Explore Maine’s wild coastline and mountains, meet challenges both as an expeditionary team member and leader, and develop new skills that serve you both in the wilderness, and in your life back home.
Maine Sea Kayaking and Backpacking courses are a perfect mix of land and sea travel, where you build and hone solid expeditionary skills in two completely different ecosystems. While in kayaks on the Maine Coast, you will build basic travel, planning, leadership and seamanship skills, such as navigation and weather observation. Next, transition to the Appalachian Mountain range in Maine and New Hampshire to backpack and rock climb. Each day you will learn the skills necessary to safely traverse the rugged Maine coast or mountains. At night you will sleep under tarps or in tents, developing backcountry cooking and campcraft practices. Sharing your goals and concerns, your group will work as a team to plan each day’s activities and choose an appropriate itinerary based on the conditions of the day. The skills and practices learned on these expeditions will serve you for life, whatever challenges lie ahead.
NOTE: This course requires that students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
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For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean, click here.
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist spots will become available. In the event a spot becomes available, those on the waitlist may have an opportunity to secure the available spot. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. Upon completion of your application, a $500 deposit is required to reserve the waitlist spot. If you choose to remove your application from the waitlist, or if a spot does not become available, you will be refunded the $500 deposit. If a spot becomes available and you elect not to take it, Outward Bound will keep $150 of the deposit.
Waitlist spots are prioritized in the order of returned paperwork, not in the order applications are received, so be sure to return the initial paperwork as soon as possible! Please be aware that waitlist spots may become available up to two weeks before the course starts. While cancellations do occur, we cannot guarantee a spot will become available. Applicants may only be listed on one waitlist. If there is another course that still has availability and is also of interest to you, we recommend applying for that course instead. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Are you ready to take a journey that will change your life? You won’t look at day-to-day drama the same way after you’ve summited a high mountain ridge, or slept under the stars watching bats swoop overhead. Joining an Outward Bound expedition changes you. Your crew, your Instructor, your route and your adventures will have a profound and lasting impact on you as you rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places.
Build skills, form connections:Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery:As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group. At the end of course, you and your crew will undergo a Final Challenge Event.
What you’ll learn:
For Middle School students, heading away from home means taking on new responsibilities and expectations with crewmates who are strangers when you first meet and trusted teammates by the end of your expedition. It’s all about confidence.
For High School students, the opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences fills the expedition as you go through numerous trials and triumphs. It’s all about independence.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
of Luke O'Neill
of Luke O'Neill
of Luke O'Neill
Sea kayaks are an intimate and accessible means of traveling the coast, creating opportunities for both independent skill development and teamwork. Students will have the opportunity to paddle both single and double kayaks, learning the techniques necessary to handle each craft. At night, students will sleep in tents on islands and the mainland in private areas, many of which are part of the Maine Island Trail network. To live well in the wilderness, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking turns fetching water and cooking satisfying meals. These learned and practiced skills transfer to both the next section of the expedition, and to life back at home.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are jagged and densely wooded, and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. Students travel on wilderness footpaths; navigating both on- and off-trail throughout the journey. When the weather cooperates, the group’s hard work is rewarded with spectacular views from glorious mountain tops – but the views in the forest understory are often just as spectacular and rewarding. Living and traveling with just a backpack is a simple existence, in which small choices can make deceptively great differences to the quality of one’s experience. The expedition skills learned on the sea kayaking section transfer well to backpacking, and the team will continue to build its resilience and connectedness on this section of the program, building up to their final expedition and Personal Challenge Event.
The mighty crags and rock faces of Maine and New Hampshire are a wonderful place to learn how to rock climb. 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 and 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.
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 Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
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 camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first half or two-thirds of the course. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course – and will likely be one or two nights on this course, depending on various factors including weather, location and crew readiness.
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 and are within whistle-distance at all times.
Students return from their Outward Bound journey often ready to fully participate and positively engage at home, school and work, on teams and in their communities. An age-based curriculum and course length help to adapt the Outward Bound program to meet the needs of each developmental stage. 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.
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.
of Sophia Lacambra
of Taya Yelton
of Hannah Baker
Mid-Coast of Maine
The coast of Maine, with its intricate and indented shoreline, is a unique segment of the North Atlantic seaboard. It is known among ocean travelers for its picturesque beauty, iconic lighthouses, abundant bays and harbors, rocky islands and quiet coves. Sea kayaking takes place in an area that covers roughly 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.
Western Maine and Northern New Hampshire
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot and Passamaquoddy nations.
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to Maine coast
Orientation and paddle school
Sea kayaking expedition with a service day
Arrive on basecamp – transition to the backpacking expedition
Rock climbing & Solo
Final backpacking expedition
Return to base camp, Personal Challenge Event, equipment clean-up and de-issue
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.