When school doors close, camp doors open wide, and kids across Long Island gear up for new adventures and experiences. Camp should be fun, and families have so many great choices in Suffolk County for summer day camps. Whether you have a first-timer or a seasoned camper, parents want to make the right choice for their kids, and we're here to help with our list of the best camps for canoeing, sports, art, learning, and most of all, having a blast.
These camps offer activities and other events to keep kids happy all summer. Different camps offer different amenities and programs, including half- and full-day options, door-to-door transportation, and travel programs for older campers. Many camps hold open-house events and tours, so bring your kids and pick the one that suits your needs.
We've also got our picks for Nassau County summer camps. For more great summer camp ideas, check out our Long Island Summer Camps Guide.
Camp Harbor — St. James
Campers are encouraged to have fun, explore their interests, and learn new ones at Camp Harbor. This seven-week program for kids preschool through eighth grade includes academic enrichment, sports, arts and crafts, instructional swim, nature, group challenges, and more. Flexible schedules are available to meet the needs of families and a discount is applied for early registration.
RELATED: Drop-in art locations for LI kids
Waterside activities are featured at Camp Quinipet on Shelter Island.
Camp Quinipet Day Camp — Shelter Island
Camp Quinipet sits on a large, partially wooded peninsula with wonderful water views from almost everywhere. There is no swimming pool, but there is a sandy beach and a dock with all sorts of watercraft. The camp offers a sleepaway program, day camp, and a sailing school. Quinipet is more rustic than fancy, but it does have comfortable lodgings, up-to-date facilities, and is situated in one of the most picturesque spots on Long Island. The staff is friendly and professional. The camp is owned and operated by the United Methodist Church and includes some progressive Christian programming, but children of all faiths are welcome. Campers register by the week.
Camp W Day Camp — Melville
With a range of programs to fit the needs of campers in pre-K to ninth grade, Camp W is here for kids to have fun and make friendships. Kids can make this camp experience their own by choosing areas of interest each day during three choice periods. Choose from GaGa ball, rocketry, the camp newspaper or show, magic, hip-hop dance, and more. Early care and late care are available.
Crestwood Country Day Camp — Melville
Established in 1956, Crestwood offers a range of sports and activities, including swimming, gymnastics, soccer, volleyball, arts and crafts, dance, a mini zoo, zip line, paddle boats, super slides, and carnivals. Bus service from most nearby neighborhoods is included in the cost of tuition, and early and aftercare programs are available.
Kenwal Day Camp — Melville
This camp is huge with an incredible mix of activities. It has eight zip lines, sports fields, courts, a lake for boating, four pools (one with a giant slide), and playgrounds. Kenwal offers a range of sports, swimming instruction, drama, music, arts and crafts, and a nature program. Children spend part of each day in general activities, and then have the choice of focusing on a particular interest or skill.
A waterfront campus means great access to wantersports!
Knox School Summer Adventures — St. James
Knox is a full-feature day camp with a waterfront campus at Stony Brook Harbor. It offers swimming, kayaking, field sports, tennis, horseback riding, science, drama, music, dance, and more. It also offers a travel program for children entering seventh through ninth grades.
RELATED: Indoor swimming classes for LI kids
Introduce your child to theater at a Laurel Hill School camp.
Laurel Hill School Summer Camps — East Setauket
The Laurel Hill School is a private school on a large, well-kept campus. With a new outdoor classroom, rock climbing wall with a swing shot, and daily swimming lessons through a Red Cross program, this camp gives parents peace of mind and offers kids lots of great experiences. Specialties include sports, drama, science, and academic enrichment.
Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts — Wheatley Heights
For more than 50 years, Usdan has been bringing world-class artists and musicians to its campers. With award-winning programs, many campers return year after year to practice their art, whether it's music, painting, photography, dance, theater, or video game design. The Usdan campus houses more than 70 studios and theaters, including a 1,000-seat amphitheater all in beautiful, natural surroundings, where campers can hike, explore, play sports, swim, and more. Tuition includes transportation, and scholarships are available.
YMCA of Long Island Summer Day Camps — Bay Shore, East Hampton, Holtsville, Huntington and Patchogue
Suffolk County YMCAs offer both traditional day camps and a variety of specialty camps. They also offer programs and classes for children throughout the summer. Membership in the YMCA is required for all camps. Sibling discounts are available.
Young People’s Day Camps of Suffolk County — Central Islip
This American Camp Association-accredited day camp offers a mix of activities, including sports, hiking, swimming instruction, arts and crafts, music, drama, martial arts, and dance. Registration for more than two weeks includes a discount in price. Fees include door-to-door transportation from nearby communities.
Top photo: Campers can enjoy watersports at The Knox School Summer Adventures. Photos courtesy of the camps
This post was updated in March 2018.