Smarter Living: Travel & Recreation

green travel

Photo: Miles Barger

Green travel isn't only about the journey—it's about the destination, too. Here are eleven great picks, selected for sustainable practices (including the use of least-toxic cleaners, energy and water savings, and recycling efforts), sense of place, community involvement and general ambience.

1) Pinehurst Inn, Bayfield, WI: This serene inn cuts down on its environmental impact without skimping on the guest services. Complete with whirlpools, fireplaces, and a full organic breakfast, it also includes solar paneled roofs and energy-efficient appliances (pinehurstinn.com, 877-299-7651).

2) Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, ME: The first hotel in Maine to be carbon-neutral through offsets also offers plenty of luxuries to its green-seeking guests. Stroll down the private boardwalk to a mile of sandy beach or stay in and indulge at the LEED-certified spa. (innbythesea.com, 800-888-4287).

3) Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Homer, AK: This eco-lodge puts up a maximum of 12 guests per night and groups of 6 or more can have the entire lodge to themselves, so it's a true escape. The lodge relies entirely on wind energy and hydropower and works hard not to interfere with the untouched wilderness on its doorstep. You might even be lucky enough to spot a whale, seal, porpoise, or one of many other sea creatures right outside!  (sadiecove.com, 888-283-7234)

4) Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, Vero Beach, FL: This Green Seal-certified beachside resort not only makes great efforts to save water and energy, but also rewards guests for doing their part, including offering parking discounts for hybrid vehicles (verobeachhotelandspa.com, 772-231-5666).

5) Camp Denali, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska: The star attraction is Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. The phrase "unspoiled paradise" won't seem hackneyed as you step out of your cabin into spectacular parkland (Denali National Park, 907-683-2290; also see nps.gov/dena).

6) Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco: This LEED-certified hotel is in the heart of what is arguably America's greenest city. Skip the car while in town and take a stylish refurbished tram, or rent a Prius to visit nearby Point Reyes National Seashore and dine at Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in Berkeley (theorchardgardenhotel.com, 888-717-2881).

7) Rock Harbor Lodge, Isle Royale National Park, Mich.:
Hidden on a remote island in northwest Lake Superior, Rock Harbor Lodge is about as far away from it all as you can get (rockharborlodge.com, 906-337-4993).

8) Sundance Resort, Sundance, Utah: With access to 6,000 wilderness acres at the base Mt. Timpanogos, Sundance provides excellent skiing and hiking while maintaining a keen attentiveness to the environment (sundanceresort.com, 800-892-1600 for reservations).

9) Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, Milton, N.Y.: 90 miles from New York City, this inn on the Hudson River serves local, organic foods grown on site and relies on geothermal and solar energy to warm its spa waters (buttermilkfallsinn.com, 877-7-INN-SPA).

10) Asheville Green Cottage, Asheville, N.C.: Sleep on organic cotton sheets and natural latex mattresses during your visit to Asheville, a city chockablock with organic restaurants, farmers' markets and mountain views. Come the last weekend of July for Bele Chere, the Southeast's largest free arts and music festival (ashevillegreencottage.com; 800.331.9707).

11) Dunton Hot Springs Resort and Spa, Dolores, Colo.: This resort, in a former ghost town located in the San Juan Mountains, is close enough to the desert for trips to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly (duntonhotsprings.com, 970-882-4800).

Learn More

Get Away From It All--And Leave the Car at Home

Road Trip Tips

last revised 8/22/2011

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