Spring Break is a great time for a family vacation, and it coincides nicely with cool kid-friendly opportunities in the Golden State: New attractions are starting to debut at theme parks, the ski resorts are bustling with family activities, and the beaches
But any happy family knows that you don’t have to spend every minute together to have a good vacation. Spring break season also brings a wealth of cool day-camp options for kids—some that last a whole week, and some that can be booked for just a day at a time. At these camps—often sponsored by renowned museums and schools—kids can build a robot, develop their artistic skills with professional guidance, or learn how to bake scones and make eclairs. (Bonus: This all adds up to more grown-up time for shopping, wine tasting, or long walks on the beach.) Below are 10 camps kids will love.
Fashionistas in Training
The Unincorporated Life, Hollywood
Every week from March 12 through April 20
Based in Hollywood, this studio’s Fashion Design Camp offers a fabulous opportunity for kids who love both clothes and art. Kids ages 6–18 dream up their own fantasy dresses then bring them to life with the guidance of designers and photographers, culminating in a fashion show. The studio also offers one-day Fragrance Lab sessions for both kids and adults, where you can learn about the “notes” that go into a fragrance, then create and bottle your own with the help of a qualified perfumer.
Horse Lovers’ Camp
Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Burbank
March 19–23 and 26–30
Give the kids a grounding in horsemanship at the Traditional Equitation Camp, located at this 72-acre horse center in Burbank, dotted with big oaks and pine trees. Book for a whole week or individual days during the two sessions; kids ages 6–12 will learn about the different breeds of horses and safe handling while petting them from the ground or riding in the saddle.
Geek Out on Microbes & Minecraft
Fleet Science Center, San Diego
The acclaimed science museum in Balboa Park has different themes for different ages: STEAM for grades 1–3 (with days that highlight sleuthing skills, microbes, or myth-testing) and a Minecraft-Meets-Marvel coding camp for grades 4–8.
Behind the Scenes with Masterpieces
Crocker Art Camp, Sacramento
This beloved museum has a lot of kid-friendly drop-in activities, so it makes a fun stop on any family visit to the capital city. But kids ages 6–9 can also spend Spring Break days here on their own, exploring the museum’s collection and creating their own masterpieces, under the tutelage of the museum’s professional art educators.
Adventures in Nature Camp, Los Angeles
Kids love the bubbling pools at La Brea Tar Pits and this two-day camp affiliated with the Natural History Museum gives kids (grades K–5) a hands-on experience while learning about L.A’s famous prehistoric creatures.
Propel Your Own Helicopter
LEGO Exploration Camp, Palo Alto
The Bay Area-based BrainVyne organization puts on camps about LEGOs, robotics, and even money literacy for kids ages 4 and up. Its Spring Break camps for ages 5–11 (including April weeks in other Silicon Valley communities, such as Santa Clara and Menlo Park) focus on using gears, levers, and small motors to create things like paper helicopters or a bubble machine. Kids can also build, free-form, with piles and piles of the little plastic bricks.
Develop a Solid Stage Presence
Theater Camp at the Berkeley Playhouse
Give the kids a legit lesson in the arts at this theater and conservatory located in the historic and gorgeously woodsy Julia Morgan Theater, designed by the Hearst Castle architect in 1910. Each camp day includes lessons on acting, singing, and dancing, as well as prop creation and working as an ensemble. The week ends with a 20-minute musical theater production: Kids in grades K–2 will do Mary Poppins, whiles grades 3–6 will perform Bye, Bye Birdie.
Paint and Draw Your Favorite Dogs
Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Clara
The Sonoma County museum devoted to the legendary cartoonist and creator of Peanuts offers drop-in classes year round, with extra options during this Spring Break week. Classes include the 3.5–hour Pop Pup, where an artist guides kids as they create pop-art paintings of canines (including a certain beagle?) and the drawing-focused Dog Day Afternoon—both in honor of Year of the Dog.
Up Close with Marine LIfe
Central Coast Aquarium Camp, Avila Beach
This aquarium near Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo houses a variety of aquatic species, from the giant pacific octopus to sea stars, rock crabs, smooth hound sharks, and gumboot chiton. The spring camp for ages 5–8 (half day or full day) includes hands-on activities such as tidepooling, interacting with live animals, and participating in discovery labs.
Cook Like a Future Top Chef
Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories, Santa Monica
April 2–6 and select dates in March and April
This all-ages cooking school, located in the Santa Monica Place shopping center, is geared toward both amateur home cooks and pros, using classic techniques and locally-sourced ingredients. Its Kids Classes (ages 6–12) during the Spring Break season include morning sessions on breakfast pastries, cream puffs, eclairs, and even sushi. The weeklong Teen Pro series (ages 12–16) focuses on one cuisine per three-hour session, from Italian to Thai and classic Southern fried chicken.