, and playing sports don’t just help build kids’ athletic abilities. They also help develop communication skills, build confidence, and understand the importance of cooperation.
Children will bring these underlying social skills home with them and use them in academic and social environments as they grow up. The confidence children gain when they are away at camp often helps to set the groundwork for later success.
The key to making sure a child gets as much as possible out of the camp experience is to find a program and facility that offers interesting activities and encourages personal growth. Even kids used to being indoors typically find that outdoor activities can be rewarding and fun, especially when they engage in them with other kids their age. They’ll make new friends, discover new interests, and begin to work on the practical and emotional skills required to tackle problems as they learn and grow.
There’s nothing wrong with getting children started on a path toward independence at a young age. That’s where day camps come in. They allow parents to get some much-needed time off from watching their kids while also offering campers fun and rewarding experiences outdoors in a new environment.
A young child’s decisions are often guided by parents at home and teachers at school, which gives them little opportunity to foster independence and figure out how to make choices for themselves. The engaging activities and nurturing environment provided at day camps allow children to learn and grow in a safe space that gives them the freedom to be themselves.
For older kids, sleepaway camps provide an extra level of independence. For many campers, attending sleepaway camp will be their first chance to get away from home for a substantial period. Although missing home is a very natural part of this experience, dedicated camp counselors and leadership staff are always around to offer support and guidance. Most children thrive in this kind of environment. Many go on to embrace the summer camp experience throughout their childhood, attending summer camps for teens as they get older. By developing a new sense of independence, children can find out more about themselves. It can also make it easier for them to think for themselves as they grow older.
Attending summer camp will challenge children in ways they wouldn’t be challenged at home. Even though it can be scary for kids and parents, it’s a necessary part of growing up to become a strong, resilient, and capable adult. Heading off to camp for the first time can be a bit scary for younger children, but once they arrive and find themselves immersed in an encouraging and nurturing environment filled with fun activities and new friends, they’ll easily be able to conquer their fears.
The right staff is essential for creating a supportive environment in which children feel comfortable facing their fears, whether they include missing home, social anxieties, or trying new experiences. All staff members should undergo strict background checks and should be required to provide references and pass a comprehensive interview. Staff members should also undergo extensive training developed to help them uphold the camp’s mission statement and values and should have plenty of experience working with children.
Children who attend the right overnight camps often return home feeling more confident and better able to tackle the challenges they’ll face at home. The healthy sense of autonomy fostered in a supportive camp environment can help them develop the skills and self-assurance needed to face life head-on.
One of the most tangible benefits of attending a traditional summer camp is that it gets kids outside and ensures they spend beautiful summer days enjoying the sunshine and getting exercise. Because most children don’t get as much exercise as they should throughout the school year, the time they spend at camp playing outdoors, engaging in team sports, and building new physical abilities as well as social skills, can make a huge difference in their overall health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests all children should engage in at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day with an emphasis on aerobic activities. But any additional physical activity can benefit most children. Adequate exercise is known to improve everything from cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness to metabolic health and mood, and summer is the perfect time to encourage more physical activity for children.
Parents should make sure to choose a summer camp that offers a variety of outdoor physical activities because not all children are interested in team sports. Make sure the camp also offers adequate safety protocols, especially if children will be engaging in activities such as water skiing, wakeboarding, and other water sports. A lifeguard should always be on duty, and the staff should have an emergency preparedness plan for dealing with injuries.
It often helps to send a reluctant child to the same summer camp as his or her best friend, but even kids who attend camp without a friend from home will make new social connections by the time they return home. Camp staff members are trained in preventing bullying and providing a nurturing environment in which children can get to know each other on their own terms. This helps shy children overcome social anxieties and begin building lasting connections.
Addressing Parents’ Practical Concerns
Every parent wants what is best for their child, which should include an idyllic summer camp experience. Parents should also be aware of practical considerations. For example, parents of young children interested in day camps need to choose one that is conveniently located, especially if they intend to continue working throughout the summer.
Location can also be an issue with overnight camps, though most parents are willing to drive a little bit out of their way to drop kids off and pick them up, and some camps offer bus service from popular locations. Parents with budget concerns will, of course, need to consider cost.
Get Started Today
Whether you’re looking for day camps for younger kids or overnight summer camps for kids a bit older, you’ve come to the right place. With this summer camp directory, parents can learn more about a variety of leading American camps, all of which have been carefully investigated to ensure their facilities and staff members meet the highest standards.
Use the site to search for “summer day camps near me,” or browse through articles to get a feel for what other parents consider when choosing a camp. Information is available about each individual camp, which can be accessed via the links provided to their websites. Finding the right summer camp isn’t an impossible task, so start your search by learning more about America’s finest summer camps.