Traveling with a family can be tough. It's easy to find ourselves struggling to stay within budget, while keeping kids entertained. For the eco-conscious, tourism can seem doubly daunting. We want to experience faraway places and observe nature, but we don't want our presence to contribute to any environmental damage. Luckily, eco-tourism is booming, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune, either! Here are six eco-friendly vacation spots for families that won't break the bank.
Northern Lights, cozy cabins, hiking in the snow, salmon fishing. Just a few of the things that come to mind when we think of Iceland. This remote land is also a booming hub for eco-tourism and the world's largest clean energy consumer. For such a popular spot, prices are surprisingly low. In some areas, families can rent vacation homes for as little as $30 a night. Kids and adults are sure to enjoy Iceland's expansive hiking trails, unique cuisine and the outdoor, geothermal pools.
California is one of the most geographically diverse states in the U.S., with everything from sandy beaches to snow-capped mountains. For those looking to experience the natural beauty of the Californian wilderness, look no further than Yosemite National Park. The park offers eco-friendly rustic lodging for reasonable prices. Depending on the time of year, a myriad of family-friendly activities can be enjoyed here, including hiking, skiing, rafting, biking, ice skating, and rock climbing.
3. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known as a pioneer of eco-tourism. The country began using less energy and focusing on recycling in resorts as early as 1990, long before it was trendy. There is no shortage of things to do in this tropical haven. Kids can enjoy snorkeling, zip lining through the rain forests, and watching the colorful wildlife. Finding a place to stay within your budget is simple too; eco-tourism has its own section on Costa Rica's offical tourism website. You can check out all your options here.
Tourism is big business in Alaska. The land of the midnight sun is one of the U.S.'s most visited states. There are many lodging options here, from high-end hotels to rustic cabins. There are also nature resorts, which specialize in eco-friendly amenities. One of the most popular and highly-rated is Sadie's Cove Wilderness Lodge, which has won several World Travel Awards for being the United States Leading Green Resort. The lodge boasts water activities, puffin-sighting, hiking and more.
Vietnam is not the most obvious vacation destination, but it one of the most breathtaking you could hope for. Ancient shrines, rolling hills, and mountains galore await you here. The country is also known as an affordable vacation spot, even during the height of tourism season, in summer. For an eco-friendly experience, avoid the congestion of cities and branch out to one of the countries many nature lodges. The Cao Son Ecolodge in Lao Cai province overlooks a valley and mountain range by Chay River. The lodge even has an attached restaurant which serves authentic local cuisine to hungry guests.
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is an affordable, eco-friendly place to take in one of earth's natural wonders. All park lodges feature recycling, energy efficient lights, and more. Take a tour of the canyon, or strike out with the family and hike nearby trails without a guide. In the evening, cool off at one of the parks several swimming facilities.