Past OA Trip Descriptions

Backpacking (Beginner trip and moderate intensity trip)

This year’s backpacking trips will likely be exploring SoCal’s gorgeous wilderness. There will be a novice backpacking trip for those who want to try it out for the first time and a more moderate trip, for those who have been backpacking before.  We plan to take our time enjoying the beauty of the mountains and the wildlife, while also getting to know each other in the process. The people guiding these trips will create a welcoming atmosphere which respects the identities and needs of all participants involved. Backpack camping 3 nights.

Beach Camping (Leo Carillo, Carpenteria, Doheny, Crystal Cove State Beaches)

If you like long walks on the beach and are an avid shell collector then you are going to love these trips. They are for anyone who wants to spend time in the warm California sun for a few days. We will spend our days exploring the local nature, playing in the tide pools, hiking around the California landscape, hanging out on the beach and getting to know new friends. Get ready to cook food together, play and listen to awesome music around the campfire, star gaze, participate in beach games and more. From tie dying t-shirts during the day to making ooey-gooey s’mores at night this fun packed trip is something you don’t want to miss! Tent camping 3 nights.

Camp Pitzer

Enjoy the best of summer camp activities on this exquisite Camp Pitzer experience. Located in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, the retreat center offers a wide variety of fun activities. Our days will be filled with archery, a high ropes course, day hikes, and enjoying loads of outdoor activities like basketball, volleyball, swimming, and canoeing – to name a few! Our nights will be spent roasting s’mores by the fire pit, sharing stories and hot chocolate with our new found friends, watching late night movies, and sleeping in cozy wooden cabins (with showers!). Come join us to relax and adventure in the natural beauty of the southern California mountains. Sleeping in a cabin for 3 nights.

Catalina Island Kayaking and Backpacking

Spending two days kayaking (12 miles) and two days hiking (10-12 miles) on and around beautiful Catalina Island, participants will get to know this natural wonder better than most Californians. Participants are likely to spot bald eagles, island foxes, and bison while trekking. While on the ocean, the crystal clear water reveals amazing sea life, with seals and dolphins regularly accompanying the kayaks. After physically strenuous, long days of paddling, hiking, and swimming along some of the most beautiful beaches and oceans of California, participants will gather ‘round the campfire ready to share stories and build community. Each night will be spent sleeping under the stars. Backpack camping 3 nights.

LA Arts & Food Culture

This trip ventures through the neighborhoods, culture, and sights of the greater Los Angeles area: exploring the sunny southern California niche in which Pitzer is happily situated. It includes explorations of prominent museums as well as tastings of delicious foods offered at various restaurants and coffee shops around the City of Angels. The trip will focus on the food and art culture in LA through a professional food tasting tour, time spent at the famous Venice Beach boardwalk, ambling through the famous Getty museum, taking in the breathtaking view of the county at the top of the Griffith Observatory, exploring historical architecture, learning the history of cinema in the area, and much more! Participants will be traversing the area for four days, traveling into Los Angeles each day to visit a different area of the city. This introduction into LA is guaranteed to leave you with a full stomach of what LA is all about! Sleeping on campus each night.

LA Blogger & Media

Do you have a blog, a YouTube Channel, or a huge following on social media? Are you interested in photography, videography, art, fashion, or entertainment? Well, The LA Blogger & Media trip is for you. Set your sites on some of the most Instagrammed spots in LA and capture the moment with other Pitzer Bloggers. Students will be visiting museums, famous restaurants, and various fashion districts in LA. At the end of each day, students will create Instagram post, blogs, tweets, videos, photos, and more. The purpose of this trip is to show the beauty of social media in this day and age. Sleeping on campus each night.

Exploring Iconic LA

This trip explores some classic LA and LA area sights. It includes explorations of prominent sites in the LA including the Hollywood Sign and Santa Monica. The trip will focus on different famous and historic sights in LA while also trying different local restaurant. One very unique part of this trip is that there will be a focus on public transportation and traveling from Pitzer to LA. This aspect is very useful for first years who may not have cars. Participants will be traversing the area for four days, traveling into Los Angeles, and returning to stay their nights at Pitzer. Sleeping on campus each night.

Pedal the Pacific

We will be exploring the central Pacific coast on bicycle. The participants will be dropped off near Ragged Point and spend three days biking down to Pismo Beach. You’ll ride through the remote and scenic central coast along small sleepy Californian surf towns, vineyards, and on top of rolling cliffs and fields of dandelions. Look out for seals, sea lions, and Monterey otters as you camp along the beach. If your group gets up early, you can finish your biking by midday and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming, cooking, and experiencing general merriment. If you’ve never been on a long distance bike ride before, don’t worry; this route is almost entirely flat with just a few hills in the middle to spice things up. With wide shoulders and low-level traffic, this is a comfortable introduction to cycling. For the more advanced riders, you can keep up your momentum by exploring the different mountains around each campsite. Finding these extra challenges won’t be hard. On day one, you’ll pedal 19 miles on mostly flat and downhill terrain along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) just south of Ragged Point to Hearst San Simeon State Park. On day two, you’ll travel another 24 miles to reach Morro Bay. You’re facing two moderately difficult hills on this day, but you can take as many breaks as necessary, and there are plenty of side streets and shoulders to pull off on. On day three, you’ll take some side streets to finish your tour at Pismo Beach. This is another relatively mild day with only 100 feet in elevation change total. A U-Haul van will accompany the trip the entire way to carry all the gear that you do not need while you’re biking. As a participant, you are welcome to bring your own bike, but we will also offer everyone their own bikes and helmets. Tent camping 3 nights.

Rock Climbing

This trip will take new students into the backcountry for some rock climbing and bouldering with a local guiding company. Students will learn about knots, belaying, and climbing technique on their trips, and they will have access to pick the brains of some great local climbers. New students will also have the opportunity to visit a local climbing gym that they may join upon their return to campus, which would be subsidized by the Pitzer Climbing Club. All levels of experience are welcome, and beginners are encouraged to come and try something new. Tent camping 3 nights.

SoCal LoCal Outdoors

If you are adventurous and are interested in exploring all of the outdoor hot spots of Southern California then this is the trip for you! We will spend our days exploring local trails, relaxing in the natural beauty of beaches, hot springs and scenic vistas from mountaintops, while getting to know the Pitzer way of navigating Southern California. We will spend our nights bonding over bonfires and our mutual love for adventure and the outdoors. This trip offers a variety of outdoor activities, as well as the opportunity to explore some of the favorite local outdoor destinations of adventurous Pitzer students. Sleeping on campus each night.

SoCal Theme Parks

Southern California is known for having great theme parks. Each day you will travel to a different them parks around southern California. We will visit: Knott’s Berry Farm, which is the 12th most visited theme park in the country with dozens of rides, shows, roller coasters, and attractions in five themed areas, there is something for everyone; Raging Waters which is California’s largest water park, featuring a huge collection of incredible water rides and attractions; Six Flags Magic Mountain holds the world record for most roller coasters in an amusement park with 19 roller coasters; and Pacific Park located on the world famous Santa Monica Pier, is the West Coast’s only amusement park located on a pier, boasting a dozen rides, games, ocean front specialty food outlets and seaside shopping. Sleeping on campus each night.


Ready to hang ten?! Whether you have surfing experience or you have never even been to the ocean, you probably are aware that catching waves is an essential Southern California experience. On this trip you will have the opportunity to learn to surf from professional surf instructors on some of the best waves in Southern California. In addition to surfing there will be endless beach side sports, crafts, beach combing, and soaking up the summer sun. At night we will make s’mores, get to know each other around a campfire, and camp under the stars. If you want to enjoy beautiful California beach life and try your hand at surfing, this OA trip is for you! Tent camping 3 nights.