The East End is the ideal summer destination, with gorgeous ocean and sound beaches bathed in golden sunlight, premiere wining and dining full of local and international flavors and the complete gamut of arts and entertainment. While children can enjoy many of the same area attractions as their parents, there’s a whole genre of activities designed to make their break from school as exciting and memorable as possible: summer camp.
There are plenty of tips and strategies floating around cyberspace to finding the perfect camp for your child, but the simpler alternative is to let locals tell you which camps their kids liked best. Moms, dads and guardians of all sorts voted in the 2018 Dan’s Best of the Best contest to help assemble the list of fun, educational, enriching summer camps in the Hamptons and on the North Fork that have earned the Best of the Best title.
The Platinum-winning Future Stars Southampton (1370A Majors Path, Southampton) is a year-round multi-sport facility that offers an incredible variety of sports camps—including soccer, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, flag football and golf—for kids age 6–16 from May through August. They also offer a Tiny Stars program for children ages 1½–3½ that focused on music, crafts and swimming, as well as a Little Stars program for kids ages 3½–5 that adds field sports to the mix. 631-287-6707, futurestarssouthampton.com
North Fork Platinum winner Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp (6375 Soundview Avenue, Southold) challenges students in grades 3–10 to sharpen their camping skills and critical thinking with Overnight Camp activities involving STEM, sailing, snorkeling, fishing, archery, wilderness exploration, soccer and more. The Day Camp is intended for students in grades 2–6 and focuses more on environmental science, outdoor skills, expressive arts and sports. 631-727-7850, ccesuffolk.org/peconic-dunes-4-h-camp
Southampton Camp & Club (665 Majors Path, Southampton) earned Gold in the 2018 contest for its innovative program, which provides a curated mix of tennis and other athletics, aquatics, creative arts and performing arts. With highly trained coaches from across the globe, sessions are tailored to the age and skill level of individual players, providing a stress-free, enriching experience for everyone. 631-488-4700, southamptoncc.com
Fellow Gold winner Hamptons Baseball Camp (36 Nowedonah Avenue, Water Mill) takes a more focused approach than other camps, offering students in various age brackets—Rookies 4–5, Beginners 5–7, Intermediate 7–10 and Advanced 10–13—a chance to hone their baseball skills with an emphasis on safety, player development, cooperation and competition. Programs are offered by week (Monday–Friday) and by day (Saturday only). 631-907-2566, hamptonsbaseballcamp.com
The Silver-winning Hampton Country Day Camp (191 Buckskill Road, East Hampton) provides children ages 2–11 with an extraordinary blend of activities that will help them build self-esteem and confidence while developing good values and strong character in a fun and safe environment. The Stepping Stones program, designed for children age 2–4, is made up of various 30-minute activities—including dance, story time, tricycles, cooking, soccer, teeball, basketball and more—sure to keep kids stimulated from start to finish. The Upper Camp offers an even wider range of activities, with diversified schedules to best suit children by age and gender. 631-537-1770, hamptoncountrydaycamp.com
The Ross School (18 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton) won Bronze in the 2018 contest for its diverse Summer Camp @Ross program, including hard-to-find offerings like surfing, filmmaking, horseback riding, culinary arts, ceramics, fashion design, robotics, coding, stop-motion animation, Mandarin Chinese, gardening and rock band. 631-907-5000, ross.org