Spring break is just around the corner and presents a unique opportunity for relaxation and education all rolled into one. Children can learn about wildlife conservation or giving back while unplugging and reconnecting to the family experience. If you’re looking for a vacation in the US, why not consider one of these six environmentally friendly ideas for spring break?
1. Newport, Calif.
Is camping something your family enjoys? That usually goes hand and hand with a family that enjoys the great outdoors. The Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort offers a great option in the heart of Orange County. With over 100 acres, this spot features a state of the art RV facility, mobile cottages and a campground to park your own tent or rent one from the facility.
Guided kayak tours led by trained naturalists will introduce you to some of the over 200 species of birds and rare plant life found throughout the six distinctive habitats contained in the adjoining wildlife refuge. Four-wheeled surrey bikes can accommodate up to 8 people, further reducing your carbon footprint during your stay at the Dunes. First-time visitors can take advantage of their Buy two nights, get the 3rd night free (restrictions apply). Rates start at $35/night.
2. Ogunquit, Mass.
Just one hour north of Boston, The Meadowmere Resort is recognized as a leader in Environmental Stewardship, as well as one of the best family stays in the state of Maine. The hotel has a solar panel system responsible for over 70% of hot water usage. Eco-tours of the property demonstrate the recycling program, efficient lighting systems and their incorporation of local art and gardening to the property.
The area offers ample opportunity to enjoy the famous cliff walk (accommodating strollers this time of year) at the edge of the rugged coast. Tidal pools lead to discovery of the local sea creatures-they are brimming with starfish and sea urchins. Secluded bays and the York River inlets are great places for kayaking, and for the brave, the miles of beaches are ready for surfboards. Just don’t forget to pack your wet suit. The Wells Reserve has a hands on discovery program about the Snowy Owls.
In addition, the Mt. Agamenticus Winter Story Walk program combines an outdoor hike with literacy and family time by taking children’s books and posting them, in pieces, along a recreational path. Finally, the award winning Perkins Cove restaurant features farm to table dining, and many vegetables grown in the owners garden. Pricing during school break for a midweek double April 14-18 begins at $89/night.
3. Beaver Creek, Colo.
Want to get in that last run on the ski slopes? Beaver Creek Westin Riverfront feels confident the snow will be on the mountain through April. The family friendly resort is Colorado’s first Silver LEED-certified hotel. Unique green features include their saline based outdoor pool and hot tubs, and free gondola transportation to the mountain.
Each of the guest suites features a custom kitchen, and we all know how important a fridge can be when travelling with little ones. Their kids club program focuses on the outdoors and all the Rocky Mountains has to offer. Discovering bird and fox tracks, and then making homemade journals of their adventures are all part of the experience S’more kits that families can cook over the outdoor fire pits are especially popular with families. Studio suites start at $229/night, one-bedroom condo $373/night and two-bedroom at $568/night.
4. Destin Beach, Fla.
Sunshine and beaches more your cup of tea? Head to Florida’s Panhandle with more than 40% of the area preserved for nature. Guests at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa are invited to explore the state parks, dune lakes and coastal forests, by boat, foot or horseback. Their green practices of recycling water and energy reduction are joined by a new long lasting composite decking, LEED lighting and a strong commitment to providing a safe environment for the nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.
Sunny the Seaturtle, the mascot of the property teaches kids about the life and protection of the turtle and loves to appear in photos of their favorite beach side adventures. Nearby, the Topsail Hill State Park offers biking, kayaking, birding, fishing hiking and canoeing. Rooms start at $189/night this time of year.
5. Santa Monica, Calif.
At the other end of the spectrum and blocks from the Santa Monica Pier, beaches and popular shopping areas sits the Shore Hotel, an eco-friendly accommodation with elite LEED gold rating. The Shore’s luxe amenities were all built with cutting edge sustainable practices, and their hotel experience highlights the delicate balance between nature and humans. Their Green Concierge program offers guests the opportunity to volunteer with local non-profits and see first hand the impact of human behavior on the world’s oceans.
The focus is on restoring Santa Monica Bay, and Heal The Bay or a self-guided beach clean-up ending with a VIP tour of the Aquarium are two of the options available. Surf lessons and a picnic on the beach are included and rates begin at $849/night for the spring special packages.
6. StayCation, Anytown, USA
There is something about taking advantage of the spot you call HOME that can be a bit of a revelation. The weather is usually warm enough (New Englanders might disagree with me at this very snowy moment) to take advantage of the outdoors, even if it might be snowshoeing. No airplane flights, hotel rooms or worries about an agenda.
Let everyone in the family plan a day, choose their favorite restaurant, crafts activity or start seedlings with each child’s favorite vegetable. Mom and Dad can take the reigns and introduce kids to an eating spot that promotes local and farm to table cuisine. Rent some age appropriate DVD’s of an environmentally friendly movie. These days they run the gamut from Chasing Ice to WALL_E to Over The Hedge.
If the kids are older, watch the hot off the press A Place at The Table about food insecurity in America. Look into volunteering at a local food pantry, or signup to help clean up your community. Local museums, aquariums and farms have special spring vacation sign ups that will transport your kids to another world. Even a backyard (or living room) camping overnight will get the family excited about spring break at home. With a little plan ahead action, a staycation can turn into a yearly event! Prices starting at $free!
Where will your spring break take you?
Cover image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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