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, traverse the river, take out a paddleboat and much much more. They can get creative in our arts and crafts room, star in a play, show off their talents during a talent show, 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.

We have a progressive programming philosophy and some camp activities are based on age. Here is a sampling of the types of activities and adventures your child may experience while at camp:

archery at camp


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

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.

rock climbing


If you feel your spirit animal is a monkey or a mountain goat, practice being just like them on our natural rock wall. You can work on your skills on our top-rope only routes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

girl wearing BB8 costume at camp

Theme-based Games and Activities

Every week we change up some of our offerings to coincide with our weekly theme. We’ve had everything from Care of Magical Creatures, Jedi Training, Pirate Apprenticeships and more!

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! 

Skill Tracks: Our daily activities that all Traditional Campers sign up for.

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.

Morning Motivations: Before breakfast every morning, we discuss a core value of the YMCA with all the campers.

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.