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As the weather warms and the winter cold is shook loose, it may be time to start gearing up for a little rest and relaxation. When planning a trip, one should definitely consider the price attached for travel and hotels, but something that is often overlooked is the impact that trips have on the environment. Whether it is the fuel needed to transport you and your family to exotic destinations or the carbon footprint one leaves at their destination, there are plenty of ways to get out there for some fun and sun without breaking the Eco-Bank.
Here are GREENandSAVE’s top 7 Eco-Trips that are not prohibitive in cost, but are more enjoyable than the run-of-the-mill vacation you may be used to.
- Alaska is known as the Last Frontier State, and what it lacks in proximity, it more than makes up for in pristine natural settings. While in Alaska, one may find themselves enjoying a day of rafting down one of its rivers, ice climbing while you still can, or simply taking in animals in their habitat on a guided bear, moose, whale or bird-watching tour.
- The Grand Canyon is a tourist destination for many Americans, as it is home to a testament of the American will. The Hoover Dam was built at a time in history that bears a striking resemblance to the present. The massive project was a version of Man’s Triumph over nature that instilled confidence in many, while providing a service to millions. I’m asking you to ignore all that. Instead, while at the Grand Canyon, why not visit a ghost town in order to understand unsustainable practices. There are also more physically demanding activities like bike riding, river tubing, and horseback riding that will be sure to quench your adventurous thirsts.
- Maine is a place that is often overlooked by travelers, but there is a good reason to visit. Maine rivals the Pacific Northwest with respect to whale watching, and while at the northernmost part of the Eastern Seaboard, why not take advantage of a whale-watching cruise. They also have cruises for bird-watchers, if that’s your bag.
- For better and worse, the United States has a rich Native American history. The entire country is steeped in ancient tribal traditions that have either been largely watered down, or entirely eroded. Take a deeper look at some places you might not have considered that interesting, such as areas of South Dakota and the Black Hills which were the domain of the Sioux Indians not too long ago. Guided tours from by Native Americans may open your eyes to what once was, and what could be again. You will undoubtedly have a stronger connection with the land around you, and a greater appreciation of those who roamed these lands before the British understood the world was not flat.
- In the vein of natural resources, one might also have a great interest in guided tours of the National Parks of the American West. While there, it is possible to go hiking and camping along the Grand Canyon on Native American trails. And if hiking isn’t up your alley, there are also jeep and horseback tours that will enable you to see many of the things nature has provided us without exerting yourself too much. Vacations are still about relaxation after all.
- In Baltimore, Maryland, one can take part in the transformation of urban deserts into parks, gardens, and peaceful habitats for wild life. Not only will you get to experience Baltimore, its culture and its wonderful harbor, but you will get to leave knowing the place is more scenic and sustainable than it was when you arrived.
- The Pacific coast is known across America as being a little more progressive than its earlier time-zoned brethren, and as such it offers many eco-vacations that will really surprise you. For instance, Oregon offers cycling holidays that range from introductory to moderate, and aren’t too taxing on the physique. Cruise around some of Oregon’s most pristine locations while feeling the cool breeze all over your face. Also, consider the Permaculture and Sustainability Tour, which will be sure to better acquaint you with some things you may never have heard of before.
Understand that these suggestions are not meant to be specific, as there are many ways to fulfill these vacation ideas. These were just some places and things that any nature lover would love to do, and are merely general suggestions as to where to spend some relaxing time. As always, make sure you do your homework when planning any family excursion to most efficiently spend your money.
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