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Best Summer Camps On Catalina Island 2024

Toyon Bay In Catalina Island

Just off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island is a beautiful spot for a camp getaway in Southern California.

The island is comprised of two towns, including Two Harbors Village on the west side of the island and Avalon located on the east end. Catalina Island is relatively small and is only 22 miles from one end to the other.

There are quite a few different Catalina Island summer camps, each with its own unique location and facilities. They’re mostly located in beautiful surroundings and offer a variety of activities that can keep your kids entertained and engaged all day long.

Some camps are located right on the beach, while others are on a marine vessel, similar to a cruise ship experience.

The mild temperatures, warm water, and sunny skies make Santa Catalina Island the perfect place to enjoy a summer camp experience. Plus, it’s also the perfect place for sightseeing and finding marine life like sea lions and dolphins.

Best Summer Camps On Catalina Island

1. Catalina Sea Camp

Catalina Sea Camp

Catalina Sea Camp has run camps for more than 40 years, so they know a thing or two about providing enriching experiences and lasting memories for campers. The summer camp programs are situated in two private locations, including Toyon Bay and Fox Landing. Each program is divided up by age and length of time.

Their one-week program at Fox Landing is aimed at ages 8-13. This marine science camp is perfect for kids who want to explore the ocean and learn about all kinds of animals that live in it. Campers get the opportunity to snorkel, go on boat trips, and participate in hands-on science experiments. 

The Three Week Programs At Toyon Bay are for ages 12-17 who want to spend more time at camp. Campers attend festivals, beach parties, marine life adventures, water adventures, arts and crafts, and even participate in diving activities. 

Kids participate in traditional camp activities in either option. Both sites offer exciting activities like archery, night snorkeling, wall climbing, arts and crafts, and many more water activities they can try with their new friends.

2. Campus By The Sea

If you’re looking for a fun and safe way to entertain your 6th-12th grader during the summer, consider one of the Campus By The Sea programs on Catalina Island.

This camp-style set-up on the beach features games, activities such as snorkeling, paddle boarding, tubing, great food, and time for learning and worship.

While this is a Christian-based camp, all are welcome to join. CBS also offers a family camp for moms and dads who want to enjoy a fun and spiritual retreat away from everything and spend quality time with their children. They also have an alumni camp so previous campers can return and improve existing and new skills. It’s especially popular among college students. 

You can choose from multiple overnight camps that last between 4 and 5 days, starting in June and ending in July. Facilities at Campus By The Sea include enclosed and open-air cabins, large tents, as well as more luxe accommodations. 

3. Floating Sea Camp

Floating Sea Camp is a unique STEM camp located on a marine research vessel in the middle of the ocean. This is one of the most unique camps in California and the United States and provides an experience your kids won’t forget. It’s similar to a cruiser-style experience and appropriate for families, teenagers, and even younger kids.

With so many experiences available, from educational opportunities that teach youth about marine life to fun activities such as snorkeling, surfing lessons, and scuba diving, there’s something for everyone at Floating Sea Camp. There are multiple camp length options, including 3-days, one-week, two-week and 3-week teen options.

They’re designed for kids ages 9-17, with a family camp and older teen camp option also available. Kids don’t spend the entire time on the boat and also get to explore Catalina Island and do fun activities on land. Kids learn with hands-on marine biology lessons and projects. 

One of their unique activities is falconry, which can be added on to any of their summer programs. 

4. Camp Emerald Bay

Camp Emerald Bay is one of the most popular Catalina Island summer camps, and it’s not hard to see why. This camp is specifically catered for scouts who want to earn various merit badges. Due to its location on the island, it’s easy to achieve badges in categories such as nature, handicraft, waterfront, field sports, and even hiking.

Kids can also upgrade their experience and become involved in a leadership program, lifeguard certification, or sailing certification. It’s important to note that this is currently a boys-only experience, but there are plans to make it co-ed in the future.

It’s a great scuba diving camp as well as for enjoying pursuits like cycling, snorkeling, sailing, pottery, hiking trails, and more. Kids learn a little bit of everything and leave camp with improved knowledge of the outdoors, leadership, and communication skills, among many more. 

The programs are priced per week, and your kids can receive a discount for each additional week they add on. That means you can send your kids for a full nine weeks to cover the entire summer vacation! Parents who want to join in on the fun can also register to be a part of the experience in the Cub Scouts program.

5. Mountain And Sea Adventures

Mountain and Sea Adventures offers a little bit of everything, making it perfect for kids who want to try new things or those who want to stick with activities they love. Each camper has the opportunity to live on a marine research vessel which provides opportunities to scuba dive, visit different villages, surf, or learn more about animal life like dolphins and sea lions.

Parents can choose 3-day, 1-week, 2-week, or even 3-week programs for their children between the ages of 9 and 17. If you want to add on scuba diving certification for your child, you can with any of the longer 2-week or 3-week programs.

Kids can participate in fun water activities, including boogie boarding, swimming, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking. They also gain a higher education in sciences like marine biology, so the camp offers the best of both worlds in terms of education and adventure. 

Kids stay in large enough accommodations that include their own shower and bathroom. This adventure camp in Catalina Island hires expert instructors, so your children can learn and get certified by experienced professionals. 

While camps in Los Angeles and other Orange County camps offer a lot to kids, it’s hard to match the same outdoor opportunities with those in Catalina Island.  

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