The weather is slowly heating up, which means one thing: Summer is around the corner. And so is camp season.
Camps across Long Island are beginning to hold open houses, so it mighty be time to figure out where to send your little ones once school lets out. Looking for a general camp? How about one just for preschoolers? Or how about a camp for older children? Here we check out the best Nassau County has to offer. Each camp below has its American Camp Association accreditations; for a fuller list, check out our Long Island Summer Camp Guide.
Buckley Country Day Camp
Buckley works with parents to customize the perfect summer experience for their child. Parents choose a session length of between two and eight weeks, and the weeks do not have to be consecutive in case a vacation is planned. Buckley even offers a Parent & Child camp for 18-30 month olds. As children age, parents can tailor the camp programs to better suit the needs and interests of their child, including science, Lego building, dance, performing arts, and more. Buckley offers a CIT program for older campers, and has extensive indoor and outdoor facilities so a rainy day is not likely to ruin the fun.
Three pools highlight the 15-acre campus at Camp Jacobson.
— Old Westbury
Three heated pools, tennis courts, playing fields, and a rope-climbing adventure course await campers on this 15-acre campus run by the Sid Jacobson JCC. This camp prides itself on a low staff-child ratio and its inclusion of community-service projects and trips. Campers must enroll for a minimum of two weeks with any number of additional weeks (up to eight) possible. Financial assistance may be available. This camp also offers a Teen Leadership program.
Camps 'R' Us — Multiple locations, including Baldwin, Bellmore, Farmingdale, Hicksville, Syosset, and Valley Stream
Camps 'R' Us operates at some of the top independent schools on Long Island and bill itself as the perfect choice for working parents. All camps include state-of-the-art facilities and playing fields. The camp offers a mix of activities and a travel program for older teens. Parents can enroll children in three- or five-day sessions from one to eight weeks.
Coleman Country Day Camp — Merrick
The motto here is the Power of Fun. One glance at its website emphasizes that. With a Western theme, this camp offers traditional activities such as swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, and more. There are more in-depth activities such as archery, basketball, cooking, computer, jewelry, nature, and more. There is even a weeklong Circus Camp. This camp has programs for children nursery-aged through 10th grade. Coleman is a "tease-free zone," emphasizing the importance of eliminating bullying and creating an inclusive environment.
Friends Academy Summer Camps — Locust Valley
This camp offers children 3-15 more than 30 programs on a 65-acres campus, along with access to offsite facilities. Friends Academy offers flexible options. including mini-day camps for younger children and travel options for older kids. Lunch and transportation are included.
Greentrees Country Day School & Camp
For almost 30 years this camp has provided younger children with a safe and fun summer experience. Children 2-6 enjoy activities include swimming, music and dance, theater, arts and crafts, cookouts, cooking, noncompetitive sports, yoga, and gymnastics. Camp staff have been trained in the safety and well-being of its campers.
Hofstra University — Hempstead
Choose from some different programs at this specialty camp, including academics, sports, arts, and more; offerings rotate every two weeks. Half of the day is spent on that specialty, while the rest of the day features recreational sports, swimming, and lunch. With more than 50 electives, children can focus on cheerleading, music, theater, dance, and more. The Hofstra Camp website is full of information on program choices.
Long Island University Post Summer Day Camp — Brookville
Parents can choose from among three different options depending on a child's age. The Early Start Imagination Camp is perfect for those ages 3 through 5 who are starting camp for the first time. The LIU Oasis Day Camp is geared for campers entering first through sixth grades. Its campus is divided into upper and lower camps and counselors tailor the programs to fit an age group's needs. The Teen Travel camp is for campers in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades and features day trips and special overnights.
This camp, founded in 1956, has seemingly everything a camper could want on a wooded, landscaped campus, including three heated pools, playing fields, and 14 crafts workshops. Activities include swimming, athletics and sports, woodworking, ceramics, puppetry, leather work, cooking, drama, and art. There is also a travel program and a counselor program for tweens and teens. Parents can enroll for four or eight weeks.
Mid Island Y JCC Summer Camp — Plainview
Parents with younger children can choose between the camp's JCC location or the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, in Suffolk County The JCC offers a pool, outdoor play areas, indoor air-conditioned facilities, and plenty of fun. The HKC, better for older children, is 50-plus acres with four large swimming pools, a huge indoor gymnasium, athletic fields, a challenge course, and more. The JCC offers programs for preschoolers through those in sleepaway camp, with different week and day options. Its Adler Camp is designed for children with special needs.
Miss Sue's specializes in summer activities for children ages 3-5.
Miss Sue's Summer Fun — Plainview
This day camp for children 3 through 5 is run by the same warm, loving team that runs its nursery school during the school year. From a pirate ship to pool parties and the zipline, Miss Sue's delights even the littlest campers. Parents choose from three different session lengths (four, six or eight weeks) and either a full day (9:45am-4pm) or a mini day (9:45am-2pm). Parents pick the number of days a week their child attends. MIss Sue's offers door-to-door busing, lunch, and even has a noncompetitive "Color War" activity at the end of summer. Kids also enjoy theme days such as crazy hair, PJs, and more.
North Shore Day Camp — Glen Cove
Set on a 14-acre Gold Coast estate overlooking the Long Island Sound, North Shore teaches children ages 2 1/2 through 15 the skills of making and keeping friends while building self-esteem and confidence. Camp days run 9am-4pm, but is offers a Nursery Mini-Day that ends at 1:30pm. North Shore offers flexible enrollment options of three through eight weeks.
Oasis on the Sound — Manorhaven
A sister camp to LIU's programs, this camp in Manorhaven Beach park includes air-conditioned indoor facilities, several sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, a pool with fountains and slides, boating facility, and, of course, the beach. Activities include athletics, performing and visual arts, environmental studies, orienteering, swimming instruction, and more. Its programs are aimed at children 3 through 15, and parents can enroll for as few as two weeks.
Red Robin Country Day Camp
Since 1957 this camp has welcomed children for activities that include swimming, sports, and arts and crafts. The camp is one of only a few allowing campers to sign up for any 16 days or any 24 days rather than the customary weekly options. It also offers a half-day program.
Rolling River Day Camp
— East Rockaway
For more than 25 years, Rolling River has provided children with a warm, comfortable, family-oriented camp. It is divided into four divisions based on age, starting as young as age 2 and going through its CIT program at age 15. Parents can choose from four-, six-, or eight-week sessions and Rolling River also offers a three-day option. The camp offers swimming, sports, arts, academic-based enrichment programs, and more.
Twin Oaks Day Camp — Freeport
Family owned and operated since 1975, Twin Oaks is aimed at children 20 months through 13 years old. It combines swimming, arts and crafts, sports, woodworking, theater, and music. Each week has its own theme and campers can enroll for four, six, or eight weeks. Pricing is based on age and session length. See website.
YMCA of Long Island — Glen Cove
The YMCA offers both traditional and specialty camps. It aims to build confidence through skill-building, bonding rituals, and interactive activities. Membership in the Y is required for all camps and transportation is available from most of the north shore of Nassau County.
Next up, Suffolk Day Camps.
This post is updated annually.
Top photo: You'll hit it out of the park at Miss Sue's Summer Fun.