Summer Camp

Inspired by Carl Hiaasen's book Hoot and our own childhoods, we offer a number of summer camps where kids learn a little biology, a few old school “waterman” skills, and some kid skills. We'll make friends, enjoy the ocean, and have tons of fun!

Each week of camp has its own theme and activities, but there are some things we do every week. We surf each day, and our famous Surf Paddling Competition is held each Friday. In Sanibel Sea School style, every day includes surfing, friendship, macramé and team bonding. Then there’s always artwork, journaling, beach time, seining and snorkeling. Our "Milk and Cookies Slideshow" takes place every Friday at the end of the day. Bring some delicious baked goodies and join us to experience your child's week of camp.

We keep the size of our camps small and the meaningful experiences big. Typically, the camper to teacher ratio is less than 6 to 1. Most weeks are geared toward campers 6 – 13, although we do have age-specific weeks for students as young as 4 and as old as 18.

We also offer a Counselor-In-Training (CIT) program for kids 13 and older who would like to explore their leadership potential. Learn more in our summer camp program descriptions. 

We're excited to share the news that beginning in Summer 2016, Sundial Resort will offer a summer camp in partnership with Sanibel Sea School. It will be our first-ever second summer camp location! With our Sundial partner, we will hold 3 weeks of Island Skills Camp for kids and Counselors in Training. This means more ocean exploration and more fun!

We hope you'll join us for summer fun and learning in our island ecosystem!

Winter Camp

This year, we will offer three weeks of camp around Christmas and the New Year. Learn about our 2016 programs below. 

Winter Camp 2016: Ocean Traditions

At Sanibel Sea School, each person who passes through our doors becomes a member of the Ocean Tribe – a tight-knit community built around kindness, love, and shared ocean experiences. Over the years, we have crafted our own set of Ocean Tribe traditions, and we have borrowed and adopted traditions from ocean cultures around the world. This winter, let's celebrate ocean rituals near and far, past and present, as we explore how they have helped people around the world connect with the ocean and with one another for centuries.  

Registration opens October 7th, 2016 at 10 AM ET.

Week 1: Polynesian Ocean Traditions
12/19/16 - 12/23/16, 9 AM to 4 PM, $310

The word Polynesia comes from the Greek words "poly" and "nesos", meaning many islands, so there is truly no better place to have an oceanic tribe. Surrounded by vast seas, cultures living in the Polynesian triangle must sustain their lives using the ocean as their primary resource. As a result, they have become intimately connected with the sea, and understand its creatures, cycles, and power perhaps better than anyone else in the world. 

This week, we'll honor these strong, wise water people by learning to navigate without a compass, as the ancient Polynesians did. Like the shark callers of Papua New Guinea, we will write songs to charm the ocean's fiercest predators and perform them from our boats. We will also pay homage to the Hawaiians, our closest Polynesian tribe, by dancing the Hula and searching for some of the most cherished creatures in Hawaiian folklore. And because this is Sanibel Sea School, there will be plenty of surfing, macrame-tying, and ocean caroling in store!

Week 2: Ocean Tribe Traditions
12/26/16 - 12/30/16, 9 AM to 4 PM, $310

After ten years of exploring the ocean with friends from around the world, we've built a pretty big, amazing Ocean Tribe. With a creaky wooden building as our home, we roam Sanibel with bare feet and surfboards, always ready to catch a wave. We've also been known to adorn our wrists with beautiful macrame creations, and we're some of the best snorkelers in the world!

This week will be all about celebrating our Ocean Tribe identity and our most beloved Sanibel Sea School traditions. We'll surf, we'll make big, fabulous art projects out of natural materials, and we'll jump out of canoes into San Carlos Bay. We'll travel around the island spreading our message of ocean love, and we'll warm up with mugs of hot chocolate after we climb out of the chilly water. Who knows, maybe we'll even create a new Ocean Tribe tradition or two!

Week 3: Japanese Ocean Traditions
1/2/17 - 1/6/17, 9 AM to 4 PM, $310

The island nation of Japan is known for preserving its history and traditions. The Japanese know that the fastest way isn't always the best way, and that joy can be found in the slow process of harvesting resources from the sea – whether seaweed, sea salt, fish, or other treasures. 

This week, we'll slow down and explore the coastal Japanese way of life, appreciating the delight that every minute spent in the sea can bring. We will sample different types of edible seaweed (a staple in the Japanese diet), plunge into the cold water like the Ama, Japan's renowned pearl divers, and try our hand at Gyotaku, the art of fish printing. We'll also hold our own Umi no Hi (National Sea Day) celebration to offer gratitude to the ocean. And because this camp is all about traditions, we'll hold our annual "Give Your Troubles to the Sea" ceremony and paddle surfboards every day. 

Counselor in Training (CIT) Program (ages 13-18)
All weeks, 8 AM - 5 PM, $200

Our CIT program is a leadership program for older campers to learn and practice the skills needed for their future employment. CITs are a vital link between our younger campers and the staff in our programs. Through theory and practice, we teach our CITs how to be leaders and positive role models to those around them. We assign duties and create and maintain performance expectations for these young leaders. We treat them with gentleness, love, and respect, but show them how to carry out the responsibilities they are now capable of and how to use their abilities to become excellent role models. On any given day, it is hard to tell who is having more fun, the campers or the CITs.


Monday - Friday, 9 am – 4 pm

(9 am to 2 pm for 4 - 6 year olds)

Schedule varies for Teen Camp Programs, see camp week descriptions.


Fees for each week are listed with descriptions.

Refund policy: Cancellations made at least one week prior to the camp start date will receive a refund of all payments made less a $50 administration fee per week per child. Cancellations made less than one week before the camp start date are non-refundable.

If the cost of the program is preventing you from enrolling your child, please call us. We’re happy to work with you to ensure an ocean education for all.

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There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.
– Dave Barry