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Karen Wang
BY Karen Wang

19 More Summer Camps For Individuals With Special Needs

Last week I wrote a post about some of the most popular summer camps for kids and adults with special needs. Due to high interest in summer camps I have compiled 19 more great summer camps for individuals with special needs.  Many of these are hometown favorites suggested by readers of this blog, and some are specialized for individuals who would not otherwise be able to participate in summer camp. Whatever your special needs are, there is a summer camp for you!

1. Deaf-Blind Camp of Maryland

The Deaf-Blind Camp of Maryland in West River, Maryland provides a barrier-free week of recreation for people with significant hearing and vision loss.  Communication is provided to meet the needs of each camper: sighted guides, braille, American Sign Language with tactile, spoken English, amplified sound and writing.  Camp activities include climbing walls, hiking, boating, canoeing, a cooking class and an assistive technology exhibit.

2. Center for Courageous Kids

The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Kentucky is a free camp for children with serious illnesses such as Spina Bifida, epilepsy, severe asthma, cancer, hemophilia, HIV, heart disease, kidney disease and more than 50 other rare and unique diagnoses.  In addition to horseback riding, woodworking, fishing, archery and a climbing wall, the camp offers 24/7 medical care in a fully equipped medical facility with a helipad.

3. Camp Roehr

The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois hosts Camp Roehr for children and teenagers with epilepsy for one week every summer.  Because of the campers’ medical needs, the counselors and medical staff outnumber the campers.  The camp director said, “We do everything at Camp Roehr!  We just do it with more supervision than you find at other camps.”

4. Easter Seals Crossroads

Easter Seals Crossroads in Indianapolis has Camp R.O.C.K.S at Bradford Woods – an overnight camp for kids with autism, Camp Ability, a day camp for kids with special needs, and Lose the Training Wheels, a week long day camp that teaches kids how to ride a bicycle on two wheels!

5. Camp Merry Heart

Camp Merry Heart in Hackettstown, New Jersey is offered by Easter Seals of New Jersey every year for children and adults with all types of disabilities.  The goal of the camp is to offer opportunities for self-determination and group participation, along with physical exercise. In addition, Camp Merry Heart offers fun recreational trips and excursions, and weekend getaways.

6. Camp Millhouse

Camp Millhouse near South Bend, Indiana has served since 1937 as a retreat for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities.  The camp features an outdoor adventure course, an indoor sports arena, swimming, music therapy, heated cabins and 24 hour nursing staff.

7. Camp Winnebago

Camp Winnebago near Caledonia, Minnesota is a non profit organization dedicated to serving the recreational needs of adults and
children with developmental disabilities. There is small group and 1:1 staffing available.  Activities include swimming, art, dances and campouts.

8. Camp Tall Tree

Camp Tall Tree in Fenton, Michigan specializes in camp for children with autism, ages 7-14.  All activities are based on a social skills curriculum for children with anxiety and high sensitivity.  The daily rotation of activities includes swimming and water play, art, music, sports and creative games in a natural environment.

9. K.A.M.P. Doetail

K.A.M.P. Dovetail at the Rocky Fork Lake State Park in Highland County, Ohio is a volunteer run summer camp sponsored by Supplementary Assistance to The Handicapped ( S. A. T. H.) a non-profit organization. The camp is for children with disabilities in Highland and surrounding counties of Ohio.  Because most camp materials are donated and all counselors are volunteers, a fun, traditional camp experience is enjoyed at a very low cost to campers.

10. Muscular Dystrophy Association

The Muscular Dystrophy Association operates summer camps in most states for children with neuromuscular disease and their siblings.  These camps – filled with horseback riding, swimming, adaptive sports, arts and crafts, camp dances – are offered at no cost to the campers’ families.  Contact your local MDA office for more information about a camp near you.

11. Camp Trek Adaptive Sports Camp

Camp Trek Adaptive Sports Camp in Libertyville, Illinois is a week long summer day camp for children with physical disabilities or a visual impairment. Indoor and outdoor sports such as basketball, cycling, handcycling, kayaking, hockey, boccia, softball, water skiing, tennis, aerobics, & arts & crafts will be offered. The camp provides the opportunity to try out the latest and greatest adaptive sports equipment under the direction of experts in the field.

12. Camp Cheerful

Camp Cheerful in Strongsville, Ohio caters to children and adults with physical, developmental, medical and sensory disabilities in a barrier-free environment. The camp aims to encourage independence and confidence while improving quality of life with traditional and adapted recreational activities: therapeutic horseback riding, an accessible ropes course, hiking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, arts and crafts, nature study activities, games, campfire activities and music.

13. Camp Prime Time

Camp Prime Time in the Wenatchee National Forest near White Pass, Washington serves families that have a member who is disabled or has a serious illness.  The purpose of the camp is to offer families the chance to enjoy one another’s company in an invigorating environment, surrounded by nature.

14. Easter Seals Houston

Easter Seals of Greater Houston offers 3 different camps for children with disabilities and their siblings.  Camp Buckaroo is a weeklong day camp for children ages 6 to 14. Camp Smiles is a weeklong overnight camp for children with cerebral palsy ages 6 to 14. Camp Most is for graduates of Camp Smiles between the ages of 14 and 18.

15. Southhampton Fresh Air Home

The Southampton Fresh Air Home in Southampton, New York is a fully accessible residential camp for children with physical disabilities ages 8-18.  the camp has one counselor for every 2 campers, and a nurse is on duty 24 hours a day.  SFAH provides a typical camp experience with sports, arts and crafts, computers, cookouts, beach outings, sailing and a prom at the end of each session.  Activities are adapted for the abilities and degrees of dexterity of each camper.

16. Adam’s Camp

Adam’s Camp in Winter Park, Colorado offers specially staffed Adventure Camps for children, teens and young adults with developmental disabilities as well as intensive therapy camps for kids 1-13 and their families.

17. Camp Riley

Camp Riley in Martinsville, Indiana is an overnight camp for individuals with physical disabilities, ages 8-18. Student nurses reside in each cabin with the campers, and a doctor and nurse are on call 24 hours a day.  The ratio of child to camp staff is never greater than 3 to 1.  The camp’s goal is to challenge campers’ physical boundaries — taking independence, self esteem and enhanced living skills to new levels with swimming, camping, arts and crafts, nature projects and horseback riding.

18. Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind

At the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind in Waycross, Georgia, children and adults with visual impairments ages 4 and up participate in traditional outdoor camp activities with the goal of socialization and rehabilitation.  Programs stress personal motivation, self-confidence, leadership and self-reliance in a fun-filled outdoor atmosphere.

19. Friendship Circle

Friendship Circles around the country offer day camps for individuals with disabilities during winter and summer school vacations.  A teen volunteer is assigned to each camper.  Activities include sports, music and movement, swimming, entertainment, and field trips to local places of interest

What is your favorite summer camp for individuals with special needs?

Karen Wang

Written on February 21, 2013 by:

Karen Wang is a Friendship Circle parent. You may have seen her sneaking into the volunteer lounge for ice cream or being pushed into the cheese pit by laughing children. She is a contributing author to the anthology "My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids With Disabilities"
  • My daughter has gone to Camp Millhouse for the past 4 summers and will be going again this year. It is a FANTASTIC place and the staff there are beyond words.They do wonderful work and remember each child when they return!

    • Peggy Vargo

      My son had attended Camp Millhouse on 2 different occasions as a younger boy. The second year, they called me to pick him up because he had a mild behavior issue. I found that they do not do well with people that are not higher functioning. Camp Riley was our camp of choice! They were exceptional in every aspect, the staff were always extremely professional and the grounds and cabins are top notch!! I only wish they had something for adults as my son is almost 21 and now we are searching for a new “camp riley”

  • Raise my debt ceiling

    Camp Barnabas – Purdy, Mo.

    Joni and Friends Family retreats – throughout the country

  • Iamom

    Camp High Hope just opened by Sioux City, Iowa.

  • Pingback: Summer Camps For Individuals With Special Needs « Michigan Special Needs Law Center()

  • Susan

    I have a daughter with down syndrome who goes to camp pals. It is solely for people with down syndrome and is all over the country.

  • My son attends Camp Cavell in Lexington Michigan. He is 9 years old and last year we were able to finally talk him into going to the week long camp. He can’t wait for this year. This camp is for children ages 6 thru 18 and it is a MDA camp (neuromuscular diseases all kinds). They have one on one counselor and camper. They tree climb, ride harley motercycles, play sports, swim in the lake, prom night, photo booths, ice cream cones to eat whenever they want, crafts, and the list goes on.

  • Deborah Litberg

    Lion’s Camp in Northern California offers one week in the summer to children that are deaf or hard of hearing. Thank you for the list of other camps. Very helpful.

  • Julie

    CAMP MERRY HEART is AMAZING! Worked there for two summers and it changed my life. The campers just love it there and the staf all care and love the campers.

  • The Fowler Center in Mayville Michigan has resident camps for adults and children with disabilities. My son (now age 21) has attended camp at The Fowler Center for about 5 years and 2 years ago they started offering 2 weeks of Therapeutic Horse Camp. I value them for many reasons but mostly because my son will not “age out” of the camp experience. Fowler Center has respite and too many programs to list. They are a wonderful resource in Michigan.

  • Batteredhat

    Camp Nuhop located in Perrysville, Ohio has been providing 6 weeks of residential summer camp for children with Learning Differences, Behavior Disorders, and Attention Deficits for 40 Years!! How can we get on your list?

    • Next time we run a list we will be sure to inlcude yours. In the meantime please post more information and link in the comments section.

  • Batteredhat

    You rock!! Our web address is

    Our Mission is to Provide a safe, nurturing, dynamic environment where people are empowered to succeed!!

  • I was when 8th standered then go for a summer camp with my friends that was organised by the school campus..It just awesome journey for me where i learned many new things..It was just a great experience for me…

  • kenmiccar

    AbilityFirst’s Camp Paivika in Southern California offers children, teens and adults with disabilities a traditional camp experience delivered with nurturing support and, above all, an emphasis on fun. Awesome Director!

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    I am soooo disappointed, Michigan offers little or nothing AFFORDABLE.

  • Camp REYOAD

    Epworth Forest Conference Center in Indiana offers an incredibly fun and spiritually focused week-long camp for special needs adults ages 16+! Campers are loved and cherished by volunteers, nurses, and camp staff. If you’re interested in Camp REYOAD, please check us out online!

  • russ

    St Francis Camp on the Lake in the Irish Hills of Michigan is a camp for children and adults with developmental disabilities GO TO


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