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Jr. Guard Programs in Orange County

With miles of beaches, it’s only natural that we have a number of Jr. Guard programs in Orange County to choose from. These junior lifeguard programs teach participants water safety, rescue techniques, and swimming skills. And teaching our youth to be strong swimmers is essential for those who spend their summer days splashing in or surfing the waves. Not to mention they can go on to get summer jobs as lifeguards as they get older.

Here are all the Jr. Guard Programs in the Orange County area. Note that swim tryouts for these programs begin as early as late February to early March.

Jr. Guard Programs In Orange County

California State Parks Junior Lifeguard Program

The California State Parks Junior Lifeguard program has branches all over the state, both at beaches and inland. For Orange County, they are all hosted at local beaches. Participants will practice open water swimming and other water activities, and will learn self rescue and rescue techniques, CPR, first aid, ocean safety, and other related skills.

California State Parks Junior Lifeguard Programs are available at the following locations:

  • Bolsa Chica State Beach Junior Lifeguards
    • Bolsa Chica SB between towers 19 & 20
    • Ages 6-8 & 9-15
    • 3- and 4-week programs during the summer
    • Tryouts required
    • Also offers spring and fall camps, and summer beach/surf camps post jr guard
  • Crystal Cove Junior Lifeguards
    • Crystal Cove SP at Reef Point
    • Ages 7-15
    • AM & PM Sessions, 4 weeks during summer
    • Tryouts required
  • Doheny Junior Lifeguards
    • Doheny SB between towers 10 & 11
    • Ages 8-15
    • 4 two-week sessions in the summer
    • Tryouts required
    • Also offers spring & summer surf and beach camps, fall camp, and adult JG fitness class
  • Huntington State Beach Junior Lifeguards
    • Huntington SB between towers 10 & 11
    • Ages 9-15 & Grom Program for ages 6-8
    • Two 4-week sessions in the summer
    • Tryouts required
    • Also offers spring and fall camps, and post JG surf & beach camps
  • San Clemente Junior Lifeguards
    • San Clemente SB between towers 10 & 11
    • Ages 8-15
    • Four 2-week sessions during summer
    • Tryouts required
    • Also offers surf racing camp

Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards

The City of Huntington Beach Jr. Guard program is one of the best in the country and is overseen by the Huntington Beach Fire Department Marine Safety Division. The program emphasizes ocean safety, open water swimming, good sportsmanship, lifesaving techniques, CPR and first aid, competition, and more.

This program runs each summer for 7 weeks from June through August and offers a morning and afternoon session. As a world-renowned Junior Guard program, there are approximately 1,200 students each summer, including some from other countries. The highlight of this program for many students is the “pier swim” where students swim around the Huntington Beach Pier.

  • Located at Huntington City Beach near the HBFD Marine Safety Education & Training Center just south of the pier
  • Ages 9-17
  • 7-week session during the summer with AM and PM programs
  • Tryouts required

Contact Information: 714-374-1501 or [email protected]
Program Location Address: 21071 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

My daughter was a participant in the City Of Huntington Beach Jr Guard program for two summers. We chose the afternoon option. She enjoyed the program and learned many useful skills. While she was a strong swimmer to start with, she improved significantly thanks to the techniques she learned and the time spent in the water. Her first pier swim was scary, but the leaders were in the water with the participants every step of the way supporting and guiding the kids, and my daughters pier swim time improved each time she did it. If you want your kids to understand water safety and feel confident in the ocean and swimming pools, this is a great opportunity.

City Of Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Program

The City Of Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard program is a summer program operated by the city of Newport Beach and the Newport Beach Fire Department. The 7-week program teaches water safety, how to recognize hazards and/or hazardous conditions, and general lifeguard skills. Participants will practice negotiating surf and shorebreak, body surfing, long distance swims, buoy swims, running, rip current management, first aid, and much more.

  • Located at Jr. Guard Headquarters near the Balboa Pier, or for A division, near the Newport Beach Pier at the Benjamin M. Carlson Lifeguard Headquarters
  • Ages 9-15
  • 7-week summer program with morning and afternoon sessions (3-hours each)
  • Swim Test/Tryout required

Contact Information: 949-644-3170 or [email protected]
Program Location Address:

  • Division A: Benjamin M. Carlson Lifeguard Headquarters | 70 Newport Pier, Newport Beach, CA
  • Divisions B, C, D: Junior Lifeguard Headquarters | 100 A Street, Newport Beach, CA

California Junior Lifeguards

The California Junior Lifeguard program has been in operation for over 30 years, and has become a popular summer camp choice operated by experienced professional lifeguards and surf instructors. Through this program, participants can choose from Junior Guards, Mini Junior Guards, a Back Bay Summer Camp, SUP Camp, and a combination SUP/Junior Guard Camp. With 1-week and 3-week sessions, this is one of the shorter Jr. Guard programs, but there are three 3-week sessions so the experience can be combined, so participants can potentially enroll for a full 9 weeks. Camps at the Back Bay are week-long camps and there are generally up to 12 sessions to choose from.

  • Located at Salt Creek Beach Park or Newport Back Bay
  • Ages 8-17 for JG, ages 5-7 for Mini JG, ages 6-12 for Back Bay camps
  • 1-week and 3-week summer sessions, can be combined
  • Tryouts are required for Junior Guards program, not for Back Bay Camp
  • Junior Guard Programs run daily 9AM to 3PM

Contact Information: 949-257-2254/714-901-9030 or [email protected]

Program Locations:

  • South Orange County at Salt Creek Beach Park in Dana Point at Pacific Coast Highway and Niguel Road
  • Newport Dunes Back Bay Camps: 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, CA

City Of Laguna Beach Junior Lifeguards

Operated by the City of Laguna Beach, this Junior Lifeguard summer camp program meets at Heisler Park, and like other programs, breaks participants into groups based on age and ability levels. There are generally two summer sessions, each with a morning and afternoon option. Sessions are three weeks long, Monday through Thursday. The Laguna Beach program teaches rescue skills and techniques and ocean safety, with a mix of recreational activities and physical fitness. Participants will have competitions, including the Ironchild event at the end of each session, a field trip, and an end-of-session picnic. Registration for this Jr. Guards program is through the city of Laguna Beach’s Parks & Recreation department.

  • Located at Heisler Park in Laguna Beach
  • Ages 8-15
  • Two 3-week summer sessions with Am and PM options
  • Swim Test Required

Contact Information: 949-494-6571 or [email protected]
Program Location Address: Heisler Park, Grass Area at Jasmine Street | 375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

City Of San Clemente Junior Lifeguards

The City of San Clemente offers this Junior Lifeguard summer program through the parks and recreation division. There are three sessions, each running three weeks in length with each camp focusing on ocean safety, learning water rescue techniques, marine safety, and first aid, with physical fitness activities, as well as board and body surfing. San Clemente participants will also get to do a pier jump.

  • Located near the San Clemente Pier
  • Ages 9-16
  • Three 3-week summer sessions
  • Swim test required

Contact Information: 949-361-8219 or [email protected]
Program Location: Near the San Clemente Pier

City Of Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard Program

The City of Seal Beach operates a summer Junior Guard Program that has been running since 1985. The program emphasis includes ocean and beach safety, physical fitness and development, lifeguard and rescue skills and techniques, first aid, and competition, combined with recreational activities like swimming, paddle boarding, surfing, and beach games. Seal Beach residents qualify for a discount and returning junior guards get priority registration.

  • Located at the Seal Beach Pier on the sand in front of the 8th Street parking lot
  • Ages 9-17
  • 7-week summer program meets Monday through Friday from 9AM – 12PM
  • Swim test required
  • Prep classes and conditioning programs are also offered

Contact Information: (562) 431- 2527 x1206 or [email protected]
Program Location Address: Seal Beach Pier | 900 Ocean Ave., Seal Beach, CA 90740

OC Junior Guards

This Junior Guards program is operated and taught by Orange County Lifeguards. The ocean safety program focuses on rescue skills and techniques, ocean and beach safety, navigating rip currents, first aid, competition, and physical fitness. Groups are organized by age and experience. This program offers eight week-long sessions. Sign up for one or all of them for a complete summer program.

  • Located at Strands Beach in Dana Point
  • Ages 8-15
  • Eight 1-week sessions run Monday through Friday from 9AM – 3PM
  • Swim test required

Contact Information: 949-276-5050 or
Program Location Address: Strands Beach | 34116 Selva Road, Dana Point, CA 92629

Lake Mission Viejo Junior Lifeguards

The Lake Mission Viejo Junior Lifeguard program is a skill building program hosted on the beaches of Lake Mission Viejo with scheduled trips off-site for beach days. Participants must either be sponsored by a member of Lake MV or be a member themselves. Students will learn lifeguard and rescues skills and techniques, first aid, water safety, and participate is drills, competitions, games, and more. This program also hosts other special events like a family movie night and other off-site field trips.

  • Located at Lake Mission Viejo, lifeguard tower #3 at North Beach
  • Ages 8-15
  • Program runs June through August
  • Group C: Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays 9AM-12PM (ages 8-11)
  • AB Group: Meets M/W/F 9AM-12PM (ages 11-15)

Contact Information: 949-770-1313 x314 or [email protected]
Program Location Address: 22555 Olympiad Road, Mission Viejo, CA 92692

YMCA Orange County Junior Lifeguard Training

The Orange County YMCA offers a training program to prepare students for more intensive Jr. Guard Programs, with an emphasis on building the swimming skills and endurance necessary to pass the Jr Guard swim tests. These classes are offered on select dates only and meet twice per week for one hour for one month.

  • Available at Fullerton and Newport Mesa
  • Ages 7-15
  • Month-long sessions to prepare students for swim tests

Contact Information: 714-879-9622 (Fullerton) & 949-642-9990 (Newport Mesa)
Program Location Address:

  • Fullerton: 2000 Youth Way, Fullerton, CA 92835
  • Newport Mesa: 2300 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Camp Wild Rivers Junior Lifeguards

This one week (5 day) summer camp is offered at the Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine. Campers can splash into fun with the waterpark attractions, obstacles, and games all while learning important rescue and lifeguard skills, water safety, first aid, and more.

  • Located at Wild Rivers Waterpark
  • Ages 6-13
  • Week-long half-day program
  • No tryouts necessary

Contact Information: 949-749-1900
Program Location Address: Wild Rivers | 10000 Great Park Blvd, Irvine, CA 92618

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Heidi Deal
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights. When she's not writing you can find her solo hiking and going on new adventures with her kids and pup.