Kids Beach Day Camp FAQ

Questions about our kids' beach day camps? Read on for all the details!

Registration

Camps are available in five-day, weeklong sessions only. If your family can’t make a full, weeklong session work, you may want to still register for a five-day session, and attend when you can. No prorating is possible for missed days.

If your selected camp week is full, you can look at availability for another week or another location – we offer camps all summer long in both New Buffalo and St. Joseph. If you can’t find an available week that will work for your family, please email erin@thirdcoastsurfshop.com to join a waitlist. In your message, please include the dates and location you’d like, and the number of children you want to register.

We will accept 5-year-olds who meet all of the following qualifications: have an older sibling (age 6-12) attending the camp; are able to listen to instructors; and have some swimming experience and are comfortable in the water.

Yes! Please feel free to encourage your friends and family to sign up for the same week of camp. Camps can fill up quickly, so it is best to register as early as possible to ensure your group is all able to attend the same session.

Yes, all kids attending camp should have some swimming experience and be comfortable going into the water - this is an important foundation for learning to surf and stand-up paddleboard.

When you register online, you will provide us with information about each child you sign up – name, age, and any allergies or other special information you’d like us to know about them. After your registration is complete, you will receive an email confirmation with a link to an online waiver for you to complete prior to the start of camp for each child you signed up. If you do not receive an email confirmation after registering or have any difficulty completing the waiver, please email erin@thirdcoastsurfshop.com.

Day Camp Routine

For each of the five days of camp, our instructors will keep kids busy with a variety of fun beach activities, including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and skimboarding. Activities are determined based on weather and water conditions at the time; if the conditions are unsafe on Lake Michigan, we will focus on land-based activities, then make up water-based activities another time. Campers will also take turns with activities and equipment to make sure instructors can provide hands-on supervision, and to give everyone a chance to participate.

If your child prefers to focus only on surfing, you may be more interested in our private surfing lessons. Our surf instructors love teaching kids and families to ride waves on Lake Michigan! Click here to learn more about surfing lessons.

Yes, all kids wear life jackets when stand-up paddleboarding, as required by the US Coast Guard. Life jackets are not required for water activities other than paddleboarding, but we are happy to keep your child in a life jacket for all water activities if you prefer. We have life jackets for campers to wear, but we encourage you to bring your own US Coast Guard-approved life jacket if your child has a life jacket they already are comfortable wearing.

You are more than welcome to drop your child off and come back at pick-up time – the kids are in good hands!

If you'd like to stay at the beach during camp, we encourage you to choose an area where you are not as visible to your child, and to talk with your child about staying with the instructors - not parents - during camp time. For safety reasons, our instructors need to keep the kids grouped together and accounted for at all times, and when a child leaves the group to see a parent, it can interfere with our head count.

Dress your kids for fun activities in the water and on the beach! We recommend they wear their usual beach attire, such as a swimsuit, boardshorts, rashguard, and a hat. Plan to bring a small backpack or bag with anything else they might need, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a towel, a filled water bottle, and a change of clothes (including a sweatshirt or jacket for cooler days). We encourage you to bring a life jacket from home for your child to prevent sharing life jackets (write your name on the inside!).

We provide snacks, water, and all the beach equipment - surfboards, skimboards, stand-up paddleboards, bodyboards, sandboards, and toys (balls, buckets, and shovels).

We have implemented a number of procedures to protect the health and safety of our campers, including smaller group sizes, consistent cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, regular hand-washing and sanitizing, and increased staff training. As always, our camps take place outdoors at the beach - allowing children to maintain recommended social distance and enjoy some much-needed exercise, sunshine, and fresh air! 

Camps run Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 pm Eastern time at New Buffalo Beach (New Buffalo), and 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm at Jean Klock Beach (St. Joseph). See the map below for directions. 

Rescheduling and Bad Weather

If your child is unable to make their scheduled camp week, please notify us at least 7 days in advance at erin@thirdcoastsurfshop.com, and we will work with you to reschedule to a session that has space for additional campers. Please note that while we are happy to reschedule, there are no refunds on camps.

• For safety reasons, camp will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain or thunder/lightning. Parents will be notified of bad weather cancellations via email as soon as possible – as early as the evening before camp, but no later than 90 minutes prior to the start of camp (7:30 am EST for morning sessions; 11:30 am EST for afternoon sessions).

• Camp will take place as scheduled in the event of the following weather conditions:

Cooler temperatures and/or light rain – plan to dress your child in layers as needed, and we’ll adjust activities accordingly.

High winds and/or rough lake conditions – our instructors watch lake conditions closely, and activities will be planned with safety in mind. For example, when lake conditions are unsafe, children will enjoy non-water beach activities, such as sandboarding.

• Each week, if a session is cancelled between Monday - Thursday due to weather, there will be a “make-up session” on that Friday (1-4 pm for morning campers; 9 am-12 pm for afternoon campers). This make-up session will only take place if a camp day is cancelled between Monday - Thursday that week, and will not be available as a make-up session if kids miss camp for other reasons. Only 1 rain date session will be available each week; no additional rain date sessions will be available if more than 1 session is cancelled due to rain. If a Friday session is cancelled due to weather, it will not be made up.

Ready to book? Click below to reserve your spot!

St Joseph Location

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NEW BUFFALO LOCATION

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