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: For the health and safety of students and staff in the COVID-19 pandemic, students may be required to travel to course start by private transportation. Please work directly with your Course Advisor for your course for the most up-to-date and regionally-focused travel options. All students and staff must provide a current negative COVID-19 viral test result before arrival to course and/or consent to having a COVID-19 test administered at course start. Outward Bound requires students and staff to follow COVID-19 protocols for 14 days prior to course start and while traveling including physical distancing, wearing a mask in public, and frequent and thorough handwashing.For complete “Health and Safety Practices for Outward Bound Expeditions,” click here.
This course is closed for the season.
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
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 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.