Pretty much all students love field trips but there's a difference between the generalized trips to the zoo with elementary kids and trips with high school seniors. The older the students are, the more focused the topics and themes can be. In all likelihood, high school seniors will have an idea of what they want to do/be (i.e. if they're going to college, what their major might be, etc.). This means educational trips with high school seniors can get very specific and are, perhaps, best customized (for more info please see our Theme Tours page).
More generalized educational trips can head straight to the country's larger cities, the ones that have absolutely everything. The top of that list is, of course...
NYC is the cultural, business, culinary, and fashion capital of the United States and was even at one time our national capital city. Everyone knows New York City has a lot going for her and anyone who visits can easily have the educational trip of their dreams. However, there is perhaps no better city to visit for students interested in pursuing the Arts (English, design, painting, fashion, theater, etc.). From Broadway to the ultimate in art museums, the Met, New York has it all. There are Broadway Workshops for aspiring young actors, the Garment District offers in depth tours of the fashion workshops and tailors and runways, and the many art museums all include guided informational tours on specific areas of the arts. If this doesn't interest you, there's always sightseeing and pizza.
Washington, D.C. - Civics
This is an obvious choice, though there's really no alternative for students interested in civics and government. Capitol Hill is your best bet for an up close and personal look at the way the government works from the inside, and you can often stop in and see an ongoing Supreme Court session. The Pentagon also allows tours, but be sure to arrive early for the extensive security scans at the entrance, and the same goes for the White House. History buffs and colonial government aficionados will enjoy a trip to Ford's Theatre and the Petersen House as well as a quick trip out to George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. Also in Washington, D.C. is the largest collection of museums operated by a single entity, the Smithsonians which include 19 award-winning museums on a number of subjects plus a fantastic National Zoological Park (all the museums and the zoo are free!).
Atlanta - Business
This may seem like an odd choice but Atlanta is the home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 businesses. That's a lot of commerce in one place. Among these headquarters are The Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and many others. Atlanta is what is known as an "alpha world city" because of its great economic importance and is ranked fourth in the United States for such. That being said, there are a lot of practical touring opportunities for your educational group such as the World of Coca-Cola which goes through not only the history of the company but their varying marketing strategies and evolution as a brand. You can also tour CNN Center and visit a live studio as they film the morning news as well as see the editing booths and other areas of the important building. Chick-fil-A is also headquartered here and offers back office tours for interested visitors.
Philadelphia - History
Philadelphia is perhaps the most important U.S. city in terms of American history. What better way to explore the history of these United States than to see where it all began? Travel on foot with your student group and experience the liberty firsthand. Take part in tours like The Constitutional as they visit 20 notable attractions including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Congress Hall or pick a themed tour like the Yellow Fever Tour. Others offer free walking tours through everything having to do with early American democracy, traveling to places like Ben Franklin's Burial Site, the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church, among others.
*An alternative to Philadelphia is Boston where you can go along the Freedom Trail to see Paul Revere's House, the Old State House, and, among others, Faneuil Hall and Marketplace.
You could probably throw in music in with "the arts" but Nashville is too good to pass up. Home of the Grand Ole Opry, country and bluegrass music, Studio B where Elvis recorded many hits, and more, Nashville has earned the title of "Music City." No matter if you're interested in pop or rock music, Nashville is still an important piece in the music puzzle. Visit and tour Music Row and Honky Tonk Row, hop on a bus and see the homes of famous stars like Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and Taylor Swift, or take the Walkin’ Nashville Music City Legends Tour to learn all about music history with behind-the-scenes info. Make sure you visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Grand Ole Opry and backstage tour, Studio B and Ryman Auditorium.
Extra Option - Service
What most people don't even consider when on a trip is service, volunteering. There are a number of companies that have footholds all across the U.S. with whom student groups can work to better the environment and the community. DoSomething.org, Lead2Feed, National Wildlife Federation, Roots & Shoots, and the Student Conservation Association are but a few available, and all allow traveling student groups to participate. They're just happy to have help and your students will not only learn the value of helping a cause but they'll learn practical skills such as tree care, civic duties, and building skills to name a few.