Outdoor Education

California Outdoor Education Programs

Immerse your students in a classroom with no limits.

We believe there’s no better way to learn about the world around you than to experience it firsthand. That’s why for over 24 years we have been providing exciting, educational trips of the highest quality for hundreds of school groups in California.

In our outdoor classroom, students will gain an appreciation for our wild places and their animal and plant inhabitants, learn about the importance of sustainability, develop social skills, join activities that improve mental/physical well-being, and possibly even discover a life-long passion for subjects like terrestrial/marine biology, natural/human history, and astronomy.

See for yourself why so many schools have entrusted Santa Barbara Adventure Company to host their students’ outdoor trips time and time again.

Contact us to receive a custom proposal & rate information.

What we do

Santa Barbara Adventure Company provides customized single-day or multi-day trips for students and teachers. Planned and operated by our experienced staff with strong backgrounds in education and outdoor recreation, our trips along California’s Central Coast provide fun and inspiring, hands-on learning experiences that are suitable for students of all ages and programs geared toward your academic agenda.

Sharing the best of the Central Coast outdoors

We host our outdoor education trips at a wide variety of destinations on the Central Coast including some of the state’s most popular treasures as well as some amazing, regional, hidden gems.

A selection of past destinations include:

• Channel Islands NP
• Big Sur
• San Bernadino
• Ojai Mountains
• Lake Cachuma
• Santa Monica Mtns
• Los Padres National Forest
• El Capitan Canyon
• And much more!

Our experienced guides can’t wait to share what makes our local ecosystem so special with your students. Let us know if you have a specific trip destination in mind; we’re also happy to provide suggestions!

Outdoor learning for EVERYONE

We facilitate programs for Kindergarten–College. Our staff works with students of all needs and abilities creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.

Contact us today for a custom-tailored trip that meets the specific needs of your students, curriculum, goals, and budget!

Ages 5 and up are allowed on our kayak tours at Channel Islands National Park Santa Barbara Adventure Company outdoor education Outdoor education school trip to the Channel Islands

Fun learning for students. Hassle-free planning for teachers.

We’ll take care of the logistics, lodging, curriculum, gear, and meals so that you can focus on spending quality time with your students and fellow teachers. Choose from one or more of our remarkable core programs below or we can customize one for you.

Field Day Excursions

Santa Barbara Coastal Ecology Excursion
The Gaviota Coast is the healthiest coastal ecosystem in Southern California. Just north of Santa Barbara, this undeveloped area has a diverse marine ecosystem and has been considered for National Sea Shore Status. Activities may include coastal kayaking and hiking.

High & Low Ropes Course
Our high and low ropes course activities are fun and challenging ways to build leadership and social skills. Through various individual and group challenges, students will build confidence in themselves and others and develop lifelong skillsets.

Channel Islands National Park Day Trip
Channel Islands National Park offers an incredible, undeveloped, natural environment for your students to learn and explore. Kayak into beautiful sea caves and snorkel in a marine protected area (MPA) known for its diverse marine life. Students will learn about the flora/fauna and natural history of the Channel Islands. Activities include kayaking, whale watching, hiking, camping, and tide pooling.

Santa Barbara Marine Biology Excursion
Explore the Santa Barbara Harbor focusing on mammals and other marine life in the area. Students will kayak through kelp beds and learn why they are central to the SB Channel’s biodiversity. Look for dolphins, seals, sea stars, and more along the way! This trip can also include a visit to Santa Barbara’s Ty Warner Sea Center.

Contact us to receive a custom proposal & rate information.

Multi-Day Programs

Channel Islands National Park Exploration
This incredible two- to five-day excursion is based at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park (CINP) and focuses on the tremendous natural and cultural history, amazing geology, endemic species of animal and plant life, endangered species, and marine ecology of the Islands. Students will experience firsthand and document the diverse ecosystems of CINP through a variety of activities.

Lesson plans and activities to be considered include: marine ecology of the intertidal zone and kelp forest, natural history hikes and species documentation, the geology of the Channel Islands, endemic species, snorkeling with marine ecology focus, guided sea kayaking, and camping.

Students will have fun in a unique and ecologically precious outdoor setting while fulfilling educational curriculum requirements and developing life-long skills.

California Coastline Discovery: Gaviota Coast
This multi-day learning adventure takes place at the rustic and secluded Ocean Mesa Campground or the beautiful and iconic El Capitan Canyon. Students will participate in fully-guided natural history hikes, a high ropes challenge course, leadership building activities, and kayaking along the pristine coastal bluffs. The focus is on developing social skills, working together as a team, and getting comfortable in the outdoors!

Outdoor education camping trip at Santa Cruz Island Outdoor education trips in Channel Islands National Park

Awe-inspiring academic adventures

With 24+ years of experience trailblazing the Central Coast, we have developed a ton of fun and educational activities to suit students of any age and physicality!

Choose from any of the options below:

Channel Islands National Park
Hiking, Sea Cave Kayaking, Snorkeling, Camping, Backpacking, Team Building, Environmental Service Project

Santa Barbara
High & Low Ropes Courses, Orienteering, Icebreakers, Reflective Activities, College Tours & Panels

Ojai Valley
Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Ocean Kayaking, Surfing, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Rock Climbing, High Ropes, Low Ropes, Archery, Environmental Service Project

Gaviota Coast
Ocean Kayaking, Hiking, Tidepooling, High Ropes, Team Building, Beach Games, Rock Climbing, Museum Visits, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Service Project

San Bernardino Mountains
High Ropes, Low Ropes, Canoeing, Hiking, Archery

Don’t see what you’re looking for?
Let us create a custom curriculum for you!

Contact us to receive a custom proposal & rate information.

Add depth to classroom studies with our custom curriculum

Our custom programs bring real-world context to textbook studies and supplement formal education. We ensure that our activities are seamlessly integrated with your students’ academic curriculum and fields of study. Also, since we host a wide range of ages, education levels, and attention spans, our guides carefully curate discussions to peak the interest of all participants.

Unique educational opportunities
Give us the content or standards you’d like the program to focus on and we’ll embed them into your trip. We work with every school individually to understand the current curriculum students are learning in the classroom and complete the goals of their programs accordingly. NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) is incorporated into our curriculum as well.

Academic Topics
Marine Biology, Terrestrial Biology, Ecosystems & Food Chains, Native & Endemic Species, Environmental Conservation, Geology, California’s Natural & Human History, Astronomy

The best surf lessons in Santa Barbara, CA Island fox and wildflowers in Channel Islands National Park School children snorkeling at Channel Islands National Park

Energetic, professional, patient, and knowledgeable

Our trip leaders come from a wide variety of career paths and college programs including environmental and outdoor education, natural history, State and National Park services, marine biology, and other educational backgrounds.

We take great pride in our hiring and interview process to bring exceptional candidates from across the country. All staff complete intensive and comprehensive training with our management team prior to each outdoor education season.

Safety is our #1 priority

Our trip leaders have CPR and First Aid training and many have Wilderness First Responder and EMT certifications.

Group Sales Coordinators

Planning your trip with us begins with a Group Sales Coordinator who will work with you to design your adventure day-by-day, activity-by-activity. All of our trips are fully customizable and we’ll work with you to meet the goals of your trip.

In the field Program Coordinators

All multi-day outdoor education trips include Program Coordinators who oversee the program in the field. Think of them as your “Trip Concierge”. Based on the size of your group you’ll have Trail Guides who serve as group leaders. Manning our camp kitchens will be our Commissary Directors.

Trip Guides & Leaders

Many of our guides are certified interpreters with the National Association of Interpretation and Level III kayak guides with the American Canoe Association. We have guides who specialize in merit badges for Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops. Additionally, we have guides with lifeguard certifications and class B commercial licenses.

See Our Guides for more information about our staff.

Contact us to receive a custom proposal & rate information.

Michael Cohen
(Owner, Director)

Michael founded Santa Barbara Adventure Company in 1998. Michael’s background includes 18 years as a program coordinator and outdoor educator, as well as a river guide and Adventure Travel Outfitter. Before opening the doors of his own business, he worked as a manager for one of California’s largest outdoor education outfitters. Through his years leading many school programs, Michael learned first-hand what it takes to create an unforgettable outdoor education experience.

Christine Kler
(B.S. in Political Science at UCLA, Program Coordinator)

Christine manages our staff on outdoor education and group trips. She has over 6 years of experience working in outdoor education, first at High Trails Outdoor Science School in Big Bear CA, and now here at SB Adventure Co. Christine has also worked as a kayaking and backpacking guide for over a decade and loves to share her passion about the outdoors with students.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide

Kyle Fischler
(Program Coordinator & Environmental Coordinator)

As Program Coordinator, Kyle manages and oversees guide staff on outdoor education, corporate, and group trips. He has extensive outdoor leadership experience and has earned his B.A. in Communication and Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). Kyle has worked with UCSB’s Adventure Programs and has 8+ years as a trained lifeguard with CPR/AED for the professional rescuer. He also has 4+ years of experience as a Water Safety Instructor, is Wilderness First Aid certified, and is a board member with California Student Sustainability Coalition. Kyle also works as our Environmental Coordinator developing and implementing company environmental stewardship efforts.

Sarah Scrivano
(B.S. Biology – California State University Channel Islands, Snorkel/Kayak Guide, Marine Biologist)

Sarah has worked at Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), Camp Sea Lab in Monterey Bay, Naturalist at Large (NAL) and now SB Adventure Co. where she has educated youth of all ages. Her background in Outdoor Education and extensive knowledge of marine biology, make her an ideal guide. Sarah loves teaching kids about the ocean and getting them excited to be outside.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Lifeguard Certified, California Naturalist Certified

Elise Minichello
(B.S. Environmental Science – Dickinson College, Kayak Guide)

Elise is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) sea kayaking and backpacking course for outdoor educators. She has led camping and backpacking trips for a school focused on outdoor education and was a Marine Science Instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI). Elise also works with local school districts to expose kids to coastal ecosystems through interactive field trips thanks to a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy.

Certifications: National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Graduate, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), California Naturalist Certified

Aubrie Fowler
(Master’s in Biological Science – California Polytechnic State University, Kayak Guide)

Aubrie’s extensive background in marine biology and resource protection at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) makes her an incredibly knowledgeable guide. One of Aubrie’s favorite aspects of working in outdoor education is learning from youth and getting kids in touch with their natural environment.

Certifications: First Aid, CPR, and Leave No Trace Certified

Dustin Harris
(B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry – UC Santa Barbara, Kayak Guide)

Dustin has previously instructed kayaking and guided outdoor trips with UCSB Adventure Programs, worked as a summer camp director and counselor, and graduated from his high school’s Outdoor Leadership Program. He has also worked as a ropes course facilitator and volunteered in middle school classrooms to teach science.

Certifications: Wilderness EMT, Scuba Diver, Lifeguard and CPR Certified

Hannah Rozendo
(B.S. in Field Biology from Cal Poly SLO, Group Sales Coordinator)

Hannah has over a decade of experience as a naturalist in the region, including experience planning and facilitating diverse outdoor experiences for groups of all kinds. She holds a unique perspective on programming, having designed and managed programs from conception to completion as well as guided in the field for a variety of activities.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide

See Our Guides for more information about our staff.

Contact us to receive a custom proposal & rate information.

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  • 2023 Regional Business Award Badge
  • Leave No Trace - Keeping Santa Barbara Oceans and Campsites Clean
  • Canoe association Santa Barbara CA
  • American Outdoors Association - Santa Barbara Adventure Company
  • Readers Choice 2020 - Santa Barbara Adventure Company
  • Santa Barbara Adventure Company - NPS Authorized Concessioner