Top 10 Upward Bound Trip Ideas

Many schools across the nation are getting their students involved in their local Upward Bound Program, a federally-funded TRIO program that works to assist those particular qualifying high school students in creating the proper skills and mental motivation necessary for success in college and their future careersThis program has helped countless students over the past decade get into the college they desire, with weekday tutoring, summer incentive programs and reward trips, and summer sessions and live-in programs at the local community college or university campuses.

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Upward Bound Sedalia, Missouri

Here’s some insider info: As a former Upward Bound student, each summer we were offered the chance to live on campus for two months and attend courses that would transfer into high school credits, getting us that much further to graduation. At the end of the summer, we could attend a reward trip, usually a 3-4 day trip out of the state and into some of the most educational, culturally rich, and exciting places to visit.

In this blog, we have put together 10 of our very best suggestions for these various reward trips for Upward Bound programs, each one customizable to your particular group and geared toward unique and useful learning opportunities!

  • Northwestern - Chicago

Take a trip to the Chicago and Evanston region and show your group the Windy City's culture-filled and academic worlds.

See: Northwestern, Chicago 360, Navy Pier, Presidential Museum, Adler, Shedd, Millennium Park, University of Chicago, Lyric Opera

  • Space Camp - Alabama

The US Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama provides the perfect getaway for science lovers with almost endless learning opportunities in the area.

See: Space Camp, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Huntsville Museum of Art, Battleship Memorial Park, Gulf State Park, Birmingham Zoo, University of Alabama

  • Rock City - Chattanooga

While Rock City itself is technical across the border in Georgia, a trip here will allow your group to explore nature, learn geology facts, and discover Chattanooga!

See: Rock City, Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls, Creative Discovery Museum, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Murder Mystery Dinner

  • Arch - St. Louis

St. Louis Arch Shadow Credit DRB


Head to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and see all the exciting opportunities for discovery, learning, and vacation fun in the Midwest!

See: Gateway Arch, St. Louis University, Saint Louis Science Center, STL Zoo, City Museum, Busch Stadium, Forest Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, Cathedral Basilica

  • Busch Gardens - Tampa

Tampa is another great location for Upward Bound trips, an oceanside oasis city filled with tons of the perfect balance of fun and educational attractions.

See: Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, Big Cat Rescue, Amalie Arena, Museum of Science and Industry, Henry B Plant Museum, University of South Florida

  • Williamsburg - Virginia

Williamsburg Pixabay Public Domain

Virginia is filled with absolutely essential American history, as well as several opportunities for ecological, cultural, and scientific learning around every corner.

See: Williamsburg Historic District, Historic Jamestowne, Governor’s Palace, Busch Gardens, DeWitt Wallace Arts Museum, Bassett Hall, Capital, University of Virginia

  • Berkeley - California

The shore of California is about a lot more than just sand and sun, though those things are always a bonus, it's about deep rich western culture, American history, and endless education.

See: University of California, Tilden Regional Park, Lawrence Hall of Science, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Exploratorium

  • Yellowstone - Wyoming
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Great Fountain Geyser Pixabay Public Domain

If your students are craving outdoor adventure and haven’t seen the sights of Wyoming yet this is the perfect option, a trip full of geological information and outdoor excitement!

See: Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful, Grand Teton, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Hot Springs State Park, Cheyenne Frontier Days Arena, Jackson Hole, University of Wyoming

  • Harvard - Massachusetts


This next option is an Ivy League dream, a chance to see the big boys in university standing and also get tons of valuable American history information.

See: Harvard, Freedom Trail, Boston University, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, Fenway, Museum of Fine Arts, Peabody Essex Museum, New England Aquarium, Northeastern

  • Alamo - San Antonio
Exterior view of the historic Alamo shortly after sunrise

The Alamo Dollarphotoclub

History and education, not to mention vibrant culture (and food scene) all come together in San Antonio, the southern spot full of charm and information!

See: Alamo Mission, River Walk, Six Flags, Tower of the Americas, Natural Bridge Caverns, San Antonio Botanical Garden, Missions National Historical Site, University of Texas, Texas A&M