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Where and Why Your Kids Love Sleepaway Camp – Overnight Camp Community Favorites

For a week or a whole summer, overnight camp is a place for children to thrive, explore, and grow. But where to go?

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??? 

There are overnight camps for all ages, near and far, specializing in everything from theater to science to music to sports to nature. All specialize in fun, and creating memories and relationships that last a lifetime. So which to choose? Our Main Line Parent Community has its favorites! Each of these camps has rave reviews and multiple shout-outs from local camp parents. Take a look at which overnight camp experiences your friends and neighbors love and why.

Camp Tockwogh is a spectacular, rural 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, horseback riding, outdoor exploration! 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.

Cardigan Summer Session


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.

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

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.


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

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

~ Melinda S.

Summers at Appel Farm Arts Camp have sparked the imaginations of thousands of young people for more than 50 years! Campers learn new artistic skills, interact with artists from around the world, gain social skills and grow as individuals and members of a community in a beautiful part of rural southern New Jersey. Our campers, girls and boys ages 7 to 17 years old, come together for an unforgettable overnight camp experience! 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.

At Camp Matollionequay for Girls, on 800 acres in the Pines of Medford, New Jersey, 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. 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.

Camp Ockanickon overnight camp for boys means campers experience something different and uniquely supportive. At Camp Ockanickon, 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, enjoying a sport with new friends, improving their aim on the archery range or learning a new appreciation of nature in our earth education program. 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.

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 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. Camp Timber Tops is a sleepover with your best friends every night. It’s your home away from home. It’s your summer family. Activities include aquatics, athletics, outdoor recreation, and creative arts like theatre, fashion design, dance, drama, chorus, and more!

My daughter goes to Timber Tops and LOVES it!

Rebecca F.

Since 1995, Sandy Hill has offered one- and two-week action-packed, traditional, residential camp experiences for kids age 8 to 16 on over two hundred scenic acres overlooking the Upper Chesapeake Bay in North East, Maryland. The “Choose Your Own Adventure” style program is designed to help each camper learn and grow through fun, educational, and character-building experiences. 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

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.

Independent Lake Camp is located in the northern tip of the Pocono Mountains near the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The camp is set on 300 pristine acres and 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. Circus, 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.

Echo Hill Camp is a sleepaway summer camp for children ages 7-16, beautifully situated upon a bluff sloping down to a long sandy beach on Maryland’s Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, a 350 acre farm consisting of sunny fields, woodlands and marshes. Echo Hill is a rustic camp with most campers living in large platform tents, and it takes great pride in its waterfront. A wide variety of aquatic activity including waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, tubing, ocean kayaking, swimming, and more, plus 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.

Since 1941, Camp Sankanac in Spring City, Pennsylvania has been offering a premier summer youth camp experience like none other for children ages 7 to 16.  Offering all of the usual fun camp activities like campfires, sleeping under the stars, crazy games, crafts, waterfront activities, swimming, night games, and fun competitions. Campers will enjoy everything from creek stomping to hilarious skits, to cooking over a fire, to tubing, to braving a mountain-sized water slide the outdoor adventures are endless. Camp Sankanac is church-affiliated and provides a Christian study setting.

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.

Contributing Writer