Oakland Feather River Camp

Outside the Bay Area
Operated By: 
All Ages
80 participants
info [at] featherrivercamp.com

Oakland Feather River Camp, located in the Plumas National Forest, has been a vacation destination for families, children and adults seeking relaxation, recreation, fun and friendship since 1924.

Parent Q&A

  • My family is considering doing 4 or 5 days at Oakland Feather River Camp. It sounds great for the kids and so forth, but as someone who suffers from intense social anxiety with strangers, I wonder if I would just spend the whole time feeling incredibly awkward & uncomfortable around all those friendly folks who are excited to meet new people (which is what it sounds like).

    If you've spent time there was there a lot of social mixer type things where you're thrown in with new people? I tend to be okay when there's something to do (so a class is okay for me). It's more of the small talk/chit chat that sends me running for cover. Thanks!

    I hear you! My family's been going to Oakland Feather River Camp for quite a while, mostly because my kids keep insisting.  I'm not socially uncomfortable but I'm socially awkward, and I've struggled with the social aspects of camp at mealtimes and evenings. (During the day there are plenty of options for solo activities -- hiking, swimming, reading...) To be honest, it's not too different from the rest of the world: the social adept find each other, and they tend to leave the socially awkward alone. I think this has gotten somewhat more pronounced over the past couple years since the Berkeley folks started coming up after the Berkeley camp burned down. (Nothing wrong with the Berkeley folks! They just bring a slightly different vibe, at least to my eyes.) That said, there are many lovely, interesting, quiet people at camp on the staff and among the longtime campers, and no one will look askance if you bring a book to a meal or don't show up for the evening activities. Many people do keep to themselves. Also, some weeks are quieter than others -- I'd advise you to avoid music or folk dance week just because the evening activities are so central, and look for a cabin that's not in the center of things. There's a new director this year and a more active board, so there may be more planned social mixing activities this year. On balance, I'd say it's probably worth trying for you, especially if your kids are small. It's a beautiful location and a relaxed way to spend time with your family, and there's enough space that you can run for cover if you need to. Good luck with your decision.

    Let me start by saying that I do not suffer from intense social anxiety, so you can take this for what it's worth... but I don't think the staff/fellow campers at Oakland Feather River Camp are that intrusive. Everyone is pretty friendly, for sure, but we've gone to camp for a few years now, and I always note that it's obvious that the camp is full of city folk. Because people definitely give each other plenty of space! Or they come with friends and pretty much stick with their friends. Just because you are standing next to someone in the chow line, that doesn't mean you have to chat with them! There is also zero pressure to participate in group activities. They are there, but they are totally optional, and I have never felt out of it for not participating. (Line dancing? Not my thing.) The only place where I think you wouldn't be able to avoid mixing with others a bit would be at mealtimes, where everyone congregates at the chow hall at the same time to eat. (Kind of like a college dorm cafeteria.) You stand in line with everyone, get your food, and then go to your table with whoever your people are. I've never seen any kind of formal encouraging/forcing people to sit with people they don't know or anything like that. The rec staff will ask newly arrived campers to stand up and be welcomed on their first day there. But other than that, it's not too hard to avoid strangers, even at mealtimes, if you do not care to interact. 

    That said, you should call the office and ask about when it would be best to go, because as I understand it, different theme weeks attract different crowds of folks. Like, I think there is a folk-dancing week or a music week that has a devoted following of very regular campers, and that might have a different feel to it than what I'm describing. I've found the OFRC staff to all be really kind and thoughtful, so if you can get someone one the phone at the office, they will give you the scoop, rather than just trying to sell you something. The first year we went, we went during the short week they have at the end of July (camp is closed for a special event, so camp is only open 5 days that week, instead of 7.) It was VERY uncrowded the year we went. Maybe that would be a good time to go? 

    I'd also suggest choosing your tent and/or cabin location carefully. Some tents/cabins will feel more private and/or be more distant from the center of camp. Again, I bet the office staff would give you some good advice in that regard.

    Best of luck with it! We love OFRC!

Parent Reviews

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My son is also starting preschool in August and will be 3 at the time. I'm a LMFT in private practice so have been able to be with him during the day and work in the evening. Room to Bloom is the most amazing program (2.5 hours) in Oakland and Feather River Camp was also wonderful as an overnight camp. We go camping a few times a year with extended family and friends but Feather River is a family camp so they do cooking and have lots of activities preplanned...great to meet other families there too. Hope you share what you find as well. 


You may want to check out Oakland's Feather River Family Camp. It's near Quincy, and seems to fit your description pretty well.  We just got back from an incredibly relaxing vacation there, filled with inner tubing, bike rides, swimming, arts & crafts, hiking, and meeting other nature loving Bay Area folks.  I'm pretty sure they have some space still available for later in the summer.  Google OFRC; Oakland Feather River Camp.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2015

I see that Oakland's Feather River Family Camp hasn't had any reviews in a little while and I wanted to post an updated review.

The camp got a new manager a few years ago and has made lots of improvements. New this year is a bunch of mountain biking single track that I'm looking forward to checking out.

The camp is clean and has lots of fun activities for kids of all ages. I love that I can drop my kids off in the morning at their own mini day camps and have a few hours to myself. They start at 2 years old doing arts and crafts and playing on a small playground. I also really enjoy that most weeks are themed and the same families seem to go at the same time each year so the kids make friends they'll see again and again. My now four year old talked about last year's visit for more than six months!

If you're used to Berkeley Family Camp or SF's Camp Mather where I grew up going, Feather River is smaller and more low key but they also let you do things like only come up for 2-3 days or stay for the end of one week and the beginning of the next. It wasn't impossible for me to get a spot even though I don't live in Oakland either.

Hope we'll see some of you there this summer. Ashley

March 2010

Our family is considering a four or five day stay at the City of Oakland's Feather River Camp this summer. We have two kids 10 and 13. I'd love to hear from some folks who have attended recently. Specifically, which of the accommodation types did you prefer - with or without electricity? Are the theme weeks better than the non-theme weeks? How did your kids like it? I see there are programs for 9-11 year olds, but what would a 13 year old do all day?

We are not Oakland residents (we bought this as a package at a silent auction), so we have never met anyone who has gone. We have heard such great things about Berkeley's Tuolumne Camp, and are hoping it will be something like it. Becky

It's not quite the same as Berkeley's camp, in that it doesn't have the major river running through it (and in fact the swimming hole is not impressive). We went last year and stayed in 2 cabins w/ little decks out in front-- one for us and one for the grandparents--and had a great time. My daughter wasn't interested in all the crafts they do, but the kids who did want to, had a great time, and they do good things. We did go on a 1/2 day horseback ride, and we looked for lizards, played in the pool, read books, hung out after meals and talked to people. Unfortunately, our stay coincided with the worst of the smoke from last year's fires, so we cut the visit short, but it's pretty charming. Other people enjoyed the tent cabins because you can open them up completely if it's hot. The cabins are a little dark, and you don't really hang out inside them, but it's nice to have electricity at night. Some people take trips into Quincy or do hikes outside of the camp. One other thing that isn't like Berkeley Camp is that you don't have to eat in one place with the same people, and meeting new people is fun--plus I like the flexibility of eating when/where/with whom I want. There are also pingpong tables, pool tables, books to read. I can't speak about the theme weeks, but we went when nothing was going on and it was quiet and peaceful. I'd guess that going when nothing is going on means you wait less for a shower (fewer people), and going for a theme week means there's more activities and more folks to meet, but more crowded too. It's not a big camp.

We attended Oakland Feather River Camp 2 years ago when my son was 10. Previously, I had been to Berkeley Family Camp. I enjoyed both. OFRC is very laid back and very friendly. We stayed in a tent with no electricity, and this was fine. We were there during a non-theme week, but there was a folk dance teacher at night and many kids danced. There was also a storyteller. During the daytime, kids went swimming or inner tubing in the river, and several miles away there was a great swimming hole where kids could dive off the rocks. There's also horseback riding, arts and crafts, ping pong, a pool table, and games, but the day is not as structured as it is at Berkeley Family Camp. My son could roam around freely with other kids as the camp is small enough so you don't worry about kids getting lost. All in all, we had a lot of fun and met very nice people. Have fun! Yvonne

June 2009

Re: Camp suggestions, 1 to 3 weeks, age 12/13, both genders
Feather River Camp...www.featherrivercamp.com. It's not local but I've signed up my sons for the program. You can apply for scholarships. Good luck! anon

June 2008

My family of four (two adults, a six year old, and a four year old) is heading to Feather River family camp for six days in July. I'd appreciate any tips about what to bring along (I received a checklist from the camp but wondered what else people have found useful to have brought with them), what to leave at home, which route to take to Quincy, where to stop along the way...really, any tips or advice that you think would be helpful. Many thanks! Janice

We have gone to Feather River camp during the Camp It Up week. I highly recommend taking 80 to 89. It's an easy and usually fast drive up 80 and then a not bad road on 89 into Quincy. I have gone up highway 5 but that involves taking several other roads and while scenic seemed to take more time (and we got lost once). On 80 we stopped in Auburn on the way up.

I would also suggest taking a fan to help with the afternoon heat and mosquitos (if you have a tent or cabin with an electrical outlet) and some kind of battery operated lamp. An extension cord is a good idea, too.

I'm sure people will suggest other things but those are essentials for me. One more thing, the town of Quincy is worth a trip. The natural food store is very good and the dollar store in town is GREAT!

Have fun!! valerie

Feb 2007

Is there anyone who has been to both the Lair and Feather River who can help me decide which camp to go to with my husband and 2 year old? Please compare location, facilities, the crowd, and most importantly, the kiddie corral. And if we go to the Lair, which camp to choose? As a kid I went with my friend's family to Camp Blue so I have a loyalty there, but is there really a difference? What about the new Camp Oski? Happy Camper

This single mom attended both The Lair and Feather River Camp last summer with my then 3-year-old. It was our first time at each. We enjoyed both, but found that FRC was perfect for toddlers. Everyone on staff was gentle and fun and truly enjoyed the little ones. We were there over 4th of July, and the kids made their own costumes as a project, then got to wear them in a parade around camp which included horses. Then, an old fashioned barbeque (delicious, AND with excellent vegetarian food options) followed by traditional games - water balloon toss, 3-legged race, etc. There was family dancing on the terrace outdoors, viewing the moon and space shuttle and the sun (with a special telescope) with the knowledgeable and always entertaining AstroWizard (he's especially great with kids). One night there was a movie outdoors under the stars and popcorn. We loved feeding the horses, putting pennies on the train tracks (frequent trains), and swimming in the river, collecting pine cones. The kiddie corral staffers were great - really connected with the kids, even outside of the official corral times.

We enjoyed The LAIR, too - especially the kiddie pool - but the camp seems more appropriate for older kids and adults, not toddlers. I found one of the campfire skits really inappropriate for kids (Saturday Night Live style portrayal of a retarded girl in restraints ?!) and misogynistic commentary during a staff/campers inner tube water polo game with mostly male participants (woman camper misses a shot - loudspeaker commentary: ''That's why we don't let them play!'') The staffers at the kiddie corral didn't seem particularly good with kids - it was more like an assignment for them. My son wasn't ready to be left there alone. These things were relative small in the bigger picture - we did have a good time at the Lair and plan to return - but since you asked...

In summary, we found that FRC has family energy/orientation whereas The Lair has college student energy/orientation.

Also, FRC has a BATHTUB!
Happy Camper

May 2006

Re: Looking at Tuoulmne or Feather River
We go to the Feather River Camp about every summer for a few years. It is my children's idea of heaven. Living in the middle of nature, in Sierra Nevada, in the forest, next to the river. You can chose to leave in a tent or a cabin, with electricity or without. The river has many branchings, so there are places for kids to swim (with a lifeguard on duty), more challenging places to swim, diving places, waterfalls, river rafting.

They feed you buffet three times a day. Tables are not assigned so you can always shift around as you make new friends. Activities for the kids are on-going three times a day (for hours) - arts & crafts, boat building, storytelling, organized theater play, music. There is a separate supervised tot lot for younger kids, and activities for older kids (where we occasionally come in too b/c it's just so much fun).

There are campfires in the evenings, theater performances (by campers, directed by staff) on some evenings. There is horseback riding, rope course, bike riding. Lots of hiking in the woods, with organized nature hikes. On-staff nurse, storytellers, dance instructors. Organized games, table tennis championships. Very friendly staff - our kids look forward to receiving welcome back hugs every year, on arrival.

The camp has quite a history - it's been an Oakland city camp since 1926 and has photos and stories from that time (when you could only get there via Union Pacific Railroad). The place is completely safe. My kids run around on their own all day (with walkie talkies), and appreciate this freedom. I highly recommend it.

June 2006

Great sleep-away camp for horse lovers and others
I just registered my daughter, age 11, for Oakland Feather River Camp's Wrangler Camp in July and found out they still have a few spaces available. Her friend went last year and loved it so I thought I'd share the news, though I have no direct experience myself. The new non-profit runs their Family Camp and also some camps for kids in July. They are very affordable and I only have heard good things. Their website is WWW.FeatherRiverCamp.com Soon to be happy campers

April 2004

We have three great camp programs for youth ages 11 to 18 at Oakland Feather River Camp!

1) Camp Amandla! 7/11-7/17 Social Justice Camp for those interested in environmental issues, cultural activism and working to make a better world.

2) Teen LEAP 7/11-7/17 Leadership Education and Adventure Program is an Outward Bound styled program which focuses on self-understanding in terms of leadership style and potential

3) Camp Crescendo 7/18-7/24 Performing Arts camp for youth entering grades 6-12 with workshops in music, performance, dance and spoken word.

Join other teens from the Bay Area in a week of fun and learning! Programs for younger children and families too. See our website FeatherRiverCamp.com

Fees are from $400-$470 and include roundtrip transportation from Oakland to the camp located in Quincy, CA.

Terry Cullinane terbomom at hotmail.com

Sept. 2003

I'm looking for feedbacks on Feather River Camp. Is it worth it? mc

We have gone to Oakland's Feather River Camp (near Quincy) as a group of families for two years in a row (folk dance camp) and the kids LOVE it--all ages. It is operated by a great new non- profit called Camps in Common with lots of benefit to the campers/ families. It is very inexpensive, but rather far away-- yes, it is very worth the drive! Next year they hope to associate again with a horse-back riding provider very near by, part of the OFRC experience in years past. There are enough fine swimming holes up there to visit a new one every day. I'm sure our group will be an even larger swell of families than we were this year. Next year we hope to also stay for Camp it Up-- emphasis on alternative families... at Feather River Camp following folk dance week. --Our family is hooked on OFRC

Our family, my husband, 7 yr old son, 2 yr old daughter, and me, have been to Feather River Camp for two years in a row. These have probably been two of the most difficult years, financially for the camp. But we had a great vacation both years. The main reason is the people we've met there. Neither my husband nor I are especially outgoing, but we've hooked up with other people through our children. And the children just love it there. They love being able to be outdoors - the air is clean - and the environment is lovely. We give the kids, especially the 7 yr old, a lot more freedom to roam on his own than we do at home and he really enjoys that.

In the mornings there are usually arts and crafts activities - on setting for older children and adults and a separate setting for young children. You can leave your youngsters (2 to 5 or 6) at the Tot Lot for most of the morning. In the afternoons we've gone swimming in Spanish Creek in the camp or driven to other sites nearby. There are also places you can rent boats. Some people bring bikes for their children.

Each week of camp has a theme. We've gone to the folk dancing week both years. The kids love the music and some of them love the dancing too! There is dancing all morning and in the evenings after dinner. The teachers are very good and very encouraging. You don't need to know a thing - they walk us through the steps and then turn on the music. It's about fun!

Due to the financial difficulties created by the city's inattention and poor management of the camp facility, last year, a group of dedicated campers got together and pressured the city into giving the camp a chance to return to its former glory. This past year, 2003, the city contracted out the camp management and it went very well. Improvements were noticeable from the previous year. The food was better and more varied than it had been in 2002. There was more staff and more activities.

We'll be going back next year!

May 2003

Has anyone been to the City of Oakland Feather River Family Camp? I saw just one post and wanted to hear from other folks who have been there about what they liked, did not like and any recommendations for what to bring, etc. Thanks! AW

Has anyone had any experience with sending their child to the City of Oakland's Feather River Camp Children's Art Camp--overnight camp for children ages 8-12? I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether it's fun, safe, worthwhile, etc. Thanks,

It is a wonderful place for a family (or even extended family) vacation - wonderful theme children's activities (storytimes, games, crafts - you can drop them off for a few hours every day to have some time for yourself), and lots of family fun - swimming, visiting farm animals, forest hiking, nature exploration, campfires & songs. Each week has a theme around art, music, etc. Lots of caring personnel. This camp has been around since 1924 and has lots of history to discover. Did I mention 3 buffet meals per day with fresh fruits all the time, on-staff nurse, scenic way to the campsite? Maria

Jan 2003

Re: Grandparent-Friendly Family Camp
Feather River Camp is your place to go! It is a wonderful 100- year-old (and with that much history!) family camp in Sierra Nevada, owned by the city of Oakland. We discovered it just two years ago, and intend to include it in our summer plan forever. There are lots and lots of multi-generational families gathering there every summer - lots of grandparents and kids. There are always children's activities going on - organized games, crafts, campfires. They feed you warm buffet meal 3 times daily. You can chose to stay in a tent or cabin, with or without electricity, depending on your preferences. There is horseback riding, swimming in the river and lakes, oh so much to do and enjoy. It is about 4 hours drive from Oakland, and the route is quite scenic, too. Maria

May 2002

I'm looking for perspectives on Oakland's Family Camp at Feather River. There aren't any recent postings on the website. If you or someone you know have been there in the last year or two, please let me know what you thought, especially regarding: available camp activities, food, appropriateness for an active, social 3 year old, etc. cathy

Recommendation received:

  • Camp It Up! at Feather River
    From: Nancy (Feb 1998)

    Oakland also runs a family camp on a big piece of land on the Feather River in Plumas County (about 5 hours away). We went there for a week two summers ago, and it's a really good deal. Rates are low compared to other family camps, at least they were in 1996. There's a drop-in child care area for little kids, a nice swimming area in the river, hiking, arts and crafts, horse-back riding, dance classes, etc., and good food in the diningroom. Call Oakland Parks and Rec Dept, 238-3791 for info.