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plus airfare to San Francisco and from Phoenix
San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Pacific Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale
Stargazing takes on two completely different meanings when you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and when you’re sitting around a campfire underneath the night sky in Bryce Canyon. This trip truly has it all – the magic of California combined with the beauty of canyon country. Incredible cities, breathtaking National Parks, adrenaline pumping activities, and an unbelievable group dynamic will lead to your once-in-a-lifetime summer with unforgettable memories!
Welcome to the City by the Bay. After our orientation, you’re off to ride the famous cable car into Chinatown for an incredible meal. In the next two days, visit “the Rock” (Alcatraz), explore Pier 39 and see its famous residents (the sea lions), sample fresh seafood near Fisherman’s Wharf, taste chocolate in Ghirardelli Square, wobble down the most crooked street in the world, walk Golden Gate Bridge, cheer on the A’s or Giants game and so much more!
Take on the rapids on your rafting adventure. The next day, unwind on the shore of Lake Tahoe under the California sunshine, take a swim, play beach volleyball and enjoy a traditional BBQ on the beach. Go waterskiing with professional instructors or go tubing or wakeboarding before a late-afternoon sailing cruise around the lake on our private charter. Back at our camping resort start a game of basketball, play tennis or take a dip in the pool.
You’ve made it to SoCal. Take your first dip in the Pacific Ocean and take in one of Hollywood’s biggest films to get you ready for your next stop on this journey, the entertainment capital of the world!
UCLA, an incredible college campus spread across 419 acres at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, is our home for the next 4 nights. Tour the world’s most famous back lot on the Universal Studio’s Studio Tour and come face-to-face with Jaws, King Kong, the Mummy and other Hollywood stars. Look for your favorite celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and compare handprints with David Guetta, the most recent imprint, outside of Mann’s Chinese Theater. Check out the characters on Venice Beach, watch for celebrities on Rodeo Drive, and watch today’s hottest comedians at the IMPROV. Stroll into the trendy college town of Westwood Village for the best ice cream sandwich. Visit the Museum of Tolerance and give back at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Spend the day at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland.
Enjoy the warm California sun and cool ocean breeze as you learn to surf with professional instructors. Take a guided bus tour through the San Diego Zoo; be sure to keep your eyes open for the famous panda bear exhibit. Take part in an epic laser tag battle with your trip mates.
To quote Elvis Presley, Viva Las Vegas! Stroll the world famous strip and see all the sites you may recognize from TV and the movies – the Venetian’s canals as seen in the movie Rat Race, the erupting volcano at the Mirage, the forum shops and Coliseum at Caesars Palace featured in episodes of Friends, Will & Grace and the Sopranos and the MGM’s casino robbed by Danny in Ocean’s Eleven. Float along the 400′ long lazy river, lounge alongside the wave pool or play beach volleyball at the Monte Carlo. Twist and turn on the Roller Coaster at New York-New York with famous Big Apple landmarks including the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Scream from the top of the Stratosphere on one of the world’s three highest thrill rides: Big Shot, Insanity or X-Scream.
Marvel at the colors of the sandstone cliffs and valleys contrasting against a beautiful blue sky in Zion National Park. Star in “How the West Was Lost” at the Chuckwagon Cookout in Utah’s Little Hollywood. Be amazed by the red, orange and white hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. Hike the Bright Angel Trail for breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.
Travel through the desert with Pink Jeep Tours and incredible red rock formations including Capitol Butte, Chimney Rock, Lizard Head and Doe Mesa. Indulge your appetite during brunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Head back to the resort to work out, tan or lounge by the pool. Reminisce about an incredible teen tour at your farewell banquet.
*As per the National Park Service, we disclose that Alcatraz tour has a retail value of $27 included in the trip tuition.
San Francisco was founded in 1776. Whether you call it the City by the Bay, Frisco or the Golden Gate City, it is the second most densely populated city in the U.S. after New York City.
During the 29 years Alcatraz was used as a Federal Prison, the jail held such notable criminals as Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz), George “Machine Gun” Kelly, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Alvin Karpis (who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate). The prison made famous by the movie The Rock and current TV show. Take a MP3 tour and learn about the island’s history, the inmates who lived there and the famous escape.
The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge’s paint color is orange vermillion, also called international orange. Architect Irving Morrow selected the color because it blends with the bridge’s setting.
Lombard Street is San Francisco and America’s crookedest street. The roadway has eight switchbacks that were born out of necessity to reduce the hill’s natural 27% grade. The crooked section of the street is reserved for one-way traffic and is paved with red bricks. The street is featured in multiple video games, including Midtown Madness 2. The Real World: San Francisco was filmed at 949 Lombard Street.
Pier 39 offers restaurants, souvenir shopping, and lots of sea lions. Fisherman’s Wharf is well known for its Clam Chowder so try some for lunch! The best thing about Pier 39 is the hundreds of sea lions or “sea- lebrities” that sun themselves outside of the edge of the mall.
David Johnson also known as the World Famous Bushman, is a busker (street performer) who has been entertaining passers-by along Fisherman’s Wharf since 1980. Johnson hides motionless behind some eucalyptus branches and waits for unsuspecting people to wander by. When they approach, he jumps out and startles them by yelling “Ugga-bugga! Crowds gather to watch him work, often including those he has previously scared. Johnson claims to earn $60,000. He employs a bodyguard to protect him against attacks by the un-amused, to distract his targets, and to alert him to the approach of elderly people so he can avoid scaring them. Keep your eye out for him as you are walking along the Wharf!
Ghirardelli Square features shops and restaurants. Ghirardelli is the sweet treat from San Francisco and as you are browsing the shops, be sure to pick up your free sample. The Ghirardelli Chocolate empire has grown from a simple collection of bars to a full-fledged chocolate company that offers truffles, miniature squares, and even baking chocolate to tempt every chocoholic.
The San Francisco Cable Car was born out of the need to navigate the steep hills of the city. Using a cable traction system, it became easier to move people, heavy goods and other loads up the steepest of San Francisco’s hills. In 1947, the cable car almost was phased out by authorities in the name of “progress”. With only a few miles of track left, the remaining rails were saved from oblivion. The cable cars received their official seal of approval in 1964 when they were declared a National Historic Landmark. Ride a cable car into Chinatown for a delectable feast!
Spend some time browsing the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir! The fortune cookie, that triangular treat adding wisdom to your life, was first baked in San Francisco. If you are lucky, pop in to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company. In 2011, Wired voted the company as one of their top ten “geekiest” places in San Francisco. You just might observe workers making fortunes cookies by hand which you may even be able to sample!
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the Ice Ages. The lake is 22 miles long 12 miles wide. It has a maximum depth of 1,645’.
As the home base of Hollywood, Los Angeles is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production and recorded music.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is considered as one of the flagship institutions of the University of California with over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. With approximately 27,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students, UCLA is the largest university in the state of California.
UCLA student-athletes compete as the Bruins. The Bruins have won over 120 national championships, including 109 NCAA team championships, more than any other university. The Bruins have had at least one competitor in every Olympics since 1920 with one exception in 1924.
With a location near Hollywood, UCLA has been featured in Legally Blonde, Old School, The Nutty Professor, Erin Brockovich, National Lampoon’s: Van Wilder and ABC Family’s Greek.
The Hollywood sign was originally written “HOLLYWOODLAND” and was just used to promote suburban housing around the area. The letters are stationed on LA’s tallest peak, Mount Lee. The sign measures 450’ long and the letters are 45’ tall.
In front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, there are celebrity hand prints by famous actors/actresses. There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs in the concrete.
Variations of this honored tradition are imprints of the eye glasses of Harold Lloyd, the cigars of Groucho Marx and George Burns, the magic wands of Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, the legs of Betty Grable, the fist of John Wayne, the knees of Al Jolson, the ice skating blades of Sonja Henie, and the noses of Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks that serves as a permanent public monument to achievement in the entertainment industry. More than 2,500 5-pointed terrazzo and brass stars are embedded along 1.7 miles. The Walk attracts about 10 million visitors annually. Each year, about 200 nominations are submitted. Anyone can nominate someone in the field of entertainment as long as the nominee is in agreement. The committee selects approximately 20 celebrities to receive stars. Living recipients must agree to personally attend a presentation ceremony. A fee ($30,000 as of 2012), payable at time of selection, is collected to pay for the creation and installation of the star, as well as general maintenance.
Spend the day at the happiest place on earth. Disneyland is the 2nd most visited park in the world, behind the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Great rides include Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. Disneyland holds the distinction of being the only theme park to be designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself. In fact, he had an apartment above the fire station on Main Street. Whenever he was in the park, a light would be on in the window. That light now burns all the time in his honor. Speaking of Main Street U.S.A., don’t forget to take a big whiff outside of the Candy Palace and Ice Cream Parlor as the park pumps vanilla into the air from underground vents.
Currently the park has been visited by more than 600 million guests including presidents, royalty and other heads of state. Every year, guests at Disneyland consume an estimated 3 million hamburgers, 2 million hot dogs, 6.5 million orders of French fries, 1.6 million servings of popcorn, 3.2 million servings of ice cream, 1.9 million gallons of soft drinks and 2.8 million churros. The park does not sell chewing gum because Walt wanted to prevent guests from stepping in it!
After you get off Pirates of the Caribbean, see if you can find the exclusive Club 33. This restaurant is members only. It takes years of being on a waiting list to get in to the club, and membership costs thousands of dollars.
Rodeo Drive is a shopping district famous for designer label and haute couture fashion. Rodeo drive is home to the most expensive store in the world “Bijan”. You have to book an appointment in advance and on average shoppers spend $100,000. If you listen closely to a scene in the movie “Pretty Woman,” you will hear a line that says: “Via Rodeo is the first new street built in Beverly Hills in 75 years.” Speaking of Pretty Woman, did you ever wonder what store Julia Roberts was snubbed in, in “Pretty Woman”? Well, it was a woman’s clothing store named Boulmiche, located just a few steps west of Rodeo, at 9501 Santa Monica Blvd. The hotel she and Richard Gere stayed at in that movie was the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, at the south end of Rodeo.
Nearly every big name in comedy has played the IMPROV including Drew Carey, George Carlin, Chevy Chase, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, Rodney Dangerfield, Jeff Dunham, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Freddie Prinze, Joan Rivers, and Jerry Seinfeld. New and upcoming performers such as Dante, Dane Cook and Pablo Francisco have performed there as well. Get ready to laugh it up!
The Museum of Tolerance is a multimedia museum designed to examine racism and prejudice in the United States and the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust. The Museum of Tolerance is the only facility of its kind in the world.
On your way to Venice Beach, keep your eyes peeled for Venice High. Venice High School was used as the Rydell High School location for Grease, Grease 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street, American History X, Matchstick Men, and Heathers, as well as in several music videos, including Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time, Bowling for Soup’s “High School Never Ends”, and Young MC’s “Principal’s Office”. Venice High was used on an episode of Glee (Yes/No), which recreates the classic “Summer Nights” scene from Grease.
Venice Beach is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, which features performers, fortune-tellers and vendors. Movies filmed here include Role Models, I Love You Man, Million Dollar Baby and The Big Lebowski. Entourage, 90210 and even a South Park episode took place here! As you’re strolling along the boardwalk, keep your eyes open for bodybuilders working out on Muscle Beach.
The mission of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is to mobilize resources to fight hunger in its community. One out of every seven people in Los Angeles County is at risk of hunger. This nonprofit organization founded in 1973 by Tony Collier started in a garage and now provides food to over 900 charities. In the past, we have helped others in need by packaging food and discarding of expired products.
Diddy Riese (often called Diddy’s) is a popular ice cream joint in Westwood Village. They are a local legend known for their made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. Pick out two cookies from a dozen flavors made fresh in-house, as well as a scoop of ice cream from two dozen Dreyer’s flavors.
Get ready for great rides including Jurassic Park, Terminator 3D, The Mummy and the Simpsons. Start your day by touring one of the six major American movie studios and Hollywood’s most famous backlot. Encounter awe-inspiring wreckage at Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. See Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives. Come face-to-face with Norman at the legendary Bates Motel. Witness the explosive special effects of the Fast and the Furious: Extreme Close-Up. Come face to face with Jaws and smell bananas on the breath of King Kong during King Kong 360 3D.
Then, brave the 16 movie-related rides and attractions including the new Transformers: The Ride 3D. Fusing HD 3D media and flight simulation technology, this ride will put you in the middle of the ultimate war zone allowing you to fight alongside Optimus Prime.
San Diego is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and was the filming location of Will Farrell’s Anchorman. San Diego enjoys an average daily temperature of 70.5° year round. Combine this perfect weather with over 70 miles of beaches and you too will fall in love with SoCal.
The San Diego Zoo houses over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. It is also one of the few zoos with giant pandas. Don’t miss the Polar Bear Plunge exhibit that includes 30 species of animals representing the arctic and an underwater viewing area to see the polar bears swimming. You will start with a guided tour that traverses 75% of the park by bus. Don’t miss the gondola, called the Skyfari, for an aerial view.
In Madagascar, the animals from Central Park Zoo think they are in the San Diego Zoo when they land in Madagascar. The zoo is talked about in the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. And, the first ever YouTube video was shot in San Diego Zoo and was uploaded to it.
The inventors of surfing, who were from Hawaii, did it naked. When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866 he wrote “In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf- bathing.”
Step into a high-tech, laser tag adventure. Dodge lasers, and strategize with teammates as you compete for high scores with fog filling a dark labyrinth of corridors and ramps.
Viva Las Vegas! In addition to being America’s gambling capital, at least 150 couples each day make their way to Las Vegas so that they can get married. Most wedding chapels work round the clock. And the nearby city of Reno will give you an equally quick divorce if things do not work out in the first place.
Soar more than 100 floors above the Stratosphere. The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest observation tower in the U.S. and one of the most exciting attractions among Vegas Strip hotels!
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is a luxury mall with more than 160 shops and high fashion boutiques. This was the first destination mall on The Strip. It is one of the most successful high-end shopping malls in the United States and the highest grossing mall in America, with higher sales per ft² than Rodeo Drive. Make sure to check out the talking and moving statues of Venus, Apollo, Bacchus, Neptune, and other classical deities “acting” in sound and light shows. Also make sure to look up as the sky changes from day to night.
In the 2004 film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, the Average Joes stay at the Monte Carlo during the Dodgeball championships in Las Vegas.
Inside Bellagio, Dale Chihuly’s Fiori di Como is composed of over 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, covering 2,000 sq. ft. of the lobby ceiling.
The Fountains of Bellagio is a choreographed water feature with performances set to light and music. The fountains are set in a 9-acre manmade lake. Below the lake is a network of pipes with more than 1,200 nozzles and more than 4,500 lights.
The Bellagio and its fountains are featured in films Lucky You and 21 and prominently in the film Ocean’s Eleven. In Bolt, the hotel together with its fountains is shown while the song Barking At the Moon is playing. In The Hangover, the Bellagio fountains are featured in the opening scenes.
You can see an artificial volcano erupt nightly and hear the sounds of actual volcanoes erupting (a soundtrack recorded by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart) and smell pina colada. To avoid the smell of natural gas, the hotel pumps this fragrance into the air.
The skyline of this hotel includes the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. In front of the property a 150’ tall replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Main Immigration Building on Ellis Island and Grand Central Terminal. The Roller Coaster travels through the property’s interior and exterior. It features a maximum drop of 144’ and hits speeds of up to 67 mph.
Browse the 500,000 sq. ft. Grand Canal Shoppes or take a gondola ride that will make you believe you’re on one of our European programs.
Are you ready for the spectacular American southwest?
Kanab is considered Utah’s Little Hollywood having produced over 70 movies and TV series including The Lone Ranger, Maverick and Planet of the Apes.
Zion, a Hebrew word meaning “a place of peace and relaxation”, was given to the canyon by Mormon Pioneers. Zion has the richest diversity of plant life in Utah with almost 800 native species. Numerous movies have been filmed in this region including Rio Grande, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Thelma and Louise, City Slickers II and Mission Impossible II.
Bryce Canyon is a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion. Carved by wind and water, its natural amphitheaters are spiked with hoodoos, regular rocky pillars of pink, purple, and brown. The name for these limestone spires was derived from the word “voodoo,” a fitting tribute to their strange and haunting shapes.
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles and attains a depth of over a mile. It is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Since the Canyon has little soil, very little vegetation is seen except on parts of the rims. The Grand Canyon began to take shape 6 million years ago, when the Colorado River started cutting into the layers of rock. The resulting walls of rock date back 250 million years and scattered rocks located at the bottom of the canyon date back as far as 2 billion years! Did you know that the Kraft Company produces enough Cool Whip each year to fill the entire Grand Canyon?
Referred to as a version of Miami’s South Beach by the New York Times, Scottsdale is a great city. The Sonoran Desert, comprising Scottsdale, is 120,000 square miles in size (the country of England would fit in that space, twice!). Get ready for sunshine too. Scottsdale only gets about 7 inches of rain a year. Compare that to a Midwestern state that gets nearly 34 inches. Keep your eyes out for one of the coolest cacti, the Saguaro, as well. They are often 25’ tall and are a signature in the desert. Some famous names out of Scottsdale include Brady Corbet, A Christmas Carol’s Sammi Hanratty and from Phoenix, Emma Stone.
Don Pratt, former Hollywood entertainer, was inspired by his friends to create an off-road touring company. Whenever they would come to visit, and he would take them for a ride, it would be the highlight of their trip (exactly like your experience to come)! Inspired by Red Rock country’s breathtaking landscape, pink was the only color that showcased its beauty the way creator Pratt envisioned. When asked why he chose this color as his signature look, his answer is “Why not? Pink is fun!”
You will stay in the finest hotels and resorts. All of our properties are chosen based on safety and security, amenities, comfort and location to our activities. Each trip member has his or her own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest.
While staying at either the Westin or Aloft by W hotels, you will get to enjoy the contemporary, spacious rooms, LCD TVs, and spectacular indoor pools.
After a day of catching waves or sightseeing come back to the either the Marriott Del Mar or the Marriott Mission Valley to enjoy the fabulous pools, whirlpools, and fitness centers (if you have the energy, of course!)
Located on famous Las Vegas Boulevard, “The Strip,” around the corner from New York New York and just down the block from the Bellagio Water Fountains, Caesar’s Palace and the Forum Shops, this hotel has its own wave pool and lazy river, the perfect place to cool off from all the excitement of Vegas!Check It Out!
The SpringHill Suites in Flagstaff is a great place to relax after a great day at the Grand Canyon. The hotel features all newly remodeled suites with flat screen televisions. The hotel has both a fitness room and indoor heated pool.Check It Out!
Enjoy kicking back at the Marriott McDowell Mountains or the DoubleTree Resort Paradise Valley, Scottsdale. Both properties provide a tranquil setting for the sparkling outdoor pools, whirlpools, and well-equipped fitness centers.
Get a taste of the college lifestyle on world class campuses and as time permits, take advantage of incredible facilities.
The UCLA campus is so amazing that after your stay here, you might not be able to wait to send in your application. Enjoy their unmatched facilities and check out the bookstore in the Ackerman Union (the perfect place to pick up a great hoodie). You know you can wear it with pride, as in 2007 UCLA became the first US College to win 100 team championships.Check It Out!
Forget anything you think about when you hear the word “camping.” There’s a reason we call it Deluxe, and a reason your time roasting around the campfire, playing football in a large field with snow-capped mountains in the background or lounging in the hot tub will be some of the highlights of your North American Active Teen Tour.
You will stay at private campgrounds with hot showers and clean modern bathroom facilities – yes that means indoor plumbing! Don’t be surprised to find that many of the campgrounds feature pools and hot tubs, basketball courts and plenty of room for soccer and fire pits for evening bonfires and roasting s’mores.
Our experienced leaders will introduce you to the joys of camping and guide you in everything you need to know, no experience is necessary. For a comfortable night’s rest, we provide cots and insulated air mattresses inside the largest tents in teen travel today. Our sturdy cabin style tents (16’x10’) have windows (with screened vents) and floors. Set up is quick and simple! We generally sleep 6 trip members per tent so there is plenty of room for your stuff.
Our professional campsite managers are the best in the business and are an additional staff member at each camping location. They maintain our equipment, purchase fresh produce and manage a delicious menu prepared as a team with your assistance on a rotating basis. Menus include omelets, fresh pancakes, French toast, BBQ chicken or steak, grilled salmon, stir fry, and of course s’mores and banana boats. There is a reason we call it Deluxe Camping as you are truly not roughing it!
You couldn’t picture a more perfect and serene place. A crisp blue lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and of course it’s almost always sunny! Tahoe is a dream camping experience. Relax and enjoy the facilities, take a dip in the swimming pool or the jacuzzi or shoot some hoops on the full court.
Pacific Ocean here you come! The campsite is literally 150′ from the beach and the surf!Check It Out!
Camp at one of Ruby’s beautiful campsites nestled in the pines. Then head out for a day of exploring in some of Utah’s most breathtaking country including Bryce Canyon National Park. At the end of the day, you can use the pool or hot tub before settling in for a quiet, relaxing evening under the stars.Check It Out!
At Westcoast Connection / 360° Student Travel nothing else comes first. From our extensive trip planning department through our management team and our front line leaders, it is our single biggest priority! Safety procedures, equipment – we’ve got it covered. All Trip Leaders and Directors are certified in First Aid and CPR. We are extremely proud of our safety record and welcome all questions you may have in this area. Please see more under Safety First.
Once you are on your trip, you will have sensitive leaders that are caring, approachable and always there for you. Your Trip Director and Trip Leaders are people with incredible backgrounds including teachers, guitar players, IRONMAN triathletes, SCUBA divers, volunteers, and so much more.
Every staff member takes part in and must complete our extensive training weekends that review our philosophy and procedures to provide a well-supervised and fun-filled program.
Our Trip Directors, the individuals responsible for overseeing each itinerary, take on the roles of teachers, coaches, camp counselors, mentors, concierges, and hosts. They’ve been trained to provide individual attention and create an all-inclusive family atmosphere (our EACH & EVERY philosophy). There’s a definite art to building dynamic groups, and we’ve worked hard to master it! We want you smiling on day one right through to a teary goodbye at your farewell banquet.
Our leaders are non-smokers. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Summer Leaders section.
We can’t say it too many times, this is a really incredible group experience. Great dynamics on every trip starts with our secrets for group bonding. Our bag of tricks goes way beyond traditional ice breakers. Imagine people hunts, Rock, Paper, Scissors championships, Ninja tournaments, flash mobs and so much more. We work hard to get everyone moving beyond first impressions and creating an atmosphere of total acceptance. Our staff hiring and training emphasizes social safety and establishing an inclusive culture. Many of our travelers come as individuals and we have a geographically diverse enrollment with students joining us from across the USA, Canada and internationally. This mix helps eliminate cliques at the outset and establish an open environment that benefits you. We take great care in assembling groups to create an unforgettable social experience.
Your summer of a lifetime starts with us carefully crafting the perfect program. Our team is dedicated year round to creating exciting, meaningful experiences! You have a detailed itinerary, but not one that is so rigid that you lose chances for spontaneity! Our Trip Planning Department pays painstaking attention to detail, sweating the small stuff so that your summer experience is stress free. Our trips are designed with a very logical flow: action, adventure and excitement balanced with structured downtime and relaxation. There is a reason our itineraries are known to be “Perfectly Planned. Perfectly Paced.” Our full time team has over 300 summers combined working with teenagers and we understand what you’re looking for. We describe our trips in as much detail as these web pages allow, but to truly appreciate the flow of a particular program, please speak with us to review the trip of your choice.
Get ready because your summer is not going to be spent staring out of a window! For starters, our Active Teen Tours are very different from tours your parents may have gone on. We are always on the lookout for the newest and coolest activities including zorbing in Boston, playing whirlyball in Seattle, snowboarding in July at Mt. Hood, bobsledding in Calgary, riding thrill rides hundreds of feet over the Vegas strip and surfing in San Diego. In some cases highlights (and words for that matter) that didn’t exist back in mom and dad’s day! It’s much more exciting than summer camp. Depending on the specific itinerary, add in nights out at comedy clubs, baseball games, nightclubs and amusement parks and you know you’re in for a treat.
But “active” also means you get to play a big part in how the summer turns out. We want you engaged and are interested in what you have to say. You have a role in this trip and how it gets molded.
There is so much more to a teen travel experience than just traveling. Summer after summer we love nothing more than the many calls and notes from parents sharing with us how they can’t believe how much their son or daughter has matured, helps out more at home, is more outgoing and confident, is more poised, more responsible and more worldly having had not just the summer of a lifetime, but a life changing experience as well. It’s amazing how much growth can occur when you are having fun, feeling socially safe, branching out into new friendships, and being yourself.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping just outside of one’s comfort zone. With a taste of age-appropriate independence and a well-deserved break from overly scheduled lives during the school year, teens can enjoy a very healthy reprieve from the usual pressures associated with home and school. We want you to be empowered and will provide opportunity to grow as a leader and further develop your self-confidence!
Living, experiencing, working and learning together, our trip members are afforded the chance to interact with other teens who share both similar and different backgrounds and interests. Everybody grows in their social acceptance of others.
By the end of the program we hope to have lit a spark – to travel, to learn, to meet new people, to try new things and to explore. With new friendships, new memories and new life skills on which to build, our teen travel experiences are truly unforgettable.
There really is a difference in how different summer programs operate! Motivated teens going away with qualified leaders is a given. But what sets us apart is the depth of our qualified personnel that allow us to perform with the greatest consistency at the highest level.
Your Trip Director and Trips Leaders are with you throughout your program. They have daily contact with one of our two 24-hour Communication Centers and are in regular contact with our Company Directors. Our Company Directors are the most seasoned veterans who each oversee specific programs providing support to trip staff and to assist with any situations that may arise. Our Company Directors alternate between traveling to visit programs and being reached in the office.
Program visits enable us to provide ongoing support and development to our Trip Directors, allows trip staff to have a sounding board for their own progress in reaching trip goals, helps us to identify any challenging areas for improvement while it still has relevance to your summer rather than as a mention on your end-of-summer survey, and helps us to identify the future Directors from the current crop of all-star summer staff. These visits are by Company Directors along with our Regional Supervisors, who are former Trip Directors with further experience out in the field. Collectively this supervisory and management team has an incredible resource with 300+ summers of combined teen travel experience. This way we can lend a hand wherever and whenever a little extra effort is called for. Last year we had 150 scheduled supervisory trip visits to make sure all was running well, provide ongoing support to our staff in the field, and have fun! This investment in depth of personnel is unrivaled in teen travel and is a critical element to achieving consistent, excellent program quality and surpassing client expectations!
Included in the trip tuition are all activities and entertainment described, breakfast and dinner daily, lunches as indicated on your specific program, gratuities, taxes, land transportation, accommodations, and fanatical customer service from our full-time team and summer Communication Centers. This can add up to tremendous value!
Once your action packed day is over, you’re going to need a place to crash. You will enjoy a combination of the finest centrally located hotels and resorts, fantastic college dorms to get a taste of college life, and some deluxe camping. Trip members have their own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest. For more detailed information on each trip that interests you, please visit the section marked Where We Stay.
Our experienced leaders will introduce you to the joys of camping and guide you in everything you need to know – no prior experience is needed. You will stay at private campgrounds with hot showers and clean modern bathroom facilities – yes that means indoor plumbing! Don’t be surprised to find that many of the campgrounds feature pools, basketball courts and plenty of room for football, soccer and fire pits for evening bonfires and roasting s’mores.
Our sturdy cabin style tents (16’x10’) have screened windows for venting, and waterproof bottoms. Set up is quick and simple! We generally sleep 6 trip members per tent so there is plenty of room for your stuff. For a comfortable night’s rest, we provide cots and air mattresses. Our professional campsite managers are an additional staff member at each camping location. They manage the equipment and oversee purchasing fresh produce and meals prepared as a team with your assistance on a rotating basis. Menus include omelets, fresh pancakes, French toast, BBQ chicken or steak, grilled salmon, stir fry, and of course s’mores and banana boats. There is a reason we call it Deluxe Camping as you are truly not roughing it!
A big part of a summer’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality, quantity and choice of food. Our North American Active Teen Tour programs visit great restaurants. Depending on the specific itinerary, you may order off the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Mel’s Diner, Kyushu Hibachi or Jack Astor’s. Still hungry? Here are more of the places you may enjoy… Hard Rock Cafe, Buca di Beppo, Panera Bread, the Corner Bakery, Boudin Bakery, and some really great local favorites like an award winning restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown or Gino’s East of Chicago both featured on The Food Network, or a Boulder institution featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive personal experience in this area. Please speak with us to review your needs.
On our North American Active Teen Tours, you’ll ride in a chartered deluxe, air conditioned motor coach with a professional driver. Our buses have iPod/MP3 connections, DVD players and restrooms.
You will only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list as we visit local laundromats weekly. We will supply the detergent and dryer sheets. Don’t worry if you’ve never done laundry before, most of our travelers have not either! We’ll walk you through the Westcoast Connection laundry lesson, and in no time at all you’ll have the hang of it. Parents, we know the thought of your children doing laundry is making you smile!
We believe in promoting responsibility and community, and have a long history of helping charitable organizations. We volunteer each summer at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank on our trips that visit LA, along with other worthwhile agencies on our trips that do not include Los Angeles. Students on our 360° Student Travel programs have helped dozens of organizations serving thousands in need ranging from building homes from scratch with Habitat for Humanity to running day camps for the Boys & Girls Clubs. Last summer we completed 37,371 hours of service (that’s equivalent to 4.3 years!) in just 8 weeks.
While you’re out having the summer of your life, your parents should feel like they are in on the action as well. We post updates to our blog and Facebook page and e-mail photos approximately once a week so those at home can be in on the fun. Parents also have access to our dedicated office Trip Monitors 24/7 for any questions and/or concerns. We’re as in touch as any trip operator could possibly be via smartphones with e-mail and text. The goal is uncompromising safety and peace of mind, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Participants may bring their personal cell phones.
Planning teen travel is of course a science. But it is also an art. We know when to pick up the pace and to get adrenaline flowing; we also know when it’s time to relax or have a sleep in. As you review our different itineraries, know that we have worked year after year to make every minute of every day just right. In last summer’s surveys, 98.7% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!
All lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, 6 lunches, all recreation, entertainment, gratuities and taxes.
Hotels, Resorts & Dorms (14 nights), Deluxe Camping (6 nights)
Departure dates are assigned to create compatible co-ed age groups.
For an all-indoor version of this program, please check out our Ultimate California – 21 Day program.
© 2014 Westcoast Connection Travel Camp Inc.