California Adventure

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California Adventure

Destination

California

Current Grades

8th-10th

length

12 Days

view dates and prices
Airports

Arrive: San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Depart: San Francisco, CA (SFO)

This tour of the Golden State is packed with fun adventure. Hike along Big Sur, California’s gorgeously rugged stretch of coastline, and sea kayak among abundant wildlife in Monterey Bay. Participate in a beach clean-up with Save Our Shores, and learn to climb on a secluded granite dome near Yosemite National Park. Walk among sleeping giants in sequoia forests, whitewater raft the American River, and learn to surf on quintessential northern Cali beaches. Finally, wrap up your adventure with a tour of San Francisco, including Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island.

Overview Image

Itinerary

Day 1: Explore Big Sur

Pull on your hiking shoes and get ready to explore the rugged, mountainous terrain of the incomparable Big Sur! We’ll head to Andrew Molera State Park, a rarely-visited stretch of beach—intentionally underdeveloped as wished by its namesake. We’ll meander through sections of the park’s 20 miles of trail through the beach, meadows, and bluffs with views of the entire Big Sur coast. We’ll also head to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where we’ll have unobstructed views of the 80-foot-tall McWay Falls, one of two tidefalls in California that pours directly into the Pacific. We’ll polish off our tour with a trip to Big Sur River Gorge and take a dip in crystal-clear pools surrounded by dramatic granite walls.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 2: Sea kayak in Monterey Bay

Our next adventure will take us sea kayaking in the calm waters of Monterey Bay. From this inlet on the Pacific, we’ll make our way into the biologically diverse Elkhorn Slough. On the way, it’s likely you’ll see sea otters, sea lions, and harbor seals frolicking below us, where pelicans, sandpipers, and loons will be searching the skies above us. More than 340 migratory birds have been identified in this area!
Accommodation: Camping

Day 3: Community service in Santa Cruz

Four hours of our day will be spent volunteering with Save Our Shores, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of California’s coastline and the health of its beach habitats. We give back with a beach clean-up project, helping prevent garbage from floating off into the Pacific Ocean.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 4: Rock climb at Fresno Dome

Next, we’ll head inland toward Yosemite National Park. We won’t be hanging out with throngs of tourists, though; instead, we’ll escape the summer heat and crowds and head to Fresno Dome, sitting above 7,000 feet in elevation. Learn the ins and outs of rock climbing on the smooth Sierra granite; you’ll even get to belay your peers! Fun fact: Climbing legend Royal Robbins spent much of his time developing routes here.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 5: Explore Yosemite and Giant Sequoias

After a day of climbing, we’ll pile in the vans and take a short drive to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, where more than 500 of the world’s oldest evergreens reside. Their branches are up to eight feet thick, while their bases can reach 40 feet in diameter! Just north of Mariposa is the famous Yosemite Valley, where we’ll marvel at the 3,000-foot-tall granite walls and hike Nevada Fall, which towers almost 600 feet above the valley floor. Its turbulent, powerful waters create a refreshing mist that’s sure to cool you off after a day of hiking!
Accommodation: Camping

Day 6-7: Whitewater raft the American River

Don’t be intimidated by the South Fork of the American River’s rapids named “Troublemaker” and “Satan’s Cesspool”—you’ll drop these lively class III rapids with ease with the help of professional raft guides. On the calmer sections, you’ll get to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding! Hemmed in by the rolling hills of the Sierra Nevada, you’ll see relics of history: Gold discovery on its shores triggered the California Gold Rush of 1849.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 8-10: Learn to surf on Stinson Beach

Known by locals as the most beginner-friendly surf spot in the area, we’ll spend two days on Stinson Beach receiving professional surf instruction. You’ll learn techniques, water safety and awareness, and etiquette before paddling out to watch for the perfect line. These mellow waves are so reliable, it’s not unusual to catch 20 to 30 lines in a day!
Accommodation: Camping

DAy 11-12: Explore Alcatraz Island and San Francisco

We’ll finish our northern California adventure with a tour of historic landmarks, including the infamous Alcatraz Island. See reminders of the American Indian Occupation carved into the stone of “the Rock,” and walk in the shoes of notorious criminals like Al “Scarface” Capone during a prison cell tour. We’ll see friendlier sites as well, like the West Coast’s oldest operating lighthouse and the beautiful Gardens of Alcatraz. Then we’ll walk the entirety of the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge before admiring Ghirardelli Square (possibly picking up some namesake chocolate!) and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Accommodation: Camping

 

*Listed above is Bold Earth’s intended itinerary for this trip. All itineraries are subject to change in order to provide the best possible program quality.

Dates and Prices

Departure 1
  • Departure Day
    06/30/20
  • Return Day
    07/11/20
  • Grade
    8–10
  • Price
    $3,388
  • Availability
    Open
Departure 2
  • Departure Day
    07/28/20
  • Return Day
    08/08/20
  • Grade
    8–10
  • Price
    $3,388
  • Availability
    Open
Departure Day Return Day Grade Price Availability
06/30/20
07/11/20
8–10
$3,388
open
07/28/20
08/08/20
8–10
$3,388
open

Accommodations & Service

Community Service: Approximately 5 Hours
  • Save Our Shores: Beach clean-up and environment awareness.
Accommodations:
  • 11 nights of camping. All campgrounds have running water and bathroom facilities on site. Bold Earth will provide comfortable 3-person tents.

Community service: 5 hours

Hiking

Rock climbing

Sea kayaking

Sightseeing

Surfing

Whitewater rafting

Reviews

Zilin, student from Beachwood, OH
2019

Whitewater rafting was super exciting, and my boat crew had tons of fun. Hanging out around camp and playing games together was also extremely fun, and I had a great time bonding and sharing experiences with everyone.

Connor, student from Darien, CT
2019

My favorite part about the trip was the variety of activities and places we visited and participated in. Every day we were doing something different, which made the trip really exciting and engaging.

Caroline, student from Jacksonville, FL
2018

My favorite part of the trip was that at every meal, we sat in a circle and included everyone in the conversation. It made our group closer and act like a family.

Alix Timko, parent from Downington, PA

Sarah had a great time, connected with people, and gained confidence. Bold Earth was easy to reach, answered questions promptly, and worked with us when travel plans went awry.

Tennille Stanley, parent from Jacksonville, FL
2019

It was very exciting to hear about Blythe’s trip when she got home. I think this was a great experience for her, and I definitely recommend Bold Earth to everyone.