Family Camps extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

Berkeley and Beyond


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image courtesy of Lair of the Golden Bear


Most adults remember the good old days when they were kids and got to go away to summer camp, and most adults think those days are gone for good.  Well, they're not.  A vacation at a family camp can bring it all back.

          Family camps provide a reasonably priced, organized vacation experience.  They are sponsored by city recreation departments, university alumni organizations, and private enterprise.  The city and private camps are open to anyone, but some university camps require a campus affiliation.

          And it isn't necessary to have children to attend.  One year at one camp, a couple was actually honeymooning!, and elderly couples whose children are grown occasionally attend, too.  Family reunions sometimes are held at a camp, and clubs and groups of friends often book in at the same time.

          Housing varies from primitive platform tents and cabins without electricity, plumbing, or bedding to comfortable campus dormitory apartments with daily maid service.  Locations vary from the mountains to the sea.  Predictably, costs also vary with the type of accommodations and facilities.  Some camps allow stays of less than a week, but most require a weeklong commitment.  Children usually are charged at a lower rate according to age.

          Most family camps operate during the summer months only.  Fees usually include meal preparation and clean up, special programs for children, and recreation programs for everyone.  Activities can include river or pool swimming, hiking, fishing, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, hayrides, tournaments, campfires, crafts programs, songfests, tennis, and horseback riding.

          Each camp has its own special appeal, but all offer an informal atmosphere where guests can really unwind.  Often more than half the guests return the following year.  Repeat guests and their camp friends tend to choose the same week each year.

          For detailed rate information, itemization of facilities, session dates, and route directions, contact the camp reservation offices directly.  Reserve early to avoid disappointment.


Camp Concord  Located near Camp Richardson at South Lake Tahoe; sponsored by City of Concord Community & Recreation Services.

Camp Mather  Located on the rim of the Tuolumne River gorge near Yosemite National Park; sponsored by San Francisco Rec. and Park Dept.

Camp Sacramento  Located in the El Dorado National Forest, 17 mi. S of Lake Tahoe ; sponsored by Sacramento Dept. of Parks and Rec.

Co-op Camp Sierra  Located in a pine forest between Huntington & Shaver Lakes, 65 mi. NE of Fresno; administration located in Berkeley.

Echo Lake Camp  Near Echo Lake and the vast Desolation Wilderness; administration located in Berkeley.

Family Camp at Yosemite  Located in Stanislaus National Forest, 30 mi. from Yosemite National Park; sponsored by San Jose Dept. of Parks, Rec. & Neighborhood Services.

Oakland Feather River Camp  Located in the Plumas National Forest, N of Lake Tahoe near Quincy; sponsored by City of Oakland. 

Silver Lake Stockton Family Camp  Located 40 mi. S of Lake Tahoe; sponsored by Stockton Dept. of Parks and Rec.

Tuolumne Camp  Located on the south fork of the Tuolumne River, near Yosemite National Park; sponsored by Berkeley Camps Office.


Coffee Creek Ranch

Emandal Farm

Montecito Sequoia High Sierra Family Vacation Camp  Located in Sequoia National Forest, betw. Kings Canyon & Sequoia national parks.


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image depicts Family Vacation Center at U.C. Santa Barbara

Lair of the Golden Bear  Located in Stanislaus National Forest, in Pinecrest; sponsored by California Alumni Assoc. at U. C. Berkeley.  These three separate, but contiguous, camps--Camp Blue, Camp Gold, and Camp Oski--operate side by side.  Each has its own staff and facilities.

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Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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