Sample Itinerary
Course start, learn backpacking and camping skills
Backpacking expedition: practice navigation skills and summit a peak
Rock climbing, belaying and rappelling. Family reflection activity (Duo)
Personal challenge event, course end ceremonies, transportation to the airport

Outward Bound family expeditions are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience the great outdoors with the people you love. These eye-opening adventures provide a new and exciting place to bond as a family, improve communication, and cultivate a shared sense of natural wonder as you explore some of the nation’s most pristine wilderness areas together.

  • Build skills, form connections: Learn, practice and refine expedition and personal skills. Faced with demanding natural challenges, discover the strength within each family member – but also the power of working together.
  • Value strengths and strengthen values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth – as individuals and as a family unit.
  • Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, Instructors transfer leadership responsibilities to crewmembers so they may apply skills, make group decisions and celebrate successes as a family.
  • What you’ll learn: Return home with wilderness skills, conflict resolution strategies, compassion for others, and the ability to work together as a highly-functioning, collaborative family unit.

During this course, parent-child pairs backpack up to three days in Pisgah National Forest of Western North Carolina where they will learn to travel in the backcountry, navigate varied terrain with a map and compass and how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important will be time spent learning conflict resolution skills, communication styles, how to lead and how to be a team player. After the crew has practiced these skills the Instructors will step back and let the group work together to navigate through the wilderness where they will be rewarded with stunning misty mountain vistas.

Students will spend a day climbing up a mountain, rappelling down it, or on a high ropes obstacle course. During these activities, parent-child duos will be pushed to step outside their comfort zones to communicate and trust one another. With a focus on safety, this course activity starts with the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. These uniquely structured activities provide opportunities not only for self-reliance, but also for communication and collaboration as participants confront and work through their fears.

Near the end of every course, students will participate in an adapted version of the Outward Bound Solo experience. Parent and child duos will separate from their crew to be alone together for a period of time, generally overnight. During this time, instructors assign each duo with their own individual campsite within a designated area. These areas are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and instructors for safety. Students will be given all of the necessary gear, food, water and skills to complete this portion of the course. They will also know the location of their instructors’ campsite should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this time and the Duo will last no longer than 24 hours. This experience is a great opportunity for families to relax, recharge, connect and reflect on their course after long days of strenuous group activities. 

Acquire a taste for adventure on this condensed Outward Bound experience, which reminds students of their connection to nature and leaves them feeling inspired to take on real challenge in their everyday life. Through these compact 4-day experiences, students become comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while practicing the Four Pillars of Outward Bound; craftsmanship, self-reliance, physical fitness and compassion. Participants also create a solid foundation of skills that they can build upon once they return home.

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.

The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the modern world; some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The area’s diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.

Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians. The huge numbers of tree and plant life is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the ‘blue’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains.

Temperatures in this area range between 50 and 85 degrees in the summer, 30 to 65 degrees in the spring and fall and 10 to 50 degrees in the winter. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Cherokee.


Getting Started

If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.

To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.