Best Girls Softball League
Mission Viejo Girls Softball
The USA-affiliated Junior Olympic fast-pitch softball league wins the top spot again. The nonprofit’s program centers around good sportsmanship, loyalty, honesty and courage — qualities young girls ages 5 to 15 from cities around South Orange County get to learn as they practice their skills and bond with their teammates.
mvgs.org | Mission Viejo
Best Baseball Camp
Orange County Baseball Camp
Orange County Baseball Camp has been a go-to place for amateur ballplayers ages 4 to 13 for the past 25 years. The young players work with knowledgeable coaches to learn and improve their throwing and other skills, all while having a good time. Parents interested in becoming coaches can sign up for free coaches’ clinics.
ocbaseballcamp.com | Santa Ana
Best Day Camp for Creative Kids
Art Therapy OC
Psychologist and certified art therapist Diana Shabtai, known as “Miss Dee,” has been helping kids express their creativity for about a decade now, and our readers love it. The unique, fun and mindful art workshops help children of all ages create colorful memories and improve their emotional well-being.
arttherapyoc.com | Newport Beach
Best Traditional Day Camp
Camp James has been building its reputation for more than 30 years, and it’s once again a favorite with our readers. The traditional style day camp in a natural outdoor environment offers a range of activities, including archery, dance, rock climbing, martial arts, zipline, stand-up paddle boarding and more. Campers are encouraged to connect with each other by disconnecting from technology.
campjames.com | Newport Beach
Best Special Needs Camp – TIE
The Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding
The Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding’s mission is to help people with disabilities improve their lives. To accomplish that, the nonprofit offers various programs centered around riding or being close to horses. The center is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and recognized worldwide for its equestrian programs.
sheacenter.org | San Juan Capistrano
Our readers are big fans of this nonprofit organization, which was created to empower people regardless of any disabilities they might have, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and more. RAD, which stands for Rising Above Disabilities, has adult and kids’ camps, which promote independence, growth and friendship and give caregivers a break. Each camper is paired with a dedicated counselor and there’s medical staff onsite at all times.
radcamp.org | Costa Mesa
Best Camp at Sea – TIE
The California Junior Lifeguard program focuses on teaching young people how to handle themselves safely in the ocean and help others in an emergency situation. Participants learn about oceanic environment, first aid, CPR, patient assessment and more. Plus, they have fun with a variety of water activities.
jrlifeguards.com/junior-guards/ | Huntington Beach and Newport Beach
Newport Sea Base — Aquatics Day Camps
Newport Sea Base promotes character development and a love for the marine environment. The camp gets kids ages 5 through 17 out on the water for a variety of fun activities. The children are divided by age groups. Younger ones play games, do science experiments and go on water adventures. Older ones take on art, science, engineering and team competitions. The oldest group learns paddle crafts, goes surfing and more.
newportseabase.org/summer | Newport Beach
Best Ranch Camp
Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center
Kids get to explore the outdoors, learn leadership skills and develop an appreciation for nature and environment at the center operated by Boy Scouts of America. There are programs and activities for groups, schools, scouts and individuals, including archery, zip lines, low and high ropes courses and more.
outdooreducationcenter.org | Orange
Best Science/Tech Camp
Bionerds is a regular on our list as readers just keep loving the camp. Children from kindergarten through eighth grade get to participate in fun, hands-on biology activities that encourage their curiosity in the subject. Bionerds offers weeklong half-day and full-day camps during winter, spring and summer breaks. They also throw birthday parties.
bionerdsllc.com | Multiple Locations
Best Soccer Camp
Liverpool FC International Academy SoCal
The club is an official partner of the Academy in Liverpool and follows the same teaching style. The local camps are suitable for beginner and advanced players and offer the kids an opportunity to develop their skills “The Liverpool Way” in a challenging but fun environment.
play.lfciasocal.com | Irvine
Best Surf Camp
Endless Sun Surf School
Endless Sun Surf School is still our readers’ favorite. Newport Beach’s original surf school has been around since 1963, teaching people of all ages and abilities how to ride the waves. The instructors are CPR-certified professional surfers with a passion for the sport. Surfboards and wetsuits are included in the price.
endlesssunsurf.com | Newport Beach
Best Volleyball Camp
Beach Elite Volleyball Club
The many camp options at Beach Elite Volleyball Club can accommodate players of different ages and abilities who are looking to improve their game on the beach or indoors. Boys and girls ages 6-18 are divided by skill level and train with professional coaches and instructors.
beach-elite.com | Multiple Locations
Best Away Camp
Jameson Ranch Camp
The summer camp in the southern Sierras welcomes children ages 6 to 16. During two-week programs, they have the opportunity to experience rustic ranch living and make new friends. Activities range from rock climbing to swimming and horseback riding, just to name a few, and the campers choose what they want to do when.
jamesonranchcamp.com | Glennville
By Magda Hernandez, Jessica Peralta and Nathan Davis