Close Mobile Menu

Family Camp

Make New Memories at Family Camp

The Lair of the Golden Bear will leave an indelible mark on your entire family. Lair campers of all ages enjoy a multitude of staff-led activities during each day of your stay. Others find adventure on their own. By the time departure day arrives, you will have fallen in love with our special corner of the Sierra Nevada!

Book A Tent
Family huddled, smiling and holding little pinecone Photo by Suz McFadden

When and Where to Camp

From mid-June through September, most of our summer sessions are Family Camp. We offer six-night long and several weekend family camp sessions. Our weeks begin on Saturday at 11am and campers depart late Friday afternoon. Our weekends run Friday at 5pm to Sunday at 2pm (or Monday if Labor Day weekend). For more information about our calendar and pricing, please see our Dates and Rates pages.

The Lair is comprised of three separate camps, Camp Blue, Camp Gold, and Camp Oski, each operating with almost identical programming. Each camp has staff shows, camper talent shows, age group activities, guest speakers, swimming pools, Cub Corrals, art, hiking, and music programs. The primary difference between the camps is the size and the layout: Camp Blue and Camp Gold are very similar to each other, as each accommodates about 325 campers in tent cabins located throughout the camp. Both Blue and Gold have tennis courts, while Oski doesn’t, but Oski campers can use the tennis courts at Blue or Gold. During the week at Blue and Gold, campers of all ages enjoy athletic tournaments and games, such as tennis, basketball, horseshoes, bridge, backgammon, trivial pursuit, etc., and strive to win the wonderful little Lair trophies. Blue and Gold also compete against each other each week in softball and in volleyball—no trophies, just glory. Camp Oski’s tent cabins are arranged in circles, and each tent circle has a fire pit in the center, providing an ideal camping atmosphere (great for making night time s’mores!). Camp Oski is smaller, holding about 145 campers, and has a large beautiful pool, but no tennis courts and no tournaments. Oski has the same great children’s programs and campfire traditions as Blue and Gold, and a higher staff to camper ratio.

Suz McFadden
Photo by Kevin Kitsuda

A Day in the Life

Wake up early and go on a run to the lake, grab some coffee in the Lodge, or enjoy the quiet of camp. Head to breakfast in the Dining Hall, and get ready for the day. Drop your kids off at their age group programs, stop by the camp store, or head to the art area to start a lanyard. After lunch, stop by the pool, shoot some hoops, or relax with a good book at your tent. Before you know it, it’s time for dinner. Bundle up for the nightly program, whether it’s a show at the stage, or Disco Bingo! The magic of the Lair is that you can do as much or as little as you’d like everyday. With programming throughout the day for kids and adults alike, the Lair is simply the best vacation your family will ever know.

Kids Love the Lair!

Cubs of all ages will love making new friends at camp, exploring their creativity, and diving into nature on their own terms. Children’s age group programs typically meet in the morning and afternoon, with a nightly program twice a week. The age groups are separated as follows: Cub Corral (diaper graduates through kindergarten); Teddy Bears (grades 1-2); Golden Bears (grades 3-5); Cal Bears (grades 6-8); Grizzly Bears (grades 9-12). Within each age group, two to four staffers organize a wide variety of activities, ranging from arts & crafts, pool parties, and kickball to horseback riding, a hike to the lake, and more fun & games.

Parents Enjoy Endless Relaxation or Adventure

The Lair features a wide variety of offerings for adults looking for precious “me” time. Activities include hiking, music, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding on the lake, athletic competitions, and tournaments with your kids. Or just hang out at the pool or in a hammock with a good book on a beautiful summer day. Let us take care of the cooking, cleaning, and planning while you enjoy your vacation.

For adults who prefer a gentle workout, the Lair Wellness Team offers daily yoga, Pilates, boot camp workouts (more active), and fantastic massages (an additional cost).

View Camp Schedules
Kids goofing around with Lair staff

Photo by Angela Lang

Dining and Entertainment

Meals

“Hands down the best family vacation with the best people. – 2018 Camp Oski camper

Your Lair fees include ALL of your meals—three hearty all-you-can-eat meals each day. This year meals will be served cafeteria-style in a common Dining Hall, typically including a hot entrée with side dish options. Breakfast is served buffet style from 7:45am – 9:00am with hot entrees, fruit, cereal, toast, yogurt, oatmeal — the works! Lunch is served at 12:15pm, and if you’re hiking during lunch, you can make a bag lunch at breakfast. Dinner is served at 6:00pm with hearty options.

Outside of the three meal times, early morning coffee is available before breakfast. The Burger Shack at both Camps Blue and Gold sell assorted food and snacks later in the evening.

If you have dietary restrictions or allergies to certain foods (including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, low-fat, low-carb, lactose-intolerant, etc.), there are options for you at every meal. You can share your specific dietary needs with our Dining Hall Host or Hostess when you arrive at camp.

View Menus

Meals are subject to change

Nightlife

Star-gaze, or enjoy staff-produced musical campfires and camper talent night. Families love Disco Bingo, complete with costumes and 70’s disco music. See “What to Bring” below for ideas on costumes. The Camp Blue and Camp Gold lodges are always a center of social activity with cards, board games, and evening snacks. At Camp Oski, tent circle campfires bring families together for s’mores, ghost stories, and good old fashioned sing-alongs.

Our Guest Speaker Program every Sunday and Tuesday night during full-week stays features prominent alumni and members of Cal’s esteemed faculty and administration, addressing topics from astronomy to intercollegiate athletics, the environment to politics, and beyond.

Lair staffers, dressed in blue and gold, singing on stage during the Saturday night show. One staffer is playing the guitar and 5 are singing. Photo by Nancy Rubin

What to Bring

Be prepared for your stay in the mountains by bringing the essentials. From bedding and towels, to clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, there’s plenty to pack for your stay. Bring sunscreen and a water bottle for everyone in your family, but don’t forget layers for the chilly nights. Please see our What to Bring page for what you should (and shouldn’t) bring with you to camp.

Accommodations

Most of our accommodations at the Lair are tent-cabins, wood A-frame structures with a canvas tent top and door flap. Inside, you’ll find frames and mattresses for everyone, a set of shelves, a light over head, and an outlet. The shared bathrooms and showers are conveniently located throughout camp. Please see our Accommodations page for more details on all possible accommodations.

All schedules, programs, and dates are subject to change.

*Please note that for week-long family camp sessions, CAA membership is required for a least one attending adult in each individual tent. CAA membership is not required for any of our adult sessions or Family Weekends. You do not need to be a Cal graduate to join the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). To join CAA, please call 888.CAL.ALUM.

Ready to Attend a Family Camp?

Make a booking request by our February 28th priority deadline.

Book A Tent
A multi-generational family dressed in Cal garb and blue and gold posing for a family portrait in front of the wooden Bear statue in camp. Photo by Suz McFadden