Do-Good Adventures: 9 Exciting Summer Volunteer Opportunities

Vacations can be about more than rest and relaxation. Engage your spirit of adventure and sense of civic duty with a vacation that helps those around you. With volunteer vacations that range from performing maintenance on the Appalachian Trail to saving snowy plovers on the beaches of the Central Coast of California to building homes in the wake of disasters, you're sure to find a program to suit almost every interest and skill level. Here are 9 volunteer vacation opportunities around the United States that should inspire you to action.

  1. Clean Up Yosemite with REI


    Give back by volunteering at Yosemite National Park through REI Adventures and Conservation Volunteers International Program. You'll be trained to clear and renovate trails and aid in park conservation—all while spending four nights camping in California's beautiful Yosemite Valley.

  2. Take a Sierra Club Service Trip


    Accommodating all levels of skill, Sierra Club's service trips undertake tasks like repairing meadows, assisting archaeologists, and eradicating non-native vegetation all around the country. Typically, one or two days are left free for hiking, swimming, and exploring.

  3. Maintain the Appalachian Trail


    The Appalachian Trail is kept open and available thanks to more than 6,000 volunteers who contribute more than 200,000 hours each year. Volunteers take a hands-on role monitoring the trail, removing invasive species, and supporting teachers in the Trail to Every Classroom program.

  4. Assist with Global Volunteers in Montana


    If you serve with Global Volunteers, you can learn about daily life on Indian reservations of Montana by assisting children through summer programs, field trips, meal programs, or community events. Perhaps your professional skills can be put to use at tribal offices, or you can help out by planting a community garden or painting a classroom.

  5. Build with Habitat for Humanity


    Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built or repaired more than 800,000 houses and has grown to encompass 1,500 local affiliates nationwide and more than 70 national organizations around the world. Participate in home maintenance or disaster response, or serve at their headquarters in Georgia.

  6. Escape to a Hawaiian Retreat


    For more than 37 years, Kalani has been a volunteer-run nonprofit educational village and retreat center that celebrates Hawaiian culture and wellness. Work with more than 90 volunteers, taking care of up to 120 guests on 120 acres of beautiful Hawaiian jungle.

  7. Save Trails with The American Hiking Society


    Give back with the American Hiking Society by building and maintaining one of our nation's many trails. Work and hike alongside other volunteers, and lay your head at night at a campsite, bunkhouse, or cabin.

  8. Morro Bay and Hearst Castle Wine Tasting Weekends


    Help protect endangered snowy plovers on the Central Coast of California, in a program that runs on select long weekends through November. When you're not on the beach replacing invasive vegetation with native plants, you'll enjoy fine wine and VIP tours of famous attractions.

  9. Loons and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill


    Join researchers on an Earthwatch-sponsored expedition to investigate how one of our nation's largest environmental crises has affected large seabirds. You'll experience the gulf by boat as you capture and tag loons by night. You’ll also keep a close eye on loons by day, looking for birds on the water and recording their activities.

  10. For More...


    Thomas Loof/Trunk Archive

    If you are interested in more trips around the United States, consider:

    Bob Vila's Architecture Bucket List

    Send Yourself to Camp: 12 Top Learning Destinations

    7 Great Places to Bunk at America's National Parks

  11. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!