How to Spot the Best Summer Camps in Southern California

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There are hundreds of camp opportunities for kids on the West Coast – so how do parents spot the best summer camps in Southern California?

It’s a good idea to start with a clear intention and know your kid well, as well as the types of activities they would enjoy and benefit from. The best summer camp may not be the “best” choice for every child, but camps that are highly rated have a few things in common:


ACA Accreditation

Check to make sure that any camp you are considering has been granted accreditation by the American Camp Association. This is a measure of confidence that demonstrates the camp’s commitment to safety and accountability.


Vigorous Camp Staff Vetting & Training.

The best summer camps tend to have the best staff because committed counselors want to work with camps that provide training and support, and that value their staff. Ask about how counselors are vetted and trained and also inquire about camp staff culture. Are counselors often former campers of the same camp? Have they served as counselors in training? What other training have they received? What about support staff such as nurses and food service workers?


Reasonable Staff/Camper Ratios

Even the best counselor cannot do their job if they have too many kids assigned to them. What are the staff ratios and how are staff assisted by counselors in training?


Photo Tours and Information Sessions

Attending an information session about the camp is a good way to get an in-person feel for camp leadership. Additionally, photos and virtual tours can help parents visualize the camp setting without traveling there beforehand. These are both very helpful experiences that will help you spot the best summer camps in California.



The best summer camps in California have clear and open channels for communication with parents. This may include social media, email and daily photo uploads of life at camp for parents to browse.



Last but not least – speaking with several families of children who have attended the camp, and hearing what they liked or did not like, is also a good way to find the best summer camps in California.


Catalina Island Camps

Catalina Island Camps is a summer camp in Southern California on Catalina Island that has all of these components and more. If you’re interested in learning more about us, browse our activities or read through our mission statement to better understand what we’re all about. If you’ve already made your decision, enroll here!