New Jersey Summer Camps – Whether your kids are aspiring chefs, horseback riding champions or just want an amazing summer—start with what they love and you’re guaranteed a great time.
By: Murphy Moroney
Whether your kids are aspiring chefs, horseback riding champions or just want an amazing summer—start with what they love and plan it out right, you’re guaranteed a great camp experience. We’ve rounded up the best academic camps, art camps, cooking camps, day camps, performing arts camps, horseback riding camps, gifted and talented camps, special needs camps, sports camps and more from around NJ.
Camp College at Mercer County Community College
1200 Old Trenton Rd., West Windsor
Cost: Starts at $995/wk.
If her interests run the gamut from green energy to hip-hop, this month-long program will keep her busy. Kids can choose six topics to study from subjects like “Around the World” and “Dig It” (a workshop about dinosaurs). There’s also a session for mini- campers (6 years old), which offers age-appropriate activities on a more relaxed schedule. June 20–August 19 from 8:30 am–4 pm.
Dwight-Englewood School Summer Connections
315 East Palisades Ave., Englewood
Cost: Prices vary
Get a jump start on the school year in the “Discoveries & Adventures” program (ages 3-9) or brush up on reading skills in “Fact or Fiction?” and “Fantasy Adventure.” Older campers can pick from dozens of classes, such as “Forensics,” where they study basic principles and analyze real-life investigations, or “Presidents,” where they get the scoop on what it’s like living in the Oval Office. Sessions start June 22. Times vary.
Locations throughout NJ
Cost: Prices vary
Whether she wants to know more about 3D printing, stage combat or architecture, this program has a ton of out-of-the-ordinary classes to choose from. New this year: specialty courses like “Digital Fashion Design,” “Fantasy Sports Math” and “Computer Coding.” Dates and times vary.
The Art Garage
356 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 301, Bloomfield
A home-away-from-home for artists in training, this spot offers a ton of out-of-the-box classes like “Japanese Animé,” “Bookmaking” and “Drawing Foundations.” Camps run full-day in two-week sessions in August.
Art Kids Academy
Locations in Paramus, Rutherford and Vernon
Pick from one of three creative four-day-long camps with a specific theme: “Animal Safari,” “Spy Detective” or “Superheroes in Art,” where kids get to paint, color and draw the day away. Half-day sessions are also available for your tiny painter. Times and dates vary.
The Center For Contemporary Arts
2020 Burnt Mills Rd., Bedminster
Cost: Starts at $265/wk.; aftercare is an additional $50/wk
Get her wheels spinning at this state-of-the-art studio’s ceramics camp, where she can throw and glaze her own creations. If pottery isn’t her thing, there’s also mixed media in the morning (which explores everything from painting to sculpture) and various projects that change each week. Monday-Friday from 9 am–4 pm.
Just Bead Yourself
113 Central Ave., Westfield
Cost: $52 and up/session
This studio offers a flexible summer camp schedule (mornings, afternoons, day-long programs and drop-ins) where kids can get busy creating their own custom-made pieces with the guidance of professional jewelry-makers. Classes run for three days every week from June to August. Sessions run every couple of hours each day.
240 Rte. 17 N., Paramus
Costs: Prices vary
Soon-to-be Bobby Flays will love this two-part, hands-on course, learning everything from knife skills and kitchen safety to a variety of different cuisines and baking. Sessions meet Monday–Friday from 9 am–1 pm.
Chef It Up
512 North Franklin Ave., Nutley
141 Rte. 46, Budd Lake
Your little bakers can make their own delectable cupcakes in “Kid Show Cupcakes” or take the healthy route in “Healthy Snacks & Summer Favs.” Campers also learn about a different nation’s cuisine each week in “Foods Around the World” and can actually help you with dinner prep after taking part in “Complete Meal.” Classes begin the week after July 4 and run from 9–11 am Monday–Friday.
710 South Ave., Westfield
Ages: 4 and up
Costs: Prices vary
Put their culinary skills to the test in one of these of multi-day, mini-camps focused on things like baking, vegetarian cooking and pizza-making. New to the line-up is “Edible and Living Garden School Yard Farm To Table,” a course for children as young as four, where they’ll learn to plant and harvest their own ingredients. Times and dates vary.
116 Hillcrest Rd., Warren Township
Cost: Starts at $2500/2 wks.
Kids play sports and try their hand at woodworking and jewelry- making in small, same-sex groups broken down by age. They can also get out into nature with activities like canoeing and rope climbing. The first day of camp is June 29.
The East Orange YMCA
101 North Arlington Ave., East Orange
Cost: $144/wk. (ages 3-13); $90/wk. (ages 14-15)
Campers spend the summer swimming in an indoor pool, playing games and engaging in activities centered on a new theme every week. Teens can participate in the CIT program, where they plan different activities for the younger kids. Before and aftercare is available. Camp begins on June 27.
High Hills Country Day Camp
Gill St. Bernard’s School
St. Bernards Rd., Gladstone
Cost: Starts at $900/wk.
This cross between an academic and a day camp has themes like “Color War Pride” and “Dress Up- Olympic Enthusiast.” There are also enrichment classes in topics like chess and handwriting, kinder camp and a teen travel seminar. June 27–August 19.
Kent Place Summer Camp
42 Norwood Ave., Summit
Cost: Starts at $345/wk.
“Little explorers” ages 3–5 spend their days crafting and playing games, while “junior” and “senior” campers (ages 5–10) play sports, explore the outdoors and even participate in dance and musical theater. “Passport Camp,” lets kids ages 11–13 take creative arts classes and help out with service projects. June 13–August 19.
Oasis Day Camp
Locations in Madison and Union.
This co-ed camp offers all the perks of a traditional experience (for up to nine weeks), including sports, Red Cross swim instruction and field trips. This program also boasts specialized pre-K classes and programs for teens. June 27–August 19.
Palisades Country Day School
Locations in Closter and Fort Lee.
Cost: $1,500/3 wks.
Campers can choose two electives to dive into per day, work on their swimming skills, play sports (even cheerlead) and monkey around on the playground. June 20–August 14.
Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC
775 Talmani Rd., Bridgewater
Cost: Starts at $805/wk.
This jam-packed program teaches kids arts and crafts, science, music, athletics, swimming, drama and cooking. June 27–August 19.
Heroes Academy For the Gifted
317 George St., Ste. 210, New Brunswick
Cost: Prices vary
This enrichment program feeds his intellectual appetite all summer long with exposure to advanced topics like computer science and complex essay writing at an accelerated pace. Times and dates vary.
Montclair State University Gifted and Talented Program
1 Normal Ave., Montclair
Cost: $1800/3 wks.
Kids can reach above and beyond academically and pursue their passion either on the campus or online in this three-week-long enrichment program. The session runs from July 5–25. Early drop-off is also available.
Summer Institute For the Gifted
Aspiring Princeton Tigers experience life as a college student while studying various topics in humanities, arts, math, science and performing arts at this three-week intensive program. Kids pick from topics like “Scriptwriting, Page One, Rewrite!” or “Medical Biology,” and take off-campus trips on the weekends. July 24–August 13. Times vary.
Essex Equestrian Center
12-22 Woodland Ave., West Orange
Ages: 8 and up
Cost: Price unavailable
Novice riders learn the ins and outs of grooming in the morning and get a hands-on introduction to arena riding inthe afternoon. More advanced equestrians can work on their trot or canter at the in-depth full-day program. Dates and times vary.
Frost Valley YMCA
2000 Frost Valley Rd., Claryville, NY
Cost: Starts at $2470/2 wks.
Girls spend half of the day perfecting their technique on the trails and then hike, swim and rock climb at Mustang Village during this two-week program. Plus, there’s a camp exclusively for boys at Durango Village (ages 7–11) and several sessions for more seasoned riders ages 12 and up. The first session begins June 26 and each day begins at 9 am.
Seaton Hackney Summer Stables Program
440 South St., Morristown
Cost: Starts at $395/wk.
Horseback riders of all skill levels spend the day either in the ring or in the barn at this equestrian camp. Beginners learn the basics of riding and horse management, while advanced riders work on their jumping and canters. There’s also a weekly field trip to various shows and clinics. Dates and times vary.
All Children’s Theatre
Cost: Starts at $615/wk.
Future stars of the big-screen earn their time in the spotlight while studying comedy, drama and musical theater and end the summer with one or more live performances. Choose from six two-week sessions that run Monday–Friday from 8 am–5 pm.
Class Act Performing Arts Studio
123 Irvington Ave., South Orange
Cost: $180 and up/wk.
Triple-threats in-training, tiny performers (ages 3–6) pick from themes like Frozen and Sofia the First, before showing off what they’ve learned at the end of the session. Older kids (ages 7–14) meet every day for two weeks to put together a Broadway-inspired number based on the most recent NYC productions. Dates and times vary.
Theater Camp at Middlesex County College
2600 Woodbridge Ave., Edison
Cost: $395-750/3 wks.
Kids shine in several original productions while learning from seasoned pros over this camp’s two-month duration. Plus, there’s time to swim, play games and even catch a Broadway show. The eight-week session goes from June 27–August 19 from 8:30 am–5 pm.
The Moderne Academie of Fine Arts
1820 East Second St., Scotch Plains
Cost: Camps start at $150/wk. Workshops start at $200/wk.
Ballerinas-in-training spend the mornings on their tippy-toes followed by movies, arts and crafts and snacks from 9 am-noon in one of these week-long sessions. More experienced dancers (ages 8–18) choose from different workshops and learn the basics from in-house teachers and guest instructors from NYC. Class run various weeks after July 4.
The New Jersey Workshop for the Arts
150-152 East Broad St., Westfield
Cost: Starts at $700/wk.
Grade-school-aged thinkers take three-week-long classes like “Broadway Dance,” where they learn choreography (no experience required!) or “Engineering,” where they can explore and build machines using the “LEGO Engineering Program.” There are also options for the younger set (pre-K and kindergarten), where they socialize through hands-on group play. The first session begins July 5 and runs from 8:30 am to either 12:30 or 4:30 pm.
Easter Seal’s New Jersey Camp Merry Heart
21 O’Brien Rd., Hackettstown
Ages: 6 and up
Cost: Starts at $575/3 days
There’s tons of swimming, biking, fishing and ziplining across the wooded, 123-acre campground at this program for kids with autism and mental and physical disabilities. Campers can attend just for the weekend or go for several weeks—all while under the supervision of trained caretakers focused on their social development.
1418 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
Cost: Starts at $3,300/3 wks.
This seven-week program designed for kids with mild special needs promises an action-packed summer while improving social and motor skills. Campers spend time outdoors, swim, dance and have an “Olympic” sports competition every Wednesday. June 27–August 11. Sessions start at 9 am with both full- or half-day options.
Hybridge Summer Program
Saint Mary Coptic School
80 David St., South River
Cost: Prices vary
Children with autism spectrum disorders play games, spend time outdoors, participate in team sports and take music and dance lessons. Campers receive one-on-one and small-group instruction that helps hone their social and play skills. August 10–28: 9 am–3 pm, before- and aftercare is also available.
Floyd Arena Hockey Camp
1 Hall Dr., Little Falls
Cost: Prices vary
Aspiring Wayne Gretskys develop their stick skills on the ice and improve their stamina with conditioning and plylometrics at this weekly camp. Plus, the skill level varies each session so players of all abilities can see some action. Dates vary. Sessions run from 8 am–5:15 pm.
Heron Club Junior Golf Camp
110 State Hwy. 202 and 31, Ringoes
Ages: 7 and up
This camp, led by former PGA tour instructors, helps your soon-to-be Mick Mickelsons sharpen their drive, regardless of skill level. There’s also a “Birdies” camp for younger putters, which introduces kids ages 7–11 to the basic rules and course etiquette. Dates vary. Sessions run from 9 am–1:30 pm.
NJ Jackals’ Nike Baseball Camp
Yogi Berra Stadium
27 Clove Rd., Little Falls
Your little slugger can get some one-on-one time with semi-professionals players while improving his batting and fielding skills at this five-day camp. Sessions begin June 27 and run from 9 am–1 pm.
Orange Lawn Tennis Camp
305 North Ridgewood Rd., South Orange
Cost: $120/week for members
If she wants to play like a Williams’ sister one day, she better start working on that serve now at this perfect-for-beginners camp. Kids get small-group instruction form the pros, play games and have a daily swim lesson. June 22–August 28 from 9 am–1 pm. Aftercare is available from 1–3 pm for an extra fee.
Pole Position Camp
99 Caren Point Rd., Jersey City
Your Nascar-obsessed kid can master the art of racing go-karts at this five-day program that’s broken up by age. He gets to approve his driving skills and learn different winning strategies from seasoned drivers. Dates vary and each session runs from 11 am–4 pm.