Choosing the Right Summer Camp

Summer camps provide a healthy, secure and friendly environment for children to learn and play. Use the information on this page to help find a camp for your child.

Find a Camp

Start looking for a camp early. Many camps open registration in January. You can start by getting referrals from teachers, school counselors and other parents. As you search, consider location — do you want a camp close to your work or home? It may also be helpful to check online reviews to find the best options that fit your needs.

Not all summer camps in New York City need to be permitted. The NYC Health Department does not regulate camps that enroll less than 10 campers or provide a single activity.

Use these resources to find lists of permitted summer camps:

  • Child Care Connect: Camps that hold permits from the City.
    • The City regulates all camps that enroll 10 or more campers and provide two or more activities including one high-risk recreational or sport activity. The City inspects these camps at least twice each summer.
  • American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey: Information on camps outside New York City

Tour the Camp and Interview the Operator

The best way to learn about a camp is to tour it and speak with the camp’s operator and director. During your tour, look for safety hazards, such as peeling paint and broken equipment. Is the camp well maintained?

Some good questions to ask include:

Costs and Process

  • What are the costs?
  • Are financial assistance or payment plans available?
  • Is transportation offered? If so, is there an additional cost?
  • What is the refund policy?
  • What is the process to enroll and when do I need to submit an application?


  • Will the camp provide lunch? What is a typical menu? Are fruits and vegetables offered?
  • If the camp does not provide lunch, how will it store the lunches my child brings to camp?

Activities and Services

  • What activities does the camp offer?
  • Does the camp provide swimming or other aquatic activities? If so, what are the safety procedures?
  • What hours does the camp operate? Are before- or after- care services available?

Quality of Care

  • How many campers are there per counselor?
  • How many children return for another summer?
  • How many counselors return for another summer?
  • How does the camp screen its employees?
  • How does the camp handle medical or other emergencies?
  • What is the camp’s discipline policy?

Before you decide, consider the following:

  • Compare all the camps you’ve visited and consider which program has services that are most important to you and your child.
  • Does your child require more care, such as naps or diapering?
  • Does the program have staff and equipment to accommodate children with special needs or disabilities?
  • Ask yourself: Will I be comfortable leaving my child here?

Make a Complaint or Report Child Abuse

If you discover a safety or sanitary issue at a camp, call 311 to make a complaint.

To report child abuse at a camp, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 800-342-3720. For abuse taking place outside New York State, call 518-474-8740.

Additional Resources

More Information