When Joaquin Phoenix became an unintentional astronaut in Space Camp what child didn't pack their bags and ask their parents to sign them up? For nature lovers there are log cabin camps with mess halls and communal showers. For the youngster destined to take the stage as a triple threat there are getaways that offer vocal, dance and acting lessons. Talk to your child about what type of overnight camp best fits their interest and then get planning. We've rounded up a couple of fun options to get the conversation going.

  • Space Camp: Every child of the '80s watched Space Camp and dreamed of hopping aboard the next space shuttle. The real Space Camp isn't quite as adventuresome, but does offer future astronauts the opportunity to try out a simulator and see what life is like on the International Space Station. The weeklong camp also allows kids to pick a specialty area and build their own robots or learn to fly an F-15 fighter jet.
  • Equestrian Camp: There are a number of horseback riding camps that teach everything from basic horsemanship to specialty riding classes. Many are set up like dude ranches with a western feel about them, while others are more general camps – offering arts and crafts, swimming and athletics – in addition to their focus on horses.
  • Sailing Camp: Sailing camps tend to include a number of water sports like water skiing, canoeing and tubing in addition to the boating experience. Though the focus of these camps is on the sailing experience – from basic seamanship to manning a one-person boat – they usually include a variety of outdoor activities to round out the experience.
  • Computer Camp: All those hours your youngster spends in front of the computer may actually prepare them for a future career. Computer camps put that interest to work and develop life-long skills as programming, languages and applications, as well as video games and web page design.
  • Dance Camp: Tots that like to tap their toes can choose from ballroom to tap, and ballet to hip hop camps that focus on technique, self-confidence and promotion.