San Francisco is home to many natural resources, cultural attractions and a plethora of kid-friendly activities in the city and surrounding area. Check out these exciting Bay-area summer camps to best suit your child's interests.
Need more info before sending your kid off? Check out our Parent's Guide to Summer Camp.
Bay Area Discovery Museum1 of 12
Age: Pre-school to 4th grade; 4th to 9th grade (junior counselor program)
Length:Half-day camp, with extended care available
Cost: Starting at $360
At the Bay Area Discovery Museum, kids can let their imaginations run wild. Campers will spend one week learning creative problem-solving through STEM-focused projects. Weekly themes rotate and include fort building, chemistry, survival skills, fashion, art and more. For second to fourth graders, camp takes place in the Fab Lab, a digital fabrication center with 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters and other tech tools. Fourth through ninth graders can be junior counselors, helping with projects and teaching younger campers about science. The BADM encompasses seven exhibition spaces that allow kids to explore art and science, wander in an imagination playground, tinker with digital design and run a little wild outdoors.
Sienna Ranch2 of 12
Age: Pre-school to 8th grade
Length: Half-day camp, with extended care available
Cost: Starting at $245
Counselors at Sienna Ranch help kids discover the natural world and introduce them to ranch life. Campers ride horses, learn to care for animals and act as ranch wranglers. They also use items found in nature to make crafts, learn survival skills and even build an obstacle course; campers are taken outside whenever possible. The camps focus on creative outdoor experiences, with some sessions shining a spotlight on art, some on the animals and others on outdoor skills. Camp favorites include the Magic Tree Fort, Tire Tunnel and Buckeye Tree.
Peninsula Youth Theatre3 of 12
Age: 5 to 18 years old
Length: Day camp
Cost: Starting at $225
The Peninsula Youth Theatre hosts award-winning performing arts camps for budding actors. Theatre in the Park is a series of camps that runs for two weeks in multiple locations. Campers produce a play—including acting, set design, prop and costume design and construction—which they perform on the final Friday evening. Productions vary by camp session and age. Teen Intensive Camp is a one-week camp for 13 to 18-year-olds. Teens work on acting, improv and comic timing and present a collection of short one-act plays on the final day. PYT also offers one-week musical theater camps, with singing, dancing and theater games, and a half-day mini-camp for 5 to 6-year-olds.
Tree Frog Treks, LLC4 of 12
Age: Pre-K to 9th grade
Length: Half-day and full-day camp; Teen camp includes one overnight
Cost: Starting at $375
Tree Frog Treks' camp credo is "Get out and get dirty!" They believe in nature-fueled adventure and combine that with science, observation, conservation and fun. Camp consists of art and science projects, games, field trips, meetings with some of their 100 Animal Ambassadors and plenty of kid-directed discovery. The camps, which have won Best of the Bay and Best of San Francisco awards, rotate themes and run at multiple locations throughout the greater San Francisco area, with an occupational therapist-supported session at Golden Gate Park.
Marine Science Institute5 of 12
Age: Kindergarten to High School
Length: Day camp, with extended care available
Cost: Starting at $450 (scholarships available)
Is your child a budding biologist or interested in marine life? Marine Science Institute is the perfect place for them! Campers go on outdoor adventures through mud, water and wetlands and explore the ocean and its inhabitants. Camp includes science projects based on common standards for each grade, in addition to tackling more challenging topics, playing games and going on multiple field trips. They even spend a day at sea on the Robert G. Brownlee, a 90-foot research vessel. Campers will go fishing, study plankton and sample mud and water, using the same equipment as professional scientists.
Surf Camp Pacifica6 of 12
Age: 6 to 18 years old
Length: Half-day camps (can combine morning and afternoon camps for full-day)
Cost: Starting at $175
At Surf Camp Pacifica, campers learn surfing fundamentals from certified lifeguards and expert surf instructors. Campers also learn about wave selection, surfing etiquette, ocean safety and beach hazards, and they spend time body boarding. Need an extended care option or just want to keep the fun rolling? Surf Camp Pacifica has added Skateboard Camp each afternoon, where riders learn new skills in the skate park and on nearby paths.
San Jose Museum of Art7 of 12
Age: 6 to 14 years old
Length: Day camp
Cost: Starting at $350 for members (scholarships available)
At the San Jose Museum of Art's summer camp, kids learn how to analyze and talk about art while walking through the exhibits. They then create art in their own style, working on a small project each day and one larger project throughout the week. Each child goes home with art supplies to continue their journey. Because of demand, campers can only register for one week of art camp each summer and members have priority.
Camp Cardinal8 of 12
Age: 6 to 16 years old
Length: Day camp, with extended care available
Cost: Starting at $400
Stanford's Camp Cardinal offers several different types of camp. All Sports Camp, located at the Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, introduces kids to at least three sports and instructors focus on positive coaching to teach children new skills. Horseback Riding Camp at the Red Barn includes riding lessons and instruction on grooming and stable care. Specialty camps include STEM-based LEGO camps, where inventors can create robots and study Jedi Engineering. In the afternoons, campers choose their own adventure, with options including swimming, sports, games and crafts. Go Cards Go! is a week-long camp, offered during two sessions, that takes campers on a daily field trip for a week full of adventure.
Maker Lab Extreme9 of 12
Age: 2nd to 5th grade
Length: Half-day and full-day camp
Cost: Starting at $300
Projects at Summer Maker Camp combine art, science and construction. Working together, campers have a daily "maker challenge" which blends invention, creative thinking and technology. Prior to camp, kids also choose one or two larger projects for the week, and they spend time working on those each day. Campers use a variety of building tools, including drills, 3D printers, wood-burning pens, air-brushing machines and more. Counselors also employ skits, trivia and games to teach traits important to innovation, such as determination, imagination and collaboration.
Oakland Zoo10 of 12
Age: Pre-K to 12th grade
Length: Half-day and full-day camp, with extended care available
Cost: Starting at $201 (scholarships available)
Zoo Camp combines games, crafts and animal-based activities to create an unforgettable week for animal lovers. During each camp, kids are able to meet the animals and most camps have at least one behind-the-scenes animal experience. Counselors use age-appropriate projects to help kids learn about animal movement and behavior, echolocation and other topics. Camps are organized by grade level and revolve around themes like wild survivor and zoo art.
Stanford Women's Gymnastics11 of 12
Age: 5 to 17 years old
Length: Day camp
Cost: Starting at $585
Learn from collegiate-level gymnasts and coaches at Stanford Women's Gymnastics Camp. Camps are available for gymnasts of all levels, and include instruction in compulsory and optional skills, dance, strength and flexibility. Each day consists of two workouts, a demonstration clinic, swimming and a daily camp activity. Camp is held in the Ford Center Gym, which houses a 50-foot Tumble Track, a foam bar pit and an in-ground trampoline.