50 All-Star Family Camps
Remember summer camp? The fun doesn't have to stop just because you've grown up. You and your kids can make s'mores and go fishing, all without spending heaps of money--for a family of four, some camps cost less than $1,000 for an entire week
What you'll find in this article: family camp listings, family camp activities, family vacation ideas, and outdoor activities for families
YMCA Camp Sky-Y, Prescott
In Prescott National Forest, surrounded by ponderosa pines. Sixty-five-foot climbing tower, mountainboarding, paintball, teen excursions to a rodeo and on an overnight backpacking trip. Kayaking on Watson Lake, full day care for kids 8 and under. ACA accredited. Lodging: Eighteen wood cabins with electricity sleep 12 on built-in bunks; shared bathhouse. Food: Three family-style meals daily in dining hall; kids' buffet; evening snacks. Dates: Feb. 17-19; July 2-8; Oct. 20-22; Nov. 23-25. Price: $1,920. 800/660-1385, azycamps.org.
Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, Groveland
Near Yosemite, in Stanislaus National Forest. Yoga, woodworking, stained-glass making. Artist-in-residence program for adults. Magic lessons for kids. Camper-versus-staff volleyball, skit night, hiking along the Tuolumne River. Lodging: Tent cabins, some with electricity and decks, sleep four on "army-style" cots; shared bathhouse. Food: Three family-style meals daily; 24-hour coffee bar. Adults' social on Sunday. Dates: June 24-Aug. 27. Price: $1,415 ($1,385 for Berkeley residents). 510/981-5140, berkeleycamps.com.
Camp Concord, South Lake Tahoe
Between Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe in the Eldorado National Forest. Crawdad fishing, beach luau, happy hour, bingo games, canoeing, rafting, and archery. ACA accredited. Lodging: Wooden cabins with electricity sleep six to eight on full and bunk beds. Food: Three buffets daily; lakeside champagne breakfast and barbecue lunch. Dates: June 18-Aug. 5; Sept. 1-4. Price: $1,547 ($1,400 for all Concord residents). 925/671-3273, cityofconcord.org.
Cazadero Performing Arts Camp, Cazadero
In the Russian River Valley, in a redwood forest. Focus is on music and the arts: jazz, rock and roll, steel drums, yoga, salsa dancing, capoeira, mixed chorus, stone carving. Beginners welcome. Lodging: Canvas tent cabins with electricity sleep six on cots, with shared bathhouse; dorm rooms sleep three on cots; tent sites. Food: Three buffets daily in dining hall. Dates: Aug. 7-13; Aug. 14-20. Price: $2,500. 510/527-7500, cazadero.org.
Emandal--A Farm On A River, Willits
A working farm since 1908, on 1,000 acres in Mendocino County. Three and a half miles of riverfront. Nonstructured activities (lie in a hammock) and optional farm chores (milk a cow, harvest veggies, collect eggs). Lodging: Nineteen cabins (sleeping up to 10) with queen beds, single beds, and bunks, with electricity, cold water, and shared bathhouse; two farmhouse rooms with private bath. Food: Three family-style meals daily with food from the garden; most lunches picnic-style. Dates: June 21-25; July 19-Sept. 4. Price: $2,650. 707/459-5439, emandal.com.
Family Camp On The Bar 717 Ranch, Hayfork
In the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Overnights on horseback to the ranch's original homestead. Swimming in Hayfork Creek. Feed rabbits and pigs in the barn, or milk a cow. Square dancing, silk-screening, wine tastings. "Untalent" show, arts and crafts, pottery. ACA accredited. Lodging: Wooden cabins, without electricity and open on one side, have sink, toilet, and shared bathhouse, and sleep 10; hotel-style rooms sleep two to six; tent sites. Food: Three family-style meals daily in indoor/outdoor dining area; farm-raised meat, most vegetables come from garden. Dates: Aug. 13-19; Aug. 20- 26. Price: $2,200. 530/628-5992, bar717.com.
Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, Idyllwild
At 5,000 feet in the San Jacinto Mountains, on 205 acres. Focus is on creativity: ceramics, painting, photography, writing, choir, batik. Make your own teddy bear. Music class including banjo, mandolin, and bass. Staff performance, folk music and dance, luaus, improv night, family talent show. Lodging: Dorm rooms sleep four on two sets of bunks with private bathroom and shower. Food: Buffet breakfast and lunch in dining hall; buffet dinner outside. Dates: July 1-7. Price: $2,775. 951/659-2171 ext. 2365, idyllwildarts.org.