With tourism on the rise in many parts of the world, the environmental footprint of the travel and hospitality industry is also growing. In an effort to stem the environmental impact, states like Florida are doing their part by introducing green initiatives for hotels and resorts. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection lists over 400 properties designated as Green Lodging properties. These are rated in a four-tiered system by the level of their sustainability, positive environmental performance, and waste reduction. So, with green travel in mind, let’s have a look at 5 sustainable travel ideas in Florida.
Everglades Eco Adventure
The Everglades National Park is an important habitat for many rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile and the Florida panther. The Sierra Club, the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States, offers Eco-adventures through its Florida chapter. It allows the guests to experience and observe Florida’s flora and fauna on guided field expeditions and contributes to conservation efforts. The Eco adventure is generally a 3-day, 2-night biologist guided excursion by van, kayak and on foot; it includes hiking the Florida Trail in America’s national forest, camping on a barrier island, and exploring the sinkhole phenomenon in North-Central Florida.
The Palms Hotel
This upscale, retro hotel has a tropical plantation vibe, with an enclosed pool, garden area, and superb views. It is a tropical sanctuary in the heart of Miami’s Mid Beach with an eco-friendly orientation. The hotel earned Florida’s Green Lodging tier 3 certification. Unlike other hotels, The Palms takes an active approach to sustainability by engaging in quarterly beach cleanups with the staff, community members, and even guests joining in. Furniture is made of 65 percent sustainable material and recycling bins are provided in the rooms. Other green innovations that reduce waste are special keys, which unlike mag-stripe keys don’t need to be thrown out, thermostats kept at 75°F, light sensors that prevent lights from being on 24/7, and a directive to give their old towels and linens to homeless shelters. The no straw policy by the pool means they’ll only give one to the guests if they ask.
The Disney Wilderness Preserve
Working with the Nature Conservancy organization, the State of Florida and The Walt Disney Company purchased the 11,500-acre preserve near Kissimmee, to create a nature preserve dedicated to the wetlands restoration. It is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, and an essential part of the Everglades ecosystem. According to The Nature Conservancy, it contains over 3,500 acres of restored wetlands that act as nature’s “sponges”, capturing rain, filtering out nutrients, and replenishing groundwater. Visitors can hike, bird watch and enjoy Florida’s natural beauty. It offers a front-row seat to modern conservation, and visitors can also help by volunteering. While there is no entrance fee, visitors are encouraged to donate in order to help maintain conservation efforts.
Hotel South Beach Miami
This environmentally friendly hotel in the heart of South Beach, on Collins Avenue, boasts a unique environmentally friendly design, featuring only pure and natural elements in the rooms, such as hemp-blend mattresses, eco-friendly cleaning products, and reclaimed materials such as salvaged driftwood walls and glass terrariums. The five-star hotel features stunning beach views, four swimming pools and a spa. The main restaurant, Habitat, features local sustainable ingredients from land and sea, to bring you a special farm-to-table experience. The hotel also features a program where children are taken on eco-adventures to educate them on the importance of taking care of the environment. Some of the activities include tree planning and beachside shell hunting.
Amelia Island Kayak Excursions
The award-winning eco-tours offer guided kayak adventures around the beautiful Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach and the surrounding areas. These include Egan’s and Lofton Creeks, Cumberland Island, Amelia River and the Suwannee River, amongst others. The eco-tours offer visitors a unique perspective to experience all the natural surroundings and abundant wildlife of Coastal Florida by kayak or a canoe. The unique destinations are full of a variety of tropical vegetation, exotic birds and wildlife. For those who would like to have the smallest environmental footprint on their vacation, the guided water tours offer just that; a chance to get off the beaten path and explore the waterways in the most ecologically sustainable way possible.
It’s more important than ever to consider your impact on the environment while travelling. But with these fantastic initiatives, there’s no reason not to take that vacation in Florida! Which of these sustainable Florida travel ideas will you book?
Pin this for later!