You’re in for the teen tour of a lifetime as you travel through the Golden State this summer! This incredible itinerary takes you on a loop from the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, down the coast of California into canyon country. In between, you’ll have the chance to raft the Snake River, surf the Pacific, conquer your fear of heights (if you wish!) on a thrill ride 1,000 feet above the Vegas strip and so much more. It is a whirlwind summer, one you’ll never forget.
This trip begins with your flight to Denver. We help you coordinate your flight to arrive within designated times in the morning so that we may greet you upon arrival. For participants from the New York area, we offer a chaperoned group flight that leaves early morning. One of your summer leaders and staff from our office will be at the airline counter to greet you, introduce you to fellow travelers, help you to check-in and the leader will be with you from check-in onward.
For your return home from Phoenix, we head to the 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 offer a chaperoned flight.
Welcome to the Rockies, and one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation where we will have our orientation. Get to know your new friends with CU-Boulder’s professional Low Elements challenge and teamwork program. Dine at The Sink, a Boulder institution where you can sign the wall and keep an eye out for the “grate” listing all the previous Westcoast Connection trips to have passed through. Enjoy an evening bowling and playing billiards with your new friends in CU Boulder’s main hub – the Connection. Explore Pearl Street, watch the funky musicians and street performers and ice Skate to your favorite hits under cosmic lights!
Brave the wet and wild Snake River on an incredible whitewater rafting journey before exploring the quaint town of Jackson Hole; be sure to snap a few photos in front of famous elk-antler arches. Go full throttle down an alpine slide and the Cowboy coaster for breathtaking views. Embrace the majestic Grand Tetons on your way to marvel at Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park’s most regular geyser, the thermal pools and the Fountain Paint Pots. Keep your eyes out for the park’s diverse wildlife including the many buffalo.
Enjoy the day riding the body or tube slides or lounging in the lazy river at Lagoon Water Park. That evening, ride one of the many awesome roller coasters or 40 other attractions in the amusement park including the new state of the art roller coaster, Cannibal.For the daredevils in the group, brave Wicked, a coaster that launches riders up a 110 Tower, at 55 mph in 2.5 seconds before an Immelmann turn, a heart-line roll, two half-pipe turns and the signature “lake turn” into a dark tunnel.
Push yourself at the challenge ropes course – be one of the few to make it to the top of the “firecracker”, ring the bell at the top of a 100 foot tall tree or hang upside down on the giant swing. Play Ultimate Frisbee or beach volleyball on the shore or listen to music and tan. Learn to waterski with professional instructors or go tubing or wakeboarding. Sprawl the deck of your private sailboat as we sail the deep blue waters. Back at our campground, take advantage of the basketball and tennis courts or lounge by the pool.
Explore Fisherman’s Wharf, taste chocolate in Ghirardelli Square, ferry over to Alcatraz prison*, watch the sea lions, browse the shops and enjoy fresh seafood at Pier 39. Wander down Lombard Street, cross the Golden Gate Bridge to the fishing town of Sausalito, ride the historic Cable Car to Chinatown, take in an A’s or Giant’s game, and dance the night away at a real nightclub!
*As per the National Park Service, we disclose that Alcatraz tour has a retail value of $36.55 included in our trip tuition.
Check into your residence at UCLA for an incredible stay in the star capital of the world! Ride the movies at Universal Studios before an evening at CityWalk and an incredible meal at Hard Rock Cafe. Explore Universal Studios Los Angeles’ newest attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! In between thrills at Universal and the Wizarding World, you might catch a live shooting of EXTRA with Mario Lopez! Stargaze on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, match handprints at Mann’s Chinese Theater and check out Hollywood & Highland. Devour a treat from Diddy Riese in the college town of Westwood Village. Eye the chiseled bodies on Venice Beach, stroll Rodeo Drive, laugh the night away at an amazing comedy show at the IMPROV, feel the magic at Disneyland and end the day with a spectacular fireworks display over the castle. Delight your palate at the Original Farmers Market on Fairfax & 3rd, choose from over 100 different cuisines. Take a stroll in Downtown Santa Monica on the Third Street Promenade and enjoy live performances. Then, hop over Ocean Avenue to the Santa Monica Pier and soak up the beautiful views of the California coast from the world famous Ferris Wheel.
Learn to hang 10 with professional instructors at our surf school before a relaxing day at the beach. Encounter the 4,000+ animals in the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Explore Seaport Village. Battle in laser tag with your trip mates.
What happens in Vegas will be shared with very jealous family and friends back home! Brave the 144 drop and heartline twist and dive on the Roller Coaster at New York-New York. Take in the sites – an erupting volcano at the Mirage, dancing fountains and the world’s largest chocolate fountain at the Bellagio, gondolas at the Venetian, talking statues in the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and more. Explore M&M World and dare to ride one of the world’s-highest thrill rides 1,000 feet off the ground as you choose from the Big Shot, Insanity or X-Scream at the Stratosphere.
Embrace the sculptured canyons, soaring cliffs and dramatic landscapes in Zion National Park. The following day, walk through the spectacularly colored hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. Roll down the coral-hued sand dunes located beside red sandstone cliffs at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.Continue onto the Grand Canyon, one of the Natural Wonders of the World.
Enjoy a rugged Pink Jeep tour with the iconic backdrop of Sedona’s famous red-rock formations such as Bell Rock, Chapel Butte or the Rock of Gibraltar. See the views from Submarine Rock or Chicken Point and hold on tight as you go around Mushroom Rock and descend down the Road of No Return. On our final day, enjoy an incredible brunch at the Cheesecake Factory and back at the resort take advantage of the fitness center, incredible pool or embrace the sunshine before our farewell banquet that celebrates our bonds of friendship.
Once your action-packed day is over, you’re going to need a place to crash. This trip features a combination of the finest centrally located hotels and resorts, fantastic college residences to get a taste of college life, and some deluxe camping.
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.
Kick back at this stylish all-suite hotel, centrally located in downtown Jackson. The property includes an outdoor pool, hot tub, and a 24 hour fitness center.
Located on San Francisco Bay, the newly renovated Embassy Suites Burlingame – Waterfront hotel features stunning bay views, Spanish-style architecture, a tropical koi pond and is set alongside a waterfront jogging trail. Accommodations are spacious with living areas and the amenities include an indoor pool and gym.Visit Website
Our hotel offers all-suite accommodation with each suite offering plenty of space to spread out and relax after playing in San Diego or some amazing surfing.Visit Website
Located on famous Las Vegas Boulevard, “The Strip”, this pyramid-shaped hotel offers a unique way to experience the over-the-top décor for which Vegas is famous! The pool deck is one of the largest in Las Vegas, with a choice of 4 pools to enjoy – the perfect place to cool off from all the excitement and bright lights of the city!Visit Website
A comfortable respite en route to Lake Tahoe. Soak in the hotel’s whirlpool or take a dip in the pool. Enjoy a full hot breakfast before hitting the road again the next morning.Visit Website
The Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains is a luxurious all-suite resort-style hotel. The resort features spectacular desert mountain views, spacious guest room suites, a fabulous pool and hot tub and a fitness center.Visit Website
Get a taste of the college lifestyle on world class campuses and as time permits, take advantage of incredible facilities.
Welcome to one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation, located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The campus is a Colorado attraction in and of itself with gorgeous green spaces and modern facilities.Visit Website
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 UCLA was the first US College to win 100 team championships.Visit Website
Forget anything you think about when you hear the word “camping.” There’s a reason we call it Deluxe Camping! 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 on our Teen Tours feature pools, basketball courts and plenty of room for football, 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 mats 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. Camping meals are incredible and of course there are smores too! For more information on meals while camping see the WHAT IT’S LIKE tab.
Located minutes from Lagoon Amusement Park and Lagoon-a-Beach Water Park, there is no better place to set up camp!
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.
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.
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 a Trampoline park in Boulder, whitewater rafting in Salt Lake City, riding thrill rides hundreds of feet over the Vegas strip and surfing in San Diego. 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 208 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.
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. 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! For more information on Deluxe camping, see the WHERE WE STAY tab.
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 23,201 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, 99% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!