If you’re planning a California vacation this year, you’re in luck! California has some of the best options in the country for fun outdoor activities, glamping, farm-to-table and sustainable wineries. For a splendid green escape, here are 10 eco-friendly ideas to make your California vacation a mindful getaway.

Hike around the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Yosemite

In the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park is a valley that John Muir once described as “a wonderfully exact counterpart of the great Yosemite.” Since Muir’s time, the Hetch Hetchy Valley has changed considerably after being dammed in 1923, with water then filling the valley to create a large blue reservoir. The trail surrounding the reservoir provides impressive views of up to three waterfalls, including the Wapama Falls, where travellers can brave a 5-mile hike to view an impressive 200ft of cascading water. Hiking this picturesque trail of Hetch Hetchy Valley is a great way to explore a pocket of Yosemite National Park, with fewer crowds than the popular Valley Floor, whilst also being car-free.

Sustainable stay in Big Sur, California

Set within 160-acres of forested woodland on the Pacific coast, Ventana Big Sur resort is both inspired by and reflective of the majestic setting in Big Sur, and preserves the iconic landscape in which it sits. Sustainability is a way of life at Ventana, from a property-wide recycling programme for materials and water, to non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning products used throughout the resort. Visitors can relax for a sophisticated, eco-friendly stay in one of the luxury suites built within the woodland overlooking the ocean, or connect with nature whilst glamping in a luxury safari-style canvas tent with a wood-burning fire pit and s’mores kit.

Big Sur, California

Photo via Pixabay

Green Travel in San Diego, California

Throughout downtown San Diego, dockless bikes and electric scooters are available to rent for as little as $1 a day to get around. With LimeBike, visitors can track down the nearest bike or scooter via an app and drop it off just about anywhere in the city. This flexible use of public transport provides a sustainable alternative to jumping in a car, enabling travellers to explore the city in an affordable and convenient way while eliminating their carbon footprint.

Enjoy sustainable wine in Sonoma County, California

In 2014, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced it would become the country’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region by 2019. This sustainability programme helps to preserve agriculture and multi-generational family farms (85% of Sonoma County’s vineyards are family owned and operated) that are dependent on a healthy environment to grow the best grapes that make their world famous wines. Visitors to Sonoma can enjoy the drinks of the region knowing that it has all been produced in an environmentally-friendly way.

Discover Bioluminescence in Tomales Bay, California

Visitors to Tomales Bay can explore the magic of summer bioluminescence in the cool Pacific Ocean waters with Point Reyes Outdoors. The adventure tour company offer an evening bioluminescence kayak tour, that launches from Nick’s Cove in the bay whilst the sun sets, and then after dark, heads along the coast in search of blooms of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, small organisms in the water that produce a burst of light when excited by motion. Tours start from $89 per person.

Photo: darwin cruz via Flickr

Taste the farm-to-fork food in Sacramento, California

Known as America’s farm-to-fork capital, Sacramento sits among 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches that grow more than 160 crops for markets all around the world, including 96% of the country’s tomatoes from within 250 miles of Sacramento. The city’s restaurants make the most of this vast farmland to create fresh meals with a low carbon footprint. Visitors can join the Local Roots Food Tour to sample some of the finest menus in town whilst learning about the rich history and architecture of the city. The tour company’s Midtown Arts walking food tour will take travellers through Midtown Sacramento, past intriguing murals and into venues using farm-to-fork ingredients and farm-to-grass libations, for a taste of true Sacramento.

Photo Brian Baer

Clean the harbor in Huntington Beach, California

Travellers can grab a Duffy electric boat, kayak or paddle board and help Huntington Beach clean up its harbour. Every Sunday at 8:45am, ‘Help Your Habor’welcomes visitors to clean up the ocean using zero emissions, by removing rubbish to protect the health and sustainability of important ecosystems. Visitors can learn first-hand about the need for improved biodegradability, packaging reduction and the impact this is currently having on marine life. This novel way of cleaning up the ocean is fun for everyone involved and aims to inspire others to join in and do the same.

Eco Tour Lotusland in Montecito, California

Recognised as one of the world’s best gardens, Lotusland is a stunning 37-acre estate once owned by the late Madame Ganna Walska. Visitors can tour Lotusland’s 25 gardens, each distinct with more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. Featuring a number of succulent gardens filled with palms and cacti, Lotusland promotes a more sustainable landscape, with many of the plant species able to consume less water by retaining it within their leaves and stems.

Walking in West Hollywood, California

With West Hollywood being the most walkable city in California (at 1.9 m²), travellers should ditch the car and lower their carbon footprint, getting around by foot. Bikes & Hikes LA, situated along Santa Monica Blvd, offers daily hiking tours to the Hollywood Sign, starting at Griffith Park and ending on Mount Hollywood. The hiking tour lasts two and a half hours, costing $42 per person, which includes an expert tour guide. Alternatively, visitors can join a private hiking tour throughout the wider LA area, including a beach tour, a famous landmark tour and a famous film location tour.

Travel the Pacific Surfliner with Amtrak in California

Visitors wishing to travel throughout the state need not worry about their carbon footprint, the Amtrak railway service, a much more energy efficient alternative to both driving and flying. There are a number of Amtrak routes through California, making the state accessible and travellers’ journeys care free. One of the most popular lines is the Pacific Surfliner route, which offers 29 stops between San Luis Obispo and San Diego via Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The track follows the stunning Southern California coastline for part of the route and in some parts sits metres from some of the state’s beautiful beaches.

Plan your California Vacation today. 


Also Read:

Ultimate California National Park Adventures for your Bucket List

Big Sur Stay: A Redwood Adventure on the Magnificent California Coast