Best Overnight Field Trip in Southern California

As a teacher, you have a lot of pressure on you to plan a field trip. You have to choose a location that’s relevant to what your students are learning, that’s within budget, and isn’t too far away.

Plus – it needs to be fun! Not a lot of places can check all those boxes. Especially ones that are close enough to you in Southern California to rent a bus or carpool there.

But Pali Institute is – it’s less than two hours from Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.

It checks all the boxes above, and more (if we’re being honest). We have everything your students need, learn more about why we are the best overnight field trip in Southern California.

Different Curricula

As we said, you need a field trip experience that’s relevant to what your class is studying. At Pali Institute there are three different curricula tracks to pick and choose activities from.

Here’s a glimpse at what each one involves.

Outdoor Education Curriculum

If you’re teaching your students about natural sciences, like the food chain and types of predators – or even nature art, you’ll love this program.

You can pick and choose which classes you’d like, based on what you think is most relevant to your class.

For example, something like our Orienteering Class. In it, kids will learn how to read a compass, look at different aspects in nature to help them find their way, and know how to use an actual (paper!) map.

We also have our Animal Survivor class, which is a student favorite. Instead of learning about the animal food cycle on paper, kids get to act it out (safely, of course). They’ll learn about carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores.

After they learn the terms and the science, they’ll get to play a sharks-and-minnows like game to cement-in their understanding.

And don’t worry – we won’t leave the physical education part out either. Kids can try their hands at archery or go on a half-day hike through our gorgeous 250-acre site.

Hands-On Science

If you’re looking for a more lab-science type program, we have that too. We offer classes for everything from geology to engineering, and they’re a lot of fun.  Students can even do a dissection, on a preserved squid.

In the dissection class, which we call “Kraken Squid Open” kids can feel like they’re working in a real science lab. They’ll learn to identify organs and how they work together in the squid’s body. They’ll also go over what squids offer into their ecosystem, in a holistic food-chain sense.

Do your students always seem to be throwing things around the classroom or run to the window when they hear a plane or helicopter go by?

They’ll love this aerodynamics class, where they get to do their own rocket launch! During the aerodynamics class, students will spend time learning about the physics behind things that fly. Lift, drag, and wind speed will not only be tested, but it’ll be played within wind tunnels with Lego cars.

Want an atmospheric unit that’s a little different? Your students can learn about weather patterns and pressure systems in the “Under Pressure” class. They’ll get to use tools that measure the current weather and learn how to make predictions for the upcoming days.


Finally, we have a leadership curriculum. If you have a very community-based school, they’ll more than benefit from this bonding time together. It’s like a week of figuring out who they really are.

We’re talking about things like ethics and morals discussion. We use role play to tackle tough subjects. There’s also the ropes course, which builds confidence and teamwork in students.

If you’re planning a retreat or field trip for a specific school group, like student government – this is the perfect program to do it with. It builds sensitivity, helps kids learn communication skills, and strengthens soft skills, like empathy.

The Details: Eat, Sleep, Learn at Pali

You can’t have an overnight field trip without somewhere to stay overnight, right?

You won’t have to rent expensive hotel rooms for your students at Pali Institute. We have cabins that aren’t only clean, but they’re temperature controlled.   They have radiant heating for the colder months, along with air conditioning. Students bring their own sleeping bags or twin bedding and sleep in classic camp-style bunk beds.  Of course, we can provide linens for an extra charge.

Eat at Pali

Pali Institute has its own chef and culinary team, and they’re ready to work together with you to create the perfect menu. We’re a peanut-free, tree nut-free cooking facility, so peanut and tree-nut allergens aren’t something parents need to worry about.

If there are other dietary restrictions, let our chefs know in advance. Otherwise picky and gourmet eaters alike will enjoy our cuisine, and the range of choices we cook every day. You can get a sample menu when you request more info from our team.

Learning at Pali

You don’t need to bring the whole school’s staff with you to supervise the field trip (though you should bring some help). Our instructors and camp staff are all certified, background-checked, and have bachelor’s degrees (at the least).

Pali Institute is one of the only programs of its kind in California to be accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – so your child will be in school while they’re attending.

If you have any other questions, feel free to check our FAQ page or talk to one of our specialists.

We’re here and ready to put together the best overnight field trip for you and your students!