There is a special feeling that comes over you when you enter a perfect hideaway that vibrates in harmony with nature. Green vacations are not just about water-efficient bathrooms and recycling. They provide you with the time and space to reconnect with nature and return to your roots. Our top 25 list includes unique mountain lodges, rainforest retreats, wilderness expeditions, coastal and beach hideaways. Explore the pristine wilderness of British Columbia, snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or relax on the beach in Fiji. Whether you are planning a honeymoon, family getaway or a special celebration, eco-friendly getaways are the perfect way to get back to nature.
»Rancho La Puerta, Mexico
Rancho La Puerta is an amazing destination spa which has been a green getaway since its beginnings in 1940. The resort has an on-site garden with 22 full time gardeners which produces vegetables for the resort kitchen. The gardens are fertilized using composted organic matter and employ natural pest management. You will see many migrating birds on the property which has become a sanctuary for them on their migratory path. There are 200 different plant species at Rancho La Puerta which remain as undisturbed as possible.
The resort is a leader in their community, offering innovative eco-friendly ideas to those around them. For example, at the end of the Christmas season, Rancho La Puerta' wood chipper is used to turn Christmas trees into mulch for the grounds. At Rancho La Puerta, you will find green buildings and furniture, innovative water conservation practices, energy conservation and recycling. This is a truly exemplary green vacation getaway (rancholapuerta.com, 800-443-7565, 858-764-5500).
Best things to do in: Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Denver
»Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Blue Lagoon is an awesome spa destination which is 100% powered by clean geothermal energy. The resort built a special power plant which meant drilling deep wells up to 2,000 meters into the ground to tap into the 240 degree geothermal fluid. This is used to create electricity and heat water for central heating at Blue Lagoon. This innovative power plant is the only one of its kind in the whole world. The design of the resort reflects harmony with nature. The entrance to Blue Lagoon leads across a footpath cut through lava rock and past a beautiful lava wall built from 70,000 lava pieces (website). You may also like: Honeymoon in Iceland.
Best attractions & points of interest in: Destin, Sacramento, Louisville, Dallas, San Diego
»Stanford Inn, Mendocino Coast, California
If you are a vegan, it doesn't get any better than the Stanford Inn, the only vegan resort in the U.S. Located on the scenic Mendocino Coast in California, the resort has a fantastic organic restaurant, romantic rooms with wood-burning fireplaces and a wellness center. Guest rooms and suites have views of the Pacific Ocean, Big River and the inn's own organic gardens. Vacationers enjoy a full range of amenities including an indoor swimming pool, sauna, hot tub and free mountain bike rentals. The wellness center offers gardening classes, meditation, nutrition, weight management and cooking classes. Treat yourself to a soothing massage, Ayurvedic treatments, Acupuncture or Acupressure during your stay. Rooms start at $211 per night, including organic breakfast, free WiFi, organic coffee and eco-friendly amenities. The property is pet-friendly and welcomes children (800-331-8884, website).
Fun places to visit & what to do last minute: Great Attractions & Free Activities
»The Kasbah du Toubkal, Morocco
Toubkal National Park, located just 60 km from Marrakech, is a beautiful spot for nature enthusiasts. The photos of this place are stunning. The Kasbah du Toubkal is an eco lodge set at the foot of Jbel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. Visit this unique mountain getaway as a side adventure on your trip to Morocco, or call the hotel and have them arrange a complete hiking trip for you.
Accommodation options include Deluxe and Standard en suite rooms, and Berber Salons with areas for families and groups. The luxurious Garden House has a glass wall looking up the mountain peaks. Guests can also stay at a remote trekking lodge in a traditional Berber village in a nearby valley. Rates start from 130 Euro per night (+212 (0)524 485611, website). The resort founded an association which helps the community with projects like providing the region's first ambulance and driver, building a hammam (the region's first community steam bath) and assistance with the construction of a school for 80 children.
Vacations for Couples, Packages & Date Night Ideas: Best Romantic Getaways
»Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia
Nimmo Bay Resort is a sustainable hideaway in the British Columbia wilderness. The resort uses a waste management system which cleans black and gray water so that only clean water is returned to the surrounding nature.
Nimmo Bay works with local suppliers to be able to serve their guests sustainable foods and other products. Fishing at Nimmo Bay is catch & release in order to protect the local fish population. The resort is helping protect wild juvenile Pacific Salmon from sea lice.
Best Vacation ideas in: Montreal, Richmond, Sedona, Buffalo, Galveston
»Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, Costa Rica
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in Costa Rica is a getaway for nature lovers. You will be surrounded by the pristine rainforest, filled with tropical birds and wildlife. The resort was awarded the three-leaf Sustainable Tourism Certificate for its sustainable tourism practices. Green practices include recycling, use of biodegradable materials, water and sewage treatment, and reduction of energy consumption. You can enjoy your stay, making a small footprint and helping preserve this unique destination. The spa offers unique treatments such as invigorating hydrotherapy therapies and volcanic mud therapies. You can bathe in natural mineral hot springs known for their rejuvenating properties. The property offers 102 guest rooms and suites at the base of the Arenal Volcano. Rooms start from $175 per night (website).
Get away with kids: Best Family Vacations, Best Beaches
»Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Islands
Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos Islands offers 3- to 7-night all-inclusive packages which combine scenic hikes, boat tours and wildlife adventures with great service and designer accommodations. The eco-friendly lodge, built on an extinct volcano crater, utilizes alternative energy sources and is home to its own Tortoise Reserve. Luxury amenities include an infinity pool with lounge chairs, Sumaq wellness center and several dining options. The spa offers indulgent treatments, Zen-style design and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The spa has an infrared sauna, whirlpool and a gym. Pikaia Lodge is near beautiful sandy beaches and endemic forests where you can see giant tortoises on your morning walk. The resort has a private 100-foot yacht used for exploring the nearby islands and a 35-foot boat which offers guided fishing and snorkeling tours around the island of Santa Cruz.
Guest rooms and suites at Pikaia Lodge feature contemporary design with panoramic windows so that you can have a great view right from your bed. Each room has a terrace, plenty of natural light and black out curtains if you decide to sleep in. The restaurant, bar and lounge all offer stunning views of the island and the ocean. The "Evolution" Restaurant offers elegant dining indoors as well as romantic candle lit dinners under the stars.
DNA Bar serves famous cocktails and local drinks. 3-night all inclusive rates start at $3,700 USD per person, including taxas, service charge, accommodations, VIP airport lounge access, airport transfers, all guided tours, sports equipment, lectures and all meals (website).
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»Singita Lebombo Lodge in South Africa
Singita Lebombo Lodge in South Africa is surrounded by some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet. The lodge is located in
Kruger National Park. It has a guest swimming pool with comfortable lounge chairs great for relaxing between Land Rover and walking safari tours. Guests can request massage and other spa services at the lodge. The hotel has 15 spacious guest suites decorated with native materials and colors. The lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, included in the daily rate. Teas, coffees and drinks are available to hotel guests. Fly to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport or Johannesburg International Airport and catch a connecting flight to the lodge. Singita may also be accessed by private air charter directly to the lodge during daylight hourse (+27-21-683-3424, website).
More vacation ideas: Pigeon Forge, Columbus, Southwest vacations, Jacksonville
Arctic Kingdom's mission is to bring travelers closer to nature, helping them visit far away places and unexplored destinations. Arctic Kingdom guides approach all wildlife with mindfulness and respect, following specific company guidelines. The company leads small groups of 4 to 12 people to the Arctic, ensuring that each experience is unique and personal. One of the trips you can take is the "Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari" which lets you watch as newborn bear cubs emerge with their mothers from their winter dens in mid-March. Your guides will get a special permit from Parks Canada to get as close as 100 meters to the bears. In addition to bear cubs, you can see arctic foxes, caribou herds and wolves. When the night descends, you'll be able to admire the stunning display of the Aurora Borealis.
The adventure company uses unique tracked heated vehicles to get close to the wildlife. The trip includes 2 nights' Winnipeg accommodations, 7 nights in an Outpost Lodge (a refurbished navy communications base 40 miles south of Churchill, MB. Canada), a return train ticket from Churchill to Chesnaye and all meals at lodge. The lodge can accommodate up to 18 guests and is self-sufficient with a wood burning fireplace, internet and several guest rooms. The expedition takes 9 days and costs $9,190 CAD plus tax (888-737-6818, website).
Holiday ideas: Birthday, Anniversary, Girlfriend Getaways
»Treebones Resort, California
Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California, is an eco-friendly camping getaway surrounded by forest and ocean views. Guest tents all have a sky dome above the bed, through which you can watch the stars at night.
Treebones recycles, composts and grows most of the vegetables on site in their organic garden. All of the electricity is created by clean burning micro turbines which provide hot water and heat the pool.
Best attractions in: Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Chapel Hill, Minneapolis, Mesa
»Assiniboine Lodge, Canada
Explore the Canadian wilderness on skis while staying at Assiniboine Lodge in British Columbia. The lodge participates in projects dedicated to preserving the surrounding nature. For example, during the "Art for the Park" initiative, several paintings depicting Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park will be reproduced and sold to support the parks in the area.
Points of interest in: Sanibel Island, Philadelphia, Newport Beach, St Augustine
»Cunucu Arubiano, Aruba
A small luxury hotel in Santa Lucia, Aruba, Cunucu Arubiano has just three guest villas. While the eco-lodge is not right on the beach, sandy Caribbean beaches are just a few minutes away. The villas feature 19th century Aruban and Dutch-influenced architecture and modern amenities, including flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning and unlimited Wi-Fi internet. You will be surrounded by peace and tranquility on your vacation. Surrounding the luxury villas is the Donkey Sanctuary and undisturbed nature. The hotel is just 5 miles from the airport. There is a complimentary shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. Villa accommodations start from $345 per night. The resort has a Donkey Sanctuary where guests get a chance to interact with donkeys in a natural setting (cunucuarubiano.com).
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»Mahali Mzuri, Africa
Sir Richard Branson loves Keyna (he was made a tribal Maasai elder in 2007). If you are a fan of his other properties, such as Necker Island and Ulusaba, you will enjoy this 12-tent Kenyan wilderness camp located right in the path of the annual wildlife migration. Mahali Mzuri is located in the Motorogi Conservancy, just north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and about 240 km west of Nairobi. Year-round, guests can go on twice daily game drives to observe wildlife.
Things get particularly exciting during the annual migration. Resident guides tell visitors about animal behavior as they accompany them on the daily game drives.The luxury camp accommodates a maximum of 24 guests at any one time. Rates at the property start from USD $590 per person per night (based on double occupancy) and are fully inclusive of all meals, drinks & daily game drives as well as unlimited access to the Olare Orok and Motorogi Conservancies.
Things to do with kids in: Portland, Maui, San Francisco, DC, Houston.
»Sundance Resort, Utah
Sundance Resort in Utah has been committed to green practice since its beginning. The resort recycles, uses organic products and helps with mountain restoration by laying erosion blankets and restoring vegetation. Resident artists at the Art Studio break down glass bottles to create decorative art and housewares used around the property (sundanceresort.com, 877-831-6224).
Browse more great weekend getaways.
»The Colony Hotel, Maine
The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine has a dedicated team which meets regularly to improve the eco-friendliness of the hotel. The Colony Hotel composts organic waste, uses saltwater in the pool, and serves dishes made from locally farmed ingredients. You won't find any aerosol products or styrofoam food containers at this green hotel (thecolonyhotel.com).
Romantic things to do in: Paris, Maui, Houston, DC.
»The Woodstock Inn, Vermont
Plan a green getaway at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont. This 142-room resort offers a choice of outdoor activities, including golf and fly fishing in the summer, and skiing in the winter. The health club has an indoor swimming pool and whirlpool, letting vacationers exercise and relax. Green practices includes recycling of plastics, newspaper, white paper, glass and retired technology parts. Fryer grease from the kitchen is used to make bio-diesel. The resort uses green cleaning products, 80% organic fertilizers on the golf greens, and organic soaps in the guestrooms (woodstockinn.com).
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Set sail aboard one of the three Windstar Cruises ships which use wind power to get around, green cleaning products and other sustainable practices. During a recent refurbishment project, Windstar worked with select vendors who helped the cruise line minimize the environmental impact (windstarcruises.com).
»Fregate Island, Seychelles
Fregate Island in the Seychelles is a romantic getaway with a beautiful coral reef where you can spend your days snorkeling and scuba diving. Only 40 lucky guests can stay on the island at a time. The two resort restaurants use fruits and vegetables grown by a team of gardeners. Many of the herbs from the private gardens are incorporated in relaxing spa treatments, so book a couples massage on your romantic vacation (fregate.com).
»Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
Located on the second largest island in Fiji, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands is set on a former coconut plantation, lush with palm trees and other tropical greenery. The resort offers an array of activities, including glass bottom boat tours, reef walks, snorkeling, eco tours, volleyball, fishing, kayaking, tennis, medicine walks and others.
Couples can book a massage on the beach or in the privacy of their bure. The spa utilizes local coconut oil in its treatments. Rates start from US $455 per night.
»Heron Island Resort, Australia
When you are a resort on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, you have to take extra care not to disturb the beautiful coral reef that surrounds you. Heron Island resort generates its own power, produces drinkable water and offers hands-on workshops that let you learn about the environment.
»Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach, Phuket
Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach has been awarded the Green Globe Certification for its environmental conservation and support of community-related activities. The property uses of water from their own treatment plant, and a high-efficiency air condition inverter compressor.
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»Milia Mountain Retreat, Greece
Milia Mountain Retreat in Greece offers charming cottages with wood burning stoves or fireplaces. If you are planning a romantic getaway, splurge on one of the suites with a large garden (website).
»Wolwedans in NamibRand Nature Reserve
At Wolwedans in NamibRand Nature Reserve, guests get to immerse themselves in pristine nature and experience once in a lifetime wildlife encounters. Sustainable buildings offer large windows and outdoor decks which will make you feel connected to nature day and night. Wolwedans is a kid-friendly destination and a unique opportunity for children to learn about the environment (wolwedans.com).
25 of The Coolest Green Trips
- Cover Photo Credit: Heron Island
- Rancho La Puerta, Mexico
- Blue Lagoon, Iceland
- Stanford Inn, Mendocino Coast, California, Photo Credit: Stanford Inn
- The Kasbah du Toubkal, Morocco, Photo Credit: The Kasbah du Toubkal
- Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia, Photo Credit: Nimmo Bay Resort
- Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, Costa Rica, Photo Credit: Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort
- Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Islands, Photo Credit: Pikaia Lodge
- Singita Lebombo Lodge in South Africa
- Arctic Kingdom, Photo Credit: Arctic Kingdom
- Treebones Resort, California
- Assiniboine Lodge, Canada
- Cunucu Arubiano, Aruba
- Mahali Mzuri, Africa
- Sundance Resort, Utah
- The Colony Hotel, Maine
- The Woodstock Inn, Vermont
- Windstar Cruises
- Fregate Island, Seychelles
- Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
- Heron Island Resort, Australia
- Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach, Phuket
- Milia Mountain Retreat, Greece
- Wolwedans in NamibRand Nature Reserve