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Day Camp vs. Overnight Camp: Which Is Better?

Day Camp vs. Overnight Camp: Which Is Better?

Hot Ground Gym
Day Camp vs. Overnight Camp: Which Is Better?

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The days are getting longer, the sun is feeling warmer, and many parents are wondering how to keep their children occupied this summer. For many, summer camps are a beloved tradition regardless of age group. But how do you choose between day camps and overnight camps?

Each type of summer camp comes with its pros and cons. More importantly, the camp you choose should be a great experience for your children, allowing them to grow in a comfortable and safe environment. Our team at Hot Ground Gym has outlined some of the elements to take into consideration in the day camp vs. overnight camp great debate.

What Are Summer Day Camps?

What Are Summer Day Camps?

If your children prefer to stay close to home, summer day camps are an excellent option. They allow children to have new friendships and fun in their city and try new activities, such as obstacle course summer day camps.

For younger children who may not feel confident enough yet to be alone overnight, summer day camps may be a better option than even the best overnight camps experience.

Here are some of the advantages of summer day camps:

  • Build independence while remaining close to home;
  • Stay active and unplugged in the summer;
  • Develop new skills;
  • Build connections with other children in their community.

Top-Notch Instruction and Facilities

Top-Notch Instruction and Facilities

Hot Ground Gym camps provide the ideal environment for kids to learn new ways to be active and improve their skills. Join the fun this summer in Arlington Heights or Libertyville!

What Are Overnight Camps?

So, what is a sleepaway camp? In some households, it's a rite of passage. It may be the first time children spend several days and nights away from their families. It's a unique occasion for campers to spread their wings and explore a new area. For the parents, this is a well-deserved opportunity to enjoy a date night without scrambling to find a babysitter.

Here are some of the many benefits of overnight camps:

  • Build self-confidence and resilience when the children must navigate an unfamiliar environment with new people alone;
  • Discover new activities and culture in an immersive environment;
  • Make new friends with campers that have other core values.

Day Camps vs. Overnight Camps: What to Choose?

Day Camps vs. Overnight Camps: What to Choose?

There's no right or wrong answer when deciding between a day camp and an overnight summer camp as they both come with positives and negatives.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and your kid to help you decide what's best:

  • Are your children independent enough to take care of their needs alone (i.e., getting dressed, bathing, advocating for themselves, etc.)?
  • Have your children spent time one or several nights away from you – at a sleepover or visiting family, for example?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do the session dates interfere with your schedule?

Time Away from Home

You want your children to have a good experience during their time away. Sometimes, summer sleepaway camps can be overwhelming. If you're unsure whether your children are ready to spend multiple nights away, it may be best to start small and help them build their confidence.

Their first overnight could be visiting a familiar environment - a family member or a close friend's home, for example. You may experiment with shorter sleepover summer camps or even family camps before committing to multiple weeks. You can also investigate local overnight summer camps to make pick-up more manageable in case any issues arise. Look no further than Hot Ground Gym's camps located nearby Libertyville and Arlington Heights, where your kids can have a positive and enjoyable time.

Age of Children

Age of Children

Age is a good indicator, but you should also take your children's maturity level into account when choosing a day camp vs. an overnight camp. Not everyone is ready to fly out of the nest at the same time, and that's okay. After all, you know your child best.

Overnight camps tend to have more organized activities and camp counselors than overnight camps for teenagers. For example, there could be horseback riding, water skiing, or a high ropes course depending on the camp itself. Therefore, before picking a camp that's overnight, ensure that your future camper can take care of themselves and their belongings independently and is confident enough to ask for help.


Overnight camps may be more demanding on the children, but they certainly make parents' lives easier. Summer day camps require parents to arrange for pick up and drop off and sometimes arrange for meals and snacks. Setting schedules can be a hassle if the caregivers don't have flexible hours and the day camp is far away.

On the other hand, summer overnight camps allow families to have some much-needed “me time.” Plus, all the meals and accommodations are handled by the campers. Resident camps can feel like a vacation for the parents, while day camps can be a lot more challenging to fit into a routine.

Communication and Technology

Communication and Technology

Many summer sleepaway camps strictly regulate the campers' access to technology, including cell phones, to avoid disruptions. It can be an excellent experience, especially for teenagers who often need to unplug to connect with their environment. Children and parents can still communicate using letters or emails, send care packages, and the camp counselors are always reachable in case of emergency.

However, it can be an issue if the parents or the children have anxiety issues. It's best to discuss expectations and have an action plan if the children get homesick or if the parents are worried.

Types of Activities

Camp activities are often a deciding factor when it comes to day camps vs. overnight camps. You'll want to choose a camp that offers a wide range of activities and outdoor adventures to ensure that the children stay active, busy, and engaged. This may include canoeing, archery, high ropes courses, a zip line, etc.

Overnight sports camps are an excellent opportunity for children and teenagers to perfect their talents but also to strengthen their leadership skills. If your children would like to take advantage of the same opportunities closer to home, Hot Ground Gym offers team-building activities for kids near Chicago.

Discover the Power of Teambuilding at Hot Ground Gym

Discover the Power of Teambuilding at Hot Ground Gym

Discover the transformative power of teambuilding with Hot Ground Gym in Arlington Heights and Libertyville, IL! Develop trust, enhance communication, and foster a culture of collaboration. Unlock your kids's potential - join us now!


Budget is a significant concern for parents when deciding between these types of camps. Since camps include room and board on top of the planned activities and around-the-clock care, sleepover summer camps are significantly more expensive than day camps.

However, many camps – overnight or not – provide financing options, assistance programs, and scholarships to make summer activities more accessible. If you're concerned about being able to afford the cost of summer camp, get in touch with the organizations you're interested in and see if they offer such an option.

Hot Ground Gym summer camp is priced at $450 per week, while our full-day camp rate is $90 per day.

It's worth noting that Hot Ground Gym's costs are competitive and provides excellent value compared to our competitors' rates:

  • Chicago park district: $770 per week for 5 full days, or $154 per day;
  • YMCA of metro Chicago: $500 per week for 5 full days, or $100 per day;
  • Decoma day camp: $762.50 per week for 3 full days, or $254.17 per day.



One of the main benefits of overnight camps is the unique opportunity for children to assert their independence and make new friends. Campers often reach new levels of maturity when away from their families for longer periods.

Sleepover summer camps require children to advocate for themselves, build relationships – often in a close environment – with other kids with very different backgrounds, and navigate situations alone. In many cases, summer sleepaway camps are best suited to older children and teens. Although it is not always an easy task, they can also build resilience and create life-long friendships with other attendees.

Hot Ground Gym offers a variety of camp options throughout the year, including Winter Break Camp, Spring Break Camp, and No School Day Camp. These camps provide a fun and engaging experience for children during their breaks from school. So, when school is out, parents can rely on Hot Ground Gym to provide exciting and educational camp programs to keep their children engaged and entertained.

Are Your Kids Ready for Sleepaway Camps?

Attending summer overnight camp is a big step for any child. Although it's a chance to create the memories of a lifetime, it can also be stressful for a kid who isn't ready to leave home. To avoid a disastrous camp experience, your child should be entirely on board. It's also a good idea to discuss different scenarios so they can feel confident when heading out the door.

Parents know best if their child will flourish in a resident camp based on their independence and skill levels. However, children may have different personalities when away from their familiar environment: a shy child may thrive, while an outgoing one may be overwhelmed.

Day vs. Overnight Summer Camps: What Is Better?

Day vs. Overnight Summer Camps: What Is Better?

Choosing between a day camp and an overnight camp depends on many factors proper to each family, including the age and maturity level of the would-be camper, and the logistics around camp accommodations. If you're considering a summer day camp in the Greater Chicago area, we offer exciting sports camps in Libertyville and Arlington Heights.

Don't miss out on the chance to make this summer memorable for your child. Enroll them in Hot Ground Gym's day camp and allow them to learn, grow, and have fun in a safe and supportive environment. Contact us and start planning your summer adventure today!

Teamwork and Triumph!

Teamwork and Triumph!

Strengthen bonds and exceed goals through our customized teambuilding courses. Contact Hot Ground Gym now!


What is the best age for day camp?

The best age for day camp can vary depending on the child's maturity and interests. Generally, children between the ages of 6 and 12 tend to have the most enjoyable and beneficial experience at day camps.

Is overnight camp worth it?

Whether the overnight camp is worth it depends on the child's personal preferences and goals. Overnight camps provide a unique opportunity for independence, building lasting friendships, and immersing in a residential setting. For many, it is a valuable and memorable experience.

How many days is sleepaway camp?

The duration of sleepaway camps can vary. There are different camp options, including week-long or multiple-week programs, providing children with an immersive experience in a residential setting.