Updated: February 18th, 2023
San Francisco is one of the most picturesque spots in the country and one of the largest cities in California. With its iconic landmarks and unique architecture, it’s one of the most visited cities in the world.
The bay area is also home to many summer camps offered by different organizations, local governments, and top-notch programs. You can find a summer day camp and overnight camp options that focus on outdoor fun or educational experiences, as well as specialty camps.
Some of these bay area summer camps are even close enough to other places like San Jose making them a great choice for kids from those areas too. Here are some of the best summer camps in San Francisco, CA that can provide your child with an unforgettable summer experience.
Top 10 San Francisco Summer Camps
1. Tinkering School Summer Day Camp
Tinkering School offers day, overnight and extended camps in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically in the Richmond district. They offer one or three week long camps.
The minimum age of attendees is 7-8, given the types of projects they get involved in. In some cases, the age floor may be higher with maximum ages of 14-15. Camps last from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM typically, but before and after stays are available.
Students work with different materials to create models and useful objects, including woodcraft products, cars, and robots. It’s all creative and structured work. Its unique concept teaches children craftsmanship, discipline, teamwork, and creativity.
2. Steve And Kate's Camp
Steve & Kates's Camp offers day camps in two locations in SF, Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, and Live Oak School. Their camps go a long way in helping a child become self-independent and gain self-confidence by putting them in charge of their own experience. Campers have the freedom to choose how their day will look like through the exciting activities they choose.
Kids can enjoy things like animation, coding, soccer, performing arts, baking, and much more. Other fun things they can expect throughout their time at camp is a day filled with pie throwing and fun water games to make use of the warm weather. They offer a unique program where you can choose the days you want to bring your child in, as well as a full summer pass option.
Besides San Francisco, Steve & Kates Camp offers summer programs in nearby cities like Fremont, Palo Alto, Cupertino, and more. The staff and camp counselor undergo training to ensure that your camper is well-supervised and enjoys a welcoming camp environment.
3. Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay offers various day summer camps at the San Francisco aquarium in July and August. Their sessions run for one week, with each day starting at 10:00 am and ending at 3:00 pm. Each week has a different theme with various camp activities for campers to enjoy.
Kids ages 9-12 can learn about different science subjects, including environmental issues, animal behavior, diverse ecosystems, water topics, and much more. Fun activities include tracking sea lion movement and coastal excursions. The camp staff is made up of the aquarium's own educators.
The aquarium has thousands of sea animals and also offers online science lessons apart from the summer day camp. Their programs are an excellent way for kids to continue their education during the school break and have fun at the same time.
4. SF STEMful Camp
San Francisco’s STEMful Camp pays homage to the artist culture in the Bay Area by adding the goal of sprouting interest in all the STEM subjects, plus art.
STEMful offers camps and classes in the Bernal-Mission neighborhood close to many other surrounding areas.
Children ages 1.5 to 10 can attend their summer camps, which last between 9 am to 3 pm. Activities include programs designed to raise awareness of and teach the basic principles of science, nature, and the world around us.
STEMful extends the STEM program learning concept by one – encouraging growth and development in all the subjects. It's one of the STEM summer camps in San Francisco.
5. Celsius and Beyond
Celsius and Beyond offer science classes and summer camps to kids in the San Francisco area. There are three locations close to the Richmond District, Pacific Heights and Lone Mountain.
Celsius and Beyond offer spring, summer, and winter break camps, as well as science camps and workshops. Kids in grades 1st through 9th grade are organized into different groups.
There is a wide range of activities, including math, science, woodworking, chef training, astronomy, and much more. There are also specialized San Francisco summer camps that teach about DNA, surgery, medical care, and genetics.
The programs are meant to start with exposure to STEM subjects but offer detailed and deep dives into various scientific matters.
6. YMCA of San Francisco
YMCA of San Francisco offers a variety of housing, educational, and other learning programs for children and youth, as well as a number of adult and family camps.
There are multiple locations in San Francisco, CA, including the YMCA at the Presidio and the UCSF Laurel Heights facility, as well as Marin County and San Mateo areas.
Campers that attend day camps or overnight camps are separated into infant, pre-school, and school-age groups. YMCA of San Francisco covers a wide range of programs, including Health and Wellness and Art and Culture, which includes music, dance and theater.
They also day and extended stay camps in the summer and winter break. The camps are run with a focus on the general mission of the YMCA — to support education, community programs, and care for children.
7. Coastal Camp
Coastal Camp is a day camp along the city's coastline where kids in K-9 spend their time exploring the natural environment of the Marin Headlands. Campers create drawings of their surroundings, go on hikes, and observe seals across the Pacific Ocean. It’s an experiential learning experience that can make an impact on children.
The camp costs range depending on the age of the child. They offer extended care that costs extra but is an excellent option for working parents. There is also a shuttle system that can take kids to and from the state park. The typical day runs from 9:30 am - 3:30 pm, and the entire program lasts around a week.
Kids can learn things like marine biology, conservation, ecology, and much more while partaking in fun adventures and exploring the surroundings. The camp staff is quite experienced and trained to adequately care for and teach children.
8. Randall Museum Summer Camps
Randall Museum summer camps are part of the San Francisco Park District programs. Randall Museum is located in the Corona Heights area.
It offers classes, camps, and activities to all ages, including teens, tweens, and adults. Family activities with toddlers and youth are quite popular. The half day and full day camps are most often focused on kids ages 6 to 12.
The activities center around learning art and science and enjoying their immersive experiences. There are marine excursions in tandem with the Greater Farrallones National Marine Sanctuary. There are also overnight camps featuring outdoor and camping activities at Camp Mather close to Yosemite National Park.
The Randall Museum’s mission of education and discovery is carried forward in how the things they do at the excursions and overnight camps are conducted.
9. Mountain Camp Woodside
An authentic outdoor summer camp, Mountain Camp Woodside offers San Francisco kids all the thrills of living in the lap of nature and learning critical outdoor skills while having unforgettable fun and meeting new friends.
Mountain Camp Woodside is located on the scenic 63-acres campus of Woodside Priory School, nestled in the heart of Portola Valley outside the San Francisco Bay Area.
There are two types of camps offered, with resident camps for grades 2-10 and day camps for grades pre-K to 10th. The outdoor and team-building exercises combine individual and team participation with arts and crafts, soccer, swimming, archery, mountain biking, and survivor skills.
The summer program has a true back-to-basics approach to how it organizes and runs its camps, giving kids a feel for the simple pleasures of outdoor life, camaraderie, and relaxation.
10. Camp Mather
Camp Mather is one of two parks that the San Francisco Park District operates outside its city limits – being in the High Sierras, close to Yosemite National Park.
Camp Mather is one of the premier family camps around San Francisco, CA. You need to be a resident to attend, and young campers and families can enjoy the facilities with reservations.
The family camp features many activities, including horseback riding, swimming, hiking, biking, games, recreation activities, and other young children’s programs.
Its part of a broad series of programs that the San Francisco Park District offers for the benefit of city groups, spreading across 200+ parks in and around the city.