Carolina Ocean Odyssey
2023 Registration Now Open
Carolina Ocean Odyssey is a residential co-ed summer camp for rising 5th – 8th graders. The primary focus of this program is to introduce campers to a variety of ocean activities while exploring the wonders of our amazing North Carolina coastal environment. Our goal is for campers to gain confidence, independence, and an appreciation for protecting and enjoying our earth’s oceans while having the time of their life!
Coastal North Carolina offers a unique setting for a hands-on, aquatic adventure program. With water temps averaging in the low 80s, campers will jump right into the adventure. From the clear warm waters and sandy shores of Topsail Island, campers will build confidence as they experience a different aquatic activity each day. Our marine educators lead the exploration of local habitats including dunes, salt marshes, and tidal pools. You’ll also enjoy kayaking, a surfing lesson, boogie boarding, and more! Other activities may include paddleboarding, snorkeling, and a boat tour.
Campers receive expert instruction and care from our highly trained team. Prior to camp, our staff participates in a week of training, which includes lifeguarding, marine science, surf coaching, ocean ecology, childhood development, and behavior management.
This camp is designed for students who are excited about the ocean and exploring the marine environment. We do require that campers be able to swim 25 meters unassisted and be comfortable in water where they can’t touch the ground. Due to our commitment to personal instruction, each camp session will be limited to 16 students and has a 4:1 camper-to-staff ratio.
- Extensive daily boogie boarding and/or water sport instruction
- Learn to Surf with the professionals at WB Surf Camp
- Observe turtle rehabilitation at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center
- Salt marsh exploration including seining, crabbing, clamming, and coastal ecology activities
- Learn ocean safety practices and the importance of conservation
- Enjoy a Hawaiian Luau and traditional camp activities
Camp tuition includes lodging on Topsail Island (in air-conditioned, ocean-view rooms), all meals, 24-hour same-gender adult supervision, equipment, and professional instruction for all activities. Also included: transportation (including drop-off and pick-up from Wilmington International Airport – ILM), Sea Turtle Hospital donation, camp t-shirt, and group photo. Families are responsible for round-trip airfare to ILM or transportation to Topsail Island and additional money for souvenirs.
2023 Carolina Ocean Odyssey Camp Dates:
Coastal North Carolina is surrounded by rich marine ecosystems that countless aquatic species call home. From the expansive Atlantic Ocean, with its miles of white sand beaches on barrier islands to the fluctuating and dynamic salt marsh habitats, Sea Turtle Camp gives you the opportunity to explore the ocean and learn about these amazing habitats. We strive to provide youth with the opportunity to learn more about marine life and conservation through hands-on, experiential activities.
During this awesome adventure, you may participate in activities such as:
- Kayaking through the salt marsh
- Paddleboarding through the coastal ecosystems of North Carolina
- Snorkeling through our crystal clear waters
- Exploring dunes and tidal pools
- Tour the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
- Participate in a community service project
While at camp, students will be staying in the heart of the sea turtle action on Topsail Island. Pronounced Tops’l by the locals, this 26-mile long, quarter-mile-wide barrier island has a rich history filled with pirates, fishermen, and surfers. Since Topsail Island is one of the less developed barrier islands in the area, groves of maritime forest still dot the island and are rumored to hide Blackbeard’s treasure. Nowadays, Topsail is known as a laid-back beach town and a sanctuary for sea turtles.
Campers will be housed in a fully furnished retreat center with an ocean view and beach access just a few feet away. This is an ideal location, as we will only be steps from our outdoor classroom. Students will see the sun rise over the ocean during morning nest patrols.
The rooms are gender-specific and feature air-conditioning, comfortable common areas, and gender-specific bathrooms. Each participant will have his or her own bed. Sea Turtle Camp staff members are housed on-site and will provide 24-hour, same-gender adult supervision.
Campers will not only enjoy the breathtaking sunsets from the decks of the Retreat Center, but also private beach access, campfires, and outdoor activities such as volleyball, corn hole, basketball, and much more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I bring a friend?
How old are the campers I will be rooming with?
Roommates are grouped together by age in order to enhance the overall level of comfort.
Can you cater to special diets?
Yes, we can. You will be asked about food allergies, special diets, and in addition what types of food, snacks, and drinks you prefer in your camper forms.
What do I need to bring?
A complete packing list will be included with your informational registration packet.
What sort of payment do you accept?
We accept checks, money orders, or VISA/MC/AMEX credit cards. All credit card payments are processed online using a secure server. There is a $50 service charge for all returned checks. With the exception of the deposit, a 3% credit card surcharge will be assessed to all payments made by credit card. Please review our cancellation policy. Deposits are not refundable after acceptance into a program.
What airport is best to fly into for your program, and do you provide a shuttle service?
The best airport to fly into is the Wilmington International Airport (ILM), which is located a short drive from our camp facility on Topsail. Our educators meet all participants at baggage claim. The shuttle cost to and from this airport is included in the program tuition as long as the flights are within our flight window of 12 – 3 pm. Flights outside this window are subject to additional fees.
What if I can't get in by the set check-in time?
Please contact our Program Coordinator to discuss arrivals and departures outside of our preferred times. In order to avoid missing any planned activities, participants should try to fly in between 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm on the first day and depart between 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm on the last day of camp. Check-in for campers being dropped off directly at camp is between 2:30 – 3:30 PM and check-out is between 12:30 – 1:30 PM on the last day
What if my luggage doesn't make it?
Occasionally the airlines will misplace luggage or your suitcases will miss connecting flights. We recommend keeping essentials, such as medications, toiletries, bathing suits, and extra change of clothes, in their carry-on luggage just in case.
What is your cancellation policy?
Sea Turtle Camp is an extremely high quality, tight margined program, with limited space. Therefore, once your student has been accepted into the program, exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please review the terms of our cancellation policy. In order to enroll in camp you must agree to these terms. Our full cancellation policy can be found here.
Do you have insurance?
We carry a comprehensive insurance package, including general liability.
How much money should I bring?
We recommend campers bring $50 to $75 per week of camp. This is for snacks, souvenirs, or gifts you wish to purchase while at camp.
Does my child need to know how to swim to be able to attend this program?
Yes. Due to the nature of this program, all campers must be able to swim and have a basic level of comfort in the water.
Can I call home during camp?
We have all campers check in with their parents upon arrival, but we have limited parental contact for the duration of the camp. Sea Turtle Camp is a growing experience, and we find that young people do best and gain confidence through independence. Campers are NOT allowed to carry cell phones at any time during camp. Any cell phones brought to camp will be collected upon arrival and returned upon departure. Parents will be updated through emails and the many pictures we’ll be posting on Facebook throughout the trip! We will provide an after-hours number to reach the office in the event of an emergency.