These eco-friendly travel destinations offer adventure and incredible experiences while keeping sustainability in mind.
Ski down slopes that have made the Epicpromise – Commitment to zero, Whistler
Whistler Blackcomb and Vail Resorts are aggressively pursuing a comprehensive sustainability commitment with the Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint. Started at Whistler Blackcomb, this ambitious undertaking commits to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to the landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
Whistler Blackcomb’s 2016 The Big Picture Documentaries examined some of today’s most pertinent environmental questions. Whistler Blackcomb’s sustainability efforts have led to their 10th win as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.
Fly over Canadian mountains in a carbon neutral helicopter, Whistler
Blackcomb Helicopters offers carbon neutral tourism flights as of 2018. They measure the greenhouse gases that they emit during each hour of flight and mitigate the emissions from tourism flights by purchasing the equivalent amount of carbon offsets for the Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project.
This project sequesters the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases that they emit and ensures that 418 hectares of forestland along the coastline – previously designated to be logged or converted to vacation homes – is now protected parkland.
Clean the harbour 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.
You 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. Perfect for an eco-friendly travel stop!
Watch migrating birds at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach
A remarkable destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve represents the culmination of a decades-long effort by activists who battled to protect this wetlands ecosystem from development.
After years of restoration work, you can now walk on five miles of trails, and spot both resident birds and transient species that use the wetlands as a critical stopover while migrating along the Pacific Flyway. Nearly 200 species are regularly seen at the reserve, while another 116 less frequently seen species have also been spotted.
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. You can enjoy the drinks of the region knowing that it has all been produced in an environmentally-friendly way.
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.
You 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.
Sleep sustainably 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.
You 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.
Dream of green in Santa Cruz Dream Inn
In 2012, the Dream Inn became the first hotel in Santa Cruz to be certified green; voluntarily going above and beyond regulatory requirements to prevent pollution and conserve resources. Committed to preserving its beautiful redwood and ocean surroundings, Dream Inn has partnered with two non-profit organizations that advocate environmental awareness and protection; Save Our Shores, which promotes marine conservation; and the Mountain Parks Foundation.
Beach and nature-lovers will appreciate this extra, eco-friendly incentive to plan a stay at the Dream Inn. The seasonal menu at Aquarius, the Dream Inn’s on-site restaurant, serves up fresh, locally grown, organic dishes with a panoramic ocean view, and all ingredients strictly adhere to the Seafood Watch Program, promoting sustainable seafood and healthy oceans.
Encourage others to cycle-share with Biketown, Portland
The Nike headquarters, Portland, founded the free bike initiative, ‘Biketown’ promoting and active and healthy lifestyle on two wheels. This year, a new initiative allows users to donate credits to BIKETOWN for All – the City’s program for discounted bike share memberships for Portlanders living on low incomes. BIKETOWN offers numerous ways for system users to earn credits on their balance by doing activities that support a well-balanced bike share system, like returning bikes parked outside of a station back to a station. Those credits can then be used to cover the cost of their rides, monthly membership dues, or donate to support low income Portlanders to sign up. The goal of the Pay-It-Forward initiative is to gather enough credits to make the first month free for every BIKETOWN for All member and eliminate a potential hurdle to membership. There are currently 440 BIKETOWN for All members.
Experience the rails-to-trails conversion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania has become one of the USA’s best examples of rails-to-trails conversion, with hundreds of miles of transformed rail trails, including the Great Allegheny Passage, which links Pittsburgh with Washington, D.C. Starting at the iconic Point State Park – the meeting point of the city’s three rivers – the trail commemorates the historic routes of Pittsburgh’s booming industrial past, stretching 335 miles and offers a smooth surface for bikers, hikers and runners.
For an eco-friendly travel plan, you can take yourself on a self-guided tour of the scenic route with Golden Triangle Bike Rental with bike hire, lodging and breakfasts at some of the best dining spots along the trail.
The Islands of Tahiti
Enjoy eco-friendly opulence, Tetiaroa & Bora Bora
Residing on its own private island, The Brando considers itself the steward of Tetiaroa, and takes this environmental responsibility seriously. The luxury resort relies entirely on renewable energy sources including solar power and coconut oil, and all building materials used are of local or certified origin, renewable, or incorporate recycled components. A pioneering deep seawater air-conditioning system keeps the hotel cool and all guests are provided with free bicycles to get around the island, further reducing the carbon footprint. The owners have also built an Eco-station and gifted it to Tetiaroa Society; the non-profit organization was established to allow scientist to lead research into sustainable interdependence.
Relax in a hydroelectric ryokan, Karuizawa
Hoshinoya Karuizawa, of the famous chain, goes an extra step in preserving the exceptional natural scenery in which it is set. 90 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train, the resort sits on a lake beside Mt Asama and feels a world away from the neon capital. The river running down the mountain plays a key role in powering the property, generating hydroelectricity through a system simply called ‘Energy In My Yard’ (EIMY), which provides 70% of the resorts energies, including the under-floor heating. You can enjoy ecotours, bird watching, and healing hot springs during their stay too.
Let 2019 be the year of eco-friendly travel!