The 8 Best Eco-Friendly Vacations You Can Take in the U.S.

For most travelers, the world’s natural beauty is all the inspiration needed to plan an unforgettable trip, whether it’s a bucket list trip to a national park or a quick escape to feel the changing colors of fall. But in a brutal twist of fate, many of these visits can disrupt the environment you experience when traveling. As the effects of global warming and climate change become more apparent, it is more important than ever to take our responsibility to protect the planet into account when booking travel or choosing a destination. Fortunately, there are still ways for you to explore and appreciate the world without getting hurt.Read on to discover some of the best eco-friendly vacations you can take in the US

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Mackinac Island, Michigan
Alexis Stip/Shutterstock

A big part of eco-friendly travel is limiting your reliance on emissions-intensive modes of travel once you get there. In one place in the Midwest, swapping your motor vehicle for a set of pedal-powered wheels is the only legal way to go.

“Staying in Michigan for a while? Go to the top of the ‘Glove State’ and take the ferry to Mackinac Island, where cars are banned,” Jessica Parkerfounder of Trip Whisperer, told best life. “People travel on foot, bike or horse.”

“There are so many great outdoor activities to enjoy with the whole family,” Parker added, from kayaking on the island’s shores to discovering famous rock formations to planning along the M-185, known as the only state road Ride anywhere only bicycles are allowed.

Florida Keys
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The allure of pristine beaches and sparkling blue waters makes some people irresistible when booking a trip. Now, there’s a way to enjoy your dream vacation in the sun while remaining environmentally conscious.

“As new light is brought to the precious and dwindling reefs that bring life to the Florida Keys, new companies and businesses seem to be popping up every day, with environmentally friendly practices in mind. Warm weather is now second to none in the continental U.S. The winter destination offers multiple ways for visitors to enjoy world-class snorkeling, dolphin watching and dining opportunities while providing peace of mind,” said Adam Malantravel photographer and writer of our dream trips.

“Companies like Honest Eco and Marathon Turtle Hospital deliver iconic and memorable experiences that put wildlife and nature first,” he added. “What’s more, the Florida Keys and Key West Regional Tourism Board has even launched a campaign dedicated to green travel, with enough information for a fully eco-friendly vacation, from car rentals to meals to activities.”

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A house in the Big World Earthship community in New Mexico
Shutterstock/Richard Damora

The world may look different in the years ahead as we make the changes necessary to protect the planet. However, some communities are leading the way when it comes to sustainable lifestyles, with one place attracting travelers looking to learn more.

“In the alpine desert of Taos, New Mexico sits a thriving community of Great World Earthships,” Abigail Newey, the editor of Travel Lemming said. “Although off-grid, its inhabitants welcome visitors and are delighted to share in the architect’s creativity and colourful innovation Michael Reynolds. “

“In the early ’70s, this ecologically conscious pioneer began to conceive Earthship, a sustainably constructed, fully self-sufficient home. Today’s structures consume natural energy, collect water, produce food, and even dispose of waste,” she said. explained. “Explore their visitor center or book their unique futuristic rental program. Other nearby green attractions include Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Taos Pueblo.”

bison walking on the plain
Shutterstock/Tim Pleasant

While some destinations are just starting to enter the ecotourism trend, others have made conservation and restoration their top priority for quite some time. In some cases, more than just National Park Service pieces are on display.

“A trip to Ted Turner Reserves to two ranches in southern New Mexico is one of the most special experiences in America,” says the sustainable travel consultant Ross O’Connor“Ted has two large private ranches near the town of Truth or Consequences totaling over 500,000 acres that can be explored while living in one of his three residences, Sierra Grande, Ladder or Amendaris. “

“This is one of the most beautiful places in America and a living testament to Ted’s decades of dedication to rewinding and restoring ecosystems,” O’Connor explained. “While exploring the area with a private guide (included in some accommodations), you can see herds of roaming bison, elk and pronghorn. Many other species long extinct in the area – such as Mexican ash Wolves, Bolson’s tortoises and bighorn sheep – were reintroduced to the land through the work of the Ted Turner Endangered Species Fund. Their recovery has had a huge regenerative impact on the entire ecosystem, where the land is now American Ecology One of the healthiest lands.”

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Ultimately, O’Connor says, the destination offers a truly unique way to experience nature. “Exploring Ladder and Armendaris Ranch is like visiting a national park without the crowds,” she concluded. “This truly is one of the most unique and intimate badlands and wildlife experiences in the 48 states.”

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Cottonwood Pass in Buena Vista, Colorado
iStock / SeanXu

Sometimes, getting to a place where you can truly appreciate nature means disconnecting from your device when you get there. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if your eco-friendly trip is to a leisure destination that runs entirely on sustainable energy.

“The Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa, nestled in the shadow of the 14,000-foot Colorado peaks, is a soul-filling getaway,” said Nueve. “Cellular service is spotty at best, and you won’t find loud TVs or Wi-Fi passwords in their rustic log cabins. Instead, entertainment can be found in nature — stargazing, hiking and soaking in gravity In the supplied hot spring pool.”

“In addition to geothermal energy, the resort is fully reliant on renewable energy, including wind and solar,” Nueve continued. But the commitment to nature isn’t limited to the resorts: other local businesses also maintain sustainable energy practices, including Wilderness Aware Rafting, a local outdoor outfitter that offers summer tours. She also noted that in winter guests can visit nearby Monarch Mountain, where “100% natural snow attracts eco-tourists.”

Photography by Shutterstock/Roschetzky

It’s not just rural areas and dense forests that can be used for eco-friendly travel: Even some of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. have plenty of eco-friendly options for travelers looking to minimize their footprint.

“Austin, Texas, just expresses my heart for the environment,” said Janely, travel blogger, founder of Go Wanderly. “While it’s understandable why live music and Southern BBQ are the only things that come to mind when we think of Austin, there are other things to enjoy. The ever-expanding city is a great place for new residents and visitors alike, with over 200 1 parks, 12 protected areas, 26 green belts, incentives for eco-friendly businesses, and hotels that are going green.”

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hand holding credit card and using laptop
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While professional ecotourists have blazed the trail to many destinations in the United States, the number of places where eco-friendly travel is possible is growing by the day. And thanks to new booking services that can offset your travel emissions, the options are now nearly limitless.

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“Every time you book a stay on KindTraveler.com, you can donate to a charity of your choice – including those local to your destination,” Parker said. “You can search for more charities and hotels in the US that really talk to your family, and even involve kids in the giving experience. Of course, it’s important to check out their guides, which include conscious and sustainable advice. The best part Yes, the hotels there are all vetted on the platform, including the donation section.”

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rocky mountain climber train
Lissandra Mello/Shutterstock

From how to offset your carbon footprint to how to get around once you arrive, every bit contributes to eco-friendly travel. But experts point out that if your ultimate goal is to plan an eco-friendly trip from start to finish, you should consider limiting how far you have to travel.

“To minimise carbon emissions, the easiest step is to be closer to home,” Charles Van ReesDr, wildlife expert and founder of nature blog Gulo, told best life. “If you’re within the U.S., explore options for destinations closer to your state than the opposite coast.”

Often, booking the perfect tour may just require a bit more digging, which can also pay off in your overall enjoyment. “Many people are surprised to find that their home state or neighboring states have incredible destinations in their state parks that fly completely under the radar,” Van Rees said. “These underexplored dark horse destinations are often more enjoyable because you and your family can bring them to yourself. There will be less rush and competition for attractions, experiences and vacation memories. Plus, you Instagram won’t look like everyone else. “

If you’re planning a decent long trek, Van Ris adds, the method you choose can greatly affect your overall carbon footprint. “Flying contributes significantly more to carbon emissions than driving, and cars contribute more than trains. Trains are highly underrated as a travel option, especially when on vacation,” he explained. For cross country trips, check your train options! Sleeping cars are great for long journeys. They also give you the opportunity to explore stopovers on the way to your destination, enjoying the views and picturesque scenery without you having to make room for carry-on luggage Quarrel with anyone over space.”

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