Looking for something new, something cool, that special summer camp that will leave the kids begging for more and bragging about what they did this vacation? From cooking and coding camps to parkour training and feeling exploration—there’s something for every interest, every age and in every part of town, so book now and get ready for week after week of happy kids who can’t wait to leave the house!
photo: Derby Dolls
Derby Dolls Junior Derby Camp
Girl power! Try something completely different this summer! Derby Camp is for any girl who wants to skate – from beginners to advanced. Campers are divided by skill level and will be in classes designed to both challenge and empower them. In addition to skating classes, girls will participate in off-skates training classes like yoga, rules and strategy and equipment maintenance. Plus, you get to come up with awesome camp names, like Anna Mean Gables! Camp is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and there’s a public camp bout on July 15.
Age: Girls 7-17
Dates: July 10-14
Cost: $270-$300/week, sibling discounts available.
Locations: East Los Angeles
Rancho Los Cerritos Summer Adventures
If you wish you’d lived a long time ago, this camp is for you. Camp takes place on the grounds of the two-story Monterey-style adobe home and grounds, which are a National Historic landmark. Each week has a different topic, like Old Time Adventures, Vaquero Adventures and Adobe Adventures. Camp is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; there’s also a camp for the bigger kids in your family (ages 11-13) that tackles STEM from a 19th century view.
Dates: July 17-August 4
Cost: $130/week ($160/week for the big kids)
Locations: Long Beach
photo: Star Eco Education
Take a walk on the wild side and get up close and personal with the world’s most unusual creatures. Kids join the fight to save the planet at this internationally recognized environmental science museum and exotic wildlife rescue center. Party with parrots, live it up with alligators, and get down and dirty with the dragons (that’s right, dragons!), all while discovering new and exciting ways to protect our planet’s delicate ecosystem. You can choose from weeks that focus on mammals, reptiles winged creatures and more. (Note: because of the close contact with animals and their foods, this camp is not recommended for kids with severe animal or nut allergies.) Camp is in session from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. daily with extended hours available.
Dates: March 27-April 14
Cost: $385/week, plus $45 enrollment fee
Location: Culver City
photo: Santa Monica Heal the Bay
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Camp
Of course your cooped up kids can’t wait to hit the beach this summer. So how about mixing that beach with a little science? At this beachside camp, kids bounce from aquarium exhibits to the classroom and out to the beach, so summer is all fun with just the right amount of learning. Each day focuses on a different ocean topic and kiddos will interact with hundreds of local marine species while making new friends. Perfect for budding scientists who love learning about the ocean, doing experiments, playing games, digging for sand crabs, creating art, and having fun-all while making a difference. Camp runs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Age: 5-11, camps vary week to week by age.
Dates: June 26- August 4
Locations: Santa Monica
Ready for an easy first sleepaway camp, that’s right around the corner? This LA institution is a wonderful introduction to the camp life they’ve seen in movies. Adventure seeking girls will overcome challenges, puzzles and track their way through a forest scavenger or fossil hunt, all while asserting independence, making new friends and connecting with counselors who become friends and mentors. The prices cover all meals, snacks, lodging and field trips. Each week has a different theme from wizards to pirates to Star Wars and more.
Age: Girls 6-14
Dates: June 12- August 11
photo: Melissa Heckscher
Oh, yeah: our favorite new spot for kids has a spring break camp! They don’t have to climb the walls at home, they can do it here, all day long. In addition to tons of rock climbing, kids will learn bouldering, knot tying , youth yoga, the obstacle course, slacklining, ziplining and more. They won’t want to come home at the end of each day. Camp runs from 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m., Afternoon Camp is from 12:30-4:30 p.m., and you can sign up for both sessions.
Dates: June 12-August 18
Cost: $75 per day, $299 per week for half day.
Jedi Academy Camp
If your kid loves anything and everything Star Wars, plays with lightsabers and dresses up as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia or Darth Vader, then this camp is for your little Jedi. Kids will create their own Jedi character, develop their balance and coordination through Jedi training games, practice flight simulation, study the astronomy of our own galaxy and learn to use their lightsabers. The camp closes with a choreographed fight that the kids perform at the end of the week when they complete their training and receive their Jedi certificate. (Swordplay also offers Harry Potter Wizard Camp, Fencing Camp and Pokemon Camp.) Camp is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with lunch provided.
Dates: June 12-August 18
Location: Burbank (There’s also a location in Granada Hills with more limited offerings.)
photo: Chris G. via Yelp
Callie Belle Horse Riding Camp
Little horse lovers can spend the day learning about, riding and caring for horses at the stables. There’s plenty of time for fun and games, with each session revolving around four-legged friends. Each student will receive a workbook containing important information on horse safety, horse anatomy, tack, as well as coloring pages, puzzles and other fun games. For “little riders” (kids 3-6) there are specific camp sessions reserved to accommodate their needs. Camp is four days a week and campers choose from morning (9 a.m.-noon) or afternoon (1-4 p.m.) sessions.
Dates: June 12-August 18
Location: Rancho Palos Verdes
photo: Fitness by the Sea
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. And if you’re nervous about having your kids by the water without you, this is the perfect camp to put your mind at ease: the camper to counselor ratio is as low as 2:1 for some activities and the Chief of LA County Lifeguards calls it the safest beach camp around. Camp is from 9:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m., and extended care is available. Transportation to and from camp is available for $25/day.
Dates: June 12-September 1
Location: Santa Monica & Pacific Palisades
photo: City Seedlings
Class is in session in the garden! But this “class” has no ABC’s and 123’s. Instead, your little seedlings will learn how to make garden sushi and rainbow crackers via seed-to-table cooking, get their green thumbs dirty with garden and science activities such as compost critters and prune paratrooper, make arts and crafts, and also get physically active with fun games, all on the beautiful two-acre garden space of 24th Street Elementary School. Camp is in session from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dates: June 19-30
Location: West Adams
Bear hunting, making totem poles or searching for American Indian “artifacts” like the Gold of El Dorado… Immerse your little ones in an extravaganza of Native American themed adventures involving awesome feather headdresses, teepees and tom-tom drums. The young adventurers are divided into tribes by age, and activities are age appropriate, whether canoeing, archery, horseback riding, swimming or crafts. This coveted camp has a vintage date of 1947 and keeps on giving. This camp runs a little differently, where campers sign up for a 5 week session, but can choose from 2-5 days per week. This gives kids a complete and bonding summer camp experience. Camp is from 9:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m., with expended care before and after hours for free.
Dates: June 19-July 21
Cost: $995/2 days a week-$2,555 for 5/days a week for the 5 week session.
photo: Kitchen Kids
Who wouldn’t want to spend the summer surrounded by sumptuous food? Young chefs not only expand their skills and palates, the camp reinforces academic and social skills, while learning kitchen safety and culinary fundamentals. Kids visit a farmers market, have a mystery box challenge, secret ingredient cook-offs and even bake and package cookies to deliver to a local food pantry. The week culminates in a tasting on Friday where parents try their child’s delicious accomplishments first hand. Big bonus: no packing lunches. Kids make and eat their food all day, together! Choose from morning (9 a.m.-noon), afternoon (1-4 p.m.) or all day (9 a.m.-3 p.m.).
Age: Kids entering first grade and up, depending on location
Dates: June 19- August 11
Locations: Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Pasadena, Beverly Hills
photo: Jeff Wong for Girl Group
Girl Group is only offering two weeks of camp this summer, but it’s such a wonderful way to decompress from a school year, that it’s a perfect way to start the summer recharged, rejuvinated and brimming with self confidence. Girls explore mindfulness, creativity, friendship and self confidence and every day includes action based activities as well as crafts, writing and group discussion. The day is from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Age: 7 & up
Dates: June 12-23
Cost: $450/ week
This STEM education center is the only one in LA that focuses on peer based learning where all the instructors are local STEM majors and AP students from the community. Kids learn and play so well with bigger kids they look up to. Their slogan encapsulates the experience: “Your kids are on vacation, but their minds don’t have to be.” But the camp here is a great balance of learning and fun, and finding ways to nurture a love of math and technology without it feeling like work. If they want to spend the summer gaming, let them! Workshops include 3-D Printing, Minecraft, Scratch programming, Game Modding, Robotics, Zane chess and more. Choose between half-day (morning or afternoon) and full-day camps. Extended hours are available (drop-off early or pick-up late).
Age: Kindergarten-8th Grade
Dates: June 12-September 1
Cost: $375/week for half day or $675/week for full day
Location: Santa Monica
photo: Camp Wildfolk
We are wild for this modern twist on traditional day camp that provides the freedom & spirit of a sleepaway camp in an affordable, convenient day camp program. And it seems you are too: this camp won our Totally Awesome Award for best camp last year! The camp day consists of daily rotations in “Four Spheres of Fun”: Creativity & Expression, Innovation & Exploration, Movement &Teambuilding, and Group Projects. They also work on long term group projects, just like you used to at summer long sleepaway camp. They even have camp-ins, when campers can stay overnight for real. Every Wednesday is beach day (and you don’t have to brave beach traffic!). Camp is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, with extended care available and optional early pick up at 1:30 p.m. for 4 year-olds for a reduced weekly rate.
Dates: June 19-August 25
Location: West Hollywood
Tempest Freerunning Academy
Wanna bootcamp your baby this summer? If you’re sick of summers where kids turn into couch potatoes or whine about being bored, we’ve got a super cool, very exclusive option for you: Tadpole Summer Training Camp. Kids get a one-week intensive immersion in freerunning and parkour, from 8 a.m.-noon. This amazing camp will introduce them to a super active lifestyle they’ll carry with them the rest of the year. Camp is July 19-23 in the Valley and July 31- August 8 in the South Bay. (There are also more camp options for big kids 9 & up, if you’ve got older kids, too.) Camp is from 8 a.m.-noon.
Locations: Chatsworth & Hawthorne
Phone: 818-717-0525 & 310-644-7686
photo: ReDiscover Center
Tinkering Camps at ReDiscover Center
If you’ve ever spent a Sunday at the ReDiscover Center, and thought, “I never need to leave” then Tinkering School is for you (or rather, your kids). Young builders acquire the skills they need to work confidently in wood, plastic, and metal to build robust structures as wild as their imaginations. There’s an adult present to help every 4 kids and the fully stocked workshop ensure that kids are safe and can construct anything their imaginations can dream up. Each session offers five days of tinkering from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Age: 5-8 for Tinkering Juniors or 7-12 for bigger Tinkerers
Dates: June 12–August 11 in Mar Vista and June 12–July 28 in Pasadena
Locations: Mar Vista and Pasadena
Web Design, Computer Building, Drone Programming: these sounds like skills you need to put on your resume. But they’re actually camps your little genius (and one who will care for you in your retirement) can take. Engineer-minded young mavens will be in heaven with these challenging and skills filled camps. Camp hours are 9 a.m.-noon.
Age: 6 & up (varies by camp type)
Dates: Vary by location, camps are available from June 12-Spetember 1
Cost: $359-$499/week per half day camp
Locations: Hermosa Beach,Torrance and La Canada
Parkour & Ariel Arts at Aerial Warehouse
Do your kids like to run, jump, play, climb and maybe even fly? At Aerial Warehouse campers try a little bit of parkour, aerial arts, trampoline, tumbling obstacle courses and more. Working on physical skills, teamwork, self-expression and performance, kids get a whole range of experiences in one camp. The hours are from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and before summer starts you can sign up for full weeks, but as summer gets going, you can sign up for single days when there is room.
Dates: June 12-September 1
Cost: $105/day or $525/week
Location: Culver City
Kallpachay means “to inspire” in the ancient Incan language and the this summer camp inspires a sense of playfulness and ease while learning a new language. That’s right; this camp is full immersion and taught by all native Spanish speakers. But it’s not just for kids who speak Spanish, the play aspect ensures that kids of all levels of the language (even beginners) have a great time and can understand what’s happening. Kids open their day with a group circle, “ice-breaker” activities and chants and move onto group activities. Language is learned through arts, crafting and gardening and even daily cooking classes to introduce Latin flavors—so kids learn through practice that language emerges from culture. Camp is from 9 am.m-noon or 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and extended care is available.
Dates: June 12-August 4, depending on location
Cost: $395/week full day, $225/week half day.
Locations: Pasadena, Venice, Agoura Hills, Tarzana, Santa Monica
photo: Galileo Innovation Camps for Kids
Galileo Innovation Camp, a beloved Bay Area summer camp, arrived in LA just last summer. The imaginative curriculum and nurturing environment instills confidence alongside the learning, and it’s so much fun kids beg for an extra week. Each week, at Camp Galileo (for PreK-5th Grade) explore one of four themes that combine art, science and outdoor activities into a narrative that keeps kids engaged. This summer, kids are split into age groups to study Circus Arts & Rides, Science of Motion, Medieval Adventures and Safari. Bigger kids are also welcome, at Galileo Summer Quest, which provides more challenging seminars. Camp is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily and Pre-K & K campers also have a half day option, where you can save $40/week. Extended care is available.
Age: Pre-K-8th Grade
Dates: June 19-August 11
Cost: $409/week, discounts with multiple weeks
Locations: 12 Los Angeles locations, and 3 more in OC
We know: some of the most popular camps in the city are missing from this list! That’s because you probably knew (or could have guessed) that these amazing organizations have spectacular camp programs. So here are some quick links to some of the most established and popular camps in town:
The Natural History Museum
Kidspace Children’s Museum
The Zimmer Children’s Museum
The Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Arboretum
California Science Center
LACMA Art Camp
The Huntington Museum
The Los Angeles Arboretum
What are you looking for in a Summer Camp? Do you have one to recommend? We’d love to hear your favorite summer spots.