Canada & Pacific Northwest Explorer (22 Days)
$6,495 + $140 Intra Trip Flight + Airfare
Jul 10 – Jul 31
9, 10, 11
|Places we visit:||
Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Golden, Ashcroft, Whistler, Seattle, Portland, Bend, Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
Take on Cascadia, the stunning combination of Canada and the Pacific Northwest that is at the top of every adventurous traveler’s list. See up close in person the stunning peaks of British Columbia, sip espresso in the Emerald City, and get your groove on in San Francisco, all while admiring several National Parks along the way!
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 on your way to Crater Lake National Park! If Crater Lake doesn’t take your breath away, then Lake Tahoe certainly will!
Next up in San Francisco, take the ferry to Alcatraz and see what it was like to be a prisoner on an island! Cross The Golden Gate Bridge, the most famous of its kind, on your way to marvel at giant trees in Muir Woods.
On this journey through some of the most unique destinations in North America, we will go kayaking, ziplining, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking, and much more. So, what are you waiting for? From starry skies to famous skylines, This North American adventure has it all!
On this trip you will:
- Hike around alpine lakes in Banff National Park
- Soak in some of North America’s best hot springs
- Admire Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park
- Drive the Icefields Parkway; one of the most scenic drives in North America
- See Peyto Lake, the bluest of its kind in the Canadian Rockies
- Walk on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park
- Whitewater raft the Kicking Horse River
- Visit a wolf sanctuary and learn about wolf conservation efforts
- Ride horses through glacial carved valleys*
- Stay at a Canadian ranch and get a taste for western life
- Mountain bike down North America’s best downhill trails*
- Zipline through coastal mountain forest
- Ski on a Glacier and a volcano**
- Explore the majestic Crater Lake
- Hike to a stunning basalt column waterfall hidden in the forest
- Stand-up paddleboard, kayak or boat on alpine lakes
- Relax on a sunset cruise across Lake Tahoe
- Stand at the top of the famous Seattle Space Needle and ride the Great Wheel
- 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
- Hike Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls
- 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 and horseback riding are optional. Those who choose not to participate in these activities will enjoy an alternate activity.
**This is an optional excursion.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
Land in Calgary, Alberta, home of the 1988 Winter Olympics! We’ll stay downtown and walk to a delicious dinner before having our first meeting in Prince’s Island Park next to the Bow River.
DAYS 2-4: BANFF, ALBERTA
Home to two of Canada’s most popular National Parks, Alberta is the perfect place to kick off your Canadian adventure! Leave the bustling city of Calgary behind to spend the first full day in the charming town of Banff. Located within the boundaries of the National Park, this small township is surrounded by natural beauty. The peaks of the Canadian rockies frame the scene from all directions and wildlife such as moose can sometimes be seen walking down Main Street! Deep inside the park you’ll find the famous teal waters of Lake Louise and the quaint Lake Agnes Tea house just a short hike up the hillside. At Moraine Lake, Hike or choose to canoe around the lake in the incredible Valley of the Ten Peaks. As you head north out of Banff towards Jasper, you’ll ride along the magnificent Icefields Parkway, rated as one of the best drives in the world! Make a pit stop at the bluest lake in the Rockies, Peyto Lake, before arriving at Athabasca Glacier for an afternoon glacier walk.
DAYS 5-6: GOLDEN, BRITISH COLUMBIA
From Jasper we’ll head into British Columbia to the adventure haven of Golden. The Kicking Horse River runs through town, making it the perfect place to stay for the ultimate whitewater rafting experience! Even without the rapids, the river itself is a spectacle worth seeing. Bright blue water rushes through sturdy green forests where bear and deer can be spotted on the shores! If by now you haven’t satisfied your desire to see wildlife, we’ll head to a wolf conservation center to learn about these majestic animals and see them in their natural environment.
DAYS 7-9: ASHCROFT, BRITISH COLUMBIA
As we make our way across the province of British Columbia, there’s no better place to stop than at our handpicked horse ranch in Ashcroft! Break up the drive by spending two nights at this at this traditional Canadian ranch. Ride one of 100 horses on the property, enjoy amazing views, and savor delicious home cooked meals.
New to riding or an experienced equestrian? All levels are welcome! If horses aren’t your thing, enjoy the heated pool, game room, or hiking trails around the undeniably beautiful property.
DAYS 9-11: WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Upon arriving in Whistler you’ll dive right into the action. Take the gondola up the mountain to access some of the best downhill mountain biking trails in North America. You’ll get small group lessons from a trained professional catered to enhance pre-existing skills or start from scratch for beginners! Safety is a top priority and plenty of fun will be had on the back country trails! Biking is not mandatory and those who choose not to bike will have other hiking options instead.
While in Whistler we will also hike to Alexander Falls, zipline from peak to peak and even get the chance to summer ski or snowboard on Blackcomb Glacier!
DAYS 12-13: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
We’ll continue our 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 13-14: 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 14-15: 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 16-18: 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 19-22: 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 22: 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 character of the places we are visiting. All hotels or dorms are guaranteed to be clean, safe, and equipped with 24 hour security.
In Calgary, we’ll stay at a downtown location convenient to restaurants and the park. In Banff, we’ll stay close to downtown in a quaint lodge. In Golden, a unique hotel in historic downtown will be our home for two nights. Our accommodation in Ashcroft is the most unique of all. We’ll spend two nights in on a family owned ranch in the middle of British Columbia. In Whistler, we’ll stay at a beautiful resort right off the mountain.
In Seattle and Portland, we’ll stay in hotels in proximity to downtown in order to fully take advantage of the food and entertainment around. 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.
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 appreciate the natural wonders of the great outdoors while visiting three of the coolest cities in the Western US. Mixed into the itinerary is a different activity for every place that will provide both new and enriching experiences for all types of interests.
What is unique about this program?
While visiting the natural wonders of Western Canada and the United States, you’ll also have the opportunity to see some unique and hip cities along the way. Rather than purely sticking to tourist attractions, we’ll pepper in activities and meals to provide an authentic travel experience.
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!
Of course, you’ll try poutine, the famous fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds Canada is known for! As we move towards the coast, salmon and other seafood specialties will be offered in abundance!
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. We’ll have seafood and food influenced by the neighboring continent of Asia while in California, as well as some of the best Mexican food you’ve ever had!
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. Every day 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, for example, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Calgary, Banff, Golden, Seattle, Portland, 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?
American citizens traveling with a US passport do not need a visa to enter Canada. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.