15 Socially Distanced Field Trip Ideas

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way schools operate in many ways. However, field trips still play a vital role in student development and provide an invaluable learning experience outside the classroom. That said, these outings need to account for new safety measures designed to keep students, faculty, and communities safe.

Securing safe and reliable transportation is one of the most important elements when planning a field trip. Bus.com has a range of versatile bus types to suit any student group.

Determining what kinds of field trips are still possible and how to get there may seem challenging, but at Bus.com, we’re here to help. We’ve prepared a list of 16 socially distanced field trip ideas for you later in this post, and by using our easy-to-use booking tool, you can have your entire itinerary finalized in moments.

Planning safe field trips

Planning safe, socially-distanced field trips with Bus.com

When organizing a field trip and renting a charter bus with minors means that safety is the first priority. Unfortunately, the ongoing COVID-19 adds another challenging element to adapt to, but it’s important to remember these challenges are manageable with the right precautions. At Bus.com, we have plenty of tips for hosting safe events, COVID-19-specific travel tips, and general resources for event planners operating during COVID-19. For all kinds of trips, we’re constantly working to make sure traveling with Bus.com is as safe as possible.

Choosing the right bus

Choosing the right bus type is an important first step when planning your field trip.

Bus.com offers various bus types, each with its own advantages. Choosing the bus type that’s right for your field trip will depend on how many people are in your group, how far you’ll be traveling, and what amenities you’ll need onboard. While for most field trips it will make the most sense to rent a bus, some field trips may benefit from a shuttle service.  If you’d like to learn more, we’ve prepared resources that detail what factors go into charter bus prices. We also offer a book now pay later program so you can secure a quote in advance, before beginning your fundraising. For more in-depth information, check out our ultimate guide to bus rentals.

Coach Bus

A coach bus rental is the largest and most luxurious of our charter bus rentals. A coach bus has room for up to 55 passengers and is well-suited for longer-distance travel. Coach bus rentals also have the widest selection of available amenities, including hi-speed WiFi, air-conditioning, A/V and DVD equipment, generous undercarriage and overhead storage bays, and an onboard restroom. These additions may sound pricey, but you may be surprised to find out they may not add much to the total coach bus rental cost.

School Bus

The classic yellow school bus is an iconic sight all over North America, and it’s no mystery why they’re frequently relied on for field trips. They’re a straightforward, affordable option with room for up to 47 passengers, and they’re ideal for shorter trips. Remember, we also offer a book now, pay later program, so you can secure a quote for your charter bus cost well in advance and run your fundraising drive in the meantime. 

Minibus

Effectively a scaled-down version of a classic school bus, a minibus has room for up to 21 passengers and is ideal for shorter hops around town. The smaller size of a minibus rental not only makes it perfect for smaller groups, but it can also be a great choice for some destinations where larger vehicles may have a difficult time parking and loading. A minibus rental is also a very popular choice of charter bus for rent for shuttle services.

Sprinter Van

A newer vehicle type, a Sprinter Van rental is a flexible vehicle with passenger space for between 8 and 15 passengers, depending on the configuration. A passenger van rental also has a range of available amenities, including air-conditioning, baggage storage, charging outlets, and high-speed WiFi capabilities. While all of our charter buses for rent include a vetted driver as part of the regular charter bus cost, with a sprinter van rental, you can choose to book your passenger van rental without a driver and either drive it yourself or provide a qualified driver of your own. 

Mini Coach Bus

A mini coach bus is as luxurious and comfortable as its full-sized coach bus charter, but it’s shrunk down to size for smaller groups of up to  31 people. You can book your minibus rental with the same amenities on a full-sized coach bus, including hi-speed WiFi, air-conditioning, TV/DVD equipment, power outlets, and extra storage bays. There’s also an onboard restroom on some models, which is excellent for longer trips if you’re trying to limit the number of pit stops necessary.

Indoor Activities 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the number of indoor activities your class can participate in, but there are still plenty of venues that have enacted well-thought-out social distancing practices and other public health measures to stay safe and stay open. Check out these great indoor field trip ideas for some inspiration.

Museums

Exploring local museums with your class is a great idea, and it's a field trip they aren't soon to forget.

Truly one of the hallmark destinations for field trips, a great museum visit can stay with a student all their lives. At Bus.com, our primary concern is the safety of you and your student group, whether you’re planning to tour the elegant grounds at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, explore ancient Etruscan art at one of the J. Paul Getty Museum locations in Los Angeles, or get up-close to prehistoric dinosaur bones at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Ice Skating

Not just for the wintertime, ice skating is a fun way to get your class on the move, and thanks to indoor skating rinks all over North America, you can typically find an indoor skating rink open year-round, right in your neighborhood! That said, there are still some iconic outdoor rinks that continue to operate during the pandemic, too. One such rink, and likely the most famous, is the rink in the middle of the Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Rollerblading 

Rollerblading makes a great summertime field trip.

Much like ice skating, rollerblading is a great way to get your class to work up a sweat and get some exercise. As if that weren’t enough, just like ice skating, rollerblading is full of teachable physics lessons! There’s no better way to demonstrate big ideas like friction, gravity, momentum, and inertia than to strap on a pair of rollerskates and let loose! 

Aquariums

A field trip to your local aquarium is a magical way to get your students interested in the living world.

Aquariums are one of the most popular field trip ideas in North America, and visiting one is a great way to introduce your students to the amazing diversity of aquatic life. There are a handful of very well-known aquariums, including the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in LA. But you don’t need to visit these to have a great field trip, and there are dozens of smaller local aquariums with outstanding programs just waiting to be discovered.

Literature Tour

Though it may not be what you first think of when brainstorming for field trip ideas, booking a sprinter van rental or coach bus charter is the best way to tour dozens of iconic east coast literature locations. Some classic destinations include the Emily Dickinson Museum in Boston, MA,  the F. Scott Fitzgerald House in Saint Paul, MN, and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, IN, but there are tons of other great spots across the country.

Outdoor Activities

Thankfully, most outdoor activities are significantly less affected by COVID-19 restrictions, offering students the ability to keep their distance from one another. Ultimately, the time of year and weather will play a factor in which activities you’ll be able to take advantage of. If you’re looking for even more inspiration for your field trip ideas, check out our list of winter tour group activities.

Tubing

Tubing is a popular winter activity, but there's summer tubing as well!

Tubing is a great, year-round activity. Your students will have a blast whether they’re enjoying downhill tubing in the wintertime or lazy river tubing in the summer. There are great tubing spots all over the United States and Canada that range from old-school toboggan hills with classic rubber tubes to state-of-the-art “dry slopes” with special carpet materials and hard-bottomed tubes. 

Skiing

For skiers, there are few things as exciting as the first good snowfall of a season, and if you’re looking for field trip ideas, a trip to your local ski hill may be just what you’ve been looking for.

If you’re curious and looking for more information, we have a blog post full of tailored advice on all the ins and outs of organizing a student ski trip as well as a helpful planning checklist..

Snowboarding

Snowboarding and skiing trips will be the talk of the whole school.

If you’re planning a student ski trip, you better not forget the snowboarders, too! If students or chaperones want to bring their own snowboarding equipment, you may want to look into a coach bus charter or a minibus rental as these bus types are great for short and longer hauls and they have dedicated storage bays with plenty of room for your gear.

Sugar Shack 

Sugar shack trips are a great bet for students of all ages. They provide exciting activities such as horse-drawn rides, tree-tappings, petting zoos, and lots of opportunities to taste authentic maple treats. The season for sugar shacks generally runs from February to May, and although they’re most commonly found in Eastern Canada and New England, you can also find great spots further west in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Hiking

a field trip is a great, inexpensive way to learn outside the classroom.

A hiking trip is a low-cost way to get your students out into the great outdoors and get some exercise while they do it. Depending on where you are in North America, you may want to get a minibus rental or long-distance coach bus charter and head into a nearby State or National Park. Or, if you’re lucky, you may live in a city like L.A, with great hiking parks like Griffith Park, right in the heart of the city! Don’t miss visiting the famous observatory for views of the iconic Hollywood sign while you’re there.

Snowshoeing

Recreational snowshoeing has grown in popularity over the years. Humans first began creating snowshoes thousands of years ago for hunting in deep snow. Today, many modern snowshoers just do it for fun. A snowshoeing trip is a great field trip idea to get your students out into the woods to appreciate nature from a totally different perspective. Plenty of well-known ski hills also feature snowshoe sections, but there are also lots of standalone trails to check out all over North America.

Beaches

A field trip to the beach has lots of fun potential.

It’s hard to resist a sunny beach, and student trips to your local lake or oceanfront beaches will be a guaranteed hit. Whether you’ll be hitting up the sun-soaked beaches in Miami, hidden beaches near San Francisco, or some of the boardwalk beaches of LA — when choosing a charter bus for rent, be sure you account for plenty of storage space so people can bring blankets, sports gear, picnic supplies, and sunscreen! Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Theme Parks

For many young students, a trip to a theme park can be a formative memory, and while a field trip to a theme park may not be on par with a science museum for teachable moments, it’s likely a trip a student won’t soon forget. There are dozens of incredible theme parks from coast to coast, including notable theme parks near Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Apple Picking

For a great fall-time field trip idea, don't forget about apple picking!

As the summer comes to a close and the weather gets a little cooler, thoughts of juicy apples and seasonal treats pop into people’s heads. Organizing an apple-picking field trip is a surefire way to create happy memories for your students, and it’s a great way to get your student groups out of the cities to appreciate the bounty that can come with the changing of the seasons. Typically, the best time for apple picking runs from the end of August until mid-October

Zoos

For student groups who love animals, nothing beats a visit to the zoo. Some of the better-known zoos in North America include the San Diego Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, and the Toronto Zoo, but there are loads of smaller, more local zoos with great programs for students of all ages. Also, be sure to take advantage of our book now pay later option to secure the lowest charter bus prices before you start fundraising for your trip.

In summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of everyday things more complicated, and even a simple field trip suddenly comes with risks we didn’t have to consider before. At Bus.com, we’re meeting the challenge head-on, and we know that one of the most critical steps to overcoming this pandemic is to make sure our students can go out into the world and learn from doing and seeing things outside the classroom.

Get on the road with your class and plan your field trip with Bus.com today.

We’re always adapting to the changing recommendations from public health officials, and we remain the experts if you’re looking to rent a bus for any reason. We offer a variety of charter bus rentals and shuttle services, but we also have plenty of field trip ideas, planning tips for student ski trips, and even fun, team-building advice for things you can do on a bus ride without electronics

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