Carolina Ocean Odyssey Overnight Camp
2024 Schedule Coming Soon!
Carolina Ocean Odyssey is a residential co-ed summer camp for rising 5th – 8th graders interested ocean exploration. 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 enjoying and protecting our earth’s oceans while having the time of their life!
Coastal North Carolina offers a unique setting for a hands-on, marine 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 salt marshes, coastal estuaries, sand dunes, and turtle nesting beaches. You’ll also enjoy a kayak eco-tour, living shoreline restoration with Ghost Fleet Oyster Co, two days of surfing lessons, boogie boarding, and more!
Campers receive expert instruction and care from our highly trained team. Prior to camp, our staff participates in a vigorous training, which includes lifeguarding, ocean rescue, marine science, surf coaching, coastal 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, our low student to staff ratios ensure personal attention and your camper’s safety in and out of the water. Each camp session will be limited to 24 students, divided into two teams of 12 – the Hammerheads and Sand Tigers! This allows for a 3:1 camper-to-staff ratio (2:1 camper to staff ratio when surfing).
- Extensive daily boogie boarding and/or water sport instruction.
- Two days of surf instruction by our professional staff at WB Surf Camp.
- Observe turtle rehabilitation at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
- Beach time for swimming and relaxing in the sun and waves.
- Daily hands-on, feet-wet Marine Science lessons.
- A behind-the-scenes feeding tour at the NC Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium.
- Salt marsh exploration including seining, crabbing, estuary species identification, and coastal ecology activities.
- Tour a working oyster farm and learn about living shorelines through Ghost Fleet Oyster Co.
- Learn ocean safety practices and the importance of conservation.
- Beach volleyball, gaga ball, basketball, and many more beach games
- Enjoy a Hawaiian Luau and dance party.
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, Carolina Ocean Odyssey gives you the opportunity to explore the ocean and learn about these amazing habitats. When not surfing or boogie boarding, we strive to provide youth with the opportunity to learn more about marine life and conservation through hands-on, experiential activities.
Camp tuition includes lodging on Topsail Island (in air-conditioned, ocean-view rooms), 24- hour access to camp staff, all meals, equipment, and professional instruction for all activities. Multiple sessions can be combined for an extended stay with weekend activities. Also included: transportation (including drop-off and pick-up from Wilmington International Airport – ILM), Sea Turtle Hospital donation, camp t-shirt, camp rashguard, and a group photo. Families are responsible for round-trip airfare to ILM or transportation to Topsail Island.
While at camp, students will be staying in the heart of the surfing and sea turtle action on Topsail Island. Pronounced Tops’l by the locals, this 26-mile long barrier island has a rich history filled with pirates, fishermen, and surfing. Surfers have ridden the waves here on Topsail Island since 1965!
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 surf town and a sanctuary for sea turtles.
Campers will be housed in a fully furnished retreat center with an ocean view and private beach access just a few feet away. This is an ideal location, as we will only be steps from our outdoor classroom and fun waves. Students will see the sun rise over the ocean during morning nest patrols or wave spotting.
Students will also enjoy dining together in our very own dining hall. Our full-time residential kitchen provides the best quality food and can accommodate many dietary restrictions.
Rooms are gender-specific, feature air-conditioning, comfortable common areas, gender-specific bathrooms and each participant will have his or her own bed. Camp staff members are housed in each bunk room and are within ear shot and eye shot of campers for 24 hours a day.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 does my camper need to bring?
A complete packing list will be included with your camp forms once you’ve completed the enrollment process.
How old are the campers my child will be rooming with?
Roommates are grouped together by gender and age in order to enhance the overall level of comfort. A staff member will be housed in each bunk room for supervision.
Should my camper bring a friend?
While most participants come alone, you are welcome to come with a friend.
Can you cater to special diets?
Yes, we can accommodate many dietary restrictions and preferences. If your camper requires a special diet, we are happy to ensure your camper’s dietary needs are met. You will be asked about food allergies and special diets in your camper forms. If you have additional questions or concerns, our Program Coordinators would love to help you!
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. WB Surf 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.
Are the kids going to get to surf during camp?
Yes, campers will participate in two surf sessions during the week. When not surfing, we will spend the rest of the week participating in other water activities such as daily boogie boarding, kayaking, beach games and more! If your child wants a program that is primarily surfing, please check out our Kids Surf Camp or WB Teen Overnight Surf Camp programs.
My child isn’t the strongest swimmer, is Carolina Ocean Odyssey for them?
Since water activities are physically demanding, we do require that campers be able to swim 25 meters unassisted and be comfortable in water where they can’t touch the ground. Our lifeguard-certified staff will conduct a swim test on the first day of camp to ensure the safety of each camper whenever they are in the water. Campers that are looking to build their water stamina in the ocean should consider our Kids Camps. These programs are specifically designed to improve kids’ comfort level in and around the ocean.
What is your cancellation policy?
WB Surf 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. We strongly recommend families purchase trip insurance to protect their investment. Additional information for trip insurance coverage and providers can be found here. Please review the terms of our cancellation policy. In order to enroll in Carolina Ocean Odyssey, 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.
Kathy, Charlotte, NC
“It was the first overnight camp for my 11 year old son. The staff with WB Surf Camp answered all of my questions and made me very comfortable. They even called two days before camp started! Their friendliness at check-in exceeded my expectations. I was really happy to have an insider view into camp with posts on Facebook. The counselors were equally kind and friendly on pick up day. Totally a fantastic experience, from initial contact to picking my son up. See you next summer!”
Sawyer, Raleigh, NC
“Attending WB Surf Camp was an amazing experience for me. I was very glad I chose WB Surf Camp to be my first overnight camp without anyone I knew. And the level of comfort was great; the instructors were so nice and tried super hard to keep everyone happy and comfortable. Honestly, there is not much more to say than THE CAMP WAS AWESOME! Thank you so much for the wonderful experience.”
Audra, Covington, LA
“WB Surf Camp is honestly the best camp ever. I loved meeting new friends and improving my surfing abilities! Everyone was like a big family. We all got so close. All of the instructors were super helpful and friendly! They made me feel right at home the day that I walked in. They make learning about coastal protection fun! I can’t wait to go to WB Surf Camp again next year!”
Rob, Franklin, MA
“WB Surf Camp was the best experience of my life! I feel like I really improved my surfing ability and I met awesome people! The counselors Steve, Hunter, Marissa, Colby, and Sarah were all really cool and knew a ton about surfing. The eco activities were fun and I really learned a lot! We even went bowling on the last night of camp. It was a great feeling being away from home and just going to the beach to surf every day, and I’d do it again. By the end of the week, everyone was really close, and nobody wanted to leave!”
Lianne, Woodbury, NY
“After having a bad experience my first time trying to surf in New York, I decided I’d give the sport a second try. Going to a WB Surf Camp was something completely different from my normal summers and it was truly an incredible experience. Learning to surf was not the only memorable thing but I also made so many friends within such a short amount of time that I will keep forever, and had awesome counselors who truly enjoyed being with us! I will always remember and cherish Surf Camp and I will definitely continue surfing and loving all that the ocean has to offer.”
Eleanor, Chapel Hill, NC
“WB Surf Camp was awesome, I’ve surfed before but at Surf Camp you get really good practice and become more capable of standing up, being comfortable with the ocean, paddling out easily, and catching waves by yourself. I had tons of fun and would definitely love to come back next year.”
Alyssa, Fredericksburg, VA
“Wow, your camp is amazing, one of the best weeks of my life! You have really put together a masterpiece. Your camp contains every element of summer, flexibility, sun, surf, great friends, relaxed atmosphere, and exciting activities all rolled into one great week.”
Grace, Arlington, VA
“WB Surf Camp was an amazing experience. Every day from eating at wag to surfing to cleaning the beach to playing “nuke-‘em” before bed it was all fun!”
Patrick, Schenectady, NY
“This camp is amazing. The instructors are all amazing and they make you feel comfortable. You make new friends and surfing with them is a lot of fun. This is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Celeste Reeves, Charlotte, NC
“Surf Camp was an amazing experience and like none other. I had such a fun time there that when I got back home, I was sad that I wasn’t surfing. I will definitely be doing another surf camp next year and can’t wait for the new adventures that await me.”
“In the summers before WB Surf Camp I went to language schools in England, to improve my English. This year I wanted to try something different and I had always wanted to learn to surf. Not only did I have an amazing time with great instructors, meeting a lot of new friends, and being introduced to surfing but I actually learned much more English in Surf Camp than in the language schools I’ve been to previously.”