Sunny California remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and is amongst the greenest states in the USA. With more than 800 miles of coastline and home to 8 national parks, the state is ripe for ecotourism activities. Take on the waves in the USA’s capital of surfing, enjoy world-renowned wines in the Napa Valley, or hike alongside towering redwood trees. From farm-to-table dining experiences to simple walks through bustling city neighborhoods, environmentally friendly activities are in abundance in California.
Yosemite National Park
Reduce your carbon footprint while on vacation and go to Yosemite National Park. The park is more than 90 percent wilderness with a seemingly limitless array of plant and animal life to discover. Visit the park during any season of the year and participate in a large range of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, rafting, or skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Just note that peak tourism season is in the summertime and large crowds are to be expected then.
While exploring the park, be sure to see Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Nestled in a valley in the northwest of the park, the reservoir is picturesque with a 5-mile trail that affords impressive views of the lake and surrounding valley. Wapama Falls is another wonder of the park not to be missed. Take in the splendor of the 60-meter high cascading waterfall.
Eco-Friendly Food and Beverage
What better way is there to get to know a place than through its food? Farm-to-table dining and the consumption of organic foods isn’t just a trend in California, but rather a way of life. Discover how natural farming methods that have been adopted throughout the state to better protect the environment. When searching for a place to eat, notice the plentitude of eateries offering meals that are environmentally conscious and provide dairy and meat alternatives.
California Wine Regions
A visit to California isn’t complete without a stop to one of its major wine regions, most notably Sonoma County or the Napa Valley. Making wines organically and with advanced biodynamic methods, you can learn about wine production in California at one of the state’s many wineries on a private or group tour. Check out craft beer breweries that have also adopted methods that involve no pesticides, additives, or petroleum-based fertilizers.
Pacific Coast Highway
Driving on California’s Pacific Coast Highway is a bucket list experience for many and there are lots of options to make your road trip more eco-friendly. When reserving accommodations, book with hotels that are Green Building Council LEED-certified and keep your vehicle parked when you can. Enjoy the coastline with an eco-conscious mind by taking walks and exploring via bike or electric scooter.
Consider renting a hybrid car or take the train along the 1,500 miles of California’s gorgeous coastal scenery. Just don’t forget to check out the breathtaking cliffs of Big Sur outside Monterey or the Point Bonita Lighthouse for stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.
California isn’t just national parks, wine country, and coastal drives. Los Angeles is one of the state’s most iconic destinations. Once known for its pollution, the City of Angels has since bounced back as a location full of eco-friendly things to do. Explore Los Angeles’s historic and popular neighborhoods on walking tours and ride public transportation to get between attractions. Hike in Griffith Park, sunbathe at Santa Monica Beach or walk along Venice Beach’s bustling boardwalk.
While in California, do as the locals do and participate in eco-conscious behavior. Get involved with the many beach cleanup initiatives open to the public or simply be sure to use your reusable grocery bags and carry a reusable water bottle. There’s a reason for California’s reputation as being environmentally progressive!