How It Started

Two years ago, a series of personal observations and realizations as a parent, business owner, and dreamer got my wheels spinning. These musings, like a lot of my ideas, were rooted in a heavy dose of nostalgia, a sprinkling of imagination and then cemented by the existence of a unique but temporal opportunity, all of which led quickly to the first COAST Camp session.

It was an experiment for sure—a “Coast Project” as we like to say. An off-the-wall idea that we consider for a moment, do a quick brainstorm, and then create a rapid prototype to “see if it floats”. Thankfully this one worked. Really well, in fact.

That first session—in June of 2014—filled up almost immediately after we mentioned it. Granted, it was mostly with our friends’ kids or at least with children whose parents understood the Coast “Live By It” philosophy.

But even with that, after that first session, it signified a strong calling from parents, kids, and our crew out here on Stock Island that there should be space for kids to do something different. A place to get dirty and sweat, to climb trees and skin knees and to, well, just be a kid…

From that first session, we added three more weeks that summer and last year added a second format—the wildly popular, around-the-island, journey-is-the-destination trek we call Along the Coast Camp —to satisfy the growing needs of like-minded parents and adventurous kids.

Put simply, COAST Camps are the ones you went to as a kid. The one’s where the lessons are all hands-on and the counselors play along so that it doesn’t feel like work. After all, it is summer vacation and we can’t ever forget that. Remember how important summer vacation was all of those years back? For our kids it’s just as important now as it was for us then.

I could go on and on about how important I think it is for kids to play outside, test limits, smile, sweat, fall down and get back up again, but the reality is they need to experience all of that for themselves. And Key West is one of the best places in the world to do that.

What we offer is a way for kids to learn that they live somewhere special and then guide them along so that in the days, weeks and years to come they can not only enjoy, but be confident in exploring the island, the ocean, and the world around them.

COAST Camps are much more than a week’s worth of projects at a boatyard on Stock Island or five days of trekking around the shorelines of Old Town—they are, at first, a wade into uncharted waters.

Then a dive into the adventure of a lifetime…


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