At YMCA Camp Santa Maria, we give campers a wide variety of activity options throughout their camp stay. They can ride local trails, fine-tune their archery skills, build gnome homes, take out a kayak or a SUP, and much much more. They can get creative in our arts and crafts room, star in a skit of their creation at campfire, dance, climb, swim and bond with their new friends. Depending on the program your child signs up for, they may even have the opportunity to nurture their wilderness survival skills during overnight backpacking trips or they may spend their time mentoring younger campers and refining their leadership skills. Basically, camp is their oyster.

kids performing on outdoor stage


Do you like to make people laugh? Cry? Gasp? Join our drama program and put on a show to remember.

paddleboard on the lake at camp


Whether you can balance or not, you should definitely try paddleboarding. You don’t have to be able to stand on your head, you can sit on your knees and work your way to standing up.

archery at camp


Channel your inner Robin Hood, Legolas, Merida or any other archer idol at our archery range. 

slip-n-slide at camp


A favorite camp pastime, our slip n slides are almost 100 feet long and provide hours of entertainment. Often busted out on hot, sunny days, the slip n slide is a great way to spend the afternoon.

rock climbing


Whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned climber, you will find a challenge and fun at the crag, our natural rock wall. You can work on your skills on our top-rope only routes and solidify your climbing foundations under the supervision of experienced instructors. 

boy playing music at camp


If you enjoy music and know how to play or want to learn, we can provide a place and someone to teach you the basics. Our music program also plays a couple of songs for the entire camp on the last night. Space is limited based on instruments available.


Arts and Crafts

Friendship bracelets, tie-dye shirts, pet rocks and oh so much more. Spend some time in our arts and crafts room to learn your new favorite craft.

kayaking in the lake at camp


While kayaking at Santa Maria is mostly done on flatwater, you can learn or practice your current paddling skills. This activity is restricted based on age and swimming ability.

swimming with mountain views


With a heated outdoor pool, swimming at Camp Santa Maria is a blast! If you enjoy the water, there isn’t a better place for you to be.

group of bikers at camp

Mountain Biking

Shred the trails of Camp Santa Maria on one of our hardtails or bring your own bike. You must know how to ride a bike prior to participating in this skill track and space is limited based on availability of bikes.

hiking at camp santa maria


If you love nature, Camp Santa Maria has miles of trails that you can explore! Practice your trail etiquette, learn about Leave No Trace and maybe even catch a glimpse of Bigfoot at CSM.

girl wearing BB8 costume at camp

Theme-based Games and Activities

Every week, campers can look forward to different all-camp activities. Throughout the summer, we look forward to themed activities such as Summerween, a Quidditch game, Color Wars (Capture the Flag), and more!

Ropes course at Camp Santa Maria

Low Ropes Course

Our 9-element low ropes course is designed to empower our campers, build confidence and communication, improve cabin connection and nurture camper/counselor trust.



Flatwater canoeing on the lake is a magical experience at camp. Campers can have a chance to work on your team building and technical skills as they soak in the views of the valley. For some of our outdoor-oriented programs, campers can look forward to night canoeing on the lake and enjoying s’mores on the water!


Survival Skills

Learning how to survive in a remote setting using only the skills and supplies on hand is so empowering. Campers in this activity can get excited to learn safe fire skills, shelter building, rope skills, and more!



At Camp Santa Maria, we begin and close our sessions with an all-camp campfire. As camp people, we are constantly learning to adapt so we like to get creative with getting the stoke high even during a burn ban. Campers will spend time during the week preparing a song or skit to present to their friends on stage on Thursday night.

Parent’s Glossary

Your child may return home from camp wielding a whole new vocabulary. Understand their campy language with the help of our glossary.

Breakfast of Champions: A camp tradition. On Friday mornings, the campers who want to are led to the statue and back down to main camp to jump into the lake for a polar plunge!

Smorgasbord: This is a time in the afternoon that we open up many different areas of camp for kids to choose from, so they can experience more than just their skill tracks.

Gnome Homes: At YMCA Camp Santa Maria, we have a booming population of gnomes. They are a nomadic population and can move year to year. Unfortunately, due to the population increase, there is a housing crisis and we need help from everyone at camp to provide shelter for the gnomes! 

Bead Ceremony: At the end of each session, counselors will award campers with beads that recognize their growth in their programming, and will also distribute beads that represent the Y Core Values to campers that best exemplified them throughout the week. 

Gummie: The toothless, vegetarian alligator that often inhabits our lake.

Danger River: The dangerous, off-limits river that runs through camp.

The Icebox: A three-sided stone structure in our upper field that is often used a meeting place.

Embers: Every night, campers are given prompts to help with self-reflection and communication among their cabinmates. Embers most often occurs in a circle in the middle of the cabin but can be experienced outside around a dying fire. Hence the name, Embers.