Best Family Camps In California 2024

Family Camps in California

If you’re looking for a great destination for a family camp getaway, look no further than California. The Golden State is bursting with family-friendly outdoor recreation opportunities year-round.

It’s home to coastal beauty, deserts, forests, and mountains, each more impressive than the last. Every corner of the state hosts traditional summer camps for children and many of the same locations host family camps so everyone can be a part of the fun.

Check out the following best family camps to choose from in California.

1. Campus By The Sea

Campus By The Sea

Campus by the Sea is a one-of-a-kind experience for Christian families seeking faith, adventure, and connection. Located on the shores of Catalina Island, this six-day Family Camp program is for families of all ages, with kids programs for infants to college age.

Insightful speakers equip adults to live out their faith through marriage and parenting, while college-age leaders guide teens through navigating their faith in the face of today’s culture with adventures along the way. But what truly sets them apart is the breathtaking oceanfront setting.

Families get the opportunity to worship together at the beach, enjoy great food on the ocean view deck and play together through a broad range of activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, ocean tubing (behind a boat), fishing, tide pools, hiking, volleyball, and more. Evening events include camp game show, a family carnival, campfires, and separate late-night fun exclusively for teens. And the absence of Wi-Fi ensures authentic connections among family members and with others.

Campus By The Sea family

Having served families for over 55 years, Campus by the Sea recognizes the challenges families face and strives to equip each family member while also giving them an experience that leaves them encouraged and refreshed. Many families make it part of their annual family tradition as they experience the kingdom impact of this unique family camp.

2. Sugar Pine Christian Camps

Sugar Pine Christian Camps is found down the road from the Yosemite National Park in Oakhurst, California. This is the perfect location for a weekend getaway with the family with an emphasis on outdoor fun and faith-based fellowship.

Daily Chapel services are a key focus of the schedule at Sugar Pine, but the activity periods and meals make up most of the day. You’ll be able to enjoy high ropes courses, ziplining, canoes, fishing, and so much more. 

Family camp is hosted at Sugar Pine Christian Camp over a long weekend annually, typically around Labor Day. Accommodations can be reserved well in advance and include rooms in the central lodge, Fir Cabins with a half-bath, and Cedar Cabins for a rustic camping experience.

3. Forest Home Christian Family Camp

Residing in the glorious San Berardino Mountains, Forest Home Christian Family Camp invites families from all over the world to experience summer camp together in the beauty of Southern California. 

Biblical core values are at the heart of a trip to Forest Home, allowing families to grow in their spiritual journey through outdoor activities, fellowship, and dedicated chapel times.

You’ll enjoy prepared meals, a stay in a rustic outdoor cabin, and a large list of outdoor activities to keep the whole family engaged. Forest Home features an aquatic center, giant swing, miniature golf, zipline, and a ropes course. 

All of these camp facilities and abundant hiking opportunities in the sprawling mountainside campus make Forest Home Christian Family Camp a great spot.

4. Oakland Feather River Camp

Oakland Feather River Camp has been open to children and families every summer since 1924. Join them for their 100-year anniversary with one of their family camps found in the Plumas National Forest just outside Quincy.

The six family camp weeks at Oakland Feather River are themed, and there are many fun sessions. Some of the 2024 themes include science and space, folk & international dance, storytelling, and a special Centennial Celebration Week in July to celebrate this storied camp’s 100th year.

Days are as structured as you would like, with plenty of activity electives. Enjoy playtime together, or everyone can go off and do their own thing with supervision. Families can bring children as young as 2+ years old here. 

5. Family Camp at Yosemite

Only in California can you have the opportunity to camp at one of the most visited national parks in the world, Yosemite. This is an all-inclusive trip designed to give families a classic summer camp experience complete with optional activities, meals, and lodging in wood-framed canvas tents.

The summer season runs from the middle of June to the second week of August. Four different sessions allow families to choose their ideal outdoor vacation based on a schedule that works for them.

You’ll be just a few minutes drive from all of the iconic sights of Yosemite and within a convenient base camp location to return to after a day spent in the park.

6. Kennolyn Camps Santa Cruz Mountains

Kennolyn Camps offers family camps at their location in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This central coast spot is next to Live Oak and Santa Cruz but far enough away to feel like you’re on a different planet.

Over 450 acres of forest create an iconic summer camp scene for everyone to bond with one another. All meals and lodging are included with every long weekend camp, so you can take some of the guesswork out of a typical trip.

If you’re considering sending your children off to an overnight summer camp, this is a fantastic choice to introduce them to the concept. No one will blame you for having just as much fun as they do. Children ages 3-12 get assigned to groups with other children where they can play games together. 

You can also find more sleepaway camps in California with our camps guide.

7. Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Montecito Sequoia Lodge is an all-inclusive family camp in the southern foothills of the Sierras. Its facilities are just outside of King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park. There are 10 separate weeks to attend, and many tiers of accommodations families as big as 6 can stay in. 

Stay in a traditional mountain view cabin all the way up to a modern cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows. Your family’s stay can be as close to or as far away from roughing it as you like. Every choice will be a comfortable, private oasis from the days spent together exploring nature. There is a private lake that lets you explore any kind of water activity. 

All-inclusive is not just a sales pitch at Montecito Sequoia Lodge since you get everything with the price of admission. This includes but is not limited to lodging, all of your meals and snacks, activities, and even child care for kids 2-18 are part of the package.

8. YMCA Silicon Valley

No summer camp list would be complete without an entry from the YMCA. The venerated organization has been an institution for more than one hundred years and has given generations of children unforgettable childhood memories. The YMCA Silicon Valley camp is located in the heart of the redwoods just outside of San Jose.

They host weekend sessions throughout the full year at YMCA Silicon Valley and longer overnight summer camps for kids as well. All programs come with the same quality and care that you’d expect from the YMCA at an incredible value.

Enjoy real quality time in the great outdoors with activities including archery, swimming, a climbing wall, and arts and crafts. All meals, lodging, and activities are included with your stay, and the lifelong memories are yours to keep.

9. The Lair of the Golden Bear

The Lair of the Golden Bear is actually three separate programs that are hosted by the alumni association of U.C. Berkeley. All three family camps are located on a sprawling wooded campus in Pinecrest, deep in the heart of the Stanislaus National Forest.

There is something for everyone in the family at The Lair of the Golden Bear, with age-appropriate activities to keep the kids engaged all day. You can do as much or as little activity for yourself. Relax by the pool or go for a jog around the lake while the kids enjoy outdoor adventures on a beautiful mountainside campus.

You can stay for an entire week or as little as a weekend. Expect activities with families of other fellow alumni that involve everything from a bingo night to campfires.