Those who had the privilege of spending their summers at sleepaway camp know it’s an unbeatable opportunity to connect with nature and make lifelong friends.
Especially with today’s smartphones and social media, it’s never bad for children to unplug from technology and learn cool things like how to paddle board or go down a thrilling zipline.
With its beautiful mountains like Mount Greylock and lakes like Lake Cochituate, sleepaway summer camps in Massachusetts offer an ideal place to teach young kids wilderness and outdoor skills.
The following programs provide stunning nature views and a wide range of activities for any child.
1. Camp Robinhood
Dates: June 24 – August 9
You’ll find the Camp Robinhood campus sprawling on the White Mountain National Forest with many outdoor opportunities. It’s only a 2-hour drive from Boston, so it’s close enough to drop off your kids.
Ensuring that your kids can make friends is a big component of their programs and they’ll have plenty of chances while going hiking, enjoying water activities, playing team and individual sports, horseback riding lessons, and quite a few other activities.
Each is filled with five activities where three of which are chosen by them. Their half-session lasts one month while the full season covers almost two months from the end of June to the beginning of August.
With a strong emphasis on health, food is a big part of Camp Robinhood and they ensure kids are fed healthy yet delicious food while hydrated to keep up with all the fun games that go on. Considering most of their camp counselor are former campers themselves, it’s safe to say it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone that comes here.
2. YMCA Camp Hi-Rock
Location: Mt Washington
Dates: June 25 – August 19
Camp Hi-Rock has run summer camps in Mount Washington for 60 years now. With a friendly atmosphere, children will build confidence and self-esteem as they participate in their one and two-week programs.
Kids will also form close bonds with their peers as they spend time together in the cabin and play with others in the camp games and activities. Campers can select from numerous activities featuring dance, hiking, arts and crafts, archery, SUP, waterskiing, and several more.
The Leader-In-Training (LIT) program helps older students to establish their leadership capabilities as they watch over the younger campers. There is also a day camp for kids ages 5-13 that features the same awesome group of activities.
As their mission statement explains, “Our goal is to challenge and nurture the individual”, so parents can expect their kids to come back more mature and educated from time spent at YMCA Camp-Hi Rock.
3. Odyssey Teen Camp
Dates: June 26 – July 30
Odyssey Teen Camp is a nonprofit summer camp for older kids ages 13-18 in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. The camp is located in the southern Berkshires on a beautiful 415-acre private nature reserve, with a private lake for swimming and boating.
Campers sleep in cozy cabins and enjoy the benefits of sports fields and a large amphitheater.
Odyssey was started in 2002 with the goals of inclusivity and togetherness. The founders wanted to create a supportive and welcoming environment where teens could interact without judgment and be themselves. The camp is welcoming for teens who are LGBTQ+ and for those who are shy or otherwise have trouble socializing at school.
Odyssey offers regular camp activities like fine arts, yoga, dancing, sports, and music. They also provide enjoyable alternative activities like tarot reading, stand-up comedy, and social justice classes.
Sessions range in 2023 from 1 to 4 weeks, and they offer many scholarship opportunities.
4. Camp Romaca
Dates: June 24 – August 12
Romaca is one of the oldest continuously running summer camps in the country, bringing kids together since 1916. They’re an all-girls overnight camp in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains that offers a rustic-but-comfortable experience focused on nature without any technology. Girls ages 6-16 sleep in cabins built from local lumber and spend time walking around the lush grounds with over 150 acres of forest and fields to explore.
Romaca is a traditional summer camp split into multiple instructional periods each day where children participate in various activities.
Some fun things to do include performing and creative arts, gymnastics, team sports like softball, lacrosse, and soccer, horseback riding, paddleboarding, sailing, wakeboarding, and adventure courses. There is group leisure swim in the lake every afternoon where everyone comes together with the staff to make new friends across age groups.
There are no varying camp sessions for Romaca. All girls attend the full 7-week summer, from Friday, June 24 to Friday, August 12. The extended-stay means all participants have the same unforgettable experience and can form real lifelong friendships.
5. Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp
Dates: June 26 – August 10
While Wildwood is technically in southern New Hampshire, it’s part of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and has the quintessential summer camp feel. Wildwood is located close to the Annett State Forest and the stunning Mount Monadnock. The property also features a lengthy shoreline along the gorgeous blue waters of Hubbard Pond for camp water activities and leisure swimming.
Across 159 acres of forests, fields, and wetlands, campers plan their days around nature activities where they can learn about the environment and connect with their natural surroundings. In the mornings, youth partake in nature exploration groups to learn about flora and fauna from Audubon experts.
In the afternoons, they participate in several activities like sailing, archery, hiking, ropes course challenges, arts and crafts, paddling, and soccer. At night they can enjoy an interesting time stargazing while observing the night sky.
Wildwood offers regular summer programs in one- and two-week sessions. The Wildwood Warblers is a three-night stay for 7-year-olds and Teen Adventure Trips for 16- and 17-year-olds. There is also a family camp so that the entire family can enjoy a weekend getaway together. Day camps for younger kids ages 6-11 also run on a weekly basis starting in July.
6. Camp Lenox
Dates: June 25 – August 13
Camp Lenox is a traditional sports camp that prides itself on instilling social values while providing top-notch athletic training in the beautiful Berkshires. This camp is not for casual sports players but for athletes looking to seriously improve their game during the summer holidays under the guidance of highly qualified sports coaches and an experienced camp director.
Camo Lenox is located in Otis in the Berkshires and has been operating since 1918. It offers boys and girls ages 7-16 programming in almost any sport imaginable, from soccer and gymnastics to wiffleball and yoga.
Campers spend parts of the day working on their chosen sport(s) and partake in more classical camp activities like zip-lining, sailing, arts and crafts, rock climbing, and archery. Camp facilities include multiple sports fields, a fitness center, theatre, tennis and basketball courts, and a studio for dance classes.
The camp is truly amazing with renovated cabins, chefs who prepare delicious and nutritious meals, and full medical supplies in case of injury. Boys and girls can stay for the whole session from June 25 through August 13 or choose a half session for the first or second part of camp.
7. Camp Burgess & Hayward
Dates: June 26 – August 26
Camp Burgess & Hayward are summer camps run by the YMCA, an organization that has revolutionized the sleepaway camp game for decades. The camp has been around for almost a century, founded in 1928 on the shores of Cape Cod in the town of Sandwich. The facility is split into two camps: Camp Burgess for Boys and Camp Hayward for Girls. Both sit on 300 acres of forest, fields, and freshwater ponds.
Camp runs in one and two-week sessions for children ages 7-16. The two camps are located across from each other, so children can have an all-boys or all-girls supportive environment while being able to interact at supervised coed events.
Both camps work to foster lifelong friendships and build skills while having fun. Children live in comfortable and modern cabins with bunkmates. They participate in activities like climbing on rope courses, swimming in one of the multiple ponds, scuba diving, surfing, white water rafting, tennis, and much more!
Camp Burgess & Hayward is around an hour’s drive from Boston, Massachusetts, close to those living in the large capital city.
8. Camp Danbee
Dates: June 25 – August 12
Camp Danbee is a girl’s camp located along the beautiful Lake Ashmere in the Berkshire Mountains region of Massachusetts. Its mission concerns empowering girls to aim for their version and achieve any goal they set for themselves.
The program achieves this by offering many activities across their modern camp facilities and their small 3-1 camper to counselor ratio.
Camp Danbee emphasizes skill development so girls ages 7-15 can grow their self-confidence and resilience. They help campers become more poised by concentrating on teamwork and self-betterment rather than competitiveness.
They also have a daily commitment to their philosophy of community service and encourage youth to participate in service work every day.
Besides service, Camp Danbee offers a vast array of activities, including archery, swimming, fine and performing arts, woodcraft, theater, cheerleading, water skiing, sailing, team and individual sports, and horseback riding. They offer sessions lasting three and four weeks, as well as for the entire summer season.
9. Girl Scouts Camps
For members of the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, there are Girl Scout sleepaway summer camps for all ages. The programs have the same goals as the Girl Scout organization: for girls to gain confidence, problem-solving skills, and lifelong friendships. It’s also a great program to build up your leadership capabilities.
Girls stay at Camp Bonnie Brae, the nation’s oldest continuously operating Girl Scout camp. That’s not the only Massachusetts overnight summer camp since there is also Camp Lewis Perkins and Camp Laurel Wood.
They live in cabins with their troops and have opportunities to bond with bunkmates and other peers through several activities. Each camp session is one week long, and girls can stay from one to eight weeks.
Campers spend some of their time earning badges through learning life skills like knife safety, fire starting, and plant identification. There are also other traditional camp activities like swimming and arts and crafts. Bonnie Brae also offers themed weeks such as “Lights, Camera, Action” for girls interested in performing arts and “Wizarding World of Camp” for “Harry Potter” fans!