Congratulations Camp Walt Whitman!
Voted Best Overnight Summer Camp
Camp Walt Whitman received the most votes as Best Overnight Summer Camp, with Camp Moosilauke giving them a good run!
We appreciate your votes as well as the great comments. This has been a lot fun! Thank you for participating!
Overnight summer camps introduce kids to the outdoors, independent living, decision-making opportunities, and friends for a lifetime.
After extensive interviews with campers, camp directors, and staff members, we have chosen the top 20 summer camps in the nation as they offer children awesome opportunities to learn and grow.
Vote for the overnight summer camp that you think is the very best! If your kids have attended one of them, be sure to leave a comment.
We’ve listed them in alphabetical order, and included some info either from the website or supplied by the camp director.
Birch Rock Camp
Birch Rock Camp offer an unparalleled summer of old-fashioned fun and adventure for boys 7 to 16. This all-boys Maine summer camp believes that warm, cooperative community makes them an incomparable place, where campers pull together to master new skills and find pride i their achievements.
Their simple, rustic camp and wilderness trips make it thrilling for campers to reconnect with the natural world. Birch Rock’s small size means that each summer, boys and counselors from around the world get to know each other well on our lakefront, on our playing fields, and in our historic lodge— where the names of campers from years past fill the walls. As a premiere sleepaway camp in Maine, Birch Rock believes in partnering with parents to help boys grow in confidence and character. A Birch Rocker learns that to ‘Help the Other Fellow’—our motto—is to be his very best.
Camp Chief Ouray
Camp Chief Ouray has grown to be a premiere overnight camping option for boys and girls from all over the United States. Whether your camper is a first timer or has attended various residential camps before, CCO provides a unique opportunity for independent development in a caring community. We are dedicated to growth in spirit, mind, and body, in an outdoor setting and Christian environment.
For over a century, Camp Chief Ouray (CCO), located near Granby, Colorado, has been the adventurous playground and traditional overnight camp for kids age 7-17. Campers live in cabins with two counselors and six to nine other children of their own gender and age. Each cabin is under the direct leadership of a college-aged counselor. Counselors receive extensive training at camp prior to the campers’ arrival. We maintain a staff-to-camper ratio of 1:5 or lower. Located on 5,100 acres of mountains, valleys, streams and meadows — boredom is simply not an option.
Since 1902, Maine’s Camp Cobbossee has been the home-away-from-home for adventurous, sports-minded boys. Their expert coaches and counselors are athletes and adventurers who know first-hand the confidence and transformation that sports and adventure inspire. Camp Cobbossee is known as the place where boys play hard (real hard) but when the competition is over, it’s time for the laughing, camaraderie, and memory-making that makes camp, camp.
Camp Cobbossee packs all the magic and power of a full-session camp into half the summer. Our boys experience a distinct beginning, middle, and end with their bunk mates – no one stays the whole summer at Cobbossee. This means they still have half the summer for essential connections with family on vacation, or to train extra hard on their favorite sport. But a warning to parents: As soon as your son leaves Cobbossee, they’ll be counting down the days till the bus drops them off again!
Founded in 1921, Camp Fernwood is a nurturing, traditional sleepaway summer camp for girls, located in Poland, Maine on the shore of beautiful Lake Thompson. We are a community of 230 campers and 150 resident staff and offer one full-season session (7 weeks) for girls ranging in age from 8 to 15.
Fernwood is an extraordinary place, where ordinary things create life long memories and enduring friendships. We are steeped in almost a century of tradition. Our spirit is everywhere – in what we do and how we do it. The girls sing the same songs that many of their mothers and grandmothers sang at Fernwood through the years. Our beautiful setting still has the same look and feel as in 1921, but what we do has become more sophisticated in response to the needs of today’s girls. Our campers live in grand wooden bunks of another era, simply, and without electricity. They step from that world, into activity areas that challenge them to learn more about themselves and others.
Camp High Rock
Nestled in 1,000 acres of the Berkshire Mountains, surrounded by conservation forest, and centered around our pristine, private, ninety acre lake, YMCA Camp Hi-Rock enjoys a truly magnificent location. While at Hi-Rock, campers learn to act as stewards not only of the camp’s natural setting, but of the global environment in which they live.
In the fall, winter, and spring, Hi-Rock offers many meaningful programs for individuals, groups, and families, in addition to hosting groups such as scout troops, family reunions, and school and youth group retreats. Year-round, our wide range of facilities including a spacious dining hall, arts and crafts lodge, recreation lodges, rustic cabins, and waterfront building are the perfect complement to your group’s programming needs.
Located less than 30 minutes from Great Barrington, MA and about 2.5 hours from both Boston and New York City, our majestic location is a comfortable drive from most major cities in the northeast.
Since 1951, Camp Matoaka in Smithfield, Maine has been dedicated to providing girls from around the world with a summer home away from home. We offer a wide-range of activities from the Land Sports, Water Sports, to the Creative Arts. Features include a fully equipped indoor gymnasium, a modern Recreation Hall/Dining Hall, a 450 seat indoor theater, a newly constructed Health Center, as well as recently renovated bathrooms in every camper cabin. In addition, the Matoaka Arts Center houses arts and crafts, photography, sewing, jewelry making, stained glass and ceramics.
Matoaka’s program is tailored to fit the individual, allowing each camper to progress at her own skill level. The ultimate goal is preparing each camper for a richer and fuller adult life through the use of leisure sports and creative talents. Our structured daily program includes activities and special events taught under professional supervision by counselors from around the world. All instructional activities are open to every camper, six days per week, five periods per day. No camper will ever find herself closed out of an activity.
Moosilauke is one of the oldest residential summer camps in the U.S. Founded in 1904, their mission has been simple but powerful: creating confident, happy, and resilient boys. Their continued success in achieving goals is due to a number of factors: the incredibly positive and nurturing peer culture; their program of positive risk taking that encompasses a high level of skill development in three key areas (sports, waterfront and outdoor adventure); the emphasis on both structure and choice relative to activity classes, trips, and competition; and their extraordinary attention to the individual needs of each boy.
Combine all of this with an enthusiastic and diverse group of 140 campers (from 18 states and 7 countries), an experienced and caring staff, and an incredible campus (200 acres of fields and forest and a secluded mile-long lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire), and you have all the makings for an amazing summer.
A member of Maine Summer Camps, Camp Pinehurst features 60 spectacular wilderness acres with 1,000 feet of shoreline frontage on gorgeous Crescent Lake, perfect for every type of water sport imaginable. With a relatively small population of 60 campers per session and a highly individualized daily schedule, Pinehurst is able to provide a nicely personalized sleepaway camp experience at a reasonable price. Six to 14 kids live in screened cabins complete with electricity, and the camper to staff ratio is an excellent three-to-one.
Located in the gorgeous Lakes Region of Maine, Camp Pinehurst is in the heart of one of the most popular summer camp areas, a location famous for its gorgeous lakes, mountains, forests and incredible outdoor recreational opportunities. Whether hiking, canoeing, tent camping or heading off to local amusement parks, there’s never a dull moment at Camp Pinehurst.
A traditional co-ed summer sleepaway camp, Pinehurst is one of the few remaining original director owned and operated sleepaway summer camps. Though mainly drawing children from across New England, the camp’s excellent reputation has attracted youngsters from all over the United States and from foreign countries including China, Japan, France and England. From swimming, sailing, canoeing and kayaking to campfires, fishing, waterskiing baseball and archery, there’s loads of fun and plenty of new friends to be found at Camp Pinehurst.
Pinehurst’s mission involves a focus on providing individualized attention, encouraging teamwork and providing loads of outdoor adventure, allowing campers to try exciting new things and learn new skills in a safe, friendly and supportive environment. Parents find kids return from camp having experienced great personal growth, from increased independence and self-advocacy to bolstered self-confidence. Perhaps most important of all, campers often make lifelong friends along with amassing a treasure trove of amazing memories.
Camp Rim Rock
Camp Rim Rock is one of the best overnight camps for girls in the country. Camp Rim Rock is situated on 500 acres and is located located less than 2 hours from Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The girls horseback ride, swim in our private lake, participate in performing arts, and have fun with arts and crafts.
We will celebrate our 64rd summer in 2015! We have spent the past 63 summers giving thousands of girls memories to last a lifetime. Our campers now span three generations – not only do our campers return year after year, many of our campers moms and grandmothers are alumni.
Camp Scatico in Elizaville NY resonates with families looking for a values-based, traditional camp experience. This camp has a not-too-large camper population (130 boys and 130 girls) and the directors are very involved in the day-to-day life of campers and staff. They offer a structured daily schedule that is group-oriented while providing opportunities for individual choice. In addition,they are also looking for a lot of camp spirit, for their children to have fun, learn new things, and form lifelong friendships and memories.
The program at Scatico balances structure and choice. Older campers choose up to half of their activities. Younger campers follow a more structured program, ensuring they participate in all activities and develop new skills. The girls and boys campuses (approximately ½ mile apart, on a single property with no public access) have mostly separate facilities, including waterfronts, athletic fields, campfire sites, and art studios.
Camp Walden in Maine
A 7-week, residential, summer camp in Denmark, Maine, Walden is a close-knit community of girls, ages 8 – 15. Campers return each summer for friendship, challenge and fun and participate in traditional overnight camp activities including wilderness trips, horseback riding, tennis, sailing and water skiing.
Campers attend activities with girls in their age group or skill level, depending upon the activity. Cabin groups are together for inspection and rest hour; shower hour at the end of the day is a chance for campers to have some unscheduled time to be with their friends and clean up for dinner. Each evening following dinner the entire camp participates in an evening activity..
Camp Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman overnight summer camp is located in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. In addition to near-perfect summer weather (low humidity, warm days and cool nights), our surroundings play an important role in making Camp Walt Whitman what it is.
The hiking and camping program takes full advantage of the natural beauty that surrounds and encompasses our camp. Our 300 acre campground is idyllically located down a quiet dirt road, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. We sit on the south shore of beautiful Lake Armington, surrounded by mountains on all sides.
We encourage friendship, leadership, responsibility, and teamwork and provide a tremendous variety of activities – over 50 different choices among land sports, water sports, outdoor adventure, and the arts. Our program is balanced to allow our summer campers to deepen close friendships by sharing three scheduled cabin activities each day while also exploring their own individual interests through our extensive range of electives. These electives include a daily choice as well as a week-long elective period called SIGs (Special Interest Groups) which function as mini-specialty sports camps.
We are fortunate to attract particularly nice kids, down-to-earth families, and a strong, experienced, and motivated staff. Our campers are encouraged to be active participants, willing to stretch themselves to try new things and overcome challenges. Developing friendships is easy. The focal point of the Walt Whitman experience is the Cabin Group, which forms a camper’s summer family. Three staff members live in each cabin. The two cabin counselors stay with the group all day; the third, an activity specialist, is assigned to teach one of our programs. The result is a strong, cohesive group of children, supervised by adults who know them well and can appropriately encourage and motivate while providing guidance and fun!
Catalina Island Camps
Established in 1922, Catalina Island Camps, Inc. operates a summer resident camp for boys and girls entering grades 2 through 11 and is the home of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Family Camp and the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program for 4th to 12th grade school groups. The camp is also available for spring and fall retreats.
The Catalina Island Camps program is designed around a two-week session. During the first week, campers have fun while they become comfortable with the facility, people and camp program. They participate in each activity as a cabin group. During the second week of the session, they participate in an overnight of their choice (campers entering 6th grade and above) and choose specific activities that they’d like to explore further. The CIC program blends individual success with group participation.
Cheley Colorado Camps
Owned and operated by the same family for four generations, Cheley Colorado Camps upholds a fine tradition of offering incredible outdoor adventure on 750 acres of spectacular wilderness in the Estes Park Valley. With views all the way to the Mummy Range, this overnight summer camp is close enough to Rocky Mountain National Park for campers to access this legendary mountain terrain for hikes and backpack expeditions.
Some 500 campers throng to camp each summer, living in eight age-segregated units, four for the girls and four for the boys. With an in-camp ratio of 12 campers per counselor and an out-of-camp activity ratio of six-to-one, Cheley provides plenty of supervision by well-trained counselors. Water sports abound at Cheley, from stand-up paddle boarding on the Longmont Reservoir to rafting on the Poudre River. Cheley specializes in outdoor education of all kinds, drawing campers from 45 states and nearly 20 foreign countries to experience wilderness adventures including backpacking, horseback riding, target sports, climbing, fishing and mountain biking.
Founded in 1921 by Frank Cheley, the camp states its mission as building lasting character and resiliency in young people and creating unique life experiences in a challenging and nurturing natural environment. Along with having an incredible summer experience, campers come home with increased self-reliance, independence, confidence and awareness of others.
Four Winds Westward Ho
Four Winds Westward Ho is a traditional summer camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 18 on Orcas Island in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. With over a hundred acres of woods, fields and waterfront, the camp is well situated for an impressive variety of programs and activities designed to develop skills and confidence through adventure in the out-of-doors.
In a time when a child’s life often seems as though it’s on fast forward, Four Winds offers a slower pace. In a time when online interactions begin to overshadow real life conversation, Four Winds offers children the chance to engage with themselves and their community free from the distractions of technology. In a time when our world seems to be changing and growing more rapidly than ever before, Four Winds offers refuge, and the reassurance that some things do remain the same.
French Woods Overnight Summer Camp
With an incredible two-to-one camper to counselor ratio, this performing-arts centered overnight summer camp of some 700 kids is affiliated with the American Camp Association (ACA). Nestled on a private lake and surrounded by 1,000 acres of gorgeous Catskill Mountain wilderness, this New York state camp offers a unique and original performing arts program with top-notch facilities including five theaters, a 200,000 square-foot covered circus pavilion, a rock-n-roll performance venue, a magic theater, a classical music space, a skateboard park, an indoor horseback riding arena and even a zip-line course. Counselors and adult staff members are a diverse, multi-national group offering world-class instruction in everything from music and dance to theater and magic.
French Woods also offers campers a wealth of traditional camp activities and water sports along with tennis, skate boarding and horseback riding. With its performance-oriented mission, French Woods tends to draw creative, unique and fun-loving kids who are accepting and supportive of others.
While promoting the performing arts, French Woods also is a place where kids can have fun, make decisions and grow in a safe and nurturing environment. To this end, the camp features a program based on individual choice, where each camper develops his or her own completely elective schedule based on a time-tested program that has been honed over 46 years of camping fun and creative exuberance.
Indian Head Camp
Located in the magnificent Endless Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, Indian Head Camp has been providing young people with memorable summers since 1940. It is a place where learning and social development take place in a nurturing environment under the watchful eyes of caring adults. Committed to human development, core values are modeled, and learned, in a nurturing community environment.
The age-specific Indian Head program provides a safe, challenging summer of fun that builds participants’ confidence through the acquisition of new skills in a broad range of exciting activities. Campers are busy morning ‘til night, 7 days a week. It’s no accident that they travel from one place to the next with huge smiles on their faces. During the day, our program department keeps our campers moving from the fields, to the playhouse, to the waterfront. And the fun doesn’t stop there – it continues long into the night during evening activities.
Red Arrow Camp
Red Arrow Camp offers a traditional, single-session summer camp experience for boys ages 7 to 16. Located on the shores of Trout Lake in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, Red Arrow’s program of challenge and adventure provides boys an unmatched opportunity to develop confidence and learn new skills while having the summer of their lives.
The first question we often hear from prospective families is “Why 7 Weeks?” Red Arrow offers opportunities to develop confidence and leadership that are simply not possible with a short-term experience. Although 7 weeks can be challenging, it is the type of challenge that helps a boy reach his fullest potential. Our boys grow in their self-confidence, as they achieve the goals that they have set.
River Way Ranch Camp
Since 1967, River Way Ranch Camp has grown to become one of the most beloved California summer camps for youths and teens. For more than forty years,we have provided great outdoor experiences and innovative learning opportunities for children ages 7-16 in the safety of a fully supervised sleep away overnight summer camp.
River Ranch Way Camp is conveniently situated in the foothills of the majestic Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Add in our highly qualified and caring camp counselors and other professional staff. Then there’s our extensive roster of activities, ranging from horseback riding and sports to paintball games and digital technology. These are just a few of the reasons that we’re consistently ranked among the top summer camps for teens and children.
Teton Valley Ranch Camp
Wrangling horses just before dawn. Climbing to the top of the majestic Tetons. Fly fishing the clear, blue mountain lakes of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Hiking with the moon as your guide. These are just some of the adventures that await you on your next adventure with the most historic summer camp in Wyoming. Welcome to Teton Valley Ranch Camp.
Operating for over 60 years, Teton Valley Ranch Camp provides fun and adventure through experiential learning and recreational opportunities. Our in-camp program includes horseback riding to fly fishing, lapidary, and archery where campers get the chance to try their hand in numerous arenas. What makes our camp unique is how campers are allowed to choose their activities each day. TVRC also takes pride in our food service where a staff of 6 chefs and assistants serve nutritious and satisfying meals.