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Summer Family Camps

Family travelers take note: summer camp vacations aren't just for kids anymore. Family camps provide an action-packed, economical summer family vacation with lots of opportunities for bonding, education and adventure. Some camps cater to families all summer, while others only offer a few weekends or weeks of family camp each year. Prices range from under $100 to around $1000 per adult, depending upon duration and other factors, and generally include all meals and most activities. Childrenís rates vary based on age.

If your idea of a great vacation is playing outdoors all day and having fun with your kids, here are some excellent family camps in locations across the country:

Northeast:

Kingsley Pines Camp, Maine
Located in the Sebago Lakes region about 2.5 hours north of Boston, this camp gives families many opportunities to interact and bond together. The camp features 80-acre Panther Lake and a wide variety of activities including archery, basketball, a low ropes course, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and other water sports. Lodging is in private cabins with private bathrooms. Three meals are served daily. Kingsley Pines' family vacation camp is offered for two weeks during the summer. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.kingsleypines.com or call 800-480-1533.

Medomak Camp for Families, Maine
This camp is located on three-mile-long Washington Pond. Activities include archery, arts and crafts, boating, tennis, sailing, nature hikes, swimming, sailing, photography, yoga and more. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity and private bathrooms. Three family-style meals are served daily along with an afternoon snack. For more information, visit their website at www.medomakcamp.com or call 866-633-6625.

Wyonegonic Camps, Maine
This camp offers a wide variety of activities and water sports on its nine-mile lake, including sailing, waterskiing, canoeing, windsurfing, and fishing. In addition, families will enjoy the camp's six tennis courts, ropes course, arts and crafts, and pottery programs. The camp is American Camp Association (ACA) accredited. Lodging is in large wooden cabins that sleep 14 or platform tents. None of the accommodations have electricity and bathhouses are shared. Three meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.wyonegonic.com or call 207-452-2051.

World Fellowship Center, New Hampshire
This camp is located on 455 acres in New Hampshire's White Mountains, and focuses on educational and multicultural programs. Lodging is in single, double, triple and quad rooms, all with shared baths. Three family-style meals are provided daily. For more information, visit their website at www.worldfellowship.org or call 603-447-2280.

YMCA Sandy Island Family Camp, New Hampshire
Located on a 66-acre island in Lake Winnepesaukee, this camp offers many water sports activities including waterskiing, sailing, tubing and kayaking. Other family-oriented activities include karaoke, bingo, and family dances. Lodging is in cabins with electricity, and some have private baths. Three family-style meals are offered daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.bostonycamps.org or call 603-253-4217.

Farm & Wilderness Camp, Vermont
Located on the Woodward Reservoir, this ACA accredited camp gives families the opportunity to experience farm life. Campers can feed goats, milk a cow, collect eggs, pick vegetables, bake bread, and bake pies and press cider from freshly picked apples. Lodging is in three-sided cabins with no electricity and shared bathhouses. For more information, visit their website at www.fandw.org or call 802-422-3761.

YMCA Camp Chingachgook, New York
Camp Chingachgook is located on 200 acres along the shores of Lake George. This camp offers family camp weekends, four-to-six day family adventure trips on Lake Lila or Lake George in the Adirondacks, and family day programs. Activities include a wide array of water sports, family team building, arts & crafts, hiking, canoeing, swimming, tennis, archery, a high ropes course, 53-foot climbing tower, sailing, and nature walks. Family camp programs are offered in the summer and winter. Lodging is in Adirondack-style cabins with bathhouses as well as a year-round lodge. Three meals are offered daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.cdymca.org/branches/chingachgook/chingachgook.asp or call 518-656-9462.

YMCA Camp Gorham, New York
Located on 1500 acres in the Adirondack Mountains, this ACA accredited camp offers tennis, basketball, archery, an Olympics competition, and climbing wall. The camp's 400-acre lake provides the perfect setting for waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, and other water sports. Lodging is in cottages, a bunkhouse, and lean-to facilities. Three family-style meals are provided daily in the camp's dining hall. Family camp is offered for one week in August. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.campgorham.org or call 888-518-5671.

Frost Valley YMCA Camp, New York
This ACA accredited camp is located on 6000 acres in the Catskill Mountains. In addition to the usual summer camp activities and water sports on the 17-acre lake, Frost Valley has specialty programs, classes and activities for families as well as high and low ropes courses. Lodging is in hotel-style rooms, platform tents, cabins, lodge rooms, and dorm rooms. Three buffet meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.frostvalley.org or call 845-985-2291.

Mid-Atlantic:

Mohican Outdoor Center, New Jersey
Located on 2000 acres in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, this camp is owned and operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. This camp is centered around nature and outdoor activities, and includes guided hikes, sessions on astronomy and tree identification, birding, and horseback riding. Water sports such as swimming and boating take place on the camp's 60-acre lake. Lodging is in bunk rooms that sleep 18, and tent sites are also available. Three buffet meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.outdoors.org/adventure-camps or call 908-362-5670.

Deer Valley YMCA Camp, Pennsylvania
This ACA accredited camp, located on Mount Davis, offers many of the usual summer camp activities and water sports including swimming, sailing, canoeing and windsurfing. Lodging is in cabins and lodge bunk rooms. Three family-style meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.deervalleyymca.org or call 800-962-2386.

YMCA Camp Letts, Maryland
This 100-year old ACA accredited camp is located 34 miles from Washington D.C. or Baltimore, on an inlet right off the Chesapeake Bay. Camp Letts has two family camp sessions, offering windsurfing, canoeing, crabbing and fishing, tennis, archery, arts & crafts, drama, beach volleyball, a high adventure course and a team challenge course. Additional activities, such as waterskiing, horseback riding and powerboating are available for an additional fee. Three meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.campletts.org or call 866-963-6000.

Camp Alleghany, West Virginia
This ACA accredited camp is located on 180 acres in West Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. Activities include archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, tennis, riflery, and ropes course. Lodging is in platform tents, and three buffet meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.campalleghany.com or call 540-898-4782.

Southeast:

Camp Seafarer, North Carolina
Located on the Neuse River, this ACA accredited camp is well known and respected for its wide variety of water sports activities. Activities include sailing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, power boating, tennis, archery, basketball, an adventure program, and other activities. Family camp week and weekend programs are offered. Lodging is in cabins with private bathrooms. Three family-style meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.seagull-seafarer.org or call 252-249-1212.

Blue Star Camps, North Carolina
This ACA accredited camp is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to the usual summer camp activities, the family camp offers rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking, nature hikes, and yoga. Special programs in equestrian activities, creative arts, outdoor adventure, living Judaism, tennis, and other activities are featured. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity and private baths. Three Kosher meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.bluestarcamps.com or call 828-692-3591.

St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, South Carolina
Located on Seabrook Island, this Christian camp and retreat center offers one week of family camp each year. Activities include hiking, tennis, crabbing, bike riding, fishing, and enjoying the camp's beautiful beach location. Lodging is in air conditioned lodge rooms with private baths. Campers should bring their own beach towels and chairs. Three meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.stchristopher.org or call 843-768-0429.

Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center, South Carolina
Located on 1800 acres in the southern Appalachian Mountains, this camp is owned and operated by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. This ACA accredited camp features a swimming hole, a ropes course, trout stream, and a camp naturalist. Worship services are provided on Monday, Thursday and Sunday. Lodging is in concrete cabins with shared bathhouse or in lodge rooms. Three family-style meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.asburyhills.org or call 864-836-3711.

Midwest:

YMCA Storer Camps, Michigan
Featuring a 300-acre lake, this ACA accredited camp is located on 1,200 acres. Activities include water sports, nature hikes, a ropes course, and a variety of themed activities. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity and bathhouse. Three family style meals or buffets are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.ymcastorercamps.org or call 800-536-8607.

YMCA Camp Pendalouan, Michigan
Located on the edge of Manistee National Forest, this ACA accredited camp has a 50-foot climbing tour, a 200-acre lake for water sports, and features horseback riding, fishing, riflery, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity and shared bathhouse. Three family style meals are served daily and snacks are available. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.pendalouan.org or call 231-894-4538.

Rainbow Families Great Lakes, Michigan
This family camp week for lesbian and gay-parented families is a wonderful way to meet other similar families. The camp is held in Saugatuck, along Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River. Activities vary each year, but often include a family dance, personal story sharing, teen bowling night, essay writing classes, berry picking, and sessions for kids and adult campers in dealing with non-traditional family issues. Lodging is not included. Continental breakfast is provided daily, and some lunches and dinners are included. For more information, visit www.rfgl.org or call 616-218-9679.

Camp Nebagamon, Wisconsin
This ACA accredited camp offers tennis, archery, riflery, softball, sailing, windsurfing, and other water sports. Lodging is in cabins with electricity and shared bathhouse. Three meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.campnebagamon.com or call 763-476-7676.

YMCA Camp Nawakwa, Wisconsin
Located on a Chippewa reservation, this camp offers traditional summer camp activities such as arts & crafts, nature hikes, canoeing, kayaking, archery and songfests. In addition, a talent show, triathlon, and water carnival are also scheduled. Lodging is in modern cabins with kitchens and tent sites are also available. Families are responsible for bringing and preparing their own food. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.nawakwa.com or call 715-588-7422.

North Star Camp, Wisconsin
This ACA accredited camp's location on a peninsula with over two miles of shoreline allows for a wide variety of water oriented activities, including windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing, canoeing, and tubing. Other traditional summer camp activities are also offered. Lodging is in cabins with a shared bathhouse. Three family-style meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.northstarcamp.com or call 715-462-3254 (summer) or 520-577-7925 (winter).

Concordia Language Villages, Minnesota
This ACA accredited camp focuses on cultural and language immersion, with activities representative of the culture and language being taught. Three family camp sessions are offered in the summer. The camp programs are held in four lakefront villages located in Minnesota's Northwoods. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity, most of which have bathrooms. Three family-style meals are served daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.concordialanguagevillages.com or call 800-222-4750.

YMCA Camp Du Nord, Minnesota
Located on Burntside Lake in Minnesota's Northwoods region, this camp offers a wide variety of water sports activities including sailing, swimming and canoeing. Overnight camping trips as well as nature and wilderness programs are also available. Lodging is in wood cabins, platform tents, and tents. Three meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.dunord.org or call 651-645-6605.

YMCA Trout Lodge, Missouri
This ACA accredited camp is located on 5200 acres and features a private lake. In addition to the usual summer camp activities, Trout Lodge offers an astronomy program, golf, climbing facilities, a ranch with horses, and a ropes course. Lodging is in lodge rooms, loft suites, and two-bedroom cabins. Three buffet meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.ymcaoftheozarks.com or call 888-386-9622.

Southwest and Mountain States:

YMCA Camp Sky-Y, Arizona
Camp Sky-Y, an ACA accredited camp, is located in the Prescott National Forest. Activities include water sports on Watson Lake, a 65-foot climbing tower, paintball, and hiking, as well as skit nights, carnivals, tournaments and other events. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity and bathhouse. Three family-style meals and evening snacks are provided. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.azycamps.org or call 800-660-1385.

YMCA Chauncey Ranch, Arizona
Chauncey Ranch is located one hour from Phoenix at an elevation of 4,450 feet, Chauncey Ranch. Horses and riding lessons are the main event at Chauncey Ranch. This 5000-acre ranch on the Agua Fria River has close to 100 horses, 50 head of cattle, a few goats and enough bunks for 150 ďranch hands.Ē The Ranch has cottonwood trees, willows, green pastures, sports field, a two-acre lake for canoeing and fishing, riding arenas and barns. One family camp is offered each year. Lodging is in eleven enclosed cabins complete with evaporative coolers and built-in bunks and bathhouses. Three meals are offered daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.azycamps.org or call 800-660-1385.

YMCA of the Rockies, Colorado
Bring your own family or an entire multi-generational reunion group to one of the two lodge operations that make up YMCA of the Rockies: Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch. These budget-minded lodges are open year-round, and offer families a wide variety of seasonal activities including horseback riding, hiking, fishing, biking, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, challenge courses, sleigh rides, wildlife viewing, and nearby white water rafting. Families stay in lodges or individual family cabins, and daily all-you-can-eat buffet meals and a full range of recreational activities are provided. Both of these lodges are proven crowd pleasers. YMCA of the Rockies was recently given a Nick Jr. award for the best place for family travel, and Snow Mountain Ranch was named as the top spot for affordable family adventure travel by Outside Magazine. For more information, visit their website at www.ymcarockies.org or call 800-777-9622.

Cheley Colorado Camps, Colorado
This ACA accredited camp is located on 1600 acres in the Rocky Mountains. Campers can go horseback riding in the Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest, make movies, go fishing and on hiking trips, and enjoy other typical summer camp activities. Lodging is in covered wagons with shared bathhouse. Three family-style meals and snacks are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.cheley.com or call 800-226-7386.

Colorado Heritage Camps, Colorado
This organization runs ten camps for families with international and multicultural adopted children. Camps include: African/Caribbean Heritage Camp; Cambodian Heritage Camp; Chinese Heritage Camp; East Indian Heritage Camp; Filipino Heritage Camp; Korean Heritage Camp; Latin American Heritage Camp; Russian Heritage Camp; and Vietnamese Heritage Camp. Camps feature age-appropriate workshops and activities focusing on the specific culture. Activities may include language, dance, folktales, traditional songs, and arts and crafts. In addition, adoption, race and general self-esteem issues are included where appropriate. Lodging is in lodge rooms with private baths and wooden cabins with shared baths, and tent and RV sites are available. Three meals are provided daily, with culture-specific lunches. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.heritagecamps.org or call 303-320-4234.

Pine Cove Christian Camps, Texas
This organization runs three nondenominational Christian family camps during the summer months. The Woods Family Camp is located on 200 acres near Tyler, Texas. Bluff's Family Camp is held along 17-mile-long Lake Palestine in Flint, Texas. The Crier Creek Family Camp is located on 700 acres in Columbus, Texas. All of the camps feature Bible study and Christian speakers. Traditional camp activities vary by camp, and include arts & crafts, skeet shooting, ropes course, horseback riding, boating activities, swimming, family games, and a variety of events. Lodging is in cabins and lodge rooms with private baths and air conditioning. Three family-style meals are provided. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.pinecove.com or call 877-474-6326.

West Coast:

Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, California
This family camp is located in the Stanislaus National Forest near Yosemite. Activities include hiking, woodworking, yoga, volleyball, and an artist-in-residence program for adults. Lodging is in tent cabins with shared bathhouse. Three family-style meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the camp's website at www.berkeleycamps.com or call 510-981-5140.

Camp Concord, California
Located on 29 acres in the Eldorado Forest, this ACA accredited camp features typical summer camp activities including archery, canoeing, rafting, fishing, and games. The camp has quick access to the beaches of Lake Tahoe and its wide variety of water sports. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity. Three buffet meals are provided daily. For more information, visit www.cityofconcord.org or call 925-671-3273.

Family Vacation Center, California
This family vacation camp located on the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara has been entertaining families since 1969. Activities include tennis, volleyball, kayaking, golf, surf lessons, arts & crafts, swimming, and seminars taught by college professors. Weeklong family vacations camps are in operation through most of July and August. Lodging is in University housing, and three meals are provided. For more information, visit the campís website at www.familyvacationcenter.com or call 805-893-3123.

Lair of the Golden Bear, California
These three camps located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains are affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley. The camps feature three pools, nearby golf, fishing, hiking, outdoor theater, and weekly speakers. Lodging is in wooden cabins with electricity. Three family-style meals are offered. For more information, visit the campís website at www.alumni.berkeley.edu/lair or call 510-642-0221.

Montecito Sequoia Family Camp, California
This ACA accredited camp is located in Giant Sequoia National Forest, close to Sequoia National Park. Homovalo Lake provides an excellent site for water sports, including sailing, waterskiing, canoeing, paddleboating and wakeboarding. The camp also has an equestrian center and a climbing wall. Lodging is in lodge rooms with private baths and in wooden cabins with electricity and bathhouse. Three buffet meals are served daily. For more information, visit the campís website at www.mslodge.com or call 800-227-9900.

Shady Creek Family Camp and Conference Center, California
Located on 130 acres in the Sierra Nevada foothills, this campís activities include archery, arts & crafts, hiking, swimming, panning for gold, and other adventures. Water sports activities are available on Bullardís Bar Reservoir, about 25 minutes away from the camp. Lodging is in wooden cabins, adobe dome cabins, and lodge rooms and suite rooms in the main lodge. Three buffet meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the campís website at www.shadycreekcamp.com or call 800-826-7310.

Wonder Valley Family Camp, California
This ACA accredited camp is located just minutes from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills. In addition to the normal summer camp activities, Wonder Valley Family Camp features an aquatics center, water sports and activities on Dalton Pond, an equestrian center, a skateboard park, minibike and go-kart facilities, a barnyard petting farm, an outdoor stage, and high and low ropes courses. Lodging is in modern motel-style rooms and cottages. Three buffet meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the campís website at www.wondervalleyfamilycamp.com or call 800-821-2801.

Big Lake Camp, Oregon
Although owned and operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Big Lake Camp is open to everyone. Activities include horseback riding, swimming, waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, videography, robotics, mountain biking, gymnastics, creative arts, and archery. Three family camp sessions are offered. Lodging is in rustic accommodations and three vegetarian meals are provided daily. For more information, visit the campís website at www.biglake.org or call 503-794-4333.

More information on family camps around the country can be found in the family camps section of www.kidscamps.com and on the American Camp Association's website: www.kidscamps.com.

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