summer camp

Where Scientists Are Born: Marine Biology Youth Camp on Catalina Island

Marine Biology Youth Camp

Catalina Island is a magical destination and one of the most rich and abundant natural resources in California. When visiting Catalina Island, which is less than twenty miles off short Los Angeles, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range to educational and adventurous marine biology activities, such as snorkeling at one of the most desirable locations in the world, kayaking, dissecting squid, trawling for plankton and then observing them beneath microscopes, hiking the various trails that surround the camp, and lots more!

While snorkeling students get to see Garibaldi, opaleye, kelp bass, leopard sharks, shovelnose guitarfish, as well as the occasional seal, sea lion and/or dolphin visit! On land students may seem several endemic species of birds and mammals such as the quail, ground squirrel and fox.

The Natural Beauty of Catalina Island

Catalina Island is seventy-four miles of ecological preserve, with some of the most breathtaking landscape in California. Marine biology youth camp at Catalina Island is a rare and extremely valuable opportunity to immerse your students in the unspoiled beauty of nature.

With forty-eight miles of coastline, Catalina Island has a seemingly endless variety of marine and terrestrial habitats. There is an abundant of plant and wildlife, which makes this an ideal location to impart a passion for learning natural science and use the scientific method to explore nature, and arrive at your own conclusions and theories.

Learning To Observe The World Like A Field Biologist

For those interested in marine biology, camp at Catalina Island is the perfect chance to develop that interest and ‘try out’ life as an actual marine biologist field scientist. Students learn to keep a field journal and are taught to observe the world around them through the eyes of a scientist.

This full immersion into natural sciences sparks a deep love and appreciation for marine biology, and many do end up going back home and pursuing an higher education academic goal.

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The Life Changing Impact of Environmental Science Youth Camp On Catalina Island

Just eighteen miles off the coast of Los Angeles lay Santa Catalina Island, one of the largest island nature reserves in the world. With over 74 square miles of breathtaking landscape, Catalina Island is one of the most valuable natural resources in California.

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running youth programs on the island since 1998, and continues to bring thousands of students from around the Southwest to Catalina Island every year. Spending time in this beautiful ecological preserve gives youth a personal first-hand experience of the natural world, and from there – a personal appreciation and love develops. If it is true that we only preserve what we love, then MSA’s program is instrumental in providing the very experiences which inspire that very love for the natural environment in their hearts.

The Splendid Natural Beauty and Wonder of Emerald Bay

MSA runs their program at one of the most desirable and ecological diverse coves on Catalina Island, Emerald Bay. The facilities are just as impressive as the scenic beauty both inside and outside the beautiful emerald colored water. Resources such as the Pennington Marine Science Center, which has a salt water aquarium with displays of all the major ecosystems surrounding Emerald Bay, as well as multiple touch tanks, microscope labs and classrooms.

Surrounding Emerald Bay is the natural beauty of the ecological reserve, maintained by the Catalina Island Conservancy, with endless scenic views of untouched island coastline, rolling chaparral hills, and an abundance of wildlife such as Catalina Island Fox (endemic only to this island), mule deer, bison, and a wide variety of marine and terrestrial birds, including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, ravens, and rare migratory birds that travel thousands of miles such as arctic terns.

Why Children Love Environmental Science

One of the reasons Catalina Island is such a popular and desirable location to take groups and classes for the camp experience is because it is just remote enough to feel like they have left the country (kids often times think this!), but yet they are still in a safe, protected and well-connected, yet rustic location.

Camp is a safe place where students can let their guard down and just ‘be kids’. They are free to play and discover how fun and exciting the world of natural science really is! Camp program is always an adventure, and the line between ‘academic’ and ‘recreational’ time becomes less and less clear. That is because learning is fun, and all it takes is placing children in the right conditions for that realization to take place for them.

Outdoor Education Imparts A Love For The Natural Environment

When ‘play time’ becomes ‘learning time’, and vice versa, students are ready to apply themselves and participate in the outdoor educational program activities with greater interest and enjoyment, and therefore gain much more from it. With this total interest, students are immersed into their environment, and with the tools given to them during the lecture phase by their instructor – they are able to observe and interact with their surroundings like true field biologists.

Such full immersion into the awe-inspiring beauty of an ecological preserve like Catalina Island imparts the type of appreciation and love for the environment that transforms the student’s perspective for life.

Outdoor education is unique in its capacity to ignite a love for the environment, not only do students immerse themselves in the great outdoors through the activities, but they are taught valuable information regarding the various animals they may encounter, as well as a method for observing, recording data and studying them.

Students are both fully immersed and fully attentive, learning to observe their environment like field scientists. They then take their observations back to their outdoor classroom and develop testable hypothesis. In this way, the scientific method becomes a tool for taking their personal immersion into the natural world deeper and deeper.

Protecting What We Love

With such a rich personal experience of the natural world, students are often moved towards increasing their efforts to be more environmentally conscious and friendly. Those experiences at camp become deeply cherished memories, resulting in a deep love for these preserved places in nature. The vital importance of conserving them becomes increasingly more apparent.

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How MSA’s Summer Camp Program Imparts A Love For Environmental Science

Mountain and Sea Adventures hosts the most educational, fun and adventurous summer programs for kids in California. From our amazing shipboard summer camp exploring the various coves of Catalian Island, to our marine science day camps in San Pedro and the Newport Back Bay. MSA offers something for everyone and is bound to be the highlight of your child’s summer!

Catalina Island Kids and Teen Shipboard Camp

This program is unlike any other summer camp on Catalina Island. Your child lives aboard a marine research vessel for a full week of snorkeling, kayaking and exploring the beaches, coves and trails of Catalina Island. Summer camp for kids and teens is not only fun and exciting at every activity, but imparts high self-esteem, social skills, and other altruistic character traits.

One day might include snorkeling at a premiere island location, then going to shore for games and recreational activities, fishing, kayaking, and exploring trails, sea caves and tide pools.

Students get the opportunity to do hands-on field biology research, and learn how to keep a field journal and use the scientific method to think like an actual marine biologist. This makes doing certain activities such as snorkeling at the oldest marine preserve on the island, at the USC Wrigley Marine Institute’s cove nearby the isthmus, even more exciting.

The week always seems to fly by so fast, like they say: Time flies when you’re having fun! A whole week of surfing, camping, meeting new friends and playing in the ocean together is just never enough! Perhaps this is why our campers always end up coming back year after year, to let the adventure continue!

Catalina Island Family Camp

MSA has now made it possible for families to enjoy a few days spending valuable time together on Catalina Island. Families live aboard a fully stocked and equipped marine research vessel and have the chance to visit many various coves and beaches, including a fireworks show at either Avalon or Two Harbors for our fourth of July family camps.

Cabrillo Day Camp

Located at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro is our summer day camp program. Campers enjoy educational and fun activities about marine biology and environmental science, as well as visiting the nearby beaches and tide pools, kayaking, beach and pool play time, arts and crafts and lots of fun group games and activities. This camp focuses on imparting environmental stewardship skills, leadership and team building skills and building character in youth.

Newport Day Camp

The Back Bay in Newport Beach is an incredible resource with an endless potential for education and imparting an appreciation for environmental science. MSA’s youth camp is set at the Back Bay Science Center, and has kayaks and canoes for exploring the back bay, as well as touch tanks, microscope labs and lots of fun and educational equipment and materials.

Every day campers play fun games, learn about one of their marine animals, and express their creativity through arts and crafts, games and group activities.

Mountain and Sea Adventures is dedicated to uplifting youth and teaching students to be aware of their environment and contribute productively to reduce negative impact, cleanup and help correct any damage, and take ownership in their surroundings.

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The Best Surfing Spots on Catalina

10599185_689038871173143_948746590106928615_nWhat is it that is so special about surfing on the backside of Santa Catalina Island? Is it how remote it is? The pristine and beautiful landscape of Catalina, with its unspoiled terrain and clean beaches? Is it the fact that the ocean swells which form waves break here first, before breaking into the smaller swells that reach the California coastline?

One thing is for sure; it takes a dedicated nature enthusiast to reach some of these locations, a few of which are only accessible by boat. During our week long Catalina Island summer camp, students live aboard a fully equipped marine research ship and tour around the various coves of the island, enjoying all the best snorkel and dive locations, beaches and hiking trails, and surf spots.

Surfing at Shark Harbor, Catalina Island

1620862_689037964506567_4241396981660038866_nThe most easily accessible and most reliable break is found at the beach right next to Little Harbor campground, called Shark Harbor (it is named after a large rock that jets out into the water resembling the head of a shark). A tour bus will take you either from Avalon, or the quaint little island town of Two Harbors to and from this remote but beautiful oasis-like campground. Pitch your tent, and waxes down your surfboards for a comfortable weekend island get away.
A short 5-minute hike to the next cove over from your campsite reveals, Shark Harbor, which has a small to medium sized but fast and powerful break.

Surfing at Ben Weston, Catalina Island

The next most consistent and even more desirable of a surf spot on Catalina is Ben Weston. This location is never crowded due to the extreme remote location of this incredible beautiful and scenic island beach.

As for Shark Harbor, summer is the best time to visit Ben Weston. According to locals, this break is best when the wind is coming from the east; and the ideal swell direction being from the west northwest.

Photo credit: Christopher B Nelson

Photo credit: Christopher B Nelson

How to find Ben Weston:

We take our teen summer campers to this location, and spend a night or two camping at Little Harbor, and then hiking to the various locations nearby each day.

For those coming on your own, first take the ferry boat to Two Harbors, and book a tour bus to Little Harbor Campground. You will then need to hike the rest of the way along the road (away from town). Be sure to always stay on the right when there are any forks in the road, you want to stay along the coastline and at no point go into the interior. Eventually you will come to the bottom of a canyon and there will be a Catalina Island Conservancy sign pointing towards a trail marked ‘Ben Weston’.

A long nature trail, which follows the canyon creek, brings you to Ben Weston Beach. It has reported to be an excellent long board wave.

It might help to remember these GPS coordinates: Latitude: 33° 22.575′ N; Longitude: 118° 28.749′ W.

There is no other feeling on earth compared to riding a wave, and something just as sweet about coming out of the ocean to rest and relax on a remote beach on the back side of an island only an hour off shore Los Angeles!

Learn more about our 2016 Catalina Island Summer Camp program!

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The Highest Quality Yet Cheap Summer Camps in California

When it comes to having the most memorable and greatest summer of your life, without spending a ton, there is no beating MSA’s adventure summer camps around California.

Locations such as Catalina Island, Newport Beach and San Pedro make this one-of-a-kind program available to all southern California residents! Enjoy one or two weeks attending our shipboard summer camp program, where we tour the various coves and beaches of Santa Catalina Island!

1524684_877101105700251_8791859623570677906_nNo other program in California offers so much for so little. Campers enjoy the opportunity to snorkel on some of the most beautiful dive locations in California, surf the breaks on the back side of the island, go on extended kayaking excursions, camp out over night in remote coves, hike the most beautiful trails in the interior and enjoy frequently seeing bison, fox, deer, eagles and a wide array of marine mammals, rare sea birds and an endless plethora of marine life.

Affordable summer camps

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) is committed to providing the highest quality, yet affordable summer camps in the southern California area. The program is focused on hands-on field science, where your child develops an incredibly deep appreciation for the marine environment.

Immersing students in the methods of conducting in-field natural science gives them the rare opportunity to both enjoy the activities more and gain a very real and personal understanding for the Ocean.

Campers have the opportunity to visit salt water aquariums, snorkel in marine protected areas where we frequently see bat rays, leopard sharks (harmless unless you’re a crab!), extremely large kelp bass, sea lions and dolphins, and lots and lots of other fish, invertebrates and sea creatures.

11061997_10205824227599183_9116539140093194264_nOne of the things that makes this program one of the most affordable summer camps, is that the activities are all in and on the ocean. After providing all the gear for enjoying the water, there is not very much more over head that prevents us from having the time of our lives together playing in the ocean!

We leave the ship on a skiff (a small motor boat) with our wet suits on, lunches stored in dry bags and snorkel gear in hand. The students jump off the side of the boat with all their gear on and follow the instructors and lifeguards as they explore the majestic world beneath the ocean’s surface.

Summer Over Night Camps in California

Catalina Island is one of California’s more valuable resources, the Catalina Island Conservation has made great efforts to restore and preserve the natural beauty and ecology of the island. This makes it a very special location to come for your summer over night camp. In California it is rare to be as isolated and remote as Catalina Island, even though it is merely 19.6 miles across the channel from Long Beach!

Some nights we will be staying aboard the 112’ foot long ship, which is a Coast Guard certified marine research vessel that sleeps over fifty people. We are fully equipped with all the toys, gear and equipment to enjoy both an unforgettable educational experience and the best week of your life!

Marine Biology Day Camps for Kids in California

1146512_512020575541641_1564277969_nMSA has two day camps for kids in California, one is located at the Back Bay in Newport Beach, and the other is at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, California. Both these programs focus on learning marine environmental science through hands on activities both in, on and around the ocean.

Campers learn how to keep a field journal, and learn to think like scientists conducting actual in-field research. This structures the opportunity for them to develop a personal understanding for the marine environment, while enriching their experiences and allowing them to have even more fun during the activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and exploring the various ecosystems around them.

MSA has been teaching outdoor education since 1997, is committed to building character in youth, teaching environmental stewardship and also has a perfect safety record even after over 18 years.

Both the day camps for kids and the summer overnight camps that MSA offers are not only the most adventurous and exciting camps happening in California – they are also very affordable.

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A Summer Science Camp on Catalina Island Unlike Any Other!

MSA’s Incredibly Unique Summer Science Program

Overnight summer science camp on Catalina Island provides the unique opportunity to completely immerse your self in the amazing world of natural science. Every activity of MSA’s program is designed to impart a personal experience, appreciation and love for the ocean environment. Campers spend 6 days aboard a 112’ marine research vessel, discovering and exploring the various ecologically rich coves of Santa Catalina Island. This is only a part of what makes MSA the most unique summer science camp in California.

IMG_4001_zpsa250d5d3The ship is rigged with trawling cranes and nets, sampling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks and all the other tools and gear needed to dive in with both hands and feet, discovering how much fun science truly is.

By learning the scientific method, and how to keep a field journal, MSA’s campers quickly discover how to think like a marine biologist, as they conduct actual in-field science experiments to come up with various hypotheses and develop a theory. By the time their week is over, they are looking at the world around them with the eyes of wonder that is at the heart of good science.

Science Camps for Kids

Our program is divided in to multiple levels, kids and teens, allowing each group to interact with their peers, while taking the topics they are exploring to deeper and deeper levels together. This way, kids aren’t left behind in the more advanced topics, and teens are held back in the more elementary material.

10599185_689038871173143_948746590106928615_nThe summer science camp for kids allows the younger participants to spend more time playing and learning the concepts they are being exposed to through games and structured activities. They also get a chance to strap on their mask and snorkel, and see the beauty that waits for them beneath the surface with their own eyes.

Science Camps for High School Students

For those seeking a more in depth look and scientific exploration of the ocean environment, MSA also has a program designed to create a highly educational, yet incredibly fun science camps for high school students. With such activities as cliff diving, jumping from the upper deck of the ship, surfing, backpacking the interior of the island, and camping out at a remote campground on the backside of the island, teens have so much fun they quickly forget that they are engaged in a rich educational experience the whole time!

Most science camps for high school students just don’t have as much to offer as MSA’s shipboard program on Catalina Island. Learn more here!




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How Catalina Summer Camp Builds High Self-Esteem

10599185_689038871173143_948746590106928615_nMountain and Sea Adventure’s summer camp on Catalina Island provides youth with the unique opportunity to try new things, push themselves to the boundaries of their comfort zones, break their fears, develop social skills and play in the great outdoors in the sun and water. Apart from giving them the best summer break ever, the experiences your child will have at shipboard camp on Catalina will improve their social skills, self-confidence and overall belief in themselves.

New experiences

Coming to camp on Catalina Island gives youth endless opportunities to experience a wide array of activities. From snorkeling to cliff jumping, squid dissection, handling invertebrates and other sea animals, and living away from home on a marine research vessel off the coast of Catalina Island – the camp experience gives each child the chance to go to the limit of their comfort zones, and discover the excitement which lies beyond.

Breaking fears and inhibitions

Every child has something to gain from the adventurous camp experiences at MSA’s shipboard summer camp program. Our theme at camp is ‘break your fears’, and we are passionate about structuring healthy opportunities for each camper to face their fears and develop the courage to go beyond what they previously thought was possible for themselves.

Meeting friends

With a jam-packed schedule of games, sports, skill sessions and activities both in and on the water – the campers quickly learn teamwork and form tight bonds and friendships, which often last a lifetime. From the very first icebreaker activities upon arrival, the campers learn to interact and enjoy sharing time together without a smart phone or computer screen between each other.

Enjoying the great outdoors together and playing in the sun and water allows each camper the chance to drop their walls and just be kids playing together. Without all their usual distractions from home, each camper is the only entertainment they all have. This allows the children the opportunity to display their personality, sense of humor, and other character traits. Each child enriches the camp experience for all the others.

Teamwork and high morale

The challenges children face at camp structure the opportunity for them to learn teamwork, and to discover that they can achieve more when they work together. When all the campers are cheering each other on to rise above their fears and challenges, it boosts the overall morale and attitude of each participant.

To hear their peers cheering them on gives each child an incredible amount of encouragement to rise above their inhibitions and achieve things they might have never thought they could before. This helps to improve their overall self-image and belief in what they are capable of, even discovering strengths and talents they never knew they had before.

Your camp counselor

The MSA staff is passionate about uplifting the spirits of youth and speaking inner strength and encouragement into their lives. The first step is to face their fears, just this is a huge victory – for then their fears and inhibitions are not ruling them any longer. The camp counselors are all first aid and lifeguard certified, and are always there to assure the campers that they are safe to explore, broaden their horizons and try new things. Your child is guaranteed to come home from their week of summer camp with a strong sense of self, confidence in their traits and talents, and higher self-esteem.

Mountain and Sea Adventures summer camp program on Santa Catalina Island enriches the lives of youth by giving them valuable positive memories, teaching them life skills, imparting strong character traits and improving their self image and overall confidence levels.

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Catalina Island Summer Camp Is A Kid’s Dream Come True

Catalina Island summer camp is a magical experience full of adventure and excitement. The opportunities that the MSA shipboard program offers are unlike any other in the southwest. Campers get the chance to live aboard a 112-foot marine research vessel, The Wilderness Explorer, and conduct actual marine biology field science while exploring the various coves of Santa Catalina Island.

10386395_682079625202401_7526944308984113303_nRecreational activities include everything from snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking to games, lounging on the beaches of beautiful remote coves, and star gazing in the beautiful night sky far away from the city lights of Los Angeles.

The accommodations aboard the ship are very comfortable, making for a nice personal space during the night. Each stateroom has it’s own private bathroom, offering more privacy than most vessels this size. The general use areas are spacious and very accommodating. With plenty of deck space, and a multi purpose area that quickly becomes our dining hall during meals. We will be enjoying professionally catered food during our incredible week at sea.

Imparting Virtuous Character Traits

From the moment each student arrives at camp they are encouraged to ‘dream big’, ‘persevere’ and ‘break your fears’. The MSA camp staff is passionate about working with empowering youth and making world changers every week with each child that comes out. More often than not, campers return from their week aboard The Wilderness Explorer with expanded horizons, reinvigorated dreams and goals for their future, and a deep sense of self worth and confidence.

catalina island summer camp for kidsWhen asked what they were most looking forward to about Catalina Island summer camp 2015, long time staff member Miranda Prado told us “I am looking forward to another beautiful season with MSA. I love being apart of the MSA team because I know we make a difference in the lives of many, and I am so honored to be apart of this movement of world changers”. This is the sort of passion that the MSA program sparks in the hearts of all whom attend.

The participants quickly recognize that they are somewhere that they are safe and free, able to experiment and develop new traits and skills. They can push themselves to overcome certain fears, inhibitions and limitations, continually hitting new levels of competence and high self-esteem.

A Safe Place For A Kid To Be A Kid!

The camp environment is a safe place to allow the natural strengths and talents of each child to grow. Although only one hour across the channel, Catalina Island feels so isolated and remote, like a whole new world. This element of mystery allows the students minds to be free to imagine and visualize, perceiving a whole new paradigm of possibilities for their future.

As each child becomes more competent in their skills, and confident in themselves, they quickly see their social lives improve. They are able to meet new friends, make a best friend, cheer for each other during activities, and build a bond that can, and often does, last for years.

Coming to camp enriches the lives of each child that participates. The challenges in each event require encouragement from the whole camp, which must work as a team to complete the activity. The overall self image and morale of every camper is uplifted.

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Catalina Island Summer Camp – The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

There is no better opportunity to enjoy your summer holiday and experience all that Catalina Island has to offer than with MSA’s shipboard summer camp. From cliff-jumping, snorkeling at world famous dive spots, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, hands-on marine science research and so much more – a week aboard the Wilderness Explorer will impart high self-esteem, inspire your child to discover their limitless potential and give them memories that will uplift them and enrich their lives.

Cliff jumping and jumping off the top deck

11796213_879615565448805_8894998449144628037_nOne of our campers all time favorite things to do is to go up to the top deck and jump in the water, falling about 20 feet through the air and splashing into the water below. This is a real Adrenalin rush, but is completely safe. With lifeguards on the top deck next to where they are jumping, and lifeguards in the water – the kids know they are well protected. This activity gives our campers an awesome opportunity to face their fears and step out of their comfort zones.

Once the campers have gotten comfortable leaping off the top deck of the ship, they get a chance to cliff jump at Little Harbor, this is a little higher (about 30 feet) and seems more of a challenge. Again, we have multiple lifeguards at the top and bottom of the jump to be sure the kids feel safe. This is always a favorite activity for the campers, and leaves them feeling like they have broken their fears and inhibitions.

Playing in the water

10525604_689572731119757_1770868237653312505_nThe Wilderness Explorer has many different floating water toys for campers to play in the water with. We have a large floating raft that the kids can relax on and play with each other on, as well as many tubes for floating, drifting and sunbathing.

We go from cove to cove exploring sea caves, famous dive locations, beautiful sandy beaches and other island attractions allowing the campers to enjoy a wide variety of water based activities.

Kayaking and snorkeling

11825636_879191185491243_1441487347692205831_nWe can see all that the island has to offer with small zodiac skiffs, kayaks and paddleboards. Whether if the kids want to go for an intense half day kayaking safari, play on the skiff, or just paddle around on the kayaks and paddleboards – they can enjoy island life at their own leisure.

Catalina Island is home to some of the best snorkeling locations in the world. From Italian Gardens to Emerald Bay, these are highly sought after places mentioned in international travel magazines due to their wide diversity of marine life. Campers get the chance to see Garibaldi, kelp bass, sheepshead, leopard sharks, bat rays, seals and sea lions, dolphins and often times even whales.

On rare occasion even sea turtles, Rizzo’s dolphins and orca have been spotted off the coast of the island.

Meeting friends for life

When you have this much fun together, the friends you meet during Catalina Island summer camp often become friends for life. Not only are the experiences made during camp treasured memories, but the kids come together as a strong family-like unit to encourage each other to step outside of their comfort zones, dream big and break their fears. There is really nothing like such an adventurous and fun summer camp to empower your child to discover their hidden potential, build high self-esteem, and develop the courage to reach for the stars.

Hands on environmental science

11825199_879448028798892_7912767966385714897_nMany of our attendees discover a deep personal love for the marine environment and the world of natural science after their week aboard a marine research vessel. We do plankton trawls and water sampling, allowing students to look under microscopes and see what the difference is for zooplankton and phytoplankton with their own eyes. This is an extremely valuable opportunity to discover how much fun learning really is, and often ignites a passion for science.

This makes the world of science real living breathing hands-on life, not just book based theory. This is where scientists are born! The kids who go to summer camp on Catalina Island return home with a profound new appreciation for environmental science, and often begin planning their majors and careers.

There is truly nothing like a week at ship aboard Catalina Island summer camp to impart courage, inspire your child to dream big, help them to see their own greatness and limitless potential, and encourage them to dream big and shoot for the stars!

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The Most Exciting And Educational Summer Camp in Los Angeles

Mountain and Sea Adventures is hosting most exciting summer camp in Los Angeles, located on Santa Catalina Island!

How would you like to spend a week aboard a marine research vessel exploring the hidden coves of Catalina Island, playing in the water, kayaking, snorkeling, surfing on the back side, relaxing on remote beaches, and so much more.

jumperThat is exactly what Mountain and Sea Adventures is offering kids and teens this summer off the coast of southern California. Departing from Long Beach, the Wilderness Explorer is a 112 foot long marine research vessel ready for endless adventures over the water! With small zodiacs and kayaks, campers can go from the ship to shore to explore the natural beauty of Santa Catalina Island.

Playing in the sun and water by day, and stargazing and story telling at night, one adventure merges into the next making for an exciting week of summer camp your child will never forget.

Catalina Island is only an hour by boat from Los Angeles. Summer camp not only gives youth endless options for playing and having fun, but the Wilderness Explorer is outfitted with trawl nets, water analysis equipment, microscopes and lots of other research gear for doing hands on marine biology activities. Such activities spark a deep personal love and appreciate for the incredible natural resource that are our oceans.

Students learn about the local species of fish, birds and marine mammals and study alternatives and solutions to help solve the various challenges threatening their habitats and the entire marine environment. This makes the MSA program one of the most unique and educational summer camp in Los Angeles.

Summer camp daily fife aboard a marine research vessel

The Wilderness Explorer is a Coast Guard Certified marine research vessel. It has three spacious staterooms on the main deck, each with their own private restroom. There are 17 cabins below deck, a large common meeting area, dining room, private meeting room, and a large viewing deck up top.

We have all the gear and equipment you could ever ask for. From wet suits, snorkels, fins, kayaks, paddleboards, floating slides, and lots more. There is enough to do onboard to keep us busy for months!

The freedom that such a vessel allows is very exciting, each day a new cove! There is no better way to see all that the majestic island of Catalina has to offer.

Summer camp daily fife aboard a marine research vessel

Catalina Island has an incredible amount of diversity. From world famous snorkeling and diving, to remote beaches for surfing and cliff jumping – no other summer camp program allows students to explore and experience so much of the island.

Catalina Island is one of the most unexplored resources in the country of Los Angeles. Summer camp participants get to visit the most popular coves of Avalon and Two Harbors, where they can shop for souvenirs and enjoy a beautiful resort beach town. They also get to see the longest natural sandy beach at White’s Landing, incredible snorkeling at Italian Gardens, exploring sea caves at Blue Caverns, surf at the backside beaches of Ben Weston and Shark Harbor, and even hike through the interior of the island seeing such wildlife as island fox, bison, bald and golden eagles, mule deer and more.

Making friends for life!

Your child will return home after their week at camp with higher self-esteem, friends they have made for life, and a deep knowledge and appreciation for the ocean environment.

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