NatureBridge students hiking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Golden Gate

School & Group Environmental Science

Discover Your Outdoor Classroom
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Golden Gate
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Our overnight environmental science programs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area offer students the opportunity to engage in inclusive, hands-on learning experiences in one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most pristine coastal locations. Students explore Rodeo Beach and the trails of the Marin Headlands, challenge themselves physically, build meaningful relationships, and discover a caring relationship with the natural world. We collaborate with each school or group to ensure their program experience meets their educational goals.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, overnight school programs for the 2020–2021 school year are suspended. NatureBridge is committed to supporting teachers, students and families during this unique school year and while we cannot welcome students in-person to our national park campuses at the moment, we hope to see you in our virtual classroom. Learn more about our Distance Learning programs. We remain hopeful that we can resume our overnight school programs in Fall 2021. If you are interested in booking for the 2021-2022 school year, please fill out a Request Information form.

Our Program

Sample Day and Activities

Morning: Gather in the dining hall for breakfast, pack backpacks, and prepare for the day.

Instructional Day on Trail: Spend the day in small learning groups led by a professional NatureBridge educator. Students engage in collaborative, authentic scientific learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment. These experiences are designed to support NGSS and student’s social and emotional development. 

Sample Activities 

  • Study the adaptations of tide pool creatures in an intertidal marine touch tank.
  • Collect and identify macroinvertebrates from Rodeo Pond.
  • Engage in rock inquiry and explore 200 million years of geologic history.
  • Visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse and observe seal behavior from the coastal bluffs.
  • Hike to the top of Hawk Hill or Hill 88 and enjoy 360° views of the San Francisco Bay.

Afternoon/Early Evening: Return to campus to reflect, relax, and unwind while school chaperones supervise. Dinner in the dining hall gives everyone a chance to share their trail stories.

Evening: NatureBridge educators facilitate evening programs selected by group coordinators that could include a short night hike, campfire, or beach visit to look for bioluminescent plankton. Students then return to the dorms and get ready for bed.

students on trail overlooking Rodeo Lagoon

Areas of Study

Marine Science: Students visit coastal, lagoon, and rocky intertidal habitats while exploring human impacts on the ocean and estuarine resources.

Terrestrial Plants & Animals: Students gain an understanding of the components and intricate interconnections of terrestrial ecosystems while exploring issues such as resource management, habitat loss, and conservation.

Watershed Studies: Students learn about the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems; the role of water in terrestrial systems; how their actions affect the world's oceans, no matter their distance from it; and how in turn the ocean affects all of us 

Earth & Physical Science: Students engage their scientific inquiry skills to discover why this region, as well as their home community, has developed over geologic time to have its unique character.

Climate Change (5th grade and up): Students begin to define and understand climate change by learning about the carbon cycle, the greenhouse effect, and phenology.

Our Educators

NatureBridge environmental science educators bring our programs to life. Our skilled and passionate educators provide inclusive and culturally responsive programming that challenges students to step out of their comfort zones and connect to themselves and one another. Our staff have a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work and training experience, cleared background checks and are certified to manage risk in the field. 

The energy and passion our educators have for engaging with youth and the natural world is a vital element of our success.


Connect to SCIENCE + NATURE +  SELF AND OTHERS: Students experience personal growth, build interpersonal skills, gain science knowledge, strengthen critical thinking skills, and act as environmental stewards. NatureBridge strives to create an impactful and lasting educational program for every student.

There is no other program that balances personal growth, teamwork and environmental education at such a high level. Our students always grow into themselves at NatureBridge.
Laura M., Teacher at Sacramento Country Day School
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Our Campus


Our environmental science programs utilize three dormitories, which may be shared between visiting school groups. Dorm buildings are heated and have internal showers and bathrooms.  Our beds are twin, bunk beds and are steel-framed. All participants are asked to bring their own linens, including pillows, sleeping bags or sheets and blankets, towels and toiletries.

The dorms at NatureBridge's Golden Gate campus


Our amazing kitchen staff works hard to provide nutritional, kid- and chaperone-friendly meals to keep our participants fully-charged throughout their program. Breakfast and dinner are served buffet-style in our dining hall, which is shared with all schools on campus. In addition to revolving hot dishes, breakfast and dinner also include a full fruit or salad bar. Lunch is served on trail during the hiking day. Most individual dietary restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free can be accommodated. Our meal service is nut-free. All participants are asked to bring their own lunch on arrival day. Read more about dietary restrictions we can accommodate.  

Dining hall at NatureBridge's Golden Gate campus
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Rates and Availability

*Rates include $2 scholarship fee Standard Youth Rates Standard Adult Rates Winter Youth Rates Winter Adult Rates
5-Day/4-Night Programs $474 $396 $436 $365
3-Day/2-Night Programs $309 $268 $284 $245

NatureBridge Scholarships
NatureBridge is committed to reaching students in all the communities we serve. Scholarships are awarded based on the free and reduced lunch rate of a school (or private-school equivalent) and/or other supplemental information to support need. If you believe your school or group may qualify for a scholarship, please fill out and submit a scholarship application form to Casen Splain.

Fundraising Ideas

Programs are offered throughout the school year.  For specific dates, please contact us

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I book a program? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.
    • Connect with our Outreach and Enrollment team by clicking ‘Request Information’. They’ll be able to answer any questions and explore available dates!
  • What are the steps/requirements to book a program? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.
    • Confirm dates that we have available and work for your school’s schedule.

    • Submit a signed contract and 25% deposit.

    • Confirm your guaranteed number of students and adults no later than 90-days prior to your arrival date. Groups can decrease their numbers by up to 5% after this date without financial penalties.

    • Send your final balance due so that we receive payment 30 days before your arrival date.

    • 30 days prior - Fill out our online questionnaire to communicate your area of study, expectations and needs for your groups learning experience.

    • 21 days prior - Send us your registration forms and learning group lists which should include dietary, medical and behavioral information.

    • Two weeks prior - schedule a final checklist phone call with our operations team.

    • On arrival day, please notify us of any changes to your arrival time.

  • Does NatureBridge provide scholarship assistance? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.
    • Yes, scholarships are awarded based on the free and reduced lunch rate of a school (or private-school equivalent); number of students that the school is bringing; the standard cost of the program and scholarship funds we have available at time of request.
  • Who at NatureBridge will I be working with? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.
    • Our Outreach and Enrollment team helps you schedule dates; sends your contract and deposit; sends you reminders when we haven’t received your contract and deposit; helps with any contract/deposit related questions; collects and awards scholarships.
    • Our Accounting team helps us collect signed contracts (all pages are required); collects and processes your deposits and other payments; sends your balance due invoice; collects payments when your balance is due; processes any refunds.
    • Our Operations team works with you on logistical planning questions and information; collects your 90-day numbers; helps schedule school visits when available; collects and answers any questions about the planning questionnaire; collects your learning/hiking group lists; collects registration forms. 
    • Our Education team will be your primary contacts while you are on campus!


  • What are the chaperone requirements? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.
    • We require 1 adult for every 16 students to participate during the day hikes. We request that there are no more than 2 parent chaperones per hiking group so that the experience stays student centered.
    • For dormitory and free time supervision we require 1 adult for every 20 students.
    • Schools provide chaperones with the help from teachers, staff and parents. 
    • Parents who primarily want to spend time with their child do not typically focus on group supervision and participation. It is a NatureBridge policy that parents not be assigned to the same hiking group as their student.
    • Adults who are physically fit, need little down time and love being with children generally make the most reliable chaperones.
    • Adults who want/need to go home at night or can only stay for a part of your program may leave you short-handed at some point. More importantly, consistency among participating adults means less stress for teachers and better overall student supervision and control.
    • Chaperone must be at least 21 years old.
    • One chaperone per learning group must be proficient in English.
  • Is transportation included? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

    Schools provide all transportation of participants to and from the program.

  • How do you accommodate participants with special needs? Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

    We have many years of experience meeting the different needs of students.  School/families should communicate any special needs on the participant registration form and learning group lists.

    • For physical needs, learning needs and other special circumstances, our operations team can work with you to plan for arrangements needed.

    • Medications are administered by a school representative. Our educators carry EPI pens with them at all times.

    • For dietary needs, we can accommodate most restrictions. Please see our Dietary Restrictions document to review more details.

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Prepare for Your Trip

Students, Families and Chaperones

Teachers and Group Coordinators

Visit your planning page

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Request Information

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all overnight school programs for the 2020–2021 school year are suspended and we are unable to confirm new group reservations at this time. If you would like more information about in-person programs for the future, please fill out the form below and a member of our outreach staff will be in touch with you.


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Where to

Find Us

NatureBridge at Golden Gate
1033 Fort Cronkhite
Sausalito, CA 94965


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Start planning your trip to NatureBridge today!