Summer Camp 2022 at Sanibel

Summer Camp 2022 At Sanibel flagship campus


A few important tips regarding registration:

  • All wait list requests will be collected via the Active Network registration system. If the week you would like to register for is full, you will be given the option to join the wait list at no cost.

  • You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of completing your camp registration. If you do not receive a confirmation email within this time period, please contact us.

  • Camp inquiries can be made via phone at (239) 472-8585 or by email, at We are open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

  • Most camps are full from June 6th to August 5th for ages 6 to 13! Limited spaces remain for the weeks of August 8th, 15th, and 22nd.

Sea Squirts: FOR THE LITTLE Explorers (AGES 4-6)

$325/ week

9:00AM – 2:00PM*

June 20th – 24th

That’s One Big Noggin’ Dude – Loggerhead Week

Weighing in at a whopping 250 pounds, loggerheads are one of the largest species of sea turtles around. With huge heads, and strong jaws, these reptiles come ashore to nest on Sanibel’s beaches each summer! This week we’re going to celebrate these ocean giants with our tiniest campers. We’ll get down on our bellies and do our best turtle crawls, comb the beach in search of tracks left behind, and create our very own loggerheads from a coconut to take home! We hope you can join us this week because it’s going to be turtley awesome.

August 1st – 5th

Rainbows in the Swash – Coquina Week

Have you heard of Sanibel’s most colorful shells? Donax variabilis is the name, but you may know them as dancing, surfing, or even butterfly clams. Coquinas are small bivalves that live their lives in the ebb and flow of the swash zone. Their shells vary from almost entirely white to yellow, pink, orange, red, purple, brown, black, and blue. Come young ones, let us show you how the sand bursts into color as waves pass by and expose these crazy clams. But we must watch closely because just like that they’ll disappear using their gooey foot to pull them back down. We’ll get colorful and creative with coquina shells this week and ride the waves as we surf alongside them!

*Please note that our camp days are shorter during weeks designed for 4-6 year olds. Our CIT programs will run from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM during these weeks.

Island SKILLS CAMP (AGES 6-13)

$325/ week

9:00AM – 4:00PM

June 6th – 10th

Armed with Brains – Octopus Week

Known for their extraterrestrial look and remarkable intelligence, octopuses continue to surprise scientists with their astonishing abilities. It’s no wonder they’re so smart with having 9 brains and all… yup that’s right: 9! Each arm has its own “mini-brain” and is capable of acting independently while their centralized, donut-shaped brain is also able to exert top-down control. These sneaky cephalopods put their wits to good use; often seen creeping up and startling unsuspecting prey or stealing crabs from fisherman’s pots. This week we’ll learn how octopuses came to be so keen and strategies that scientists use to measure animal intelligence. We’ll put our own minds to the test and experiment with tool-use and problem-solving. And of course, we’ll head out to the beach to explore some of their likely hideouts in the hopes of seeing one up close! Do you think you have what it takes to out-smart the elusive octopus?

June 13th – 17th

Spider Crab Week Recipe: A Pinch of Fun & A Dash of Claws

You can tell a lot about a crab just by looking at its claws. Take spider crabs, for example, who have long, slender pinchers that aren’t so great for defense but perfectly suited for feeding on bits of detritus and algae. Like perfect little spoons, spider crabs dip their dainty claws into the mud to scoop out tiny tasty morsels. This week’s food for thought is all about claws – shapes, uses, and special adaptations. Campers will experiment with different utensils to represent claw shapes and investigate which ones are best adapted to different prey. We’ll don our masks and snorkels to try to catch a glimpse of spider crabs trudging through the mud and use nets to find other species. Come find out what stories their claws tell!

June 27th – July 1st

Nature’s Light Show – Parchment Tube Worm Week

Close your eyes and picture the sea at night. Imagine the moon and stars bright above and now look down into the ocean… did you see it? Over there! A flash of the brightest blue. There must be a parchment tube worm afoot. These wild worms live their lives beneath the sand in self-created, u-shaped, tubes. Better yet – they’re bioluminescent and can emit blue light if threatened. When they sense a predator, they’ll move to the opposite end of their tube and send out blue flashes. The worm hopes to catch the attention of an even larger predator to save them from their current attacker. This week we’re celebrating the wonder that is bioluminescence and learning about how and why animals light up. There will be glow-sticks, there will be fun and games, and of course, plenty of time for some surfing in the Gulf.

July 5th – 8th

*Please note this week of camp is 4 days. Camp will run Tuesday through Friday*

From Sea to Sea, All the Places Cownose Rays Could Be

Cownose rays are a common summer resident on Sanibel’s shores. But Sanibel is just one stop on their epic journey. These rays migrate from New England all the way to Brazil in large groups of up to a thousand individuals. Join us to learn why animals migrate, cues they look for to navigate, and seasonal changes that signal them. And you better believe our counselors have the biggest, craziest, most-extreme obstacle course planned for this week that simulates all of the challenges rays face while migrating. Stingray art will be crafted from sea grape leaves and other natural materials and if we’re lucky, we might even catch a glimpse of a school swimming by. Get ready for an epic week full of adventure as we celebrate cownose rays and wish them luck on their great migration.

July 11th – 15th

Snowballs in the Summer – Snowy Plover Week

Summertime brings a lot of changes to Sanibel’s beaches. Loggerheads crawl out of the Gulf and create large tracks in the sand, Beach Morning Glory starts to bloom in the dunes, and coquinas emerge in the thousands. But perhaps the cutest change of all are the little white puff balls that appear scuttling behind their moms on the beach. Snowy Plover’s nest on Sanibel from March through September and 2022 happens to be the 20th anniversary of SCCF monitoring shorebirds! This week is all about Snowy Plover’s nesting habits, the crazy cute chicks, and how we can protect them. We’ll grab our binoculars to get a closer look and head out to the beach with SCCF’s very own shorebird biologists. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll catch a glimpse of a chicks first flight – join us for a snowy week in summer!

July 18th – 22nd

Calusa Week – Sanibel’s First Shellers

The Calusa, indigenous people of Florida’s South West coast, are considered to be some of the first shell collectors. They used shells to make jewelry, utensils, and tools. At Sanibel Sea School, we love to celebrate the Calusa and pay homage as we retrace their footsteps. We’re going to canoe San Carlos Bay and catch fish with nothing but our hands and our nets. We’ll comb the beach for seashells and create tools using our imagination and things we find in nature. We will eat off of plates that we weave ourselves and build shelters on the beach. We’re going to live off the sea this week; you’re not going to want to miss this classic Sanibel Sea School camp!

July 25th – 29th

Hats Off to Sea Urchins Week

What’s a sea urchin’s favorite accessory? A hat! All jokes aside, there are short-spined, purple sea urchins around Sanibel that pick up small shells and rocks with their sticky tube feet to cover themselves. Clam shells look like tiny hats atop their spines. There are many theories as to why sea urchins practice this covering behavior. Maybe it’s for sun protection, or perhaps camouflage, or could it be to weigh themselves down to combat heavy wave action? This week we’ll explore tide pools, seagrass beds, and sand bars in search of these capped echinoderms. We’ll run some experiments using our tanks back at campus to test these theories, create eco-friendly hats to sink into our tanks and see if the urchins pick them up, and test our own abilities at camouflage with a twist on the classic hide n’ seek. Sea Urchins won’t be the only ones covering this week… Campers will be covered in sunscreen, sand, and macramé bracelets as we tip our hats to the creatures that inspired us.

August 8th – 12th

Thinking About Inking – Ragged Sea Hare Week

Sea hares are marine gastropods found all over the world. On Sanibel, we often encounter the ragged sea hare in the summertime! These gooey green sea slugs look like a clump of algae crawling along the bottom. They might seem defenseless but if threatened, sea hares release a cloud of bright purple ink! We’re pretty sure that magicians disappearing in a burst of smoke got the idea from a sea hare. But their ink doesn’t just create a diversion, it also has the ability to disrupt predators’ sensory receptors making it hard for them to smell the sea hare anymore. This week is all about inking – who does it, how they do it, & why they do it? We have the best ink tag game planned as well as an experiment to see if we can make our own ink. We bet you can guess the art project this week – it’s tie dye, a Sanibel Sea School favorite! Come think about ink with us!

August 15th – 19th

No Tissues, No Problem – Sponge Week

We’re getting back to basics this week as we learn about one of the simplest animals in the sea – the sponge! They have dense yet porous skeletons filled with channels but get this – they have NO nervous system, NO digestive system, and NO circulatory system! Sponges are filter feeders that rely on a constant flow of water through their body to acquire food and oxygen. They may be basic but the activities this week will be anything but. Grab your masks and snorkels because these sessile creatures live attached to rocks or shells below the surface. We’ll learn to identify different species, watch filter feeding in action, and repurpose washed up sponges to create awesome ocean art. Sometimes simple is best – join us for a super spongey week! 

August 22nd – 26th

No Need for Speed – Burrfish Week

If you watch burrfish closely, you might notice that they don’t use their tails to swim. Instead, they use pectoral fins, on the sides of their body, to propel them like wings! The tail is used to steer and stabilize. Because of this and their round body shape, burrfish aren’t exactly the fastest fish in the sea. But don’t fret, these wild fish are anything but defenseless. They’re poisonous and covered in spines which should be enough to deter most predators. But in the off chance one gets too close, their last-ditch effort is to PUFF and make themselves look larger. So, there’s really no need for speed when you’re spikey, toxic, and inflatable. This week we’ll grab seine nets and dip nets in the hopes of catching a striped burrfish and get a closer look at their anatomy. But we must be careful, campers, as we never want to make a puffer puff on purpose (say that 3 times fast). We have plenty of awesome tag games planned to learn about predator defenses and we’ll create burrfish using papier mache and shells. Predators be warned, it’s team burrfish this week and we want you there!


Counselor in Training (CIT) Program (ages 13-17)

$215/ week

Offered weekly simultaneous to Island Skills and Sea Squirts. CITs arrive one hour prior to the start of camp and leave one hour after the camp day ends. CITs arrive at 7:30 AM on Mondays.

This program is designed to teach our older campers the skills needed for leadership and future employment. CITs are a vital link between our younger campers and the counselors 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. All CITs will complete an online leadership training course prior to camp. On any given day, it is hard to tell who is having more fun, the campers or the CITs.

Some participants with prior CIT experience at Sanibel Sea School may be eligible to be a Senior CIT Click here for more information. 

June 27th – July 1st, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

A Week in the Field (Ages 13 – 15)


Have you any interest in becoming a field biologist and studying wildlife in its natural environment? Then this week is for you. From digging in the mud in a mangrove forest to surveying shorebirds on the coast, to combing the early morning beaches in search of a sea turtle nests, or water sampling and oyster measuring – the field biologists of Sanibel Island do it all, and so will our campers! We will work alongside SCCF’s scientists to conduct shorebird surveys, learn about resident sea turtle nesting and regulations, get down and dirty as we plant red mangroves for restoration, and much more. Campers will get hands-on experience in a variety of field techniques and research methods. Get ready to get your feet wet, hands dirty, and mind-blown as we discover what a day in the life of field biologist is really like.

July 11th – 15th, overnight camping trip on Cayo Costa

Barefoot on a Barrier Island (Ages 11 – 12)


We’re campin’ on Cayo this week to learn all about barrier islands. What better way to do that then to totally immerse ourselves on an untouched Gulf Coast island accessible only by boat or kayak? Cayo Costa, located just North of Sanibel, features nine miles of undeveloped shoreline for swimming, snorkeling, shelling, fishing, birding, and exploration. We will camp in gender and age segregated 8-person tents. Each day we will adventure to a different section of the island until we know it like the back of our hands. We have a larger-than-life island-wide scavenger hunt planned and plenty of tent competitions. Come kick off your shoes and sink your toes into unspoiled sand – this is coastal Florida at its best!

*July 11th is spent at Sanibel Sea School. Campers will come on July 12th ready to camp for 3 nights. We’ll return on the 15th.*

July 18th – 22nd AND July 25th – 29th, overnight camping trip in the Florida Keys

Key Largo Coral Reef Week – 2 Weeks Available


The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of 14 marine protected areas in the U.S. and we are lucky campers to be able to zip down to Key Largo and see sharks and eagle rays and Goliath Groupers and Midnight Parrotfish, pillar corals, mountainous corals, and the list goes on! We will camp in gender and age segregated 8-person tents at the Key Largo Kampground and head out on a snorkel boat each morning with Rainbow Reef Dive Center to study the reef. The afternoons will be spent conducting experiments and adventuring to find snorkel spots from shore. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is just a short drive away! It’ll be a hot, glorious week of learning, snorkeling with good friends and soon to be good friends, campfires and tent competitions.

Please note that we are visiting a new location this year. Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge has closed its rustic camp sites but we have found another perfect location in the Florida Keys to host our beloved CRW.

  • July 18 – 22 (ages 13-14)

This is our initial week of travel investigations to coral reef environments. We will focus on camping and outdoor skills, successful living away from home, techniques for the exploration of new surroundings, basic coral reef species identification, basic snorkeling skills, and simple laboratory investigations.

  • July 25 – 29 (ages 15 – 17)

This is a more advanced week. We will use and hone camping skills, learn and practice more intense snorkeling skills; will dive deeper into the identification of a larger diversity of coral reef critters more, and conduct more extensive laboratory exercises. In general, we will ramp up the scientific components of how we learn about and describe coral reefs.

Looking for Wahine Toa or Have Paddle, Will Survive? These two teen paddling camps will be hosted out of the Bailey Homestead this year! Visit our Camp at the Homestead page to learn more.


A few important tips regarding registration:

  • All wait list requests will be collected via the Active Network registration system. If the week you would like to register for is full, you will be given the option to join the wait list at no cost.

  • You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of completing your camp registration. If you do not receive a confirmation email within this time period, please contact us.

  • Camp inquiries can be made via phone at (239) 472-8585 or by email, at We are open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

  • Most camps are full from June 6th to August 5th for ages 6 to 13! Limited spaces remain for the weeks of August 8th, 15th, and 22nd.