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JCC Camp Chi, Wisconsin

JCC Camp Chi

Situated on over 500 acres in the state of Wisconsin, JCC Camp Chi is billed as the ultimate destination for Jewish campers between the ages of 9 and 16. This overnight camp for both boys and girls has a history that dates back nearly a century. From horseback riding to wake boarding, the numerous available activities allow for a highly customized stay.


Camp Mesorah

For Orthodox Jews in the New York area, Camp Mesorah is the premiere co-ed camp. The number of activities is endless and they offer numerous packages that can accommodate a camper of any level of experience — from those who are ready for a full four-week schedule to those want to just test it out.


Plantation Farm Camp, California

If you're looking for a sustainable, environmentally-conscious summer camp, Plantation Farm Camp is an immaculate choice. Located among the beautiful Sonoma Redwoods on the California coast, the farm dates back 150 years. While the activities are numerous and entertaining, it's the interaction with the plants, animals and nature in general that is the most memorable aspect.


Camp Shane — New York and Arizona

For campers who want to shed some pounds, Camp Shane has more than four decades of experience in helping youngsters launch healthy, maintainable lifestyles. Children of all shapes and sizes will feel welcomed and empowered. In addition to learning about eating right and exercising, campers gain social skills through fun activities.


The French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, New York

Do have an aspiring musician in your home? Does your child yearn to be an actor? The French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts is the perfect summer camp option. With more than 80 different specific areas of expertise to master, campers will find the type of arts they truly love. This camp is located adjacent to Hancock, New York within a serene landscape.


Surf Diva's All-Girls Overnight Surf Camp, California

Surf Diva - Surf Camp

This all-inclusive camp is only for girls and its focus — as the name suggests — is surfing. The girls get two surf lessons per day. In the evening, there are other activities such as movies, arts and crafts, talent shows and more. Located in always-sunny San Diego, Surf Diva's All-Girls Overnight Surf Camp is heaven on earth for girls who love the water.


The Appalachian Mountain Club's Teen Wilderness Adventures

For East Coast teenagers, The Appalachian Mountain Club's Teen Wilderness Adventures is a highly-regarded summer camp. While the activities themselves are fun and unforgettable, the breathtaking scenery adds even more to the experience. With teambuilding outdoor undertakings, teens will see their self-confidence skyrocket as they conquer the wilderness.


Campus Kids — NJ and Minisink

This distinctive camp allows children to return home on the weekends while spending their weekdays participating in activities of their choosing. Those activities include everything from team sports and learning the guitar to swimming lessons and performance arts. Campus Kids is perfect for children in the New York City area because both of the camps are approximately 60 minutes away.


Westcoast Connection/360 degree Student Travel

For teenagers who love an adventure or want to travel the world, it doesn't get much better than Westcoast Connection/360 degree Student Travel. Their various programs include options such as touring the globe, language immersion and enrichment experiences to prepare for college.


Forest Acres Camp for Girls and Indian Acres Camp for Boys

Situated in the White Mountain foothills, these brother-sister camps (girls go to Forest Acres Camp, boys go to Indian Acres Camp) are approximately two miles from one another. While many different activities are offered, it's the horseback riding that is by far the most popular. They have up to 30 horses at one time and a handful of riding arenas.

More on summer camps

How to find the right summer camp for your kids
Care packages for kids at camp
Should your teen become a junior camp counselor?

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Comments on "Top 20 summer camps in the U.S."

Eilert November 24, 2013 | 9:52 PM

Would love to know the criteria used for selecting these camps.

Jessica November 18, 2013 | 10:18 AM

For four summers I worked at iD Tech Camps and Academies. First of all, it is a great company to work for. But, also I know that if I ever have kids - I definitely want to send them to one of the iD Tech programs. Kids and teens get a chance to take classes on topics such as computer programming, game design, movie making, and photography - while also having fun! They have camps held at universities all over the U.S.

Louis Vuitton Outlet October 30, 2013 | 5:26 PM

Louis Vuitton Outlet

Charlie Ovens August 13, 2013 | 12:17 PM

i just got home from Cheley Colorado Camps and it is my 2nd home. not only do you do riflery, tech climbing, backpacking, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, archery, wood working, and more, but (at least for the boys) the brotherhood you create is the best experience of all time. I will never ever go to any other summer camp and i am dying to work there. the camp is run by the Cheley family and you actually talk to them and create a friendship with them. All the staff is trained in wilderness first aid, and then in whatever direct program they are overseeing. The older boys also help run the camp. Those that are voted for being the most positive and encouraging kids that year will become CILTS, or Campers In Leadership Training. Overall this is a 10 out of 10 camp and I love it. Cheley is a dream come true

Ginny June 16, 2013 | 12:03 PM


Sylvia June 02, 2013 | 1:10 PM

I am proud to be a Cheley camper! There is no better place in the world then Cheley.....

Shawn Ryan May 31, 2013 | 10:59 AM

Hey Melissa, LOVED this article! We run The Young Actors' Theatre Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains and would love to have you take a look at our camp for future inclusion. This summer some of our teachers include DARREN CRISS from GLEE< SUTTON FOSTER from BROADWAY, and so many more! We have a blast and love what you are doing for the arts! Thank you! Shawn Ryan The Young Actors' Theatre Camp www.CampYATC

Jim May 08, 2013 | 9:39 AM

My boys have gone to Camp Skylemar in Maine for several years now. It's been an amazing experience for them that they look forward to every summer. The staff there is outstanding! HIGHLY recommended. Lots of info on their Web site: http://skylemar

Hannah March 04, 2013 | 10:20 AM

Long Lake Camp for the arts is an AMAZING camp that I've been going to for a year now! I'm coming this year and it has everything, 20 fine arts studios, music, theater, drama, waterfront, sports, and even a bunch of movie making and rock bands! I loved it, and think it's just as good as frenchwoods looks. Check it out it's FANTASTIC!!!!

Keegan January 17, 2013 | 7:15 PM

I'd check out Kennolyn Camps. Located in the Santa Cruz mountains in Santa Cruz California! I went there for 10 years and loved every minute of it. www.kennolyncamps

Amy January 16, 2013 | 8:36 PM

I just heard about this new sleepaway camp in Massachusetts called Oasis Pines. My kids have attended Oasis day camp for years and we LOVE Oasis. It is going to be on the campus of Smith College and its beautiful! Oasis has the best staff and my kids always loved the spirit of the camp. They would come home and tell us amazing stories of all the activities and awesome stuff they did. We completely trust Oasis and we know that sleepaway is going to be fantatic! We are excited for our kids to be a part of the start of Oasis Pines!!!

camp friendship January 13, 2013 | 9:07 AM

i'd also look at Camp Friendship in Virginia www.campfriendship..

Seth January 10, 2013 | 3:43 PM

Don't forget to include Flying Moose Lodge in East Orland, ME! I attended this canoeing, hiking, camping, and wilderness based camp for boys for 5 years and wouldn't be who I am today were it not for those wonderful summers. Flying Moose really concentrates on building woods skills such as white water canoeing, and low impact camping. They have tetherball, canoe building, ping pong, skit night, sing-alongs, and weekly trips to places like Acadia National Park, the Appalacian Trail, and many of the area's fine waterways like the Allagash and the St Croix. There are a number of different sessions available, but after my first summer, I had to go for the whole seven weeks from then on. Check them out! Your boys will thank you!

Matt December 24, 2012 | 5:34 PM

I'd also throw Longacre Leadership up there, although I'm not surprised it didn't make the list, it's small.

Greg Howes December 12, 2012 | 5:47 AM

Totally agree with the comments from Dave Friedman (and Marc). If you are using this article to somehow narrow down camps... you are making a mistake. Contact the American Camping Association for a free and UNBIASED consultation. They visit and accredit camps and are the ONLY unbiased source to be trusted.

Ken Herz December 04, 2012 | 4:04 PM

It is obvious why you missed Pok-o-MacCready Camps. Your list is the best camps in the U.S. Pok-o-MacCready is commonly known as "The Greatest Camp in the Universe".

Emmy July 19, 2012 | 7:16 PM

I am shocked that Teton Valley Ranch Camp is not on this list...it most definitely gives Cheley a run for their money.

Mom to three boys April 25, 2012 | 11:20 AM

Camp Skylemar in Maine is great, I only have sons and it is a boys camp, but the directors are caring people and they put an amazing effort into finding great counselors who can teach all levels of sports, from my beginner son, to older son who thinks he is an expert. Awesome camp

Doe January 24, 2012 | 8:40 PM


Dana January 24, 2012 | 7:04 PM

I have been a camper at JCC Camp Chi for 5 years, and my sisters for 2. It is an amazing camp full of fun activities, great facilities, and amazing counselors. Chi has so many programs available from normal sleepaway camp to teen trips across the country. Camp has become a part of my life, and I have made so many great friends and tried so many new activities. Camp Chi has truly made me who I am today, and I was so happy to find Camp Chi on this list.

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