ByMegan Winkler

May 15, 2014

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the site, you know that Aaron frequently posts pieces tearing apart the latest “green” trend. So there’s no doubt that you’ve seen his rant about the challenge of finding an eco-friendly getaway destination. It’s all camping and getting in touch with your caveman (or woman) self. Or, it’s a posh resort that says it uses “renewable” methods, but really isn’t.

And he’s right. I mean, if you’re into camping then by all means, have at it! Enjoy roughing it with Mother Nature, letting your leg hair grow out so it’s blowing in the wind by the time you break camp. I may not require room service when I travel, but small comforts—like, I don’t know, running water—are pretty much a must have for me.

One of the things I love about you guys, our audience, is that you’re from all walks of life and backgrounds, so I tried to find a nice variety of eco-friendly destinations to suit everyone. If there’s one I’ve missed, be sure to mention it in the comments below.

To start us off, let’s indulge in some sun in Key West. I have plans to celebrate Christmas on these beaches, so I was excited to find that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has implemented an initiative—the Florida Green Lodging Program—to distinguish lodging facilities that implement green practices in their everyday operation. Certified facilities must be involved in communication and education programs, water reduction and conservation. Other requirements include energy efficient technology use and high quality of indoor air at each location. This makes your research a breeze: the program features a complete list of compliant lodging facilities so you can find the one that suits you best.

My personal favorite is The Banyan Resort in Old Key West. Certified by the Florida Green Lodging Program in 2007, the resort then went on to be certified by the Florida Keys Green Living and Energy Education (GLEE) program, which assists companies in setting up online tools in order to go paper-free. The resort uses technology like solar panels to heat the pool, recycled plastic lumber for the decking in the courtyard and xeriscaping around the property, which is a fancy way to say planting native plants that require less irrigation. The resort encourages each guest to recycle and only use energy-efficient appliances.

But the best part? It’s swanky! Originally six private residences built in the mid-1800s, the buildings that make up The Banyan emulate the history and culture of Key West: white siding, large balconies and shutters on the windows. The two-bedroom suite looks like the perfect getaway for up to six people, complete with a semi-private veranda and a fully equipped kitchen. Palm trees surround the resort, and there’s even a bubbling fountain in the courtyard. I can already see myself enjoying a fruity beverage at the Tiki bar!


By Megan Winkler

Eco-nerd, solar power enthusiast, DIY diva and professional coffee drinker, Megan has written everything from courses in healthcare and psychology to interior design and cooking advice. She has a master’s degree in military history, owns two chainsaws, is a collector of strange trivia and a world renowned Pinterest pro. She is constantly looking for better ways to do things.