Orientation Trips Available

Click on the trip titles to view detailed information about each trip.

Description
Aroostook County: Houlton Community Learn about the history and economy of Houlton, a community in Maine’s northernmost county. Guided by Houlton native and Bowdoin dean Allen DeLong, the group will assist the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum, visit a wind farm, and help meet the needs a low-income thrift store. Students will also have the opportunity to try ice cream from the famed Houlton Farms Dairy and hike and swim the North Maine Woods. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to showers.
Aroostook County: Presque Isle Community Learn first-hand about the importance of agriculture in Presque Isle, a community in Maine’s northernmost county. Guided by Houlton native and Bowdoin dean Allen DeLong, the group will work on a hops farm, as well as the local high school’s farm, visit a wind farm, and converse with leaders of the region’s growing Amish community. Students will also have the opportunity to try ice cream from the famed Houlton Farms Dairy and hike and swim the North Maine Woods. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to showers.
Aziscohos Valley Camping beside the Magalloway River, canoeing, hiking, paddling inflatable kayaks, campfires and s’mores – sound like fun? All these activities and more will be part of the schedule for this trip. Located in the northwest corner of Maine, the Aziscohos Valley is known for its fly-fishing, moose, and cool evenings. A perfect place to spend a few fun and relaxing days camping with other groups, actively exploring during the day and socializing around the campfire in the evening.
Backpacking Unlimited possibilities for backpacking can be found in the rugged mountains of Maine and New Hampshire. In our most challenging trips, groups tackle the Saddleback and Mahoosuc sections of the Appalachian Trail, or the Pemigewassett range in New Hampshire, home of the Presidential Mountains. For those looking for spectacular scenery at a more moderate pace, we also offer backpacking trips over more forgiving terrain. Travelling on foot is one of the most rewarding ways to experience the landscape of Maine.
Cabin Trail Work In the summer of 1990, under the direction of BOC director emeritus Jim Lentz, a group of Bowdoin students and alumni designed and built a cabin in Monson, Maine. This outpost of the BOC is situated along the Appalachian Trail for easy access to a wide range of hiking trails. This section of the AT is the start of the Hundred Mile Wilderness, known for its rugged beauty and remoteness. Participants on this trip will take advantage of the many day hikes and become familiar with the local swimming holes, returning at night to the shelter of our rustic mountain cabin. Participants will also undertake trail work projects on the Appalachian Trail to help maintain the section of trail adjacent to our cabin.
Canoe Tripping Maine provides many spectacular settings for canoe tripping. Some groups will have the opportunity to paddle on Flaggstaff Lake near the Bigelow Mountains, while others will play on the Debsconeag Lakes in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin. Each trip has a unique view of Maine’s serene waters and varied wildlife, with a good chance of encountering moose and bald eagles! No previous canoe experience is required, but a comfort on the water, as well as swimming proficiency, is a must for members of these trips.
Carrabassett Trail Work This trip in the beautiful Carrabassett Valley in Western Maine consists of four days of hands on trail work and outdoor adventure activities. After a morning of working to clear and maintain trails, participants will be exposed to a range of outdoor activities in the afternoon including day hikes, canoeing, and exploring the surrounding swimming holes and scenic waterfalls. These trips will set up a base-camp and determine each day’s itinerary in addition to the service work depending on the ambition of the group. The trip will be a mix of volunteer service work and outdoor adventure in the beautiful state of Maine.
Day Hiking Enjoy hiking in the breathtaking beauty of Maine’s wilderness without carrying a fully loaded pack on your back. These trips will set up a base-camp and determine each day’s itinerary according to the ambition of the group. For more serious hikers, we offer trips to Maine’s tallest mountain, Katahdin, in Baxter State Park for four days of moderate-to-challenging hiking and spectacular vistas. For a more relaxing experience, other groups will explore the mountains and lakes on easy-to-moderate day hiking trips in the north end of Baxter State Park. These trips will explore Maine’s beautiful woods covering less mileage on gentler terrain, and often choosing their destinations based on possible swimming holes or scenic waterfalls.
Downeast Communities: Lubec See where the sun first shines on the United States as you explore Lubec, Maine, the easternmost town in the contiguous United States. Students will work with the Cobscook Community Learning Center, a community center that offers a vast array of arts and outdoor educational programs, as well the Lubec Historical Society, and a local public library. They will have the opportunity to take excursions to the coast, including a visit to the iconic West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, and take a tour of the beloved Monica’s Chocolates shop. Note: Students will sleep outdoors in tents, but will have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Downeast Communities: Milbridge Students will engage with the Milbridge community, a Downeast town that is home to a growing community of Latinx migrant and seasonal farm workers. Ian Yaffe (Bowdoin ’09) is the executive director of Mano en Mano, an organization that works to support these migrant workers by providing educational services, healthcare, and affordable housing. The group will work alongside students and staff in the classrooms of Mano en Mano’s Blueberry Harvest School, learning about the harvest process and the experience of migrant students during the summer months. They will also have the opportunity to explore the area through excursions to the Cutler Coast. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Harpswell Sound: Sail Camping at Bowdoin’s beautiful Coastal Studies Center on Orr’s Island, participants on this trip will explore Midcoast Maine’s beautiful coastline. Students will spend their days sailing, swimming, canoeing, and hiking, among other activities. In the evenings, students will return to their campsite on the beautiful Casco Bay and spend time getting to know each other and other groups, cooking hearty dinners, and relaxing and roasting marshmallows around a campfire.​
Harpswell Sound: Surf Camping at Bowdoin’s beautiful Coastal Studies Center on Orr’s Island, participants on this trip will explore Midcoast Maine’s beautiful coastline. Students will spend their days surfing, swimming, and hiking, among other activities. In the evenings, students will return to their campsite on the beautiful Casco Bay and spend time getting to know each other and other groups, cooking hearty dinners, and relaxing and roasting marshmallows around a campfire.​
Indian Pond Students on these trips will camp along the shore of Indian Pond and spend their days trying a variety of exciting activities on the nearby trails, lakes, and rivers. Participants will get the adrenaline rush of whitewater rafting through the Kennebec River Gorge, one of the most exciting stretches of whitewater in the state, under the guidance of our amazing BOC raft guides. Students will also get a chance to explore a calmer section of the Kennebec by canoe, hike to a beautiful waterfall, and explore Indian Pond on stand up paddleboards. There will be plenty of opportunities for swimming and relaxing by campfires, and chances to meet other students in other groups who will be camping in the same location. No experience is necessary, but participants should be comfortable swimming in deep and moving water.
Merritt Island Merritt Island, owned by the Bowdoin Outing Club, is a beautiful, 28-acre island located in the New Meadows River less than 25 minutes from campus. This trip will spend time hiking in nearby state parks, exploring local beaches and go canoeing around Merritt Island. In addition, participants will have plenty of time for swimming, games, and getting to know one another. Get a taste of island life in Maine on this Orientation trip!
Midcoast Communities: Environment and Sustainability Get a jumpstart acquainting yourself with the communities nearest to Bowdoin and exploring the issues that they face. This trip will focus on environmental issues and sustainability initiatives in the Midcoast region. Students will do trail work and contribute to conservation efforts by the Nature Conservancy and the Maine Island Trail Association, as well as spend a day working at Bowdoin’s own organic garden. They will also have the opportunity to visit local sites of interest in the Brunswick and Portland area. Note: Students will sleep indoors on campus (not in their own rooms) and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Midcoast Communities: Hunger and Homelessness Get a jumpstart acquainting yourself with the communities nearest to Bowdoin and exploring the issues that they face. This trip will focus on food and housing insecurity in the Midcoast region and the organizations that are addressing these issues. Students will engage in daily service projects at local food banks, soup kitchens, and homeless resource centers including Good Shepherd Food Bank, Preble Street, and New Beginnings. They will also have the opportunity to visit local sites of interest in the Brunswick and Portland area. Note: Students will sleep indoors on campus (not in their own rooms) and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Midcoast Communities: Immigrants and Refugees Get a jumpstart acquainting yourself with the communities nearest to Bowdoin and exploring the issues that they face. Participants of this trip will learn about the immigrant and refugee populations in the Midcoast region, particularly in Portland, and the organizations that are working to serve them. Students will engage in daily service projects with organizations such as the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project and Portland Housing Authority that assist immigrants and refugees attain housing, adjust to farming in Maine, and understand the financial system. They will also have the opportunity to visit local sites of interest in the Brunswick and Portland area. Note: Students will sleep indoors on campus (not in their own rooms) and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Midcoast Communities: Public Health Get a jumpstart acquainting yourself with the communities nearest to Bowdoin and exploring the issues that they face. Participants of this trip will learn about the public health problems and initiatives in the Midcoast region. Students will engage in daily service projects with agencies that work to bolster public health locally and internationally including Partners for World Health, Sweetser, and Midcoast Senior Health Center. They will also have the opportunity to visit local sites of interest in the Brunswick and Portland area. Note: Students will sleep indoors on campus (not in their own rooms) and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Monson Bike Want to do some biking off the beaten path? The Monson Biking Orientation trip will explore old logging roads and trails around the BOC Cabin, located in Monson, Maine. No prior mountain biking experience is necessary however, participants should have a sense of adventure, be prepared to get a bit muddy, should know how to ride a bike on uneven terrain and expect to bike an average of 10-15 miles per day (uphill and down!). At night students will set up camp near the cabin and will be able to socialize with other students on nearby trips. Participants are asked to provide their own functioning mountain bike and helmet. There are several bike shops in town that will rent you a bike. Please contact us if you would like more information on how you might rent a bike for this trip.
Morris Farm Explore the peninsulas of Midcoast Maine while working and staying in the quaint town of Wiscasset. Students will gain hands-on insight into coastal Maine’s important agricultural and tourism sectors. The group will primarily engage with the Morris Farm, a non-profit farm dedicated to teaching the values of sustainable agriculture, while also participating in conservation work with Friends of Casco Bay. The trip will also have the opportunity to explore the tourist destination Boothbay Harbor and visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
North Haven Island Community This trip will introduce students to North Haven, a unique rural island community off of Penobscot Bay. Students will work with the local school and community center to prepare for the coming year, learn about the island’s geography through light trail work with North Haven Conservation Partners, and examine the history of the island by working with the historical society. The trip is designed to help students gain insight into the social, environmental, and economic issues facing island communities in Maine. Students will also have the opportunity to swim in local swimming holes, hike the trails, and potentially go lobster fishing. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Passamaquoddy Communities: Indian Township This trip will focus on contemporary issues facing the Native American communities of Downeast Maine, including cultural preservation and food sovereignty. Students will primarily work at the tribal history museum, as well as a new community garden initiative, while staying at Mihku Lodge. They will have the opportunity to converse with local leaders, explore the reservation and surrounding areas on foot, and potentially attend a basket-weaving workshop from master weaver Molly Neptune Parker. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Passamaquoddy Communities: Pleasant Point This trip will focus on contemporary issues facing the Native American communities of Downeast Maine, including cultural preservation, education, and food sovereignty. Students will primarily work with kids at the local recreation center, as well as assist with a new community garden initiative. They will also have the opportunity to visit the tribal history museum, converse with local leaders, and explore the area by foot and kayak. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Stand Up Paddleboarding Stand Up Paddle Boarding, aka SUP-ing, is an awesome cross between surfing and paddling. You will learn the basics of the SUP-ing and paddling on a lake in the beautiful Aziscohos Valley. Things will get a little more exciting as you progress from flat water to a calm river that meanders through the valley. No previous experience necessary, but students should be good swimmers and comfortable in deep and moving water.
Vinalhaven Island Community Preque IsleThis trip will introduce students to Vinalhaven, a unique rural island community off of Penobscot Bay. Students will help the local school and municipal offices prepare for the coming year, learn about the island’s geography through light trail work with Vinalhaven Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and examine the history of the island by working with the historical society. The trip is designed to help students gain insight into the unique social, environmental, and economic issues facing island communities in Maine. Students will also have the opportunity to swim in local swimming holes, hike the trails, and potentially go lobster fishing. Note: Students will sleep indoors and have access to kitchen facilities and showers.
Western Foothills Students will engage with the complex issue of rural food insecurity and the economic consequences of deindustrialization in the foothills of western Maine. Trip participants will harvest, clean, and sort crops with community farms like Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities and the Allan Day Community Garden, both of which help people who are low income access fresh produce. Additionally, students will spend a day working at the Woodstock Historical Society, and will have opportunities to explore and learn about the White Mountain region by hiking and canoeing, as well as visiting the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum. Note: Students will sleep outdoors in tents and cook outdoors, but will have access to showers.
Whitewater Kayaking Our whitewater kayak trips provide an introductory course to this fun and exciting sport. No experience is necessary, but students will need an adventurous attitude! Days will be spent on the water, starting on the calm waters of a pond and ending on class II-III whitewater on the Upper Androscoggin River. Trippers will work on paddling techniques, safety and river-running strategies. Participants need to be good swimmers and comfortable in moving water!