YMCA Camp Sequoia Lake (Camp Tulequoia)
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
The YMCA Family Camp at Lake Sequoia is awesome! It is a little longer drive than you prefer but totally worth it. It is out by Sequoia National forest past Fresno. Maybe 3 hours from Berkeley?
They have different levels of cabins to rent or you can get a campsite. All meals are included with the fee so you don't have to bring food - just snacks for between meals and evenings. They have a drop off to little kids and then separate activities for ages - kids, tweens and teens. There is a lake to swim in and to csn take out boats. A craft shack to make things and then activity in the evening - campfire, game night, karaoke.
Not your normal "camping" but a great way to spend time with the family and be outdoors!
Feel free to intact me with questions. We go every year and my kids love it.
UC Berkekey also has a family camp type of thing too. Never been to it though but info is on their website.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Great sleep away camp for 13-year-old boys?
I highly recommend Camp Tulequoia in the Sierra's. (www.camptq.org)
Both the Youth and the older Teen camp's are excellent. The setting is beautiful, so green and on a private lake that is surrounded only by other Visalia and Fresno YMCA camp's. The camp property borders Sequoia National Park. While in California, the picturesque setting makes you feel you are in Upstate NY or Vermont.
The counselor's are usually well trained and experienced college students working for the summer, coming mostly from California, but as far away, as I recall, from Madison Wisconsin. Many are returning counselors, as they get a lot out of TQ. (If you are a Lair camper, the experience at TQ is far more of a camp, and less of a resort.) Mike, the camp director, has been affiliated with TQ for many years. I trust him completely.
The days are well organized. There are lots of the traditional activities, like crafts, hikes, canoing, sailing, fishing, etc. At night there are camp fires, skits, sing alongs, etc.
There is a theme at the camp, along the lines of most Y camps: getting along with others, learning from others, helping, etc. In the past, each cabin of 8 to 10 kids will have a moderately handicapped person in the group. The counselors all know how to manage that. The camper's learn to understand and work with that relationship too. And, I don't think it is too ''heavy'' for any kid.
My sister's and I have sent our kids to this camp for almost 14 years now. (My older teen's have recently worked at TQ as vic's, the teen volunteer in camp.) The adult volunteer's have been with TQ for decades.
The camp is operated by the Visalia YMCA, so there is a big Central Valley feeling there. Your kids will know they have left the Bay Area and the land of relative plenty.
Please feel free to email me with any questions. Nathan