50 All-Star Family Camps

Remember summer camp? The fun doesn't have to stop just because you've grown up. You and your kids can make s'mores and go fishing, all without spending heaps of money--for a family of four, some camps cost less than $1,000 for an entire week


Mohican Outdoor Center, Blairstown

Owned and operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club, on 2,000 acres in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Swimming, boating, and canoeing on 60-acre lake. Astronomy, birding, tree identification, guided hikes, horseback riding. Day trips to the Lakota Wolf Preserve. Lodging: Lodge-style bunk rooms sleep 18, with shared bathroom and kitchen; tent sites. Food: Three buffet meals daily in dining hall. Dates: July 23-Aug. 25. Price: $1,201; AMC family membership costs $75, but it gets you a 10 percent discount on the camp. 908/362-5670, outdoors.org/adventure_camps.


Santa Fe Mountain Adventures, Santa Fe

Specializes in guided adventure activities in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Whitewater rafting, llama trekking, GPS treasure hunt, horseback riding, pottery, fly-fishing. Lodging: Choose from four Santa Fe hotels; rooms sleep four, with private bath. Shuttles to and from activities provided. Food: Not included. Dates: July 1-Aug. 26. Price: $3,573. 800/965-4010, santafemountainadventures.com.

Western Unitarian Universalist Life Festival, Ghost Ranch

In high desert, with red rock cliffs and cacti. This year's theme is "The Sacred Epic of Evolution." Paleontologist leads tour of dinosaur dig. Native American flute lessons, kiva tour, pottery. Lodging: Dorm rooms in hacienda-style building sleep seven; tent and RV sites. Food: Three cafetria-style meals daily, with vegetarian options. Dates: June 5-11. Price: $1,925. 303/832-1106, wuulf.org.


Frost Valley Ymca Camp, Claryville

On 6,000 acres in the Catskills. Carnival with dunking booth, apple bobbing, and petting zoo. Evening rodeo, classes on maple sugaring, Japanese culture sharing, family talent show. ACA accredited. Lodging: B&B-style castle (a former private estate); hotel-style rooms sleep two; platform tents sleep eight, with shared bathhouse; cabins sleep 10, with private bath; dorm rooms sleep 6-12; lodge rooms sleep 10 on bunks, with private bath. Food: Three buffets daily with three themed dinners. Dates: Aug. 19-25. Price: $1,267. 845/985-2291, frostvalley.org.

YMCA Camp Gorham, Eagle Bay

In the Adirondacks, on 1,500 acres. Kayaking, waterskiing, and sailing on 400-acre lake. Climbing wall, tennis, basketball, archery, Olympics, and square dancing. ACA accredited. Lodging: Lean-to with electricity sleeps four on bunks, with shared bathhouse; bunkhouse sleeps 48, with kitchen and bath; Adirondack-style cottages sleep 20 on doubles and bunks, with electricity and private bath. Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall. Dates: Aug. 20-27. Price: Cottage $1,765 (YMCA members $1,665). 888/518-5671, campgorham.org.


Blue Star Camps, Hendersonville

In the Blue Ridge Mountains. Geology program, rock climbing, rafting, yoga, pony rides, mountain biking, nature hikes. Day trip to DuPont State Forest with swimming in Hooker Falls. Super-Sloppy Double Dare. Most campers are Jewish, but everyone's welcome. ACA accredited. Lodging: Wooden cabins with electricity and private bath sleep 14 on twin, full, and bunk beds. Food: Three buffets daily in dining hall; snacks throughout the day. Dates: Aug. 10-13. Price: $1,180 (nannies stay free). 828/692-3591, bluestarcamps.com.

Camp Seafarer, Arapahoe

On the Neuse River at the mouth of Pamlico Sound. Sailing, knot-tying, open-water kayaking, motorboating. Hunting for fossilized shark teeth, pitch 'n' putt golf course, adventure program with ropes course and climbing wall. ACA accredited. Lodging: Cabins with porches, ceiling fans, and private bathrooms sleep 14 on bunks. Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall. Dates: May 26-28; Aug. 13-18; Sept. 1-4; Sept. 22-24. Price: $1,830. 252/249-1212, seagull-seafarer.org.

Green River Preserve, Cedar Mountain

A private wildlife preserve on 3,400 Blue Ridge acres. Focus on nature immersion. Naturalists lead walks through preserve, track wildlife, hike to petroglyphs. Native American flute lessons. Fly-fishing, pottery, crafts. ACA accredited. Lodging: Cabins with electricity, toilet, sink, and shared bathhouse sleep 16 on bunks; lodge rooms with private bathrooms sleep two to four . Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall. Most vegetables locally grown. Dates: Sept. 1-4. Price: $1,230. 828/698-8828, greenriverpreserve.org.

Watch the family camps video
Did you see BT on the Today show? Watch Editor Erik Torkells discuss last year's list of the best family camps with host Ann Curry. If you don't already have it, you will need MSN Video Player, a free (and easy!) plug-in, to watch the video
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    Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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