CALIFORNIA COAST – 12 DAYS
Travel California’s spectacular coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco. During our 12 day summer teen tour, your trip leaders will give you the true California experience. A great mix of outdoor activities await you. We’ll explore Santa Cruz Island by foot and it’s sea caves by kayak, surf Ventura (The Wild Traveler’s hometown), take a tour of Hearst Castle, backpack Big Sur, stand up paddle board in Santa Cruz, and check out San Francisco’s attractions like Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf. Give us 12 days and we’ll show you what California is all about. No experience required.
CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Twenty-five miles off the coast of southern California lies Santa Cruz Island, the largest of California’s eight Channel Islands. More than 1,000 species of plants and animals inhabit the island’s high peaks, deep canyons, pastoral valleys, and 77 miles of dramatic coastline.
Once on the brink of ecological collapse, Santa Cruz Island now offers visitors a glimpse of what southern California used to be like hundreds of years ago. We’ll hike across the island and explore it’s sea caves with sit on sea kayaks.
VENTURA SURF SESH
Our boat back to the mainland drops us off in The Wild Traveler’s hometown of Ventura, CA. We’ll meet up with our surf instructors for day at C-street – one of the most reliable point break in the country. We’ll get into our wet suits, learn about ocean safety, surf etiquette, and technique.
Newspaper baron and creator of Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst worked for 28 years to build his California castle—now a California State Park. By 1947, Hearst and architect Julia Morgan had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—all built to house Hearst’s specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection. We’ll take the morning to check out this spectacular place.
BACKPACK BIG SUR
With some of the best scenery in California, Big Sur is an incredibly rewarding place to hike. The different scenic elements of the California coast really come together here. Rugged flower-strewn mountains provide magnificent vistas over a rocky coast and a strikingly turquoise ocean. Surprisingly lush and scenic redwood forests shelter in steep canyons beside fast-flowing and crystal-clear creeks.
We’ll take a day to hang out in this quintessential Californian surf town. We’ll do some stand up paddle boarding. In the afternoon we will head out to their famous beach boardwalk for a roller coaster ride, arcade games and cotton candy. We’ll camp near by at one of our favorite Santa Cruz campgrounds overlooking the Pacific Coast.
SAN FRANCISCO CITY TOUR
We’ll take the day to check out San Francisco’s best sites. From escaping from Alcatraz (they make it super easy now) to walking the 210 step staircase up Coit Tower. We’ll eat dinner at our favorite restaurant before staying the night in the downtown Hostel. You are going to love it.
We will start our trip at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. We’ll load up our van and head straight to the beach for ice breakers and get to know you activities. We’ll stroll down the venice boardwalk, take a look at the shops before heading out to campground on one of Malibu’s famous beaches.
In the morning we’ll pack up camp, pick up supplies, and get ready for our boat ride out to Channel Islands National Park. For the next 3 days we will explore Santa Cruz Island. We’ll hike across the island for the first 2 days. On the third day we’ll explore Santa Cruz island by kayak, kayaking along the islands rugged coast and exploring sea caves.
We’ll take the boat straight back to Ventura on the mainland. Ventura is The Wild Traveler’s hometown. We’ll stop by our favorite pizza place downtown Ventura before putting on our wetsuits and heading out to C-street for a surf lessons and an afternoon riding the waves. After we put up our boards we’ll continue up the coast along the famous highway 101 to the Pacific Coast Highway to our campsite in Morro Bay.
We start off our morning with a tour at Hearst Castle – a California Park. We’ll see a small portion of William Randolph Hearst’s mansion and learn about his life and his impact on the world. After our tour we will head down the hill, pick up supplies and get ready for our 3 day backpack in Big Sur.
After an early morning wake up and a good breakfast we’ll finish packing our packs and head out on trail. Hiking through redwood forests, along ridge lines that boast 360 degree views, and down to undeveloped coastline you see what Big Sur is really about.
Our journey continues to the quintessential Californian town of Santa Cruz. We’ll have time to walk the downtown strip before going out to the beach for stand up paddle boarding lessons. If the waves are good we will switch out our boards and surf. In the afternoon it’s off to the Santa Cruz boardwalk for roller coasters, cotton candy, and a beach bonfire.
It’s time to clean our camping gear, load up the van, and drive one of our favorite stretches of highway in California. We will take a boat to Alcatraz Island and explore the prison, ride a cable car, and check out the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf. We will enjoy our last dinner in town and head back to our hostel where we all will take part in our end of program festivities.
Today we’ll load our van one last time and drive to San Francisco International Airport where we will exchange email addresses and phone numbers before checking into your flights home. With awesome new experiences, unforgettable memories, and new friendships you’ll be ready to sign up for another trip with The Wild Traveler next summer.
CALIFORNIA COAST PACK LIST
Getting your gear together (either borrowing/renting/buying) is a fun and exciting time. All of the items listed below are important and will be used sometime during our summer teen tours, so please pack EVERYTHING on the list. With that in mind please limit additional items -space is limited. Everything must fit in your large backpacking pack and your day pack. If you have any questions about gear or clothing, email or give us a call, we can help!
- 1 large backpacking backpack
- 1 day pack
- 1 sleeping pad
- 1 mummy style sleeping bag
- 1 compression stuff sack
- 1 breathable, waterproof rain jacket
- 2 pair shorts
- 4-6 t-shirts
- 4-6 pair underwear
- 5 sports bras
- 1 pair athletic shoes
- 1 pair hiking sandal (eg. Tevas, Chacos, must have heal strap)
- 1 pair flip flops
- 1-2 pair jeans or other cotton pants
- 4 pair socks
- 2 swimsuits
- 1 light jacket/ fleece/ sweatshirt
- 2 bandanas
- 2 one liter water bottles
- 2 large tubes sunscreen (SPF 25 minimum)
- 1 pair sunglasses – dark lens, UVA/UVB protected
- 1 sunglass strap (eg. Croakies, Chums)
- 1 toiletry set (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene items)
- 1 bath towel
- 1 wash cloth
- 1 laundry bag
- 1 small insect repellent
- 1 journal w/ pens
- 1 bowl
- 1 hot/ cold cup
- 1 fork, spoon, knife (Lexan is best)
- 1 headlamp w/ extra batteries
- 1 large brimmed hat/ baseball hat to block sun
- 1 small tarp (approx 4 x 7 )
- 4 trash bags
- 5 zip-lock bags (1 gallon)
- 2-4 waterproof cameras
- 1 watch
- 1 camp pillow
- 1 camp chair
- 1 set stationary, envelopes, stamps
- 1 paperback
- 1 musical instrument
Find out what you can expect with a trip with The Wild Traveler. Below are some of the more commonly asked questions regarding different aspects of our trips. Have more questions? Give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
WHERE DO WE SLEEP?
We will be sleeping in tents every night in National Parks, and Private beachside campgrounds. You will be with one or two other students in a 4-person tent. You will have the option each night to sleep on a tarp beneath the stars.
WHEN WILL I SHOWER?
You will have access to showers on all but one full day of your trip. All of our beachside campgrounds have running water, full bathrooms and showers available. Will you want to shower every day? Probably not. You’ll be in the ocean and freshwater pools often throughout your trip.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
The Wild Traveler provides all of your gear except for a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and mask and snorkel. Check out your gear and clothing list specific to your trip here. Please pack only the items on the list. Everything must be able to fit into your backpack or duffle and daypack. Space is limited.
WILL I BE ABLE TO CALL FAMILY DURING THE TRIP?
Yes. You will have a chance to call your family as soon as you meet your Wild Traveler leaders at your arrival airport, once midway through your trip, and again on departure day. You can also send and receive mail through the United States Postal Service throughout your trip. Your families will be able to read and see pictures about your trip as it happens through our trip log.
HOW IS THE FOOD?
Our participants and staff really like the food. Under the guidance of your leaders, you will be in charge of putting together a menu in your cook groups made up of 2 or 3 other participants. You can choose meals from the Wild Traveler Cookbook or cook up one of your favorite recipes you learned from home. You and your cook group will do your shopping at grocery stores and farmers markets. Our meals are nutritionally balanced, plentiful, tasty and offer plenty of options. We will have snacks available throughout each day. We have no problem accommodating vegetarian diets. Any other dietary restrictions need to be approved by our office staff prior to your trip.
HOW WILL WE TRAVEL?
During your trip you will be riding in mini vans with a luggage rack. We recognize driving as the most dangerous activity, therefore we intentionally keep driving time to a minimum. The Wild Traveler leaders have clean driving records, go through a driver safety training, and have experience driving passenger vans. We will also take 3 inter-island flights (ranging from 30 to 45 minutes each) together as a group on Hawaiian Airlines to get from island to island.
WILL I MAKE FRIENDS?
You’ll leave with some of the strongest friendships you will have ever made. Living close to fun, like minded individuals, while sharing an experience of a lifetime – Not only will you make new friends – these friends will last a lifetime.
WHAT WILL GROUPS BE LIKE?
Your group is made up of 8-10 enthusiastic, positive, fun individuals (like yourself ) ready for an experience of a lifetime. They come from all over the country, and in many cases, from all over the world. Our groups are created with attention to age and a balance of gender in order to ensure the best possible individual and group experience possible. Your group will be led by 2 to 3 experienced and knowledgeable leaders (learn more about your leaders under the tab “our leaders”.
WHAT WILL OUR DAYS BE LIKE?
Each day has been scheduled with a variety fun and adventurous activities. Those activities include kayaking, hiking, SCUBA diving, community service projects, surfing, AND MORE. Check out the Hawaii trip page for trip highlights and a day to day itinerary.Still have questions? Let us know!
Check out our feedback forms from our 2013 trips. We have references available upon request. Give us a call and we can get you in contact with the parents of our 2013 participants.
What did your child gain or take away from their experience with The Wild Traveler?
“She gained more confidence within herself to socialize and deal with others especially within a group.”
“Independence and a real sense of accomplishment. He loved the scuba diving, and also hiking volcanoes. And of course, the warm water!”
From talking with child, what do you feel was the highlight of their experience? “The scuba diving and surfing were the most fun when we asked. Then it was the beautiful views and atmosphere of the whole experience.”
“It is so hard to say! She loved it all! One day I ask her her favorite part and she says volocanos, the next she says scuba, the next surfing.”
“She made great new friends and had an awesome adventure! She learned that she can navigate through an airport on her own. She learned how to become a team with a bunch of people that she had never met before.”
“She gained some new skills and happy memories”
How was The Wild Traveler at preparing you and your child for our program?
“We were very prepared for the experience that was about to come our way.”
“Everything was very well laid on on the web site!”
“Great, we would do it again in a minute!”
“Great, anytime I would call or email I would promptly get a reply!”
How was The Wild Traveler at answering your questions and addressing your concerns before and during our trip?
“I could not have been happier with the info I needed to make me feel at ease.”
“Ryan was fantastic, kept me at ease from day one all the way through.”
What did you think about our travel journal?
“I looked forward to it and was very thankful it was in place. As a parent it made me feel that my child was safe and in good hands. I loved to actually see what they were doing.”
“I checked it often and really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about the days!”
“Fun! Loved it, kept me feeling good about it all, especially being so far away.”
“Awesome! I felt like I knew what was going on all of the time! The trip log was so helpful! I must have checked it five times a day just waiting for new updates”
Why did you choose “The Wild Traveler” over another outdoor company?
“Olivia found the site and convinced us it was the best fit for her.”
“Great value as well as the variety of activities. Most of the places I looked had a scuba trip, or a hiking trip, or a community service trip. Your trip was the only one that had a great mix of different activities.”
“Looked like fun, Ryan was reassuring and I trust him.”
“We really liked the choices of activities!”
Any comments or suggestions?
“You have exceeded our expectations! Thank you for taking care of our daughter and sharing such a wonderful time with her.”
“The trip was everything I hoped it would be for him.”
“I am so happy with the whole trip, Anna had the most awesome time, she lights up when she shares her experiences, its has given her so much confidence, and she loved all the different aspects of the trip, from scuba diving, surfing, hiking to beautiful waterfalls, seeing lava light up the night sky, camping on awesome beaches, Ryan did an awesome job choosing many great places to visit and stay!”
“Just keep doing what you are doing! It was a great trip. Aspen was happy to be home for about a day. Then she wanted to go back! ”
You want to hear more? Give us a call and we can put you in contact with parents from all over the country (and other parts of the world) who have sent their children on a trip with us!