Sample Itinerary
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to Maine coast
Sailing expedition
Service project
Rock climbing
Sailing expedition
Final expedition
Return to base camp, personal challenge event, equipment clean-up and de-issue
Course graduation, depart for airport

It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.  

  • Build core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
  • Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
  • Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
  • What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence. 

Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, students live closely together, using only wind and oars as propulsion. As they rotate responsibilities, students learn the crafts of maneuvering under sail, coastal navigation, rowing and living aboard a small open boat. At night, students sleep on deck under a tarp, taking turns at anchor watch under brilliant night skies.

Students will learn to:

  • Adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind and execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind.
  • Navigate using a chart and compass to arrive accurately at the day’s destination using techniques that include taking bearings, dead reckoning, triangulation and sounding.
  • Move the boat under oars, coordinating all of the rowers' movements so that the oars splash as one and precisely maneuvering in and out of secluded anchorages.
  • Live (cook, eat, sleep, work and learn) as a team aboard a small open sailboat.

The granite that made the Maine Coast famous as a source of building material a century ago now provides the setting for some outstanding rock climbing or rappelling from the sea cliffs. Students learn to use climbing equipment, tie knots, climb and belay each other, while Instructors provide overall supervision of the site. Climbing hones and develops balance, coordination, flexibility and grace on the rock. Climbing presents many individual challenges for students, while the team must work together to set systems up, communicate clearly and support each other throughout the climb. 

Rock climbing on sailing courses is dependent on the weather.

Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government or social service agencies. While on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Recreate Responsibly ethics throughout the course.

a person sits on a rock along a rocky shoreline while on an outward bound course in maine
Photo courtesy of Amber Bolduc
a student rests on a sleeping pad near the shore on an outward bound expedition in maine
Photo courtesy of Amber Bolduc

The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up campsites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of course. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their solo time journaling, drawing or just thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily. 

Students return from their Outward Bound journey ready to fully participate and positively engage at home, in school, at work, on teams and in their communities. Age-based curriculum and course length help adapt the Outward Bound program to meet the needs of each developmental stage. Our Instructors work with each group to make sure that the balance of challenge and success matches the group's level of ability as much as they can, and they expect the students to work with them to do so. Some courses for high school students have the same activities in two- and three-week versions. Longer courses provide deeper levels of immersion and engagement. While every course provides significant learning opportunities and high-impact outcomes, we encourage students to select the longest course that fits their schedule, because the successes, rewards, learnings and memories will be greatest. 

The coast of Maine, with its intricate and indented shoreline, is a unique segment of the North Atlantic seaboard. It is known among sailors for its picturesque beauty, iconic lighthouses, abundant bays and harbors, rocky islands and quiet coves. Our cruising area covers nearly 200 miles of the Maine coast, with countless rivers, bays and islands to explore. The rocky, spruce-covered islands are the summits of a prehistoric mountain range, and generations of inhabitants have made their livelihoods here. Evidence left behind on the islands reveals the historic presence of indigenous Abenaki camps, pre-colonial fishing communities, post-colonial timber and farming operations and early 20th century granite quarries. Cold, nutrient-rich waters flow from the Canadian Maritimes and make the Gulf of Maine home to a wide range of sea birds, seals, porpoises and whales. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.


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.