Surf & Sand: Summer Camps By the Sea

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We don’t have to wish our kids all could be California Girls or Beach Boys. They already are! And our beach babies all want to spend the summer by the sea, surfing, building sand castles and playing. Meanwhile, you want them to learn water safety and ocean awareness. Here are 4 super spots by the shore where tots to teens can do just that.

fitness sea campphoto: Fitness by the Sea Kid’s Camp

Fitness by the Sea
Fitness by the Sea Kid’s Camp puts the emphasis on safety, and will teach kids with even no prior swimming experience all about swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and skim boarding. But that’s not all they offer, with over 80 other activities that range from team sports in the sand to individual sports as varied as fencing and cheerleading, and creative activities like yoga, puppet shows and magic. So, being by the beach doesn’t mean missing the traditional camp experience. Camp starts with a minimum of 5 days, but they can be scheduled whenever you like throughout the summer. From there, add as many days as you like, and change your schedule as often as you need to, with only 24 hours notice. Camp is from 9:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m., and extended care is available. New in 2016, camp is offering transportation to and from camp for $25/day.  With 14 stops around town, there’s bound to be one near you!

Pick this camp if: You’re at all nervous about having your kids by the water when you’re not there. The Chief of LA County Lifeguards said, “Fitness By The Sea is the safest beach camp I have ever seen.” And they lower the camper to counselor ratio to 3:1 for surfing and 2:1 for paddling. Nervous Nellie’s (both parents and kids) are well taken care of here.

Ages: 4-14
Cost: $70-$85/day
Location: Santa Monica & Pacific Palisades
Phone: 310-459-2425

aloha campphoto: Aloha Beach Camp via facebook

Aloha Beach Camp
If your kids love the beach, Aloha Beach Camp provides the perfect setting for enjoying sand, surf and sun. The goal of the program is to help young children feel comfortable and safe in the ocean. Campers take surf and boogie board lessons, participate in group sand games and enjoy many other aquatic activities—over 200 choices, depending on the age of the kids. (Kids are grouped into Keiki Camp for the little guys ages 4-7, Kahuna Camp for big kids and tweens and then High Action Camp for the 12-15 year-olds.) In addition to the plethora of every day activities, there are special days like Ocean Kayaking Day, an Ocean Carnival, Pier Fishing Derby and Overnight Campouts. Your little one will not want to say aloha to this camp when summer comes to a close. Camp is from 9:35 a.m.-2:35 p.m. (though pickup begins at 8 a.m. and drop off takes place between 4 p.m.- 5 p.m.). Pick as many or as few days as you like, all summer long.

Pick this camp if: You can’t picture driving to the beach every day. One of our favorite perks they offer is a pick up and drop off service. They have over 20 locations where their buses stop, so you’ll never have to brave beach traffic! Check the transportation schedule online to find the meeting spot nearest you.

Ages: 4-15
Cost: $115/day (early bird, multiple day, sibling and group discounts available)
Location: Paradise Cove
Phone: 888-932-4600

 learn to surf camp

photo: Learn To Surf LA via facebook

Learn to Surf LA
Young sun worshipers will love the opportunity to catch a wave at this specialty beach camp. Safe surfing instruction is emphasized, with foam surfboards, body boards and wetsuits included in the daily rate. You can check the daily schedule online; we love that it includes scheduled time for sunscreen application at regular intervals. Groups meet from 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m., with half day options available for either morning (9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.) or afternoon (12:45 p.m.-3:30 p.m.). Extended care is available, too. They’re super flexible about dates; pick as many days or weeks as you like and change them if you need to. They’ll also work with you— if your school has a different summer break schedule, they’ll extend their dates for you.

Pick this camp if: Your kids are all about surfing! They’ll end the summer hanging ten, for sure.

Ages: 5-17
Cost: $295/half days, $395/full days per week; $59-$110 per day
Location: Santa Monica/Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach
Phone: 310-663-2479

perfect day beach campphoto: Perfect Day Beach and Surf Camp via facebook

Perfect Day Beach and Surf Camp
The name of the game here is “convenient,” which as busy parents, we adore. It’s convenient if you’ve got little ones of multiple ages, since they have Beach Camp for the 4-7 crowd, and Surf Camp for big kids (8-17) right at the same drop off location. It’s convenient because of the flex scheduling, which lets you pick individual days or weeks, and let’s you change those dates anytime (up until a week before the day of class). And mostly it’s convenient because you don’t spend any time convincing kids to go—they’re begging to hop out of the car and build sand castles, body surf, wave jump and boogie board.  Even the 4 year-olds start to learn about the waves and how to catch them, and big kids spend most of their time in the water, but take breaks for volleyball, prisoner, soccer, capture the flag, dodge-ball and ocean safety. Choose from morning (9 a.m.-noon), afternoon (noon-3 p.m.) and all day, with optional extended hours.

Pick this camp if: You’re got a big range of kids ages. The littlest tyke can get started on boogie boards, while even visiting big cousins from out of state can spend a day or two dropping in and leaning to surf.

Ages: 4-17
Cost: $32-$50/half day, $64-$100/full day (depends on age and # of days), discounts for early registration and siblings
Location: Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Redondo
Phone: 310-985-1458

If you’re still looking for more camp options, you clearly haven’t visited our Summer Camp Central, where you can find a camp for any kid, of any age, with any interest!

What summer camps by the sea have you tried? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

—Meghan Rose