Interested in an RLT slideshow in person or on the web? Request a slideshow and join a teen summer travel program by clicking here.
June 25 - July 9, 2017 // 15 days
Call For Availability 773-342-52000
July 12 - July 26, 2017 // 15 days
Call For Availability 773-342-5200
What if your classroom was not a building, but instead was made up of the ocean, a salt marsh, and mesmerizing sand dunes? Imagine yourself surrounded by others motivated to solve global conservation issues. What if you could problem solve while paddling, hiking, and exploring the Outer Banks of North Carolina?
Join us and immerse yourself in the world of marine conservation. Learn the tools necessary to address environmental issues in areas where human activity has been the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. We explore the human footprint on our marine environment and work to understand the relationship between marine environmental protection and resource conservation.
Don't miss our adventure both on and off the beaten path throughout one of the most picturesque places in the United States.
Learn more about this marine conservation and environmental service program in North Carolina. Click on the Description tab below.
Count how many different species of fowl you encounter while taking in this birder’s paradise. Pea Island is home to over 30 species of birds including the Brown Pelican, Snowy Egret, Peregrin Falcon, and Tri-colored Heron. Pea Island is a unique home for birds as well as sea turtles thanks to its many marshes, dunes, ponds, and beach coastline.
With over 400 square miles of water, the Outer Banks is the perfect place to try hanging loose on a surfboard. Learn how to find your balance and paddle out in search of the perfect wave.
Paddle through the freshwater Roanoke River and the salt water Albemarle Sound on a sea kayak adventure. Immerse yourself in the various ecosystems as you live out of your kayak for three days and two nights.
Experience firsthand the rich biological diversity of the Pamlico Sound and surrounding protected areas. Learn how the bountiful biodiversity and varying ecosystems of marshes, sand dunes, and estuaries make the Outer Banks a perfect home or stop over spot for wildlife of all kinds.
The Outer Banks is home to a stretch of 130 pristine miles of coastline and is made up of four chained islands. These islands are Bodie, Roanoke, Hatteras, and Ocracoke. The chain of islands separates coastal North Carolina from the vast Atlantic Ocean and creates a unique environment for wildlife habitat, extreme water activities, and protected state parks.
Catch a breathtaking sunset after hiking to the top of the East Coast’s tallest dune system, Jockey’s Ridge. From the top, hang-gliders can often be seen gliding below. After taking in the views, get your own adrenaline rush by sandboarding your way to the bottom of the dune.
Become a stair master by scaling the 257 steps to the balcony of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Don’t let the 12 stories scare you – the payoff is well worth the challenge. The lighthouse balcony boasts some of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic Coast.
Work alongside the North Carolina Coastal Federation, the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, the Nature Conservancy, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in a variety of service opportunities, all while gaining exposure to potential career paths and networking opportunities! The best part of it all? Being outside in beautiful places the whole time.
Catch a glimpse of The Outer Banks’ earliest settlers – Wild Colonial Mustangs. These wild horses have roamed the beautiful northern beaches for almost 500 years. These majestic creatures travel in small herds and have been known to appear out of nowhere. Take in the peace and tranquility of your surroundings while a wild horse or two trot nearby.
Marine Conservation & Environmental Service with the Nature Conservancy, NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, & N.C. Coastal Federation
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total number of hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Sea Kayak: Roanoke River & the Albemarle Sound
Hike: Jockey's Ridge
Surf: Ocracoke Island
Education: Local and Wildlife
Explore: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Historic Roanoke Island, Cape Hatteras
Swim: Palico Sound
In North Carolina, we sleep in tents near the beach. Showers are available; however, we shower every three to four days to conserve resources and support sustainability. Bathrooms are a mix of flush toilets and latrines.
Tuition (Airfare not included)
Raleigh, NC (RDU)
The natural world is a beautifully curious place. With ease, we forget underneath the parking lots and behind the malls and superstores lie more peaceful ways of life. Out there, each breath is a little less stressful and a lot more enlightening. Out there is where we began - growing our own food, gathering our own water – and out there is where, to a certain extent, we will have to return. The challenges facing the natural world are daunting. Climate change, invasive species, pollution. Issues such as these require action such as this.
Arriving in Raleigh, North Carolina, we head east following the sound of waves. Soon after the first ocean smell starts to linger in the breeze, we settle in at Oregon Inlet, the northernmost campground on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Getting oriented, we explore our new home, the beachfront only a short walk away, and the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse a few miles to the north. That night, we drift off under the coastal stars of the Outer Banks, ready to take action.
Over the course of the coming days, we partner with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, each day experiencing a new way to positively impact the environment. Conversing with professionals in the fields of Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Natural Resources and Conservation, the group networks with the individuals on the ground problem solving for a better, more sustainable future.
In between our service projects, we embark on a three day, two night sea kayak adventure down the Roanoke River and into the Albemarle Sound. Black bear, birds, and more can be spotted along the journey as we immerse ourselves in the unique landscapes we are working to protect and conserve.
The adventure continues as we learn to surf the fun and friendly waves of the Outer Banks. In addition, we try our hand at Stand-Up Paddle Boarding among calmer waters, enjoying the elevated birds eye view into the rich Atlantic waters. Hitting the dunes, we hike Jockey’s Ridge State Park and dare to take on the Aerial Adventure Park in Nags Head, completing obstacles and zip lines as high as fifty feet in the air!
Beachside again, we share in a traditional Poet’s Campfire and final banquet before saying our goodbyes and heading home with fresh ideas and promising plans to share with friends, family, and others who are curious how to keep our natural world beautiful.
Arrive in Raleigh, North Carolina and transfer to camping accommodations. Set up camp.
Exploring our surroundings, we visit the beach for a swimcheck and tour the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse while preparing to dive into our service.
Partnering with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, we spend the mornings and afternoons helping with native and invasive species issues among other environmental projects based in the Outer Banks region. Learning from professionals in the field, we network while making a difference.
Packing up our kayaks, we venture down the Roanoke River and into Albemarle Sound, meandering through wilderness and spending the nights atop platforms only accessible by boat. Wildlife sightings often include diverse birds, black bears, and more. The journey is perfect for first time paddlers or experienced backcountry individuals.
Off the water and back at our home base, we continue our volunteer projects with local organizations looking to protect the natural resources we've come to know and love.
After practicing the strokes and pop ups on the beach, we paddle out and catch some waves surfing the famous Outer Banks breaks. We explore Jockey Ridge State Park with towering dunes and astounding views of the coast.
After inevitable success at traditional surfing, we pick up longer boards and a paddle while trying our hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding. Not done with the adventure yet, we harness up and clip in to take on the aerial challenge course, full of six different paths and countless obstacles ranging from ten to fifty feet in the air. Dare to step out of your comfort zone!
Tying up loose ends around camp, we share stories, songs, and wisdom around a Poet's Campfire. We partake in a final banquet celebrating our newfound knowledge, positive impacts, and love for the natural world.
Saying farewell after watching our final sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, we transfer back to Raleigh and board our return flights home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
Please click below to view your program’s equipment and packing list!
North Carolina: Outer Banks Packing List - Coming Soon!
For an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please call our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 773-342-5200 and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination of Raleigh, NC on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination of Raleigh, NC back home on the last day of the trip.