Earth Day Explorations: Top 10 U.S. Destinations for Eco-Tourism in 2024


Celebrate Earth Day by embracing conservation and natural wonders in these exceptional travel destinations!

Airboat Adventures and More: Everglades National Park, Florida – Average Savings on Whimstay: 24%

Dive into the heart of Florida’s natural beauty with a visit to Everglades National Park. Here, families can enjoy airboat tours that whisk you through the watery wilderness, home to alligators and exotic birds. Volunteer for a day with the Everglades Restoration Initiative to help preserve this delicate ecosystem. Dine at the local favorite, Glades Haven Cozy Cabins and Oyster Bar, where every dish is crafted using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. Don’t miss the annual ‘Swamp Fest,’ a celebration of the park’s unique environment and wildlife.

Red Rock Reverie: Sedona, Arizona – Average Savings on Whimstay: 20%

Explore the mystical landscapes of Sedona, where eco-friendly jeep tours offer a close-up view of the stunning red rock formations. Join a volunteer group at the Sedona Wetlands Preserve to help maintain this vital ecosystem. Enjoy a meal at ChocolaTree, a garden oasis that serves organic, farm-fresh meals that delight all senses. Mark your calendar for the Sedona Green Festival, a family-friendly event that focuses on sustainable living and environmental stewardship.

Rainforest Rhythms: Kauai, Hawaii – Average Savings on Whimstay: 20%

Kauai is a paradise for eco-tourists, offering guided hikes through lush rainforests and kayak tours along its scenic rivers. Participate in a beach cleanup to help preserve the island’s natural beauty or join a wildlife count to assist local conservation efforts. The Farm at Hokuala offers a farm-to-table experience with stunning ocean views. Celebrate the island’s rich biodiversity at the annual Kauai Garden Festival.

Desert Discoveries: Joshua Tree National Park, California – Average Savings on Whimstay: 22%

Joshua Tree’s stark beauty is perfect for family explorations, with guided ecology tours and stargazing events. Help maintain the park’s trails with the Joshua Tree National Park Association or join a native plant restoration project. Crossroads Café provides hearty meals with ingredients sourced from local farms. Don’t miss the Joshua Tree Earth Day celebration, with educational booths, live music, and activities that teach sustainable practices.

Wind-Powered Wonders and Wine Tasting: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon – Average Savings on Whimstay: 20%

The Columbia River Gorge is renowned for its windsurfing adventures and sustainable winery tours. Families can volunteer with the Gorge Ecology Outdoors to learn about and help preserve the area’s natural habitats. Enjoy a meal at the Hood River Organic Bistro, known for its organic and sustainably-produced ingredients. The annual Gorge Earth Festival in Hood River celebrates local culture and environmental conservation with a focus on fun and education for all ages.

Sustainable Structures: Taos, New Mexico – Average Savings on Whimstay: 18%

Discover Taos’ innovative earthship biotecture with tours that highlight sustainable living and building techniques. Get involved in a natural building workshop to learn about eco-friendly construction practices. Savor innovative dishes at the Love Apple, where the menu is based on seasonal produce from local organic farms. Taos hosts an annual Eco Festival that showcases green technology and traditional crafts, providing fun learning experiences for the whole family.

Shell and Tell: Sanibel Island, Florida – Average Savings on Whimstay: 22%

Sanibel Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, with eco-friendly shelling tours and visits to wildlife refuges. Join a guided beach walk organized by the Sanibel Sea School to learn about marine life and participate in conservation efforts. Dine at the Sandbar, where you can enjoy fresh, locally-caught seafood. The Sanibel Shell Festival held annually, features shell displays, crafts, and food, celebrating the island’s marine heritage.

Peak Pursuits: Boulder, Colorado – Average Savings on Whimstay: 20%

Boulder invites families to its trails for eco-hiking experiences that include educational workshops on local flora and fauna. Take part in a trail restoration day to help keep Boulder’s natural areas pristine. The Kitchen Boulder offers a farm-to-table dining experience that supports local agriculture and sustainability. The Boulder Earth Festival showcases environmental films, lectures, and kids’ activities that promote an eco-conscious lifestyle.

Dune Defenders: Outer Banks, North Carolina – Average Savings on Whimstay: 25%

Explore the Outer Banks, where families can learn about dune and barrier island protection efforts. Volunteer with the Outer Banks Conservationists to help preserve these critical landscapes. Enjoy fresh, local dishes at The Blue Point, set in a picturesque waterfront location. The annual OBX Watermelon Festival celebrates summer with watermelon-eating contests and games, with proceeds supporting local conservation projects.

Coastal Conservation: Galveston, Texas – Average Savings on Whimstay: 24%

Galveston is proud of its efforts in wetland preservation and bird sanctuaries. Families can participate in marsh plantings or birdwatching tours to learn about the importance of these ecosystems. Mosquito Café offers dishes crafted from farm-to-table ingredients, perfect after a day of conservation work. Galveston’s FeatherFest is an exciting birding festival that features guided bird tours, photography workshops, and family-friendly activities, making it a highlight for eco-tourists.

List compiled by Noël Russell, Founding team member at Whimstay