Green travel, travel that incorporates environmentally friendly practices, is one of the fastest growing subsets of travel. Today’s travelers are increasingly careful to travel in a sustainable, low-impact manner. To help you satisfy your wanderlust while minimizing your carbon footprint, we’ve set aside some of our greenest travel destinations. Each of these locations has a robust eco-friendly travel infrastructure, as well as a culture that values environmental sustainability.
Portland is one of the greenest cities in the country and makes use of green practices at every stage of their travel infrastructure. The city uses timed traffic signals as well as over 300 miles of bike lanes to cut back on CO2 emissions. On top of that, the city recycles over 60% of its waste.
The Ace Hotel is a great choice for green travelers. Every part of the hotel emphasizes sustainability. From the furniture to the mattresses, each object is crafted from materials that were collected sustainably. When it’s time to eat, sit down at Tasty and Sons, a farm-to-table restaurant that changes its menu in relation to the seasonal variations of its produce. To top it off, Portland is full of green spaces such as the Portland Japanese Garden, Forest Park and the Portland International Rose Test Garden.
Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains is oft-forgotten Lake Placid. This tranquil mountain resort was not only host to two Olympic games, but also is the sight of some of the most eco-conscious, green travel in the country.
Be sure to stay at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort. In addition to its relaxing luxury, the resort uses towel programs, recycling and green environmentally practices that help to minimize its negative impact on the surrounding environment. The resort’s restaurant Generations supports the resort’s eco-friendly ethos with a menu that is entirely locally sourced. Round out your trip with a hike in Adirondack Park. With over six million acres and the Adirondack High Peaks, you’re not going to run out of outdoor activities in this park.
Not only is Honolulu one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it’s also one of the eco-friendliest. The city is famed for its low greenhouse gas emissions, high percentage of green spaces and excellent air quality.
The Andaz Maui at Wailea is a great choice for a green hotel to stay in. The resort is LEED certified, meaning it’s met the highest standards of energy and environmental efficiency. The resort also uses a locally sourced food and beverage program. As a major center of the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu is a hub for ecotourism and green travel. See coral reefs, sea turtle migrations or hike in protected rainforests to better understand the environment and unique lifestyle of Hawaii.
Cycling enthusiasts are going to be the most excited with a trip to Minneapolis. Not only does the city have ample green space, it also has hundreds of miles of bike lanes. In fact, the city has the highest percentage of cyclists versus drivers in the country.
Aloft in Minneapolis is a popular hotel that encourages guests to reuse their linens and towels to help conserve money. The hotel also offers incentives to guests to reduce electricity use and emissions. Aloft is a hotel that really emphasizes sustainability and efficiency as a part of their overall philosophy. When it comes time to eat, stop by the Chef’s Table at Heartland in St. Paul. The menu changes nightly to reflect their local sources and every aspect of their meals reflects their commitment to sustainability.
Seattle isn’t called the “Emerald City” for nothing. With nearly 10% of the city covered with green space and a mild, oceanic climate, Seattle is known as much for its trees, parks and forests as its coffee and high-tech atmosphere.
For a green hotel in Seattle, book a visit at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Not only does the hotel use waste and energy minimization and widespread recycling, the hotel has its own rooftop honeybee apiary. The food service is disposable free, as well as carbon neutral. Seattle also has plenty of activities to keep you engaged and your carbon footprint low. Walk the beach and seawall of Alki Beach, kayak in Lake Washington or hike in the nearby Cascade Mountains.
The Golden City of San Francisco as a city already places a focus on waste reduction, water conservation and sustainable infrastructure. The city also takes green travel seriously. It’s not hard to have an eco-friendly stay in San Francisco, environmentally friendly practices are built into the city’s DNA.
Staying at the Intercontinental will set your trip off right. The hotel is not only a statement of luxurious elegance, it is also one of the most energy efficient and eco-friendly hotels in the country. The restaurants feature only local and organic ingredients in all its dining and the hotel is LEED certified in its energy use. Stroll through the Japanese Tea Gardens or walk the Golden Gate Bridge for some fun low-emission activities.