Cal Adventures

School-Aged, Preteens, Teens
camps [at]
Editors' Notes: 

Love the outdoors? Cal Adventures offers a variety of outdoor-based camps for all ages and skill levels. Mix-and-Match your way to an adventure-filled summer! Camps/activities include:

All the outdoor trips and camp programs, managed by Cal Adventures, begin and end at the UC Aquatic Center in the Berkeley Marina.

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

July 2012

My 11-year-old and his friend had an amazing experience with the Cal Adventures sailing camp this summer. Neither of them is outdoorsy or athletic - they'd rather be reading or playing legos - but they both agreed to try sailing for a week . By the end of the first day, they had learned knots and basic terminology, and had been out on the bay in wetsuits in a sailboat. They continued every day to meet the challenge of what they said was scary but fun. The counselors allowed them to progress at their own pace, without stress, but somehow persuaded them to push their outer limits. They both decalred the class Fun! I highly recommend the Cal Adventures camps especially for pre-teens who are just on the cusp of experiencing physical challenges that that didn't think they could meet!

March 2004

Re: summer activities for 14 year old
In response to the aunt asking for 1-week summer camps for her visiting niece, my daughter, who is also 14, has taken all of the Cal Adventures camps you mention--kayaking, beg. and int. sailing and beg. and int. windsurfing. They're great classes. They're only half-day. There's an ''afternoon adventures'' class that you can tack on. My daugther hasn't done that, but I know of other kids who have and liked it. Patty

May 2003

Re: kayak or canoeing summer camp for 12-year-old

There is a weekly sea kayaking camp offered through Cal Adventures ( and click on youth programs). My 12 year old will go for his first time this summer, so I don't know how it is, but most of the UC run summer camps that we've tried are very good. Pat

Cal Adventures has some very nice kayaking camps -- go to to see them. Chris

There is a great *sailing* camp at Lake Merritt in Oakland. But the only true kayaking camp that I have seen is the one at CalAdventures, through Strawberry Canyon. Here is a link to their website: My son just did a sampler day of their programs and had the most amazing time with his class. Kayaking was his favorite thing by far. Anon

Feb 2001

For the child who is not interested in organized sports, but enjoys outdoor activities, I highly recommend Cal Adventures (rock climbing, sailing, windsurfing, kyacking). PJ

Aug 1996

This week my kids (11,13) are taking sailing lessons with the Cal Adventures Youth Program and I highly recommend it. During the summer and spring break, Cal Adventures has all-day camps for older kids (over 7 or so) as well as half-day lessons in sailing, wind surfing, rock climbing, and kayaking. This program seems extremely well-run, which I was happy about, and lots of fun, which my kids are happy about. The all-day camps fill up quickly, so register early.

The sailing classes take place at the UC Aquatic Center at the Berkeley Marina (next to the Adventure Playground). They have a large supply of wetsuits and windbreakers, and they make sure the kids apply sunscreen, which they have on hand. The kids learn basic sailing techniques and go out on the Bay in Coronado 15's, which hold about 4 people.

The downside is it's expensive: $98 for a week of sailing classes 9-12 every day. However, this year they offered scholarships funded in part by the Cal. Dept of Boating & Waterways, so these classes are an option for low income parents. Also there was a 10% discount for registering by May 31. The other disadvantage is the hours and location, which is difficult for working parents. However, the 51M bus stops at the UC Aquatics Center, so my kids rode the bus back over to campus, arrived at my office at 1, and I gave them money for pizza and enough quarters to keep them occupied at LaVal's Northside for a couple of hours. So it's doable.

By the way, Cal Adventures has many more programs for adults, and there are student and staff discounts. There are also very low-cost classes just for staff/faculty/students at low-peak times (for example, $20 for beginning windsurfing at 9am on Fridays). Classes and activities include rafting and backpacking trips, fly fishing, climbing, and all sorts of water sports. They also rent camping and boating equipment. Call 642-4000 for a brochure or go by their office at 2301 Bancroft.