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


Camp Luther, Conneaut

Lutheran camp on Lake Erie. Adult Bible study, group singing, outdoor evening worship, staff members perform dressed as religious figures. Non-Lutherans welcome. Hiking along the bluffs, swimming lessons, basketball. ACA accredited. Lodging: Thirty-six cabins with electricity, sink, toilet, and shared bathhouse sleep 16 on bunks and doubles; tent and RV sites. Food: Three family-style meals daily; one picnic breakfast, two picnic dinners. Dates: June 18-Aug. 12. Price: $1,135; no one turned away because of inability to pay. 800/431-5666, lomocamps.org.


Deer Valley YMCA Camp, Fort Hill

On Mount Davis. Sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, pontoon boat rides, Blob Tower, and swimming. Staff variety show and international night (foreign-born counselors share their cultures). ACA accredited. Lodging: Thirty-six cabins with electricity, cold water, toilets, and shared bathhouse sleep seven on bunks; seven cabins with hot water, private bath, and living area sleep eight on bunks; lodge bunk rooms with shared bath. Food: Three family-style meals daily; chuckwagon barbecue. Dates: June 10-Aug. 26. Price: $1,542. 800/962-2386, deervalleyymca.org.

New Jersey YMHA Camps, Milford

Weekend camp on 1,200 acres. Two lakes, with inflatable "icebergs," water trampoline, canoeing, sailing, personal watercraft. Athletic fields, two pools. Build a model rocket and launch it. Cooking classes, Color War, yoga, aerobics, poker tournament, mah-jongg. Most campers are Jewish, though the camp welcomes all. ACA accredited. Lodging: Wooden cabins sleep 20 on single beds and bunks; private bath, electricity, and decks. Food: Three cafeteria-style meals daily; snacks throughout the day. All food is kosher. Dates: June 16-18; Aug. 25-27; Sept. 1-4 (single-parent and grandparent weekends also available). Price: $600. 973/575-3333, njycamps.org.


Asbury Hills Camp And Retreat Center, Cleveland

Owned and operated by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, on 1,800 acres in the southern Appalachians. Worship Monday, Thursday, Sunday. Triple-A trout stream, belayed tree climb, swimming hole, ropes course, camp naturalist. ACA accredited. Lodging: Concrete cabins sleep eight on bunks, with shared bathhouse; lodge rooms sleep six on bunks, with common area and shared bath. Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall. Dates: June 25-30; there are also specialty weekends, such as ones for grandparents or kids with special needs. Price: $980. 864/836-3711, asburyhills.org.


Pine Cove Christian Camps, Tyler And Columbus

Three nondenominational Christian camps: Bluffs, at 17-mile-long Lake Palestine; Woods, on 200 acres (both near Tyler); and Crier Creek (near Columbus), a former deer preserve on 700 acres. Paintball, equestrian activities. Bible study, Christian speakers. ACA accredited. Lodging: Cabins and lodge-style rooms sleep four to eight on queen beds, twin beds, and bunks; private bath and A/C. Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall; adult breakfast trail ride and dinner banquet. Dates: May 28-Aug. 12. Price: $2,000. 877/474-6326, pinecove.com.


Camp Common Ground, Starksboro

On 700 acres in the Hogback Mountains. Encourages income diversity, nontraditional families. Photography and chamber music instruction, glass bead workshops, and healing arts. Swimming holes. Lodging: Wooden cabins with no electricity and shared bathhouse sleep six on twin beds and bunks; tent sites with platforms. Food: Three buffets daily in dining hall; most food is organic and locally grown. Snacks throughout the day. Dates: July 29-Aug. 18. Price: $1,825. 800/430-2667, cgcvt.org.

Farm & Wilderness, Plymouth

In the Quaker tradition on the Woodward Reservoir, with an affiliated organic farm. Milk a cow, feed goats, collect eggs, harvest vegetables, bake bread. Pick apples from the orchard, then bake pies and press cider. ACA accredited. Lodging: Three-sided cabins (no electricity, shared bathhouse) sleep 12 on bunks. Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall. Most of the food served comes directly from the farm. Dates: Aug. 22-27. Price: $850. 802/422-3761, fandw.org.

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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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