Teen Expeditions


Ages 13–14  |  7 days  |  Starting at $1895
Venture out via kayak this summer as you navigate North Carolina’s extensive waterways
A red kayak and a blue kayak at the shore of a river.

Adventure First

At the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we know adventure. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, while learning the technical skills to travel & explore remote destinations in wild North Carolina!

Explore one of America’s oldest river – the New River. Travel along cold-mountain streams, discover hidden swimming holes, and hike to cascading waterfalls!

During this 7-day teen leadership expedition you’ll learn basic outdoor survival skills and partake in numerous adventure activities that promote teen leadership. Rated as one of our favorite North Carolina overnight trips, this summer camp adventure excursion features kayaking, hiking and camping through the beautiful North Carolina wilderness.

During your expedition, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your kayaking skills, as you travel along New River, exploring one of North Carolina’s most iconic river trails. Learn wilderness camping skills, backcountry navigation, leadership skills, Leave No Trace ethics, and more as you discover North Carolina’s backcountry.


  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Awareness certification
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • River kayaking skills
  • Remote wilderness camp craft, including map & compass, stove use, and backcountry cooking.

Course Details

7 days
Wilmington International Airport (ILM)
Alternative drop off/pick up locations
Alternative drop off days and locations are available, as are pick up locations. Please contact us for options, costs, and additional information.
Register for Course
Skills Acquired
  • Develop Kayaking & Whitewater paddling skills
  • Explore the New River & Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Advance your knowledge of environmental science and outdoor leadership — while discovering in North Carolina’s wild, beautiful places
  • Acquire the skills needed to travel in remote, pristine destinations around the world!
Academic Credits

Not currently offered for this expedition.

A girl on a kayaking looking back and smiling.


  • Gain new leadership and outdoor skills
  • Make new friends and lasting memories
  • Explore wild and remote North Carolina mountains from the trail to the rivers
  • Challenge yourself like never before
  • Eat amazing backcountry meals

On the Map

  • New River
  • Appalachian Mountain Range
  • Carolina Beach, NC

Talk to Us

Have any further questions about the course location, what you'll learn, or what else to expect? Contact us, we're here to help!





Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 7-day North Carolina – Teen Leadership Expedition, Whitewater Paddling Adventure?

The course is a multi-day wilderness, teen leadership expedition during which you’ll participate in kayaking, whitewater paddling, and camping activities – while learning how to travel in the backcountry.

You’ll explore the New River and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains as you practice the basics of camp setup, map & compass use, kayaking, whitewater paddling, backcountry cooking, and other outdoor skills.

You can also explore the Pacific Northwest and North Carolina on other multi-day teen expeditions!

How far will I be travelling?

You and your group will travel more than 20 miles down cool mountain streams and hike to cascading waterfalls, while practicing kayaking and camping skills needed to explore rugged, remote areas around the world!

Where will we be staying?

We’ll be living in tents and enjoying our evenings in different areas most nights, identifying the stars and sharing highlights of our learning.

Who should take this course?

This course is best suited to those who want to challenge themselves and learn new skills in the outdoors!

Is the 7-day course offered in other locations or on different dates?

We offer this course in a variety of locations and during different periods throughout the summer to accommodate the destination and schedule that works best for you. You can also explore North Carolina or the Pacific Northwest on other multi-day teen leadership expeditions.

What do I need to do to physically prepare for this course?

You do not need to be an “Ironman” to participate in this course. That said, you will be required to paddle your own boat, with your own gear and some group gear.

What is the average group size and instructor/student ratio?

Each group has two or three instructors and eight to 12 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every six students.

What are the minimum and average ages of participants?

Students enrolled in this course are 13-14 years old.

What gear and equipment do I need?

NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but you will want, or be required, to bring certain items for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start planning now by viewing the NCOAE pack list for this course.

Beyond my tuition, what will I need to pay for in North Carolina?

Your tuition with NCOAE covers all major costs related to your room, board, and lodging, except when specified in the itinerary. Students should bring a small amount of spending money for personal items; such as souvenirs, extra snacks, and gifts.

What kind of food will I be eating?

Since we will be carrying all of our food in our boats, we’ll be eating many of the items that begin in their dehydrated forms; water weight is not something we want to carry. Expect meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and even fresh baked bread and pizza! Of course, you’ll be making them all from scratch — learning to cook backcountry gourmet on the trail.

What do I need to know about travel to and from the course location?

Arrival: Check-in will be between 10:00am – 10:30am ET at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education campus at 9809 River Rd., Wilmington, NC 28412. Programming will begin promptly at 10:00am. NCOAE staff will sign your student in, do a temperature check, collect any medication, and do a bag check to ensure your student has all needed items for the trip. After check-in is complete, you may depart.

If flying, please plan to arrive at Wilmington International Airport (ILM) on the day of your course, no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. A staff member from NCOAE will greet your child at the airport’s baggage claim area and provide transportation to NCOAE’s campus in Wilmington for check-in. To assist your child, you can view the map of ILM — including the location of the baggage claim areas — online at https://flyilm.com.

If you prefer booking a direct flight from the airport nearest to your home and the airlines do not offer a direct flight into Wilmington (ILM) from your location, NCOAE will provide a shuttle service to and from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), which offers the most direct flights into and out of North Carolina. Should you opt to fly your child directly to RDU, your child must arrive one (1) day prior to the course’s start date. And if flying directly to RDU, your child’s arrival time must be between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. the day before their course begins.

*Note about shuttle service and early arrival: NCOAE will charge a fee of $550 for shuttle service to and from RDU. Additionally, there will be a charge of $175 per student for arrivals the day before the course start date.

Departure: Student pick-up will be from 12:00pm-2:00pm ET on the last day of the course at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education campus at 9809 River Rd., Wilmington, NC 28412.

If flying, out of ILM, plan to have your child’s flight depart no earlier than 2:00pm ET on the day their course ends.

If flying, out of RDU, plan to have your child’s flight depart no earlier than 4:00pm ET on the day their course ends.

If choosing to pick your child up at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, please contact our office for time, location, procedure, and any additional cost that may apply.

An instructor showing a student a map.

Participating in an NCOAE course has been one of the greatest experiences of my life!
It helped me to grow emotionally and taught me skills that I am able to transfer into my everyday life. I am truly grateful and lucky to have been a part of this program

Aaron Marshall, NC Teen Adventure Graduate