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Parents and Students

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For Parents

Welcome, parents! We look forward to providing your child with a fun and educational week at Cuyamaca Outdoor School. A San Diego tradition since 1946, your child will have the opportunity to create lifelong memories and learn:

  • Appreciation of nature
  • Understanding of how life functions on Earth
  • How to think like a scientist
  • How to have a positive impact on the environment

Additionally, your child will experience important social and emotional growth at Cuyamaca Outdoor School. They will meet new people, make new friends, practice teamwork, and learn to live in a community. We encourage students to be “ICARE Kids” by demonstrating

Integrity, Cooperation, positive Attitude, Respect, and self Esteem.

The Cuyamaca Outdoor School curriculum is standards-based, hands-on community science. Learning takes place outside in the beautiful Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Our well-educated, knowledgeable, and highly skilled staff are SDCOE employees who are fingerprinted and undergo thorough background checks. Students are always supervised by a Cuyamaca staff member, even overnight.

Directions to Camp

Kids on a Hike on the Chaparral


Your child will participate in a variety of outdoor activities, including nature studies, citizen science projects, and outdoor recreation. Students will live in a large cabin with other students of the same gender. Cabins have bunk beds, heat, and indoor restrooms and showers with curtains. Meals are served family-style in our large dining hall. Check out our sample schedule and FAQs for more details.

COS students posing for photo outside building

Help set up your child for success by guiding them in packing appropriately and by discussing with them behavior expectations; and what it might be like to spend the week away from home, share a large cabin with other students, meet new people, make new friends, and get along with others.

Finally, you can learn more about Cuyamaca Outdoor School by watching this Cuyamaca Outdoor School video tour.

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For Students

Welcome, students! We are so excited to meet you when you come to Cuyamaca Outdoor School. We have many fun activities planned for you.

Here is an example of some of the activities you may be doing during your week at Cuyamaca Outdoor School: Camp Schedule. You can learn more about what to expect by watching a student’s video called

My Journey Through 6th Grade Camp. You can also take this Cuyamaca Outdoor School video tour.

COS students using binoculars during activity

Use this Student Packing List when packing the items you will need for your week at outdoor school.

Remember, only bring items from the “Bring These Items” section! There’s no cell service or WiFi at Cuyamaca, so leave your cell phone at home along with everything from the “Do Not Bring These Items” section.

Check out our Cuyamaca Outdoor School Home Edition videos to meet some of the Cuyamaca staff and discover some fun at-home activities.

COS Virtual Visits: The Great Cuyamaca Science Adventure

COS Virtual Visits: Thoughtful Communication Practices

COS student holding small frog in hand next to water outdoors