If you think you already live life in the fast lane, hold onto your hat as you’re in for an incredible ride on this itinerary … down a luge track in Mont Tremblant or along the Niagara River at 60 mph on a jet boat. This tour puts you in the heart of the exciting cities of Boston, Montreal and Toronto coupled with the scenic wonders and adventure playgrounds of Niagara Falls and Acadia and Mont Tremblant National Parks.
For participants on this trip, transport by motor-coach is included from New York to the trip starting point in Ithaca. For the many travelers from outside of NY, NJ, CT or PA, we are happy to assist you with arranging flights into New York and will provide chaperoned accommodations for the evening before departure. You may also choose to meet us in Ithaca and we help you to coordinate your travel times to meet the group at the hotel.
For your return home, we head to the Boston airport for morning flights. Our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed. For those from the New York area, we include chaperoned ground transportation back to New York.
Ithaca is gorges, and gorgeous and a great place for our icebreakers and welcome orientation. Experience the ultimate team building at the Hoffmann Challenge Course including the centerpiece high element, a 64’ high replica of Cornell’s McGraw Tower featuring a tree fort platform, rappelling stations, a 400’ double zip line, and a 40’ Giant Swing. Enjoy lunch from the Ithaca Bakery and visit the Cornell campus including the bookstore. Browse the shops in the college town of Ithaca and enjoy some hibachi for dinner and a night of bowling with your new friends.
Cross the border into Canada and experience the majesty of Niagara Falls which is collectively made up of the Horseshoe Falls, America Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. With six million cubic feet of water flowing over the crest down 165 feet every minute, it’s no wonder the falls were named a Natural Wonder. Hop aboard the Voyage to the Falls and journey close to the break of the falls. Take in the amazing scenery in the Niagara Gorge on the 1,500 horsepower Whirlpool Jetboat. Hold on tight through a head spinning 360° Hamilton turn. Marvel at the spectacle of the falls lit up at night.
Venture to the top of the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure and world’s tallest tower from 1976 to 2010.Spend time browsing Queen Street in the Queen West district and the vibrant Kensington Market. Cheer on The Blue Jays at a Major League Baseball game inside the Rogers Center which was the first sports stadium with a retractable roof. Brave one of the 70 thrill rides in 8 themed areas at Canada’s Wonderland including the Leviathan (the parks tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster) and get soaked at Splash Works Water Park with Whitewater Bay – one of Canada’s largest outdoor wave pools, a quarter mile lazy river and water slides galore!
After lunch in Canada’s Capital of Ottawa, head to the resort town of Mont Tremblant located in the Laurentian Mountains. Stroll through the pedestrian village and get swept away by the festive atmosphere that will remind you of a European village. Learn to waterski or wakeboard on Lake Tremblant. Ride the Flying Mile Chairlift to the Skyline Luge, a thrilling ride with 24 turns down a .9 mile track. Clip into the Via Ferrata (Iron Way), a network of steel cables that run the length of a mountain face and cross built-in steps, handles, beams and bridges while you are struck by spectacular views of this National Park. The adventure keeps coming at you as we whitewater raft through some Canadian rapids on the roaring Rouge River.
Montreal is a city known for its rich French heritage and European style. Stay at world renowned McGill University in their newest downtown dorms. Ice skate at the Atrium and volunteer at either a Food Bank or with an environmental organization. Try the local favorite Orange Julep at what is known as The Big Orange, a three story tall orange with a 40 foot diameter. Wander the cobblestone streets of historic Old Montreal along the St. Lawrence River, the oldest settlement in the community. Take part in an epic game of laser tag.
It’s no wonder that Maine is referred to as the Pine Tree State! Be blown away by the incredible beauty as you cycle through Acadia National Park on the Carriage Roads, constructed by John D. Rockefeller. Go tandem sea kayaking along the coastline before exploring the picturesque town of Bar Harbor.
Welcome to Boston also known as the Cradle of Liberty, the City of Champions or Beantown. Check into the dorms at Boston University and head off to Harvard Yard, the center of the Harvard campus. Attend Shear Madness – a hilarious murder mystery that turns into mayhem every evening. For the 15-day trip, enjoy our farewell banquet and cherish memories that last well beyond summer’s end! For the 21-day program, the incredible action continues with more Boston highlights and onto more memories in Orlando.
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 and fantastic college dorms to get a taste of college life.
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. Rooms vary from doubles to triples. Triples may contain two beds and a rollaway or be a suite style with a sofa bed. Each trip member has his or her own bed.
The Hampton Inn is just minutes from downtown Ithaca and Cornell University and offers large comfortable rooms, an indoor pool and fitness room. The hotel has earned the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award along with being called the perfect base in Ithaca NY.Visit Website
The Great Wolf Lodge is part of an indoor water park resort minutes from Niagara Falls.Visit Website
This newly renovated property is conveniently located so that we can take in all the sights and excitement of Canada’s largest city! The hotel features oversized two bedded rooms, an indoor pool and hot tub.Visit Website
Le Lodge de la Montagne has an incredible location at the base of the mountain and offers magnificent lodging right in the middle of all the action of Tremblant Village. The property features modern suites with a fully-equipped kitchen, a swimming pool, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a pool table, a sauna and a fitness room.Visit Website
The Hampton Inn is located conveniently so that we can explore the quaint town of Bar Harbor, the beauty of the Maine coastline and Acadia National Park. The hotel features an indoor pool and gym.Visit Website
Get a taste of the college lifestyle on world class campuses and as time permits, take advantage of incredible facilities.
Known as the “Harvard of the North”, McGill University is located in the heart of downtown Montreal and is the perfect place to stay in this European-like city.Visit Website
Boston University is located right in the center of Boston along the banks of the Charles River. You will stay in dorms on this historic campus and enjoy the sights and sounds of university and city life!Visit Website
At Westcoast Connection nothing else comes first. From our extensive trip planning department through our management team and our 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. A great dynamic 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 year-round team has over 420 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 jet boating at Niagara Falls, playing whirlyball in Toronto, whitewater rafting and climbing the Via Ferrata in Mont Tremblant. 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 our planning, supervisory and management team is an incredible resource with over 420 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 205 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!
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, Romano’s Macaroni Grill or Hard Rock Cafe. Still hungry? Here are more of the places you may enjoy… Jack Astor’s, Boudin Bakery and some really great local favorites like 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. Buses have entertainment systems for music and movies. Coaches are outfitted with seatbelts.
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. (Groups that are exclusively completing 7th and 8th grade are too young for the LAFB and other activities are planned.) Students on our 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 22,917 hours of service (that’s equivalent to 2.6 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.
In last summer’s surveys, 98% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!