Best Sleep-Away Summer Camps For Kids In OC

February 15, 2013 6:00 AM

(credit: Crazzy's Wasewagan Camp)

(credit: Crazzy’s Wasewagan Camp)

(credit: Erin Johnson)

(credit: Erin Johnson)

Looking for the best overnight summer camp for your child? From horseback riding to video game design, there are camps for every kid. They are not inexpensive, but when you consider the price includes food, lodging, tons of amazing activities and 24-hour supervision, you’ll agree that the result is priceless!

(credit: Erin Johnson)

(credit: Erin Johnson)

Rawhide Ranch
6987 W Lilac Road
Bonsall, CA 92003
(760) 758-0083
Price: $930 / week-long camp
June 16 through August 17

Come to the 37-acre Rawhide Ranch, the closest thing in Orange County to the “old West.” Since 1963, Rawhide has been welcoming ranch hands ages 17 to 15 for week-long camp experiences including archery, horseback riding, animal care, vaulting, riflery, swimming and drama. Campers will enhance their sleepover experience by spending the night in a teepee, cowboy bunkhouse, western fort or even a in covered wagon! The highlight of camp is the horse show, where everyone participates by showing a farm animal, riding or performing. Ribbons and trophies are awarded!

(credit: Erin Johnson)

(credit: Erin Johnson)

YMCA Camp Surf
560 Silver Strand Blvd.
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 423-5850
Price: From $560 to $1,320 / one to two-week session (scholarships available depending on needs of the family)
June 16 through Aug. 16

Located on the beach in Imperial City, Camp Surf will give kids entering third through 11th grades a taste of California like no other! With a focus on building confidence and independence, campers enjoy countless activities just a few steps away from the sand while building friendships and discovering new skills. More than 100 body boards and soft-top surfboards are available to campers who want to learn to surf or who already know how (staff-led instruction daily). Camp Surf also offers low ropes, archery, arts and crafts, a climbing tower, basketball court and a camp favorite – GA-GA. Depending on the age of the campers, some additional activities include kayaking and outrigger canoes.  Campers will enjoy the nighttime campfires and camaraderie of songs and skits before retiring to their cozy cabins where the sounds of the waves crashing will lull them to sleep. Additional activities scheduled for older campers, including a three-day overnight camping excursion to San Onofre or a bike ride to Coronado.

Related: Best Rock Climbing Facilities for Kids Around Orange County

(credit: Crazzy's Wasewagan Camp)

(credit: Crazzy’s Wasewagan Summer Camp)

Crazzy’s Wasewagan Summer Camp
42121 Seven Oaks Road
Angelus Oaks, CA 92305
(909) 794-2910 or (805) 498-5572
Price: $900 for one-week camp, $1,775 for two-week camp
June 16 through August 10

Wasewagan is located just minutes from Big Bear on the Santa Ana River in the San Bernardino Mountains. Some of the many activities for kids ages 5 to 16 include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, white-water river rafting, ziplining, riflery, horseback riding, beach volleyball, hiking, fencing, archery, mountain biking, arts and crafts and a ropes course. Additional fun is also provided by way of a pajama breakfast, talent show, movie night, camp fires, junior olympics, stunt day and postcard breakfast, just to name a few. Although the historical lodge and buildings were built in 1933, the bathrooms, cabins, kitchen, dining facility, and recreation hall are modern and comfortable.

(credit: iD Tech Camp)

(credit: iD Tech Camp)

iD Tech Camp
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697
Price: $1,298 – $1,598
June 24 through Aug. 16

Have a child who is not fond of the outdoors and enjoys computer programming more than hiking? Here’s a camp for your future software engineer. Located at UC Irvine, just 40 miles south of L.A. and 80 miles north of San Diego, iD’s Tech Camps are overnight experiences with personalized instruction in web design, video game design, apps, programming and more for kids ages 10 to 17. Accredited by the American Camp Association, this adult-only staff teaches skills that will last a lifetime. While students spend about five hours a day in the lab, indoor time is balanced with outdoor recreation. Activities like board games, frisbee, capture the flag, chess, pool, ping pong, talent shows and team-building exercises shake things up. Campers stay in student housing on the UCI campus and eat meals in the dining hall.

(credit: Erin Johnson)

(credit: Erin Johnson)

Camp Scherman
(949) 461-8833

Camp Scherman has been rated “Best Overnight Camp” by Parenting OC magazine since 2008 and is fully accredited by the American Camp Association. For more than 40 years, Camp Scherman has been a favorite place for girls entering grades two to 12 to become more independent and responsible while having a great time experiencing fun activities and making new friends. Backpacking, archery, canoeing, rock climbing, outdoor cooking, hiking, swimming and arts and crafts are just some of the activities available to campers. Girls share comfortable cabins and enjoy healthy camp food in the dining hall.

 Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities for Kids In Orange County

Erin Johnson is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on


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