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Ready for Sleepaway Camp? Check Out the Main Line Parent Community Favorites!

For a week or a whole summer, overnight camp is a place for children to thrive, explore, and grow. Here are some of the Main Line Parent Community's recommended sleepaway camps!

Thinking about sending a child to sleepaway camp for the first time brings up a lot of questions. What kind of camp will be the best fit? How will he function without me? Will she make friends? What if he gets homesick? Is she ready? Am I??? 

Once you decide that your child is ready for sleepaway camp (and you are, too!), the question becomes, “which camp to choose?” There are overnight camps for all ages, near and far, specializing in everything from theater and science to music, sports, and nature. Without a doubt, all camps specialize in fun, and creating memories and relationships that last a lifetime. To help you find the best camp for your child, we’ve shared some of Main Line Parent Community’s favorites. Each of these camps has rave reviews and multiple shout-outs from local camp parents. So, take a look at which overnight camp experiences your friends and neighbors love and why their kids are happy campers.

Appel Farm Arts Camp

457 Shirley Road, Elmer, NJ

Summers at Appel Farm Arts Camp have sparked the imaginations of thousands of young people for more than 50 years! Girls and boys ages 7 to 17 years old, come together for an unforgettable sleepaway camp experience. Campers learn new artistic skills and have the opportunity to interact with artists from around the world. They gain social skills, grow as individuals, and become members of a community in a beautiful part of rural southern New Jersey. Additionally, with only 230 campers in each session and a 3:1 camper-to-staff ratio, individualized attention is at the heart of every class. Professional artists and arts educators will guide your child’s development based on his or her skill level and interests.

My 9 year old attends Appel Farm Arts Camp. It’s an amazing place, especially for kids who are interested in visual and performing arts.

– Joanna B.

Camp Lindenmere 

163 Lindenmere Lane, Henryville, PA

Established in 1935 and nestled withing 200 acres of Pennsylvania’s beautiful Poconos Mountains Camp Lindenmere is a sleepaway camp for kids and teens. Lindenmere campers choose all of the activities that they want to participate in to construct their perfect day from sports, circus, art activities, and more. Lindenmere summer camp philosophy is a celebration of choice, exploration and individuality. With over fifty activities to choose from and a team of dedicated specialty staff, they strive to ensure the success and growth of all of their campers.

My son came to us two years ago wanting to go. My husband and I never went to sleepaway camp. We looked at a few and this summer will be his second summer at Camp Lindenmere. It’s truly amazing there!

– Melinda S.

Camp Nock-A-Mixon

249 Traugers Crossing Road, Kintnersville, PA

Established in 1938 and opening its doors for its first summer in 1939, Camp Nock-A-Mixon is a traditional, co-ed, overnight summer camp located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At Nock-A-Mixon, camp is a place where children gain independence and self confidence along with the experience of a lifetime!  Adventure, aquatics, arts, athletics, drama, evening activities, fitness, nature and outdoors, STEM, and more!

My son goes to Nock-A-Mixon, this was his second summer. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is! My son refers to it as his “happy place.” Selecting the right camp is a very personal decision, but I can tell you that I have never been more happy with any decision.

– Lisa M.

Camp Oneka For Girls

325 Route 390, Tafton, PA

Founded in 1908, Camp Oneka continues to provide an exciting and fun-filled camp experience for girls ages, 7–16. The small, caring, family-style environment has helped girls grow in confidence and self-reliance, while making lifelong friendships and memories. Campers enjoy days filled with a variety of activities including swimming, sailing, waterskiing, soccer, volleyball, tower climbing, theater and music, hiking, and tennis.

I went to Camp Oneka growing up and it was the best experience of my life. It’s in the Poconos and is rich in tradition. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for my six summers there! I know many families on here who have sent their daughters!

– Natalia E.

Camp Sankanac

68 Bertolet School Road, Spring City, PA

Since 1941, Camp Sankanac has offered a memorable, Christian summer camp experiences for boys and girls ages 7–16. At Camp Sankanac, the outdoor adventures are endless! Campers can choose from creek stomping, tubing, and braving a mountain-sized water slide, to cooking over a fire and sleeping under the stars. What’s more campers can enjoy all the usual activities, too! There’s hilarious skits, wacky games, crafts, waterfront activities, swimming, night games, and friendly competitions. Additionally, each week of camp features a different theme, putting a fresh spin on the daily camp schedule. Camp Sankanac is a non-denominational Christian Camp open to youth all race, color, creed, or national origin.

My 10 year old son just did his first week of overnight camp at Camp Sankanac, and is begging for another week before summer is over! I can’t say enough about his amazing experience!!!

– Sarah K.

Camp Timber Tops

1620 Route 6, Greeley, PA

Camp Timber Tops, nestled in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, is proud to be one of the oldest girls overnight summer camps in the United States that is still owned and operated by its founding family. It’s a sleepover with your best friends every night, your home away from home, and your summer family. Activities include not only aquatics, athletics, and outdoor recreation, but also creative arts like theatre, fashion design, dance, drama, chorus, and more.

My daughter goes to Timber Tops and LOVES it!

– Rebecca F.

Cardigan Summer Session

62 Alumni Drive, Canaan, NH

Cardigan Summer Session attracts girls and boys from across the country and around the world to its 525-acre lakeside campus for a truly unique program that blends classroom learning with the quintessential New England summer camp experience.

We’ve never seen anything like this in our camp experiences or our school experiences, and we’ll definitely keep coming back.

– Juliette M.

Echo Hill Camp

​13655 Bloomingneck Road, Worton, MD

Echo Hill Camp is a sleepaway camp for children ages 7–16. Situated on a bluff, which slopes down to a long sandy beach on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, the camp property comprises a 350-acres of both farm and sunny fields, plus woodlands and marshes. Most campers stay in large platform tents at this rustic camp and choose as many as five activities throughout a typical day. The camp takes great pride in its waterfront and offers a wide variety of aquatic activities. Campers can choose waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, tubing, ocean kayaking, and swimming. What’s more, there’s plenty to do out of the water, including arts, drama, music, and camp activities of all kinds.

My daughters have been going to Echo Hill Camp in Maryland and LOVE it. They very much stress independence and exploring new things.

– Jessica S.

Independent Lake Camp 

70 Clark Road, Thompson, AP

Independent Lake Camp is located in the northern tip of the Pocono Mountains near the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Set on 300 pristine acres, the camp includes a beautiful waterfront on the 100-acre, private, Independent Lake. With flexible 2- to 9-week session options and empowering, camper-chosen programming, campers are given the ability to soar and concentrate their interests. Campers can fly on the trapeze and score a goal on the soccer field. They can record a song and slay a dragon in a role-playing game. Additionally, they can choose circus arts, the waterfront, horses, tennis, dance, magic, fine arts, performing arts, digital arts, adventure, and more!

We send our kids to Independent Lake Camp in the Poconos. They have been going since they were 8. Amazing experience!

– Annemarie G.

Sandy Hill Camp for Boys and Girls

3380 Turkey Point Road, North East, MD

Since 1995, Sandy Hill has offered one- and two-week action-packed, traditional, residential camp experiences for kids age 8 to 16. The camp sits on over two hundred scenic acres overlooking the Upper Chesapeake Bay in North East, Maryland. Designed in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” style, the program helps each camper learn and grow through fun, educational, and character-building experiences. Throughout their stay, campers are supervised by a caring and qualified staff who lead by example to create a safe and nurturing environment.

My daughter has been to many sleepalways and this is by a landslide her favorite. She said no others live up to it!

– Patrice Anne

Summer Discovery Camp & Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)

Locations at 15+ universities in the US

Teens jumping and having fun at Summer Discovery Camp, a sleepaway camp experience at premier universities.

Summer Discovery has more than 55 years in the summer experience industry and has provided superior pre-college programs for 40+ years. Today, they’re the leading pre-college experience provider for middle and high school students from around the world! In partnership with prestigious universities across the US and the UK, they deliver transformative on-campus academic and extra-curricular opportunities as well as online learning options.

The courses were extremely informative and every teacher showed an obvious passion for the work they do. Every course made me feel better prepared for my academic future.

– Isabel G.

YMCA Camp Matollionequay for Girls

1303 Stokes Road, Medford, NJ

Camp Matollionequay for girls is part of the YMCA of the Pines property, which is situated within 800 acres of picturesque pine forests in Medford, New Jersey. At Camp Matollionequay, every day brims with possibility and adventure, featuring activities like boating, kayaking, swimming, archery, ropes course, climbing wall and zipline. Girls have the opportunity to build self-esteem, explore personal limits, enhance communication and self-awareness skills, and discover independence in a safe and nurturing environment. Their professionally trained staff support and encourage campers to become their truest and best self. Furthermore, leadership development for girls is a hallmark of this unique YMCA Camp.

YMCA Camp Matollionequay is amazing! My daughter and niece (both 9) have gone for two summers and have had the best time! My daughter started off with one week and the day we picked her up, she said “I missed you but can I go for two weeks next summer?”

~ Kelly G.

YMCA Camp Ockanickon for Boys

1303 Stokes Road, Medford, NJ

Part of the YMCA of the Pines property, Camp Ockanickon for boys is situated within 800 acres of picturesque pine forests in Medford, New Jersey. Campers experience something uniquely supportive at Camp Ockanickon where there is a focus on the individual growth and development of skills, and talents, distinctive to boys in their journey toward independence. Ocky boys spend their days swimming, boating, kayaking, hiking, or enjoying a sport with new friends. Or they can improve their aim on the archery range or gain a deeper appreciation of nature in the camp’s earth education program. Throughout their experience, Ocky campers know that they are part of something meaningful, something bigger than themselves.

My son has been going for four years and we all love it!

~ Kelly B.

YMCA Camp Tockwogh

24370 Still Pond Neck Road, Worton, MD

Camp Tockwogh is a rural sleepaway camp on 309 well-preserved acres spread over a mile and a half of Chesapeake Bay shoreline. Making friends, being outdoors, and learning positive social behaviors are just a few great things about Tockwogh. For children who’ve completed grades 2 through 9, camp activities include watersports, fine arts, and outdoor exploration, as well as horseback riding. Tockwogh fosters healthy living and social responsibility through the development of independence, confidence, lifelong learning and character in youth, teens and families.

Our daughter started going the summer between 3rd and 4th grade and loved it so much that our son started the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade. We love it because it offers fun activities like water skiing and sailing, but more importantly because of the opportunities it provides our kids to make new friends, be independent, and make decisions on their own. Kids get to choose the activities they want to participate in on a daily basis, live independently with their bunkmates and counselors, and have limited contact with home (unless there’s a problem of course). Every counselor we have met has been kind and caring, and the camp is extremely organized and well run. The hardest day for the kids and us is pick up day because they never want to come home, which I take as a sign of how much they love it there.

– Amy B.

Check out the Main Line Summer Camp Guide, your guide to the BEST summer around the Main Line and beyond!

Lead photo from iStock. Article updated by Beth Gilbert-Crowell.

Contributing Writer