SEACAMP offers overnight, residential programs for students starting at 5th grade. We welcome groups and schools from across the country during the fall and spring semesters. Whether you are a school group looking for an annual field trip or an extracurricular club looking for a fun, educational experience, we are the camp for you!
Our 5th and 6th grade residential field trips have been most successful with our two-day and three-day schedules. Our goal is to supplement traditional marine biology classroom study by providing hands-on marine science education programs. We incorporate labs on fish and invertebrates with field activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, boogie boarding and tidepool exploration (tides permitting). Students also accompany staff members on a Floating Classroom expedition, which can be combined with watching for California gray whales in season.
Looking for a school year program for a group of younger students or day camp options? Visit our SeaLab Day Camp page.
Students will arrive at SEACAMP San Diego either by bus or by air. Upon arrival students will check-in and pick-out bunk space in our two dorms. There is one dorm for female participants and one for male participants. After check-in students and adults will receive a camp orientation. Once check-in and orientation is complete we will being program with your first scheduled activity. SEACAMP labs are held at our facility and field activities are done in and around San Diego.
We recommend 2 or 3 day programs for elementary school students with the core activities including, Snorkeling, Boogie Boarding, Invertebrate Lab, Fish Adaptations Lab and SEACAMP San Diego’s exclusive Floating Classroom Boat Trip.
We are happy to customize a program for you, just give us a call to discuss options!
All activities are subject to change due to scheduling considerations, weather, water conditions, etc. As a program whose focus is outdoor education, we are subject to the whims of nature. We always have a lot of alternative options should any issues impact scheduled activities.
SEACAMP tuition is all inclusive. All housing, meals, activities, 24-hour supervision, gear and equipment is included in tuition. Additionally, all transportation including pick-up and drop-off to the airport, if you are flying, is included.
School year programs are offered during the fall and spring semesters. Our fall and spring calendars are set on a calendar basis.
If you are interested in a program with us or would just like more information. Please give us a call at (800) SEACAMP or complete and return the School Year Request Form.
Once we have an idea of group size and time frames, we can offer date options of your school or group.
SEACAMP San Diego Location:
Camp location is on Mission Bay, approximately 10 miles north of downtown San Diego. This location has our dorms, restrooms, classrooms, aquariums and access to a private beach.
All of our lab & workshop facilities are tailored for the specific needs of our program and include a classroom with a running seawater system, a full aquarium room with touch tanks, a shark tank with live specimens, microscopes, and the added security of private beaches.
Students will be housed in a traditional open style dorm equipped with bunk beds. We have two large dorm rooms, one for female students and one for male students. Students are assured 24-hour supervision by our SEACAMP Marine Science Instructors that spend the night in the dorms with the students. Students bring their own bottom sheets, sleeping bags and pillows. Adults staying onsite will be housed in the dorms with the students. Dorm space is limited to 31 participants of one gender and 25 participants of the other gender. These numbers should include any adults planning to stay onsite. Dorms are separated by a courtyard area, which encloses a safe space to play games and hang out, and provides a sunlit outdoor area for the tables for meals or alternate lab space. Bathrooms are across the courtyard with separate facilities for males and females. Each bathroom is equipped with toilet facilities and separate curtained showers.
Adults staying onsite will be housed in the dorms with the students. There is one female dorm room and one male dorm room. Adult shower times will be provided for adults staying onsite. Adults have the option to stay offsite at our hotel partner, The Old Town Inn. SEACAMP staff will provide daily pick-up and drop-off for adults to the hotel.
SEACAMP San Diego provides all meals that are included on your schedule. Meals are supplied by our caterer and are prepared in their kitchen. Breakfasts and dinners are usually cafeteria-style and served at our camp facility. Lunches are “brown-bag” style and usually eaten in the field. Meals are delicious and varied, well-balanced and include fresh fruits and vegetables. However, snacks are not included. If your student will need more than the meals provided, please have them bring individually wrapped snacks in a bag labeled with his or her name. Snacks will be stored and available daily to students.
SEACAMP San Diego provides overnight, residential programs for students 5th grade through high school. Our youngest age range is 5th grade based on maturity for overnight trips, readiness for the material covered, and gear sizing. Attending groups usually consist of one or two grades. We recommend 2 or 3 day programs for Elementary School Students. For groups with younger students, please see our SeaLabs Day Camp Programs.
The minimum group size is 20 paying people. Groups less than twenty may attend only if they pay for twenty spots. Some groups have joined together in order to meet the minimum size. In the case of joined groups there needs to be a single group leader that communicates with SEACAMP San Diego and processes and sends all forms and payments.
The maximum group size for elementary school students is 52 with a total maximum of 56 including attending adults. This maximum is not flexible; it is the maximum number of participants that we are able to transport, house and accommodate in water activities. School groups needing to limit their group total have found setting grade or behavior standards for students very effective!
SEACAMP San Diego has two dorm spaces – one dorm for females and one for males. One dorm will accommodate up to 31 participants of one gender and the other dorm will accommodate up to 25 participants of the other gender. Gender maximums should also include any adults staying onsite. Currently, SEACAMP San Diego does not have the resources to accommodate a gender neutral dorm space.
Groups larger than about 35, depending upon activities, will need to be split into two groups by the group leader for daily activities. Groups larger than about 32 will need to be split into two groups by the group leader for some labs.
Students and SEACAMP San Diego staff members travel to the tidepools during a daytime low tide. Here, the students learn the basics of tides and the stresses of intertidal life. Students are then allowed to explore the intertidal zone and collect specimens in buckets. At the end of their exploration, students are brought together to identify and discuss the specimens collected. An emphasis is placed on adaptations for intertidal living and conservation. All animals are returned at the end of the session.
Students are instructed on the fundamentals of kayaking, fitted for gear and then embark on a kayak excursion on SEACAMP’s tandem, sit-on-top kayaks. From the kayaks, students may observe a wide variety of local animals including birds, invertebrates, fish and algae. This activity takes place on Mission Bay and may include a discussion of shallow bay ecology or a plankton tow.
This activity is usually paired with snorkeling or kayaking at Mission Bay. From the beach, students are taught to work a long collecting net called a “common-sense” seine and attempt to catch some local, inshore marine life. Once caught, specimens are placed in buckets and instructors teach about them and their habitat. All animals are returned at the end of the session.
Boogie Boarding & Physical Oceanography:
Students and SEACAMP San Diego staff members travel to Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores. Here, they are taught the basics of boogie boarding and the science of tides, waves and currents. After students suit up in the provided wetsuits, they get in the water to perform activities that help demonstrate these oceanographic processes. Afterwards, students are allowed to experience the waves of La Jolla while boogie boarding under the supervision of the SEACAMP San Diego staff. For larger groups, students rotate between boogie boarding and a beach walk where they are taken along the shore to examine a variety of plants and animals, and participate in instructive games.
SEACAMP San Diego’s Floating Marine Science Classroom:
Students and SEACAMP staff members board a charter research boat for a cruise on San Diego’s Mission Bay. After a safety orientation, the vessel heads out of the bay into the Pacific Ocean for a feel of the ocean waves, a sampling of some giant kelp and possibly a sighting of dolphins and sea lions. Seasonally, we may also cruise around in search of California gray whales. On the way back into the bay, staff members discuss the giant kelp and the ecology of the kelp forest. Once back in the bay, staff members deploy and retrieve a trawl net with the help of the students. Each species of animal collected is displayed and discussed by the SEACAMP San Diego staff. Next, the students are broken up into smaller groups and rotate around the boat to several stations that include plankton collection, plankton evaluation, physical oceanography, mud sampling and examination of trawl animals. On the way back to the dock, the trawl animals are released and some birds and marine mammals of the bay may be observed.
Snorkeling at Mission Point:
Students learn the basics of snorkeling and free diving during snorkel sessions throughout the programs. Students of all abilities have been very successful in mastering the skills of snorkeling through our progressive and well-supervised snorkeling program. Snorkeling activities include an introductory session at Mission Point. This part of Mission Bay has an easy beach entry and several shallow-water environments that are teeming with life. After snorkeling, many groups will participate in the seining activity (see seining section above). Some schedules will also include a SCUBA demonstration in which students learn the parts of the SCUBA unit and the basics of SCUBA diving. Students will then get an opportunity to practice breathing in the SCUBA regulator in shallow water, one-on-one with a SEACAMP instructor.
General Information About Snorkeling at SEACAMP San Diego:
SEACAMP San Diego has been extremely successful taking students of all abilities snorkeling since 1987. All SEACAMP San Diego staff members are certified Lifeguards and extremely comfortable in the water. Students and staff wear thick (7mm) wetsuits which provide a maximum amount of warmth as well as buoyancy. (In other words, the wetsuits make the students float!) Additionally we keep our student to staff ratios very low (no more than 7:1 for snorkeling) and our staff members carry buoyant rescue tubes with them in the water.
Our marine biologist instructors lead students in small groups; the focus of each snorkel session is to learn about the area’s particular ecosystem (kelp forest ecology, bay ecology, etc.) and the specific animals found within it. Instructors and students may even pick up certain animals for a ‘hands-on’ discussion.
Marine Biology Lab:
This lab provides students a general overview of marine life diversity. Topics may include plankton, algae, invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals. Students encounter live specimens and handle unique artifacts to supplement the lecture. Particular emphasis can be placed on organisms likely to be seen during the SEACAMP visit.
Fish Adaptations Lab:
Students learn fish anatomy and behavior. They observe and discuss adaptations that allow fish to flourish in specific environments, and explore the differences between the three different classes of fish: Agnatha, Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes. Students examine preserved specimens and/or participate in a dissection of a Pacific mackerel. Particular emphasis can be placed on fish likely to be seen while snorkeling during the SEACAMP visit.
Shark Ecology Lab:
In this in-depth investigation of sharks in class Chondrichthyes, students learn the importance of sharks in marine ecosystems, as well as their senses and stresses. Live specimens from our on-site shark tank might be used for observations. The lab may conclude with information on shark conservation and research. A shark dissection may be done when specimens are available.
In this lab, students explore the importance of local marine invertebrates. Using live specimens, students investigate the differences in several invertebrate phyla, including Arthropoda, Mollusca, and Echinodermata. The lab generally concludes with a study of the external and internal anatomy of a market squid, through dissection. Particular emphasis can be placed on invertebrates likely to be seen during the SEACAMP visit.
Plankton lab has students discover the importance of plankton in aquatic ecosystems. Students learn the two types of plankton, phytoplankton and zooplankton, and how they remain unique in the food web. This lab generally concludes with a comprehensive hands-on activity, allowing students to showcase their knowledge of plankton. Particular emphasis can be placed on plankton likely to be seen during the SEACAMP visit.
Night Adaptations Workshop:
This workshop contains a broad overview of deep-sea organisms, bioluminescence, and nighttime migration. Students learn of the challenges of living in the dark and how animals use senses other than sight to survive. Students participate in a specially-developed activity showcasing the challenges of living in the dark.
Marine Mammal Workshop:
This workshop covers the taxonomy, physiology, and behavior of marine mammals. With an emphasis on the diversity of marine mammals, students also discover these animals’ relationships to habitats and interactions with humans. This workshop may include a discussion regarding marine mammal training and captivity.
Sea Turtle Biology & Conservation Lab:
This is the only lab at SEACAMP San Diego that explores marine reptiles. Students learn the major characteristics of sea turtles with hands-on activities. Other topics in the lab include turtle reproduction, stresses of sea turtle hatchlings, species identification, and ocean conservation. The lab can be coupled with a visit to the Chula Vista Nature Center, which holds several live sea turtles.
SEACAMP San Diego provides all transportation in San Diego. Residential, overnight school groups can choose to either fly or bus to camp/San Diego. Throughout the session, students and adults are transported to and from activities and the airport in our 15 passenger vans. Transportation to and from the airport is also included. Whether flying or driving, arrival and departure times must fall inside the windows of time given on schedule.
Flights will arrive into San Diego International airport where SEACAMP staff members will meet and transport you to our facility. SEACAMP San Diego is located about 15 minutes from the San Diego Airport.
Buses will drop off students and chaperones at our SEACAMP San Diego facility on Mission Bay on the first day of camp. The group is then picked-up on the last day of camp.
Chaperones must be adults at least 18 years or older. At least one chaperone is required to accompany the group to SEACAMP San Diego.
We require at least one adult be available at all times. This adult must be alcohol-free and available to travel to camp within fifteen minutes to assist/deal with student issues. We reserve the right to require chaperone participation should it be necessary. Chaperones are not permitted to bring additional persons with them to program. All attendees must be registered participants with the group. All chaperones are required to complete adult registration forms and follow the policies included in the Chaperone Primer. Chaperones may not consume any alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, marijuana or illegal drugs while in program with students.
While your group is at SEACAMP San Diego we assume all liability for all of the students. Because of this, it is crucial that the students and adults abide closely to the policies set forth by the SEACAMP San Diego staff during program. If any adults allow students to act outside of SEACAMP supervision or directions, that adult takes on all liability for that situation. Additionally, students must remain with the group at all times unless SEACAMP San Diego staff has verified that other arrangements are necessary.
Your group receives one complimentary tuition spot at SEACAMP for a teacher/chaperone with every 15 paid spots in attendance.
- 20-29 paying participants – one complimentary spot
- 30-44 paying participants – two complimentary spots
- 45+ paying participants – three complimentary spots
Complimentary tuition spots only apply to SEACAMP tuition and does not include any other expenses, including travel. Any additional adults planning to attend beyond the provided complimentary spots will pay full tuition price.
Chaperones attending camp with the students will have room, board, transportation, all gear and in-water supervision provided for the length of their stay. All adults are welcome to stay on-site in the dorms with the students; however, they are not required to. Please remember maximums in the dorms – dorm space is limited to no more than 31 participants of one gender and 25 participants of the other gender, this includes any adults planning to stay at camp. Should all chaperones choose to stay off-site, SEACAMP San Diego requires one chaperone to be “on call” – alcohol-free and available to travel to camp within fifteen minutes to deal with student issues. We will request a phone number and name for the on-call adult for any time there is not a chaperone present with the students.
SEACAMP San Diego will offer the choice of staying at camp with the students or off-site at our hotel partner, The Old Town Inn. Based on group size, we will provide a complimentary hotel room(s).
- Groups of less than 26 paying customers will not receive a complimentary hotel room.
- Groups of 26-51 paying customers will be entitled to one room, based on availability.
- Groups of 52 or more paying customers will be entitled to two rooms, based on availability.
Rooms will be double occupancy, non-smoking, economy rooms. Reservations will made and paid for by SEACAMP San Diego. Be advised some school districts require that school teachers/chaperones be with the group at all times.
Reservations are made based on deposit amounts and confirmed when we receive the Final Confirmation Form, due with your final payment. SEACAMP assumes no responsibility for reservations if we do not receive your information in time to reserve the room.
Transportation will be provided everywhere we go in San Diego. Participating adults are expected to accompany the group to the day’s sites – they are not able to stay at camp. Even though adults will be accompanying the group, they are not required to participate in all activities (i.e. boogie boarding, etc).
For adults staying offsite, transportation will occur twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening – either after dinner or after the evening activity. Exact times will be determined by the day’s activities and will be announced by SEACAMP instructors. If you are not in the designated pick-up point at the appointed time, the van driver will be instructed to leave without you so that the students are not delayed. Please make all chaperones aware that once a chaperone has left the group for the afternoon or evening, he or she will not be allowed to rejoin the group until the next morning.
Chaperones that have their own transportation are responsible for getting on-site on time to depart with the group for the day, or be on-time and at the correct locations to participate in activities. We will not hold up program for chaperones that are late.
All SEACAMP San Diego’s programs are centrally located in the community within easy reach of full medical facilities, including emergency care. All facilities are easily accessible by car and ambulance in case of emergency and professional medical care is on call 24 hours a day. Additionally, SEACAMP San Diego Instructors possess at least a college degree and are certified Red Cross Lifeguards with First Aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer and Oxygen Administration training. SEACAMP San Diego does not retain a nurse on staff, although we do have a paramedic consultant on call.
SEACAMP San Diego Marine Science Instructors possess at least a college degree and are certified Red Cross Lifeguards with First Aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer – including training and first aid for marine hazards. Additionally, all staff have been finger printed with the Department of Justice & FBI and all have Class-C commercial driver’s licenses. SEACAMP San Diego does not retain a nurse on staff, although we do have a paramedic consultant on call. We are within close proximity of emergency care and are in a 9-1-1 service area.
SEACAMP San Diego tuition includes 24-hour supervision of students. The amount of supervisory staff varies depending on the schedule. During snorkeling, there is one lifeguarded staff member with every seven students and staff will have a rescue tube with them. All water activities require students to wear full-length, 7mm wet suits (which makes them buoyant). The only exception is during kayaking and stand up paddle boarding when students will be wearing Coast Guard-approved PFDs (Personal Flotation Device – a ‘life jacket’). In the controlled environment of camp, evening activities will have 3 to 5 staff depending on the activity.
During overnight programs we will have one female instructor in the dorm with the girls and the boy’s dorm will be staffed with one male instructor. The staff members with the group have access to a cell phone at all times.