Catalina Sea Camp

Avalon, California    

Lantern Review of Catalina Sea Camp

At some point, just about all of us feel the tug to be at the sea. It may be as simple as watching the sunset from the beach or it may be that dream of becoming a marine biologist. Perhaps no place better captures that dream, and provides children a better opportunity to explore this yearning than Catalina Sea Camp. Setting out from Long Beach, California for the ride to Catalina Island sets the tone for the weeks ahead.

Its worldwide reputation as an outpost for marine education walks hand-in-hand with the swimsuits and sandals of the campers here. Catalina Sea Camp attracts those who are fascinated with the ocean. What it provides, however, is much more than outdoor ed. It provides them with community and camaraderie, anchored in an expert and experienced staff. With an average age of twenty-five, most staff work year-around at universities or aquariums. That kind of experience helps make this place so unique.

The program is weighted towards the marine and waterfront activities, whether that be kayaking and sailing, or marine labs and shark touch tanks. Make no mistake, however, that the spirit of a more traditional camp program is alive and well, with activities like archery, climbing or evening campfires. What’s remarkable is the way Catalina Sea Camp makes these activities come alive. Each one is almost a stand-alone performance. For example, it isn’t enough to have an archery range; CSC has created a Jurassic Park-themed course for the campers. Or take a look at the enormous whale skeleton. These are grand, fun and engaging. Everything just seems to come alive here.

The amount of responsibility that the campers have at CSC reveals a culture of trust. The program is reminiscent of a University format; campers live in dorms and choose activities prior to camp from a full syllabus of offerings. That may sound sterile, but it’s the opposite. It’s vibrant, and inculcates responsibility among the kids.

The stucco, Spanish mission-style buildings lie just beyond the private beach. It’s outdoor living at its best at Catalina Sea Camp. The ocean breezes are relaxing and the program is enlivening. Yes, the campers learn here, but even better, they’ll return with new friends and a little sand between their toes.

Fast Facts

  • COED
  • 220 Campers per Session
  • 3 weeks
  • Founded in 1980
  • $$$

Director's Message

Summer camp on Catalina Island is a great way to spend the summer. Wonderful memories and new friends await at Catalina Sea Camp one of California’s premier overnight summer camps. Catalina Sea Camp is a one of a kind ocean adventure and marine biology program located at Toyon Bay on Catalina Island. Our hand-picked counselors and instructors create an atmosphere of fun and excitement while leading campers on a host of ocean adventure, marine biology, and social summer camp activities.

Program Highlights

  • 50 Activities
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Individual Activities
  • Waterfront
  • Academic
  • Remote

Top 5 Activities

  • Scuba & Snorkeling
  • Sailing
  • Island Exploring
  • Marine Biology
  • Cookery

Travel Information

Fly to LAX, Launch from Long Beach


Catalina Sea Camp



Paul Kupferman