American Southwest Adventure Trip Overview
Discover the beauty of the American Southwest! Utah is one of the most stunning states in the country and home to the “Mighty Five” national parks. Join us as we explore all five of these mind-blowing parks. With our expert guides, you will be able to jump right in and get to experience the best that Utah has to offer.
Discover the enchanting red rocks, hoodoos, vistas, and arches unique to this area of the world. Catch some of the most breathtaking sunsets and sunrises from picture-perfect viewpoints and admire some of the darkest skies in the country for the most incredible stargazing. Hike, swim, zipline, and much more! Adventure awaits you!
This is the perfect trip for travelers looking to explore the great outdoors with a small group of like-minded peers!
During this program, you will…
- Catch a breathtaking sunrise from Isle of the Sky in Canyonlands National Park
- Explore the densest concentration of natural arches in the world at Arches National Park
- Hike one of the famous trails in Zion National Park
- Try out one of the most popular sports in Utah: rock climbing*
- Zipline across sandstone cliffs
- Cool off in a hidden local swimming spot underneath a waterfall
- Discover the massive hoodoos in Bryce Canyon and wander through one of the park’s narrow trails
- Check out the natural beauty of the famous “Waterpocket Fold” in Capitol Reef.
- Explore the mountains, food, and views of Salt Lake City
*If you’re looking for a longer adventure, join us on our 30-day USA Ultimate Adventure program.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN LAS VEGAS, NV
Meet our staff in the airport and head on the road to Zion national park. This is an exciting day where you will get to meet your new friends that you will soon share many adventures with. Your staff will facilitate plenty of group bonding activities and ice breakers so everyone can get to know each other on the first day! You will be amazed at how fast your fellow travel companions become lifelong friends.
Take the amazing drive through the desert and get ready for our first day in the park in the morning.
DAY 2-5: ZION NATIONAL PARK
We will head into Zion National Park early to make the most of our time in this otherworldly park . Spend your afternoon hiking one of the park’s iconic hiking trails and admire the sweeping views. As the sun goes down watch as the cliffs start to glow a bright orange before a starry night sky starts to take over. This area is home to some of the best stargazing in the country!
DAYS 5 & 6: BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
We will depart Zion in the morning and take the short drive to Bryce Canyon National Park! Bryce Canyon is famous for its thousands of red-orange hoodoos that make up its iconic landscape. The panoramic views of this park are mind-boggling. Spires and sweeping sandstone rock give way to winding trails begging to be explored. Hike through one of the park’s many trails and experience being surrounded by these unique formations as they tower over you.
After enjoying Bryce Canyon, we’re off to our next National Park: Capitol Reef!
DAY 6: CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges. We will get to explore the famous “Waterpocket Fold”, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.
DAYS 6-9: MOAB > ARCHES & CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARKS
To finish our National Park tour of Utah we will head to one of the most unique towns in all of the US: Moab, one of the area’s most loved adventure playgrounds. Experience adrenaline-pumping activities like rock climbing, a sunset hike to the famous Delicate Arch, and escape the desert heat and go for a swim in a local watering hole.
Moab is the perfect location between Arches and Canyonlands, which offers every desert adventure you can dream of. Make the red rocks here your playground and go on a rock climbing adventure. Escape the desert heat and go for a swim in a local watering hole that is a hidden gem.
Get your adrenaline pumping while flying high above the canyons on a ziplining adventure. Cross a suspension bridge over sandstone cliffs before soaring on cables across the unique landscape below.
In Arches National Park there are a plethora of hikes to choose from that will allow you to discover exactly why this park got its name! No trip to Arches would be complete without a sunset hike to Delicate Arch, the most famous arch in the park!
Catch sunrise in Canyonlands National Park and watch as the sun slowly lights up the canyon with soft pink and orange hues, unveiling the incredible landscape before you. After sunrise, enjoy one of the park’s many hikes and be amazed by the stunning vistas and panoramic views.
From the awe-inspiring red rock formations of Arches to the sprawling views of Canyonlands, you are sure to fall for this lovely part of Utah.
DAYS 9-11: SALT LAKE CITY
After experiencing all that Moab has to offer we will head to Salt Lake City for our final stop on this incredible experience. Poised at the base of the Wasatch mountains, the city of Salt Lake is dwarfed by its surroundings and is quite a sight to see. Head into the mountains and experience why this city is so well known for having some of the best access to wilderness in the world.
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we were awarded top youth travel organization year after year!
"Thank you for giving Kat such a great experience. She had a wonderful time. You guys are terrific. The great parental bonus -- and I'm sure you hear this all the time -- is the photographs and the daily email. We get to see what the kids are seeing and we get to see the group and we get to see our teen. What could be better? Viewing the pictures became our evening ritual: out on the deck overlooking suburbia, sipping cold drinks, and oohing and ahhing over the photos, feeling almost like we were there. I'm sure you're awash in praise like this -- as you should be. Kat had such an enriching trip. Thank you very much! With any luck she'll be back next summer."
"I can not tell you how much she truly loved it!! I can not tell you how much you and your staff to say thank you for keeping my baby safe and allowing her to experience once in a life time event in her life. Marissa is so emotional, expressing how much she will miss everyone. To think before she hopped on the plane she was so nervous that she will not make any friends. I am truly amazed the beautiful things you guys accomplished. Marissa is hooked and she is already saving and planning for next year. We thank you again for the experience."
"My first TFT trip was incredible. I got to see the various types of beauty found along the pacific west cost from national parks to vibrant cities. Not only were the destinations wonderful but so were the TFT staff. They were immensely caring and fun people to be around. Some of my fondest favorite memories came from those friendships. One of my favorite aspects of this trip was that we were taught to be travelers, not tourists. Where we are encouraged to seek and explore all corners of the earth. I loved my TFT trip and I hope to never stop traveling."
Travel with us and discover why we are consistently winning awards for Top Youth Travel Organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about the USA for Middle School: American Southwest Adventure trip?
USA for Middle School: American Southwest Adventure is the perfect trip for young travelers to step out of their comfort zone, get away from home, and explore some of the most stunning parts of the United States!
This program is designed for younger teens in mind and intimate-sized groups make this an incredible experience for everyone on board.
What do students like most about the USA for Middle School: American Southwest Adventure trip?
Participants love the wide variety of activities and adventures this program offers. On USA for Middle School: American Southwest Adventure, they will join their peers on an unforgettable road trip, while ticking off bucket list items on the way. From the mountains to the deserts, there will be something for everyone!
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in 7th or 8th grade and approximately 12 to 14 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
All accommodations on this trip have been selected to ensure quality while still maintaining character of the places we are visiting.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, program related activities, program related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included in cost (this not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; visas and visa application fees; lunches; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters; optional tips for guides.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 13 and 24 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old within the calendar year and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food is an integral aspect of the travel experience, and we make an effort to eat at authentic establishments whenever possible. There is no better way to immerse ourselves in the culture of a place than through sampling the local delicacies. We stray away from westernized restaurants and chains that cater to tourists, because every true traveler knows the best food is found where the locals are eating!
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor. For Specific questions pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.