Family camp is an all-inclusive vacation, but instead of a shiny resort with a swim-up bar, your surroundings are rustic and the swimming might be in a river or a lake. Many families love it so much, they return every year to the same cabin in the same week. But newcomers are always welcome, so we’ve put together this list for you of family camp options near the Bay Area.
This post is sponsored by Feather River Camp, a family camp in Quincy, CA which is offering an additional $100 discount with promo code 510FAM23 to new campers who register before March 15. Read on for details!
What should we expect at a family camp?
Typically, you bring your own bedding and sleep in a modest cabin. Meals and family programming from ping-pong tournaments to singalongs are scheduled throughout the week. There is generally age-group programming during which the children are occupied and the adults are relaxing, hiking, or worst-case scenario, checking their messages. Everyone eats together in a dining hall-type place, and the staffers, not guests, do the dishes. As a parent, I adore this annual tradition. Especially that bit about the dishes.
Some local overnight camps (aka sleepaway camps) run family camp sessions during specific weeks of the summer, while others are housed at dedicated family camp locations.
If you’re considering a family camp for the first time, you have a bunch of cool options to consider within a few hours’ drive of the Bay Area.
If I missed your favorite, please let me know in the comments!
Family camps near the Bay Area
Families can use the facilities together to enjoy the outdoors. Take a canoe and paddle across Lake Vera, shoot for the bullseye on the archery range, test yourself on the ropes course, hike to the Yuba River for a swim, or mountain bike on the miles of outstanding trails. Food included.
Where: Sierra Foothills
Dates and Prices: 2-night or 3-night sessions throughout the summer. $400 or $540 per person; Children under 6 are FREE
Bar 717 Ranch Summer Camp
Picture your whole family on a beautiful mountain ranch for a fun-filled week of trail riding, pig slopping, egg gathering, art making, taffy pulling, frog hunting, square dancing, and kicking back on the beach next to the river. Meals are prepared with food that is grown or raised on the Ranch. Sleep in cabins.
Where: Trinity County
Dates and Prices: August 6-13. $1550 for an adult; $665 for kids 2-5; $890 for kids 6-11; $1110 for kids 12-17
Camp it Up! (LGBTQAI+ families)
For 30+ years, Camp It Up! has been combining all the joys of family camp and recreation with LGBTQIA family support and inclusion. Camp It Up takes place during two select weeks at Oakland Feather River Camp’s site with access to the same tents, cabins, and river fun.
Where: Oakland Feather River Camp in Quincy, CA
Dates and Prices: July 17-20 and July 20-23. Registration is not yet open as of this writing. Click to see if the website has been updated.
Cazadero Family Performing Arts Camp
Caz Family Camp ignites or rekindles passions for music and performing in a family camp setting, surrounded by beautiful Redwoods. Campers aged 2-5 are enrolled in Kid City for age-appropriate entertainment. Ages 6 through adult select different activities throughout the day such as Circus Arts, Piano, Chorus, Belly Dance, and more.
Where: Russian River, CA, Carmel Valley, CA, and another location in Longbranch, WA
Pricing: Rates vary by age; under two: free.
Feather River Camp
Since 1924, Feather River Family Camp has provided an abundance of natural beauty and a getaway for East Bay families unlike any other. Each week of camp from June 11 to July 15 offers a unique theme and your choice of 3- or 6-night sessions. Fill your days however you choose, from a morning hike along the camp’s many trails, yoga, or archery to an afternoon dip in the swimming hole, arts and crafts, or relaxing on the veranda with a book. Tot Lot, morning youth programs, Theme Week activities, meals, and tent/cabin lodging included. Horseback riding and massage available.
Where: Quincy, CA
Pricing: Pay by the session (3 or 6 nights). Rates vary by age—discounts for new campers and Oakland residents. Register by March 15 to receive an additional $100 discount for 510 Families. (Discount code 510FAM23; valid for new campers only and cannot be combined with promotions other than new camper and Oakland resident rates.)
Echo Lake & Berkeley Tuolomne Family Camp
The City of Berkeley offers Family Camp at two sites: Berkeley Tuolomne and Echo Lake. Berkeley Tuolomne is primarily a family camp and runs all summer. Echo Lake is primarily a sleepaway camp for kids and offers select weeks for Family Camp. Sleep in tent cabins and enjoy meals prepared in a communal dining hall. Childcare and mini-camps available starting at age two. Berkeley family camp traditions include the green chair circle, quiet hours, canoeing, the staff show, table night, theme days, tie-dye, campfires, swimming, and hiking.
Where: You pick between Tuolomne County near Yosemite or Echo Lake near S. Lake Tahoe
Pricing: 2023 pricing not yet published. Discounts for Berkeley residents.
Lair of the Bear
Affiliated with Cal alumni, but open to everyone. Sleep in tent cabins and enjoy meals prepared in a communal dining hall. “The Lair” has three camps, all next to each other, each with its own swimming pool and outdoor athletic facilities. Organized children’s programming starts at age two. The Lair features a wide variety of offerings for parents looking for “me” time like hiking, music, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding on the lake, athletic competitions, and tournaments with the kids. Prices include meals, lodging, and programming. Attendance at The Lair is on a weekly cycle. Families spend six nights, arriving on Saturday night and leaving on Friday afternoon.
Where: Pinecrest, CA
Pricing: Rates are by tent size, for example a Medium Tent is $2860 at Camp Blue or Gold. That is for all meals, activities, and lodging for a family of four for six nights. Camp Oski is less expensive due to a smaller campus. See rates here >
The family camp for San Francisco residents. Sleep in rustic cabins with electric lights. Meals provided. Fishing, swimming, hiking, games, and more. A good jumping-off point for other Yosemite exploration.
Where: Groveland, CA in the High Sierra near Yosemite
Pricing: Pay by the week or the night. Entering a lottery and submitting proof of residence is required.
Montecito Sequoia Family Camp
More upscale than the tent scenes of the rest of these family camps, Montecito Sequoia Lodge is designed to host families for one week periods (six nights). It looks ideal for getting the grandparents to join in as the lodging offers en suite bathrooms. Meals and activities (private lake, horseback riding, tennis) included.
Where: Kings Canyon National Park
Pricing: Rates vary, but assume a family of four for a week will cost $5000
SkyLake Yosemite Camp
Skylake provides each family its own rustic but comfortable bunkhouse, fabulous buffet-style meals, a gorgeous private dock on Bass Lake, and plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy. The large dining hall, lakeside porch, and recreation room provide the social center for family camp. Everyone even gets a free horseback ride included. (Note: No childcare!)
Where: Wishon in Sierra National Forest
Dates and Prices: Skylake is an overnight camp for most of the summer, so dates for families are Memorial Day Weekend; June 1-4; August 17-20; August 24-27. Long Weekend Rates based on 3 Nights and 8 Meals (Minimum cabin charge is for 2 adults & 1 child); Adults/Teens: $425; Children (5-12): $195; 4 & Under: FREE
Camp Tawonga’s weekends for families offer 4 days of relaxation for adults and fun for kids. Family Camp offers a taste of all that Tawonga has to offer: Campfires, Shabbat, boating on the lake, arts and crafts, the Challenge Course, hiking to the river, yoga, curling up with a book, stargazing, delicious food, and free-flowing Peet’s Coffee.
Where: Sierra Mountains near Yosemite
Prices and Dates: With 8 family weekends throughout the year, several are open to all, some are limited to families with a BIPOC Jewish member, LGBTQ families, or those with children under 8. 3 years to adult: $570 to $645; 2 years and under: $335 to $385 (includes childcare!)
Related post: For amazing sleep-away options for kids, our overnight camp guide for Bay Area kids might have what you’re looking for.
Thanks to Feather River Camp for sponsoring this helpful list of family camps. Use the promo code 510FAM23 to save $100 before March 15 on your 2023 family camp booking. Promotion limited to new campers only. Additional terms may apply.
[Photos by Oakland Feather River Camp and Whitney Moss all rights reserved]