(credit: campgilligan.com)

Once school lets out, parents often struggle with creative ideas for providing meaningful, educational activities. Summer day camps offer children opportunities to engage socially, acquire new skill sets, and make lasting memories. Check out the OC’s list of traditional and theme-focused camps.

(credit: campjames.org)

Camp James

8790 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 585-0464

More Info

This traditional, Irvine-based day camp offers children between the ages of 4 and 13 of all abilities an accepting environment to develop friendships and participate in a variety of activities. Activities include dance, arts and crafts, drama, music, martial arts, daily trips to Wild Rivers and so much more, all of which take place on the camp’s 30 acres of private land. One of the unique aspects of the camp is that organizers support campers in becoming better citizens by encouraging participation in community service, recycling, and environmental awareness.

(credit: actingacademyforkids.com)

Summer Performing Arts Camp for Kids

Camino Real Playhouse
31776 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-2636
(949) 489-8082
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Your aspiring thespian aged 4 to 13 will create memories, gain confidence, and cultivate his repertoire of skills during this summer long theater camp. Participants are guided through the production of a popular Broadway musical from beginning to end through four daily classes which focus on music, art, acting, and dance. At the end of each week, children perform the musical on the main stage of the Camino Real Playhouse.

(credit: heritageoak.org)

Camp Heritage Oak

16971 Imperial Highway
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
(714) 524-1350 x319
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This year’s maritime-themed summer day camp includes a variety of adventures like field trips, water activities, games, arts, and more. The activities vary from day to day throughout the main camp. Campers in grades K through 8 are grouped by age and participate in activities specific to their developmental stage and age. The private school, which hosts the camp, also offers mini camps, academic camps, and theatre camps. Their mini camps run concurrently during main camp sessions and focus on one particular area of interest over a shorter amount of time.

(credit: campgilligan.com)

Camp Gilligan

Craig Regional Park
3300 North State College Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92835
(714) 204-1264
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This faith-based summer day camp offers children between the ages of 7 and 12 an opportunity to cultivate new friendships while developing new skills in a variety of areas. Activities will vary from week to week and can include a variety of sports, arts and crafts, photography, swimming, fitness, music, martial arts, puppetry, and more. One of the goals of camp leaders is to help children understand and develop character while growing in self-worth and self confidence.

(credit: uci.edu)

Anteater Recreation Camps

UC Irvine
Campus Recreation
680 California Ave
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 824-5346
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UCI’s adventure-themed camps allow children to cultivate a variety of skills including rock climbing, martial arts, street dance, fencing, and cooking. The camp is geared towards children between the ages of 8 and 14 and no experience is required to participate in any of the five programs. Campers are grouped according to age and ability. The activities are fun and offer children an opportunity to attain skills like balance, rhythm, agility, and hand eye coordination.

(credit: summersoulsurfcamp.com)

Summer Soul Surf Camp

San Onofre Surf Beach
South of San Clemente on I-5 (Exit Basilone Road)
Mailing Address:
63 Pico Plaza #292
San Clemente CA 92672
(800) 522-1352
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If you and your child are looking for a truly unique experience, this is the camp for you. Children between the ages of 9 and 16 will learn about ocean safety, physical fitness, and healthy eating while they surf and play at the beach. Day and overnight camps are taught by experienced, CPR/First Aid certified water-loving men and women who are passionate about surfing. Day camps include lunch, snacks, and drinks and the equipment necessary to learn the art of surfing. It should be noted that the waves at SANO are gentle enough for most to learn to surf and state lifeguards are on duty.

(credit: youngchefsacademy.com)

Camp Can-I-Cook

15435 Jeffrey Road (@ Irvine Center Dr.) #A132
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 679-8390
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Little chefs will learn to appreciate the fine art of cooking during this culinary camp put on by the Young Chefs Academy. Children participate in three-hour sessions for 3, 4, or 5 consecutive days and learn to prepare recipes from various cuisines. This is the perfect venue for experiencing new tastes and flavors. Each week features a different theme like the culinary favorites of France, cook like a celebrity chef or chocolate adventure, to name a few.

(credit: girlsinc-oc.org)

Girls Incorporated Orange County

Summer Camp For Girls
1815 Anaheim Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 646-7181
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This girls-only camp is hosted by Girls Inc., an organization that has sought to transform the lives of girls by instilling confidence and independence. During the summer, the organization hosts two-day camps for girls entering kindergarten through to 9th grade. The elementary program features field trips and activities based on a weekly theme. Girls may participate in rock climbing, read-a-thons, beach clean-ups, and more. Eureka! is a dynamic program for middle-school aged girls who learn the basics of film production, participate in field trips, learn from guest speakers, and even get oriented to life on a college campus.

(credit: incrediflix.com)


Locations all over Orange County including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Seal Beach, Yorba Linda
(949) 548-5424
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Kids and teens between the ages of 7 and 13 who are interested in movie making will enjoy this series of unique summer day camps designed to build confidence, assist in self expression, and educate on the art of bringing imagination and creativity to life. A variety of themed camps are offered and focus on acting, animation, script-making, cartoons, and more. Campers will take home their movie on DVD as a permanent memory of their experience.

(credit: theccofdance.com)

The California Conservatory Of Dance

Summer Fun Beginner Dance Camp
25732 Taladro Circle
Mission Viejo CA, 92691
(949) 829-5911
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Children between the ages of 5 and 11 can explore the world of dance through a beginner dance camp which includes classes in ballet, tap, and jazz.  Classes also include crafts and snacks.  The last day of class culminates in a showcase, highlighting the skills the children have acquired.

Los Caballeros Summer Camp

Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club
17272 Newhope Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 546-8560
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Kids can get fit and have fun at this sports camp designed to teach sportsmanship through teamwork, instill confidence, refine motor skills and gain enjoyment and appreciation of  sports and fitness. Children between the ages of 4 and 12 will learn about fitness, health, and character development and participate in a variety of sports, swimming, arts & crafts, and more. This summer there will be five sessions, each one ending with a party featuring skits, contests, and prizes.

(credit: ocean-institute.org)

Summer Adventures

Ocean Institute
24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 496-2274
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The educational facility, whose mission is to inspire generations to become responsible stewards of the oceans, offers a wide variety of single-day, week-long, and overnight camps. The camps focuses on marine science and includes lab activities, cruises, off-site field trips, tide pool excursions, and more. Camps for younger children focus on bringing ocean-themed children’s books to life through storytime, crafts, and encounters.

Caryn Bailey wants to switch places with her kids so she can go to summer camp. She blogs at Rockin’ Mama.

Comments (2)
  1. Lina Lumme says:

    How do I get our Non-Profit Summer Camp listed here. It is The Youth Center in Los Alamitos.

  2. Lina Lumme says:

    I am not sure how to add our camp to the list… but if you are in the cities of Los Alamitos, Cypress, Cerritos, Long Beach, Rossmoor and surrounding communities, check out our camps: Day Camp for ages 5-12 and Teen Camp for ages 12-16.

    More information on http://www.TheYouthCenter.org
    Any questions, call us at 562-493-4043

    Great Camp for Less! Scholarships for qualified families available. Our Campers LOVE their Camp!!!

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