Pacific Northwest Explorer (11 Days)
$3,495 + Airfare
Jul 21 – Jul 31
9, 10, 11
|Places we visit:||
Seattle, Portland, Mt. Hood National Forest, Bend, Crater Lake National Park, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Optional group flight there:||
New York-JFK to Seattle, WA
|Optional group flight back:||
San Francisco, CA to New York-JFK
Dive headfirst into the beautiful, quirky world of the Pacific Northwest. From the mountains to the sea, with countless forests in- between, this will surely be a summer adventure for the memory books.
In Seattle, dive into the coffee culture at the first Starbucks at Pike Place Market, visit the Troll Under the Bridge in Fremont, and learn about the unique Scandinavia and Japanese influence on the city. Head south to Portland, one of America’s quirkiest cities, and dive head-first into the culinary scene of food trucks and Voodoo Donuts. After discovering how to “keep Portland weird,” we’ll hit the road for some of Oregon’s best national parks. Try your hand at summer skiing* at Mt. Hood before stepping foot at Crater Lake National Park where you’ll take in the stunning views shaped by a sleeping volcano.
Then we’re out of Oregon and on to California, adventuring around stunning Lake Tahoe before we are off to our last city on our tour: San Francisco!In groovy San Francisco, take the ferry to Alcatraz and see what it was like to be an island prisoner! Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on your way to marvel at giant trees in Muir Woods. Discover Ghirardelli chocolates and wander through the waterfront Ferry Building Marketplace, picking up local delicacies along the way!
On this journey through nature lover’s favorite corner of the USA, we will explore the urban cities while hiking, kayaking, and skiing through some of the country’s most beautiful national parks. So, what are you waiting for? From starry skies to famous skylines, this Pacific Northwest adventure has it all!
On this trip you will:
- Soak in hot springs and jump into bright blue pools hidden in the forests of Oregon
- Explore the majestic Crater Lake
- Hike to a stunning basalt column waterfall hidden in the forest
- Kayak around Lake Tahoe
- Relax on a sunset cruise across the lake
- Stand at the top of the famous Seattle Space Needle and ride the Great Wheel
- Have lunch at Pike Place Market
- Check out Seattle hot spots like the Gum Wall and the Fremont Troll
- Drive the coastal route to Portland stopping at the famous Cannon Beach
- Try VooDoo Doughnuts in quirky Portland, Oregon
- Hike Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls
- Go skiing at Mt. Hood–yes, even in the summer!**
- View the reflection of Mt. Hood in Trillium Lake
- Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
- Bike San Francisco’s iconic streets*
- See the Painted Ladies and other noteworthy neighborhoods
- Enjoy a chocolate sundae in Ghirardelli Square
- Take the ferry to Alcatraz and imagine what it was like to be a prisoner there
- Stand under the great redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument
*Biking is optional. Those who choose not to bike will enjoy a walking tour instead.
**Skiing is an optional excursion.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
DAYS 2-3: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Start this journey in the beautiful Emerald City. Seattle is a place full of character and endless entertainment for all ages. Ride the Great Wheel on the shores of the Pacific and look for Mt. Rainier in the distance! In the evening, take the elevator up the Seattle Space Needle to see the glow of the city below. Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in Pike Place Market, visit the quirky Fremont Troll and add your piece of gum to the infamous Gum Wall!
DAYS 3-4: PORTLAND, OREGON: MT. HOOD NATIONAL FOREST
Our adventure will head south to the hip city of Portland, Oregon! We’ll take the coastal route to Cannon Beach to see the iconic beach where the Goonies was filmed. Admire the unique rock formations that dot the shore and enjoy your first swim in the Pacific!
Portland is also known for having over 500 food carts celebrating a wide variety of cuisine. While we won’t be able to sample every single one, we will try to tackle as many as we can!
Still craving more tasty treats? The famous Voodoo Doughnuts are not to be missed! They come in all sorts of unique varieties- maple bacon or Froot Loops flavored donuts anyone?
In addition to enjoying Portland’s amazing cuisine we will experience all of the incredible outdoor activities on offer. Hike the Columbia River Gorge and try to photograph all of Multnomah Falls in one shot! Gaze at the reflection of Mt. Hood in Trillium Lake and even try your hand at summer skiing on the volcano itself!
DAYS 4-5: BEND, OREGON: CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Bend will be our jump off point for Crater Lake National Park. Hike to stunning waterfalls hidden in lush forest, including an epic basalt column waterfall, before reaching the ultimate view: Crater Lake. You’ve never seen a lake quite like this! The result of a volcanic eruption almost 8,000 years ago, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the America and one of the most pristine lakes in the world. As you gaze from the rim down at its splendor, you can imagine the 1,949 feet (594 meters) of water that fills the caldera.
DAYS 6-8: LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA
The third state on this action-packed adventure is sure to not disappoint. Your first view of Lake Tahoe will leave you speechless. The massive pool of bright blue water beneath the peaks of the Sierras is unlike anything in the world. Kayak, hike to Eagle Falls, and take a sunset cruise around this magnificent landscape. We’ll even ride the Heavenly Gondola to get a bird’s eye view of the lake in all its splendor. By the time we leave Tahoe you will have experienced all of the action this area has to offer!
DAYS 9-11: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Leaving the adventure haven of Lake Tahoe behind is hard, but not when you’re headed for the greatest city in Northern California! Cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco and get ready to live it up like a local. Bike or walk through the famous neighborhoods and stop at sights like the Painted Ladies and Lombard Street. Go out for dinner in Chinatown and indulge in a chocolate sundae from Ghirardelli Square for dessert. Take the ferry to Alcatraz and imagine what it was like to be a prisoner on this island less than 60 years ago! Before leaving California, hike through the iconic mighty redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument.
DAY 11: RETURN FLIGHT HOME FROM SAN FRANCISCO
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
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 the character of the places we are visiting. In Seattle and Portland, we’ll stay in hotels in proximity to downtown in order to fully take advantage of the food and entertainment scene. In Bend, we’ll opt for a unique lodging experiencing to feel closer to the outdoors. In Tahoe, we’ll stay in South Lake Tahoe in a boutique hotel designed to feel like you’re camping indoors in bunk style dorms. In San Francisco, quality is priority in this older city. All hotels will be clean and safe with 24 hour security.
This program does not involve camping.
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 by themselves?
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 are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you 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 BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore three of America’s greatest states. From Seattle to San Francisco you get a taste of the best cities in the Pacific Northwest while stopping at all the natural wonders along the way.
What is unique about this program?
This program is a road trip designed with teens in mind. Intimate sized groups make this an incredible experience for everyone on board. You’ll see cities and spend time outdoors in some of the greatest places the Northwest has to offer while building lifelong friendships with like-minded peers.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, lunches, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, we like to keep our group sizes small to allow for a more personalized program. Our average group size is between 14-21 students, which provides an authentic travel experience without any student feeling like “just a number” You would never be able to have the same experience with a group of 40-50 students!
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our North American programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Seattle is famous for its seafood but plenty of options will be offered for those who aren’t a fan. Pike’s Place Market is a perfect spot to have lunch and for coffee lovers, there’s no better city for a cup of joe! Portland is known for its many food carts (over 500!) and the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, both of which we’ll indulge in.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Portland, Bend, South Lake Tahoe, and San Francisco. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country-specific visa requirements.