Middle School Travel Programs with ARCC Summer Programs

we have learned that travel is one of the best ways for young people to gain perspective, broaden their horizons, become more independent, and learn more about themselves
ARCC Hawaii - Middle and High School Travel Program

We often get calls asking which of our summer service travel programs are the best fit for middle school students. With tens-of-thousands of middle schoolers participating on ARCC programs over the past 3 decades, we have learned that travel is one of the best ways for young people to gain perspective, broaden their horizons, become more independent, and learn more about themselves… also, these trips are pretty darn fun! Here at ARCC Programs, we have 6 different middle school travel programs both in the United States and abroad that are a great fit for middle school students who are currently in 7th or 8th grade.

ARCC’s Domestic Middle School Travel Programs

ARCC’s domestic middle school travel programs, California: Urban & Wilderness Service and Hawaii: Local Connections are great introductory programs for middle school students looking to learn what impactful service travel is all about. The programs are designed to give students a feel for different types of volunteer opportunities from environmental conservation to homeless outreach.

This trip gives participants the opportunity to volunteer, explore and adventure throughout northern California. Students on this program work with inspirational local organizations like San Francisco’s Glide Foundation to help serve the homeless population through food drives and meal kitchens. Moving out of the urban landscape of San Francisco, students travel to Lake Tahoe to help local conservation groups build and maintain healthy trail environments so that future generations can enjoy California’s bounty. Of course, no trip to California is complete without a little adventure too – students on this program also learn how to surf on gentle Pacific breaks, whitewater raft along picturesque Cache Creek, and explore the magnificence of Yosemite National Park by working with National Park Rangers learn about the conservation efforts in place around this magnificent place.

Hawaii: Preserving Paradise (7th Grade and Up)

Our Hawaii summer service program is a great choice for students who want to venture a bit farther from home but might not want to leave the comforts of the United States. The program explores two of the islands that make up the tropical archipelago of Hawaii, Kauai and the big island of Hawaii. Over the course of two weeks, we work together with scientists and conservationists to help restore marine mammal habitat by helping to grow and transplant corals, a keystone species in this delicate marine environment. We also befriend local children at the Boys and Girls Club of Kauai as we help put together a fun field day for them. Capping off a wonderful program, we spend a few days learning to surf in the warm tropical waters near Hanalei Bay and explore the beautiful Na Pali coast on the northwest shores of Kauai.

ARCC’s International Middle School Travel Programs

For middle school students who want to venture a bit farther from home, many of our international service and volunteer programs are also open to middle school students. Programs in Costa Rica, Cuba, and Ecuador and the Galapagos offer middle school students the opportunity to travel off the beaten path and give back to the communities they encounter along the way.

The Costa Rica Cloudforest Community Initiative service adventure is a perfect introduction to group service and adventure travel abroad. ARCC has been running travel programs for middle schoolers in Costa Rica since 1993. Students on this program travel from the beautiful, rural cloud forests to the Pacuare River, which cuts through the jungle floor to the coast of the Pacific where gentle waves crash upon pristine beaches. Service projects include community improvement initiatives in the cloud forest community of Savegre, a place ARCC has been helping for over 20 years, teaching English to primary-aged school children who are always eager to learn a new language. Adventure aspects in Costa Rica include whitewater rafting on the rapids of the legendary Pacuare River and learning to surf on the breaking waves off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

For students looking to spend a little bit more time immersing themselves in the Pura Vida lifestyle of Costa Rica, the Spanish Language and Adventure program is the culmination of more than 25 years of operating travel programs abroad in Costa Rica. Combining all of the best adventures and volunteer projects we’ve discovered over the past few decades, this incredible trip includes all the elements of the Costa Rica Cloudforest program above, plus an awesome opportunity to help with sea turtle conservation and watch tiny hatchlings make their way to the sea for the first time. Couple that with a visit to a coffee farm in one of the world’s most well-known coffee-growing regions and you have an authentic Costa Rican experience sure to create lasting memories.

ARCC has been bringing students to the incredible country of Ecuador and the biologically diverse Galapagos Islands for over a decade. With towering mountain ranges, vibrant cities, and thrilling white water, Ecuador offers an incredible adventure. This ancient Incan country is still developing, and our service efforts help mountain communities, which are home to some of the sweetest people. Students on this trip help community members install concrete floors in the homes of the families of a small Andes village. They also volunteer on various community projects in the Amazon basin. Of course, no trip to this region is complete without exploring the Galapagos Islands, and there is no better way to explore than by sea kayaking and snorkeling in the warm Pacific and viewing giant tortoises, sea turtles, sea lions and more in their native habitat.

Middle School Travel Program Details

While all of our summer travel programs are open to high school aged students, the programs above are also great middle school travel programs that allow younger students to learn what meaningful international travel is all about. And, even though these trips are also open to high schoolers, we group students so that they are traveling with others their same age, ensuring that each group is able to form tight bonds throughout these meaningful international experiences.


ARCC Programs has offered summer travel programs for teens for over 35 years. With travel programs for teens on six continents, there is something for everyone. Find a summer program on our website or request a catalog today.