Getting Started

Getting Started


The expression “Outward Bound” signified that moment a ship left its moorings and committed itself to open sea, with its unknowns, its hazards and its adventure. It was a recurring demonstration of a person’s nobility - of their desire to seek and determine their own destiny no matter what the challenge. And that, in a nutshell, is what our school is all about.

Our purpose is to have you leave those comfortable moorings of home, friends and routine, and risk the difficult and unfamiliar in search of a better understanding of your own resources and capabilities. You’ll be asked to face challenges which will demand more of you than you expect of yourself. You’ll be in situations where you will have to rely on others for your own wellbeing. And, you’ll be asked to care for and help others when the going gets hard for them.

You can expect to be doing rather than watching; acting rather than talking. You can expect to try without worry of failing for we demand only that you try. You tell us how well you did.

You can expect to be hot, cold, wet, hungry, tired, sore and happy. And when you’ve finished, you can expect to know from experience rather than wonder or doubt. We can’t wait for you to join us! 

Our School

A North Carolina Outward Bound School course is the beginning of a life-long journey. We offer courses for a broad range of groups, including high achieving youth, adults, troubled teens, school groups, educators, business professionals and veterans, that are both physically challenging and powerfully inspiring. From four to 72 days long, our wilderness programs take place in some of the premier outdoor education areas of the country, with activity options of mountaineering, backpacking, whitewater canoeing, rock climbing, coastal canoeing and sea kayaking. Whatever your reason for choosing North Carolina Outward Bound School, every bend in the trail, eddy in the river and rock ledge of a mountain peak, are opportunities for personal growth. No experience is necessary, just the willingness to dig deep, embrace the moment and take the challenge. 


History of Outward Bound

Outward Bound has a long, celebrated history. It was founded during World War II when German U-boats were sinking British merchant ships, and many merchant sailors were dying as they waited to be rescued from the rough and frigid waters. Sir Lawrence Holt, owner of the Blue Funnel shipping line in Great Britain, called upon a progressive educator named Kurt Hahn to help him uncover the answer to this question: Why were the older, more seasoned sailors surviving at a rate much higher than the younger and presumably more fit sailors? Hahn identified the problem as a lack of confidence rather than any shortage of skill or equipment. He recognized that the younger sailors had not yet developed an understanding of their own physical, emotional and psychological resources and had no difficult life experiences to draw from. To address this problem, Hahn opened the first Outward Bound School in Aberdovey, Wales, in 1941, providing participants with a series of progressively challenging opportunities for success. Since then, Outward Bound has become the oldest, largest and most recognized wilderness educational organization in the world. Learn about North Carolina Outward Bound School's history.

History of Outward Bound


North Carolina Outward Bound School offers courses for people of all ages and walks of life. Not to mention, our courses take place in some of the most magnificent wilderness settings in the country. Expeditions can range anywhere from one-day programs for our professional clients to 72-days for our semester students, and anywhere in between.



Use our course finder to explore our courses or contact us by phone, (888) 756-2627or email, [email protected] and we would be happy to help you find the expedition that is perfect for you.

Course Finder

Sign Up for Updates

Stay informed on North Carolina news and updates! Please fill out the form below to begin receiving our email newsletter.