Overnight Summer Camps in California | Mountain And Sea Adventures

Mountain and Sea Adventures offers educational overnight summer camps in California, which allow students to experience the great outdoors and empowers them to develop themselves with altruistic character traits.

Shipboard Camp to Catalina Island!

13680583_1064422693634757_7283978627596290946_nThere is no other program like this one in the world! Your child or teen gets the opportunity to spend an entire week exploring various coves, reefs and other world-class attractions on Catalina Island. Campers enjoy such activities as snorkeling, kayaking, swimming and playing in the water with each other and exploring the majestic beauty of the island.

We spend the nights on the ship and explore the island and various marine ecosystems during the day. Campers during an overnight summer camp are taught marine biology and natural sciences, which enrich their experience during the activities. Before snorkeling, for example, they are given a brief lecture about the various species of fish, rays, invertebrates, marine mammals and any other creatures they may encounter.

The ship, named ‘The Enyhdra’, is fully stocked with surfboards, paddleboards, wetsuits, snorkeling gear, kayaks, floatable islands and other toys for swim recreation time, as well as scientific equipment for conducting actual field biology research.

First Time Away From Home

13690585_1069605329783160_7464570014140360363_nFor many campers, this overnight summer camp program is the first time they have been separated from their homes and families. Although this may cause some initial nervousness and anxiety for both parents and camper, it is an immensely important step in self-development. Your child quickly makes friends and learns just how much fun it is to explore the island and ocean with each other.

Developing a sense of self-achievement and personal pride is one of the most unique benefits about coming to overnight summer camps. California has many beautiful resources, but the ocean is by far the greatest. The chance to get away from their computers, phones and games and simply enjoy being a kid in the great outdoors is an experience every child deserves. This is precisely why our shipboard summer camp program is often said to be the highlight of each camper’s entire year.

Building Self Confidence and Social Skills

13669638_1062928803784146_930617708597381719_nLife begins where our comfort zones end. When youth come to an overnight summer camp program with MSA, in such an exotic location as Catalina Island, they are immediately placed outside their comfort zones, which allows them to develop parts of themselves they may not have had the chance to exercise in their every day domestic environments.

Campers must learn to communicate with each other without a screen interfacing them. They learn how to hold conversations longer, without being distracted with their smart phones and social media status. A week without electronics is often reported as being one of the best things that ever happened to them, and provides an important skill set for real life socializing.

Developing The Untapped Potential In Youth

The various activities at camp push campers to the boundary of what they think they are capable of. Activities like snorkeling through sea caves, or surfing on the back side of the island can be intimidating to many youth. With the encouragement of their peers and counselors, they are able to overcome all self imposed limitations and achieve what they previously believed they could not. This is an extremely empowering breakthrough in the life of an individual, and inspires them to continue setting their sights high and aiming for the stars.

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The Most Life Changing Summer Programs for Kids in California

13770477_1069249726485387_2400846582112116259_nMountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running the most life changing summer programs for kids in California since 1998. The specialize in imparting a personal passion for the marine environment through deep immersion and personal hands-on experience.

During their time at camp, each participant is effectively a field biologist as we conduct actual on-going scientific data from our experiments and activities, and analyze the results. Learning to view the world as a scientist has a life changing effect, and often sparks a life long love and appreciation for the wonderful world of natural sciences.

A Week Aboard A Ship Exploring Catalina Island

enydra-catalinaMSA is currently offering the most unique summer program for kids in California. Campers come and stay for an entire week aboard a one-hundred and twelve foot long marine research vessel, fully stocked and staffed for the best time of your life! The friendships developed during this incredible adventure remain long after the journey, as we explore some one of the natural greatest resources in North America all together.

Cruising around the island allows campers to see all the very best that Catalina has to offer, while having all the comfort and luxury necessary without getting too distracted. There is no Wi-Fi while underway on the ship! So campers are forced to exercise alternative means of communicating and interacting with each other, old school style! This is one of the most valuable and important aspects of what this one-of-a-kind summer program has to offer, as students develop interpersonal communication skills and healthy means of self-expression.

Life Aboard A Fully Equipped and Crewed Marine Research Vessel

The Enhydra can comfortable house, feed and entertain forty-five people in dignified class and style. With all the water toys and gear you can ever imagine, as well as a fully stocked and catered galley, dining area, multiple congregation areas and decks, and private cabins for snug sleeping – campers are supplied with everything they need to enjoy the island and ocean.

Shipboard Catalina Island Summer Camp is the highlight of every participant’s summer! The staff looks forward to greeting returning campers year after year to play in the sun and sea, and begin another series of adventures together!

How Hands-On Field Science Changes Lives

13692517_1062928617117498_275454059398750455_nAll the summer program for kids and teens include a brief lecture to introduce them to the various elements of the habitat they are about to enter, as well as time after each activity to journal and develop their field research projects. Campers quickly discover that science allows them to go deeper into the natural world and notice various patterns and relationships with increasingly greater acuity.

The discovery for the potential of science structures the opportunity for campers to allow their senses to blossom, as they use their own eyes, ears and other faculties as instruments in their scientific observations and investigations. The camp counselors encourage each student to write a conclusion after each session, as well as develop a hypothesis about what ever they have chosen to research.

Summer Day Camps in Southern California

MSA also offers two different locations of day camp summer programs for kids in California.

Newport Beach Summer Day Camp for Kids

MSA is proud to present the Newport Beach community and residents of surrounding cities with the valuable opportunity to send their children to summer day camp at the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s facility in the Newport Back Bay. This facility has everything from salt water aquariums and touch tanks, to high-tech classrooms and labs. This is the ideal location for teaching environmental awareness!

The Newport Back Bay has many other amazing resources, which the staff guide the campers through on kayaks, canoes and outriggers. They also frequently visit the Newport Dunes where they have beach play time, and a barbeque every Friday afternoon.

Cabrillo Beach Summer Day Camp for Kids

The summer day camp program for kids at Cabrillo Beach services residents of San Pedro, Long Beach and the surrounding communities. Programs are held at the prestigious Cabrillo Youth Center; which has a swimming pool, large waterfront and pier, multiple classrooms and lot more!

This summer program for kids in California focuses on environmental stewardship and imparting virtuous character traits such as courage, inspiration and social skills.

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Educational and Inspiring Summer Camp Activities On Catalina Island

13631544_1062929037117456_7422598147543401713_nThe best summer camp activities are both educational and inspiring, uplifting the spirits of all who participate, and creating an atmosphere where campers discover that learning is not only fun, but the most interesting thing they could be doing!

There is something magical about Catalina Island that allows all who visit the opportunity to make contact with the primal elements of nature in one of the most pristing and beautiful natural settings in the world.

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running programs on Catalina for over 20 years, and has developed many of their own popular and exciting science camp and summer camp activities.

Summer Camp Activities on Catalina:

  • Swimming in the ocean.
  • Snorkeling.
  • Kayaking.
  • Surfing, boogie boarding, body surfing!

Summer Camp Activities That Build Character

Summer camp puts youth outside of their comfort zones and in direct contact with each other and the great outdoors. With the creativity of the campers, it doesn’t take much to transform anything in to the greatest adventure of your life! Here are a few things that are among our favorite summer camp activities:

Swimming in the Ocean

13654414_1064422630301430_2036238527660791800_nSounds innocent enough, right? Of course! Unless, that is, you have an imagination that runs wild! The ocean is indeed tremendous, and reminds even the most experienced sea-faring voyagers how small they are in comparison, from time to time.

Swimming in the ocean is a perfectly safe summer camp activity that MSA constantly does throughout the day, especially since their program is based off a fully equipped marine research vessel! This activity gives campers the chance to overcome any self-imposed limitations and irrational fears, while structuring the opportunity for them to enjoy one of California’s greatest of resources.


13707726_1062928870450806_8114898664202536338_nSomething amazing happens when a first time snorkeler puts their face in the water and opens their eyes, suddenly they see this entire new world before them. The marine world is one of majestic beauty and hidden wonders of every kind. The more you look, the harder it becomes to turn away. That which before seemed mysterious and potentially frightful has now become real and open to further investigation.

The snorkel tours MSA leads as one of their summer camp activities often allows participants to experience more than four marine ecosystems in one session. Campers also get the rare opportunity to snorkel in the oldest protective cove on the island, seeing a plethora of marine life such as bat rays, leopard sharks, Garibaldi, kelp bass and plenty others!


13891944_1080978441979182_2184367501234704489_nExploring Catalina Island on a small one or two man craft is a real joy for everyone, the freedom allows for you to explore and experience the wonder of the island on your own. The MSA instructors often have the campers bring their snorkel gear and a chaser boat with packed lunch as they head off an a kayak adventure to a hidden cove or remote island beach. After beaching the kayaks, the campers have time to snorkel, swim and enjoy some leisure time on the beach.

Kayaking pushes youth to their limits, as it is a lot more work than it looks! It is easy for our arms to get tired easily, and to want to stop paddling – but the camp counselors continually encourage the campers to persevere and keep on going!

Surfing, Boogie Boarding and Body Surfing.

13669627_1062928770450816_2591901303547224579_nVisiting the backside of the island is one of the highlights of the MSA summer camp experience, which has a beautiful oasis like campground called Little Harbor. Beside Little Harbor is Shark Harbor, which is a popular surfing beach for locals and adventure seekers alike. The MSA staff teach the summer campers how to surf first on the beach and then in the water!

Some prefer to boogie board or body surf, which never gets old! I don’t care how you do it, riding a wave is one of the best feelings in the world.

It is always interesting to see how many teens and kids are intimidated by surfing and see it as being outside their skill range. This is the perfect opportunity to show them that they are greater than their fears and limitations, and that each person sets their own boundaries in life!

Summer Camp Activities That Promote Environmental Awareness

Being surrounded by the beauty of immense beauty of nature, such as that experienced on Santa Catalina Island, fosters a deep personal love for the marine and island environment. If it is true that we protect what we love, then a week exploring the numerous adventures and precious resources available on Catalina is one of the most valuable educational experiences a child can have.

Immersing youth in the raw beauty of nature allows them to begin thinking like a scientist.

All of MSA’s summer camp activities have a brief fifteen-minute lecture phase to introduce the campers to any various animals, plants or other habitat factors they may encounter. When they see these creatures in their natural habitat during the activity, knowing some facts about it already drastically enriches the experience.

Keeping a field journal

credit-AnneFMaben8An integral part of the MSA program is keeping a field journal. This allows students to have their own personal research project to develop during their camp experience. They are led to utilize the scientific method as they gather and organize notes and data gathered during the various activities.

Keeping a field journal augments all of the MSA summer camp activities; as the more each student delves into the world of natural science, the more they are able to notice patterns and relationships that inspire further investigation.



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