5 Family Camps in New England: Sleepaway Camp for the Whole Family

Family Camps in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine offered by Mass Audubon, Girls Scouts of Eastern Mass, Purity Spring Resort, and Appalachian Mountain Club

If your kids are too young for sleepaway camp, or you simply want to experience the fun of summer camp together, family camp may be for you. Luckily, we have several great options right here in New England. Read on and start planning your family’s summer adventure or just fuel your daydreams about s’mores over the campfire and splashing in a lake with your favorite people in the world.  


Mass Audubon - Wildwood

1. A Mass Audubon program, Camp Wildwood’s Family Camp is for families and adults who want to experience summer camp again (or for the first time). Cost includes all meals and snacks, housing, and activities for the family. Activities allow for groups to stay together or split up according to individual interests, and may include hiking in the forest, canoeing around the pond, making art out of recycled materials, learning about the night sky, or trying a ropes course (high and low). If you’re feeling a little anti-social one day, no worries – all activities are optional.

Dates: See schedule
Location: Rindge, NH
Contact: wildwood@massaudubon.org or call 781-259-2183 or 866-MAS-CAMP (toll-free)

Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass 

2. Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass gives you and your children the perfect introduction to camp with family fun and short stays (from one night to a week). When you think of summer camp, do activities like hiking, canoeing, creating an art projects, and listening to stories around the campfire come to mind? Well, that’s exactly the kind of thing they do at the Girls Scouts Family Camp. For lodging, you can choose from a platform tent, yurt, or cabin, and meals are served family style in the dining halls. There are family camps in the beginning of the summer and at the end, in two locations in New Hampshire and one on Cape Cod (we vote for the latter!). In addition to family camps, Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass offers a couple of Mom/Daughter and Dad/Daughter weekends – the perfect bonding experience!

Dates: See pdf for schedule 
Locations: Camp Menotomy on Lake Winnipesauke in New Hampshire, Camp Runels in Pelham, New Hampshire, or Camp Favorite in Brewster, Massachusetts
Contact: 617-350-8335 or info@girlscoutseasternmass.org

Purity Spring Resort

3. Join the many families who return every year to Family Camp at Purity Spring Resort. They come for  traditional camp activities like archery, softball, riflery, tennis and watersports. The real draw, however, is social time, when kids and parents make fast friends with (formerly) perfect strangers. These programs include nightly family games, social hours on the lodge porch, and a dance on the tennis court. My family’s favorite Purity Spring events are the breakfast cookout and the lobster and steak cookout, which always wraps up with everyone stuffing their faces with s’mores. If you want the summer camp experience without really roughing it, you have the choice of staying in one of their economy lodges, which have private bathrooms. If you’re looking for more of an authentic camp experience, try the cabins, which are a lot more rustic!

Dates: August 18-23, 2013, click here for rates and a sample daily schedule
Location: 1251 Eaton Road, Route 153, East Madison, New Hampshire 03849
Contact: (800) 373-3754 or download the brochure for more information.

Photo: The lake at Purity Spring Resort

Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)

4. Family Adventure Camps
AMC's Family Adventure Camps are all-inclusive –five days of guided activities, meals, and lodging – so you don’t have to do any planning and you know exactly how much you’re spending up front. The Family adventure Camps, located in Maine and New Hampshire, are for families with kids ages 5-12. Activities include hikes, paddling, fly-fishing, hands-on nature studies, and evening programs. Families learn about outdoor safety, ecology, and stewardship of wild areas while exploring the mountains and lakes in the Northeast.

5. Wee Wanderers
If your kids are younger, AMC offers a sort of junior version of the adventure camps, Wee Wanderers. Geared toward families with kids ages 3-5, the programs are shorter (3 days) and encourage families to explore the outdoors and connect with each other. Kids are introduced to the animals of the Lakes region during pond discovery, nature trail exploration, and a visit to the nearby Squam Lakes Science Center. Walks are less than a mile, and the AMC Guides get that little ones need down time – indoor activities like crafts and story time are also scheduled.

A bonus of both types of AMC family camps: If you notify them of your dietary restrictions during registration they can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free diets, and most food allergies.

Dates: See schedule of Guided Family Adventures
Locations: New Hampshire and Maine
Contact: amclodging@outdoors.org

Looking for a different type of camp? Check out our Summer and Vacation Camps Guide.