Respite Housing Program

Believe In Tomorrow developed the concept for the first pediatric respite program in the U.S. This program has served thousands of critically ill children and their families since 1986. Respite housing provides these families with the opportunity to escape from the stressful routine of medical treatments at a relaxing mountain or beach location. Often, this experience is the first time these families can enjoy each other’s company away from the tensions and anxieties of the medical world. By relaxing in a vacation setting, free of charge, families renew themselves mentally and physically, and create lasting memories together.

If you have any questions, please contact our Programs Coordinator at 410-744-1032 or

What is a Respite Trip?

Our respite trips allow a family with a critically ill child to visit our beautiful mountain or beach locations to relax and rejuvenate.  We have chosen each beach and mountain location for their scenic beauty, which offers families the chance to renew themselves.

Who is a Believe In Tomorrow respite family?

Children from any hospital, nationwide, who are facing a life-threatening illness are eligible for the program.  Once an application has been approved, the family is eligible in our program during the child’s treatment and for a full year after active treatment ends.

Respite Properties:

Beach Respite Properties:

House By The Sea
(Ocean City, MD)
The Children’s House By The Sea is comprised of five condo units, each with at least two bedrooms, one full bath, kitchen, dining and living room areas. The large decks are furnished with relaxation in mind and provide a whimsical beach environment for families who stay there.

  • Believe In Tomorrow House On The Bay

House on the Bay
(Ocean City, MD)
Families can relax in this gorgeous bayfront three-bedroom house with a stunning view that overlooks the bay. Situated minutes from the ocean, families can enjoy beautiful sunsets, fishing off the back dock and all the activities Ocean City has to offer.

  • Believe In Tomorrow House On Fenwick Island

House on Fenwick Island
(Fenwick Island, DE)
This unique two-bedroom townhome is situated on a saltwater pond in a tranquil section of Fenwick Island, DE, just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. Families can enjoy the community pool and tennis courts or relax and watch evening sunsets over the pond.

Beach Amenities:

  • Washer & dryer
  • Private kitchen with microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, stove/oven, pots/pans and dishware.
  • Wireless internet.
  • Smart TV
  • Movies, books, toys and games for all ages.
  • Off street parking.
  • Beach chairs, umbrellas and toys to share.
  • Beach Wheel chair available upon request


While staying at one of the Believe In Tomorrow beach respite properties, families can look forward to a fun beach vacation thanks to the many local businesses that donate activities for families to participate in. Whether families are content spending time on the beach or looking to fill each day with things to do, Believe In Tomorrow’s beach respite program offers a menu of activities that family members of every age can enjoy. 

Mountain Respite Properties:

  • Believe In Tomorrow House On Wisp Mountain
  • Believe In Tomorrow House On Wisp Mountain
  • Believe In Tomorrow House On Wisp Mountain
  • Believe In Tomorrow House On Wisp Mountain
  • Believe In Tomorrow House On Wisp Mountain

House on Wisp Mountain (McHenry, MD)
Located in the mountains of Western Maryland, overlooking Deep Creek Lake, the house is an extraordinary 4 bedroom, 3 bath log cabin that offers families year-round amenities, including snow and water skiing, fishing, swimming, and miles of hiking and bike tails.

House at Deep Creek Lake (McHenry, MD)
Located next door to the House on Wisp Mountain, this stunning four bedroom, 4 ½ bath log home has a gas fireplace, vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous lake view. Families can enjoy all the natural mountain and lake activities year round. This home is handicapped accessible with an elevator available as needed.

  • Believe In Tomorrow House At Pinnacle Falls
  • Believe In Tomorrow House At Pinnacle Falls
  • Believe In Tomorrow House At Pinnacle Falls
  • Believe In Tomorrow House At Pinnacle Falls
  • Believe In Tomorrow House At Pinnacle Falls

House at Pinnacle Falls
(Zirconia, NC)
This gorgeous mountain top retreat is located close to Asheville, NC in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The large three bedroom, three bath home is in a gated community. It boasts miles of professionally designed hiking trails and 100’s of waterfalls. You also have access to a spectacular lodge, fitness facilities and community pool.

Mountain Amenities:

  • Washer & dryer.
  • Private kitchen with microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, stove/oven, pots/pans and dishware.
  • Wireless internet.
  • Smart TV
  • Movies, books, toys and games for all ages.
  • Pool table/Game room


While staying at one of the Believe In Tomorrow mountain respite properties, families can look forward to fun filled vacation thanks to many local businesses that donate activities for our families to participate in.  Whether families are content spending time on the deck enjoying the beautiful scenic view or are looking to fill their day with activities, Believe In Tomorrow’s mountain respite program offers a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy.

Patient Eligibility Requirements:

  • Patient must be 17 years old or younger when they apply and will be eligible up to age 18.
  • Patient must be undergoing treatment for cancer or an organ or bone marrow transplant.
  • Patient must be on active treatment and seen by a doctor at least once a month. A child is eligible until one year after completing active treatment or one-year post transplant.
  • Patients with parents who are active military will be given higher priority in scheduling in all our facilities.

Application Process:

To be considered for participation in our respite program, all families must submit a completed application for their child. The application includes three parts: a parent/guardian section, a social worker recommendation, and a medical assessment from the child’s doctor or physician. All forms must be signed by BOTH parents/guardians. The medical assessment MUST be completed and signed by the physician.

Parents in a divorced or separated situation must both agree to share the opportunities our programs provide. If parents are not able to do so, we will work with the parent who has legal custody of the child. A copy of the court-ordered custody agreement is required.

Participation in Believe In Tomorrow’s respite program is contingent upon receipt of all completed forms and approval by Believe In Tomorrow program staff in regard to compliance with all guidelines and eligibility requirements.


  • Prime Season: Prime season is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day at all respite properties.  Mid-December through Mid-March are also considered prime season at the House on Wisp Mountain and the House at Deep Creek Lake for the winter ski season. 
  • Families who have never been on a respite trip are our first priority.
  • We only book for full weeks during the prime season so we are not able to accommodate weekend visits during this time. Weekend trips are allowed during off season
  • All families are offered one Prime Season visit to a property of their choosing.
  • Off Season: Families can visit respite properties multiple times each year during the offseason. Visits can range from a weekend, long weekend and up to one week. We require that there is 3 months between each visit.
  • We reserve the right to place families where we deem appropriate.


Who can stay at the respite house?

Our respite housing is provided for immediate family only. Immediate family includes the patient, parents/legal guardians and the patient’s sibling(s). No other family members or friends may accompany you on your respite unless unique arrangements have been previously discussed.

Can I have visitors during my stay?

Family and friends are welcome to relax and spend the day with you during your respite, however we cannot permit additional friends and family members to stay overnight in our facilities or use complimentary passes provided for our families. Complimentary passes are for immediate family members only. The family members listed on your respite form will be the only ones allowed to stay overnight in the respite home. Misuse of these rules will restrict you from using Believe In Tomorrow’s respite program in the future.

What do I need to pay for on my respite?

Your accommodations are free of charge. There may also be complimentary activities and meals provided to you during your respite, depending on availability and time of year.

You will need to provide your own transportation to and from the respite facility and any additional activities you wish to participate in. You will also need to provide your own meals for the bulk of the stay. Each facility has a fully equipped kitchen and nearby restaurants for your convenience, as well as a wealth of entertainment including toys, books, games, and outdoor amenities.

When can I schedule a respite?

Applications for the respite program are accepted year-round. Once a family is accepted into our programs, they are encouraged to contact us immediately to discuss possibilities for getting away.

In April of each year, we start the process of inviting families for the upcoming peak season. We will contact eligible families who have applied and been approved for our programs.

Do I have to schedule an entire week for my respite?

No. Our scheduling is flexible during certain times of the year. There are times when you can schedule several days or a long weekend if that works better for your family. This typically does not apply during peak season respites.

How often can we visit your respite facilities?

Eligible families are encouraged to utilize our respite program throughout the year. Respites are scheduled at least three months apart. Families who have never experienced a respite, especially a peak season respite, will be given priority.

What is a peak season respite?

Peak season is the time of year that our respite facilities are most popular, such as the mountain houses in the snowy winter months and the beach facilities in the summer months. Specifically, peak season includes Memorial Day to Labor Day at both the beach and mountain facilities, as well as December through March in the mountain facilities.

We try to book each family at a respite facility during the peak season at least once during their time in our programs. Families who have not stayed with us during a peak season will be prioritized over families who have. Families who have enjoyed a peak season respite are still eligible for another stay, but may only be able to do so during less popular times of the year.

Do you ever have last-minute cancellations?

Occasionally, a family will have to cancel at the last minute and a respite home will have an opening with only a few days advance notice. Send an email to if you wish to be contacted when these situations arise.

Can we bring our family pet?

No. Due to health regulations and the sometimes fragile medical circumstances of other families in our respite program, no pets of any kind are permitted in our respite homes.

Will we be sharing the accommodations with another family?

No, regardless of which location you visit you will always have your own living space. There may be other Believe In Tomorrow families staying in the same building or near by, but you will have your own accommodations.