It’s that time of the year again, and you’re probably dreaming about a great summer vacation with your loved ones. I don’t blame you; I am too. Every year most of us go on our annual vacations (if we’re lucky) in the summer. It’s our chance to kick back, relax, and get away from it work and other obligations.
However, there are certain facts about tourism that we should pay attention to when choosing a summer vacation spot. For instance, tourism is hugely affected by global warming (rising sea levels that threaten to submerge small islands and coastal regions), desertification (the scarcity of water), deforestation (which contributes to global warming and excess carbon in the atmosphere, which reduces the pristine beauty – and therefore the demand – for these destinations), and melting glaciers (which leads to rising sea levels, flooding, and affects destinations worldwide). So it’s hard to escape the fact that we – as tourists – also affect and damage the environment simply because that is the nature of the industry. We now know that “tourism is not only the largest growing industry in the world, but it is also responsible for 5% to 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
Fortunately, there are environmentally friendly travel solutions that we can live with. No, it doesn’t mean that we have to stay at home! As more and more families look for eco-friendly destinations, the tourism industry has scrambled to provide what people are seeking. It’s true that a lot of places have a long way to go. While they’re figuring things out, give these eco-friendly travel destinations a chance instead.
Eco-Friendly Destinations for Your Next Summer Vacation
Canyon of the Eagles
Canyon of the Eagles is located on a 940-acre nature reserve that runs along the banks of Lake Buchanan and the Colorado River in Central Texas. Sixteen structures blend organically into the habitat, thereby preserving the natural beauty of the place and letting it remain unsullied. The resort teaches guests how to preserve nature and respect the outdoors. You can have fun doing many activities too, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, cave exploration, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Find out more about them here.
Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge
One of North America’s top ten eco resorts, Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge placed first as “Leading Green Resort in the U.S.” for four years running. Located on a privately owned remote beach inside Alaska’s Kachemak Bay State Park, it is only ten miles away from Homer, the “bear viewing capital of the world.” The lodge is accessible only by boat, float plane, or helicopter. Owner Keith Iverson custom built the lodge in the 1970s using driftwood that was milled by hand, piece by piece. The lodge offers visitors “a unique opportunity to participate in Alaska’s wilderness lifestyle year-round.” Powered by hydroelectric power from a stream, with backup power provided by wind, it also boasts a beautiful organic vegetable garden. Find out more about it here.
Little St. Simon’s Island
Little St. Simon’s Island is a privately owned paradise located just off the coast of Georgia. This island boasts spectacular natural beauty and charming old-world Southern hospitality. Seven miles of pristine beaches and 11,000 acres of undeveloped wilderness await visitors. Committed to sustainable-use ecotourism, the owners even limit overnight stays to 32 guests. The resident chef prepares meals using produce from an organic garden. Seven naturalists on staff lead excursions into marshlands so guests can fish and watch birds and rare wildlife that call the island home. Find out more here.
Cree Village Ecolodge
The MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation owns the 20-room island Cree Village Ecolodge. The lodge advances the development of indigenous tourism and provides economic benefits for the Cree people. Located in Moose Factory, Ontario, in the heart of the Hudson Bay watershed, Cree people have lived here for millennia. Accessible by air or train/boat, the lodge is designed according to Cree values with an A-frame replica of a traditional winter dwelling. Furthermore, guests can go whale watching and participate in activities such as cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, river trips, and cultural tours. Find out more here.
El Capitan Canyon
Located in Southern California, El Capitan Canyon is everything a modern-day comfort-seeking glamper can ask for. You can count on luxury at El Capitan. Enjoy canvas safari tents located near the beach, solar heated swimming pools, interiors created from salvaged recycled urban timber, and complimentary bikes that reduce noise and air pollution. If you have a family of four, be sure to ask for the Adventure Yurt. This family-friendly yurt comes equipped with a picnic table and fire pit, not to mention the enviable location (just steps away from the pool). Besides all that, you can enjoy hiking, stargazing, summer concerts, massages, and award-winning wine selections. Find out more here.
I hope that I’ve inspired you to try a environmentally responsible but fun vacation for your summer holiday this year. It is so important to tread carefully as we enjoy this world and leave no trace of our visits so that the places we visit may continue to thrive and remain pristine for generations to come. Enjoy a wonderful vacation to an eco-friendly travel destination this summer!
Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine lants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at www.awanthi.com and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.
Which of these eco-friendly destinations do you want to go to this summer? Let us know in the comments below or share your favorite eco-friendly vacation spots on Facebook and Twitter.