Breathtaking describes the sites – Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Jasper, Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks. Adrenalin pumping describes the activities – skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, waterskiing, wakeboarding, luging, mountain biking, canoeing, and alpine sliding. Just plain awesome describes this adventure – the cool vibe of Seattle, beach time in the Okanagan Valley and the glory of multiple former winter Olympic sites Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb, Calgary and Park City/Salt Lake City. Homer’s odyssey lasted for 10 years. Your tour will be 17 incredible days through USA and Canada.
This trip begins with your flight to Portland. We help you coordinate your flight to arrive within designated times 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 the 17-day trip return flight from Calgary, our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed. They remain on the program for the duration of the longer 25-day program and chaperone that group flight home. Depending on the number of students departing after 17 days to the New York area, one staff may chaperone that flight as well.
Welcome to the Beaver State! Check into your deluxe campground for orientation and getting to know your new friends. Ride the Magic Mile chairlift to the Palmer Glacier for unforgettable skiing* or snowboarding* on the only mountain in North America to offer year round snow activities or mountain bike through scenic Oregon. At speeds up to 37 mph, race down a half mile of twists, turns and s-curves on an alpine slide at the Skibowl. Take advantage of the indoor pool and workout facilities at your camping resort and participate in an unforgettable Westcoast Connection activity in the evening.(* Skiing and snowboarding requires proficiency that varies by the mountain and from year to year. Please call us to discuss current requirements.)
Kayak the glacially formed, freshwater Lake Union. Toss fish with the Pike Place fishmongers. Although recently cleaned, participate in the rebirth of the infamous tradition and stick your gum on the Market Theater Gum wall. Rock out in front of a virtual audience On Stage at the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPoP). Take in Seattle, 518′ off the ground at the top of the Space Needle. Buckle up for Whirlyball, a team sport that combines elements of basketball and lacrosse in bumper cars. Grab your tube and go wild on Riptide, Wild Waves’ exciting water slide. If the Mariners are playing at home during your visit, cheer them on at Safeco field.
Browse the shops in the pedestrian friendly village. Travel 2.7 miles reaching a maximum height of 1,427′ over Fitzsimmons Creek from Whistler to Blackcomb and back again on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Clip into Via Ferrata, 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 surrounded by spectacular mountain views. Conquer the Sasquatch, a monster zipline over a mile long and is the longest zipline in all of Canada and the USA! You will experience spectacular views and 7,000 feet of pure eco-exhilaration! Will you take it on? Relax in your fully furnished condos and hangout in the outdoor hot tub.
Explore the Granville Island Public Market with over 100 vendors and artists, a farmers market, and a ton of shops offering local delicacies. Take a dip into the Pacific at Kitsilano Beach. Get set for the amazing FlyOver Canada! Its special effects including wind, mist and scents combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience. Walk across the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge with its awesome views and enjoy the Cliffwalk and exciting Treetops Adventure for a unique forest experience. Go tandem biking through Stanley Park, an urban area in downtown Vancouver that is 10% larger than NYC’s Central Park. Check out the funky shops on Robson Street.
Learn to waterski or wakeboard with professional instructors or go banana boating in Lake Okanagan. Spend an evening bowling.Lounge lakeside, tan, listen to your tunes or play football on the sandy beach.
Canoe in the glacial fed, emerald colored Lake Louise. Hike past Mirror Lake to the Lake Agnes Teahouse to taste some of their famous apple crumble. Browse the shops in the quaint town of Banff. Tour the Athabasca Glacier on the Columbian Icefields in Jasper National Park to sip glacier water and throw a snowball or two. Snap a photo in front of the husky-shaped Peyto Lake and admire the impressive Bow Falls outside the Banff Springs Hotel. Unwind in the 100°F Banff Upper Hot Springs, with Mt. Rundle in the background.
Check into the University of Calgary. For the 17 day trip, take in “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” at the Calgary Stampede* and cherish memories that last well beyond summer’s end! For the 25 day programs, the incredible action continues.
*Stampede depends on dates.
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, a fantastic college residence 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 their own bed.
Embassy Suites offers newly renovated and remodeled two-room suites with an indoor heated pool and fitness center. Get set to discover popular landmarks including The Space Needle and Pike Place Market and to experience Whirlyball and rock out at the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP).Visit Website
With easy access to all of Vancouver’s attractions, this hotel offers comfort and convenience with most rooms featuring a separate living area and kitchenette.Visit Website
Blackcomb Springs Suites is an all-suite, condo-style hotel at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain. Suites include full kitchens, complimentary Wi-Fi and spacious rooms. Enjoy an outdoor pool and hot tub as well.Visit Website
The Penticton Lakeside Resort offers a relaxing resort-type location on a private beach along the shores of Okanagan Lake. Rooms are comfortably equipped with modern amenities. The hotel also offers a fitness center, pool, and hot tub.Visit Website
Get a taste of the college lifestyle on a world-class campus and as time permits, take advantage of its incredible facilities.
The University of Calgary is conveniently located in Northwest Calgary, a short drive from the downtown core. You’ll get a taste for university life when you stay in the dorms on campus.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 s’mores too! For more information on meals while camping, see the WHAT IT’S LIKE tab.
This premier campground will be your home base as you busy yourself skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking at Timberline. You’ll come back to the site to relax and enjoy the facilities, maybe take a dip in the heated swimming pool, use the fitness center or play some basketball or volleyball. This resort campsite is phenomenal!
This campsite is located in Banff National Park, famous for its spectacular mountain scenery and close proximity to the town of Banff.
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 playing whirlyball in Seattle, snowboarding in July at Mt. Hood, climbing the Via Ferrata at Whistler, and bobsledding in Calgary. 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!