Still on the lookout for this year’s best spring break destinations? From wild camping to cozy inns, here are the eco-friendly travel ideas you need for a memorable trip.
With spring break just around the corner, it’s time to think about where you want to spend your well-earned days off. If you’re looking to travel and want the best spring break destinations in 2023, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll give you five eco-friendly travel ideas to have an enjoyable and sustainable spring vacation.
1. Go on a Wild Camping Trip
A good camping trip never gets old. If you are looking for a fun, adventurous experience with your friends, what better way than going wild camping as your spring break destination for 2023? It’s a great getaway option during the warmer months and allows you to disconnect from school, stay on a budget and enjoy the time surrounded by nature. This type of camping is all about going to remote places that are more off-grid than regular campgrounds.
Wild camping doesn’t have the amenities you’d get in a traditional campsite, so you must be prepared. If you haven’t tried free camping before, you can use some help from the WikiCamps USA app or TheDyrt website to find a good spot near your area where you can wild camp.
For more information, check out Wild Camping: A Beginner’s Guide to Free Camping in the US & Canada.
Remember to check the maximum stay policy in the area you’d like to go. You can use the National Forest Map Locator or search state by state to find the free camping rules. Here are some of the most beautiful spring break destinations for wild camping:
- Valley of the Goods, Utah
- Owyhee Canyonlands, Oregon (you can check their website before you plan your visit)
- Jordan Craters, Oregon
- Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
Check out our guide on zero-waste travel and other tips for nature-friendly camping.
2. Try Urban Camping for the Best Spring Break 2023
Have you heard of urban camping? It consists of camping within urban areas: public parks, grassy public areas within the city, car camping and so on. The number one rule for urban camping is to check local laws and find out where to camp legally. Many people try to camp illegally, which can cause a lot of trouble. So, it is worth investigating ahead of time to avoid any problems.
Urban camping isn’t always the safest option out there. Just like walking around the city at night can feel creepier and more dangerous than during the day, urban camping can be isolated and carry some risk. If you are up for urban camping, find a safe area and never do it alone.
Unsure if you want to try it? Go camping in your car for a night and see how you feel afterward.
Check out our guide to get started: Urban Camping for Beginners: Where, How and Best Spots.
3. Budget Spring Break Ideas: Try a Staycation
Whether you have a limited budget or are planning your last-minute spring break destination, a staycation may be your best shot.
Staycations allow you to explore your area as if you were a tourist — with the comfort of going home at the end of the day. If you are considering this option, here are a few of our staycation ideas for you and your friends to have a great time:
- Organize a series of plant-based cooking nights with your friends: A good way to try different food and stay on a budget without going out is to plan delicious dinners with your friends. Take turns hosting plant-based cooking nights, entertaining your friends and getting the chance to try different foods. Let your friends surprise you with a fantastic meal, or invite them for a homecooked vegetarian or plant-based dinner of your choosing. For example, you can make a fancy seitan steak topped with vegan gravy and serve it alongside some vegan baked potatoes. And, if you are going all in, you can even make chocolate mousse or a brownie in a mug for dessert. You can also check out these vegan picnic ideas and spend the afternoon or evening outside.
- Play tourist in your city: Get out of your comfort zone and take a day to explore and wander around your city. Bring your friends and plan a day of visiting museums, local attractions, historic districts or food places you haven’t checked out before.
- Take a day trip: Go on a getaway trip to a nearby city or town. Check the best options for public transportation to reduce your carbon footprint. Did you know that transportation is one of the primary sources of carbon emissions in the US? Using public transportation reduces those numbers and causes less harm to the environment as you head to your spring break destination.
- Explore the natural world: Do you live close to any of these 16 Natural Wonders of the US? If so, add it to your must-see bucket list.
4. Sustainable Spring Break Destination: the Stanford Inn
If your ideal spring break ideas allow you to disconnect and unplug, check out The Stanford Inn in California. During your stay, you can join gardening and cooking classes, attend meditation and yoga sessions, enjoy some hikes, or go on bike or canoe trips.
This resort is ranked in the top five luxury wellness getaways, and for a good reason. Located on the Mendocino Coast, this 100 percent vegan and pet-friendly resort offers everything you could find at a traditional resort — but sustainable. They provide an eco-friendly travel experience with a composting and recycling program, a plant-based menu, on-site certified organic gardens and more.
Eco-conscious travelers will also enjoy our guide: 7 Eco-Friendly Resorts for Sustainable Travelers.
5. Go on a Cozy Cabin Getaway
Have you considered that a cozy cabin with friends might be one of the very best spring break destinations for 2023? While spring break ideas traditionally include partying and hanging out on the beach, if all you need is to relax and get some peace of mind, plan a getaway to a cabin in the middle of the woods — and bring your friends or partner!
Enjoy a fun, relaxing time surrounded by nature. Bring a good book, go on hikes, make a bonfire, host a movie marathon in your cabin or even create your own yoga retreat.
There are cabins for rent everywhere in the US, but we’ve compiled a list of impressive spots you may want to check out:
- Lake Tahoe, California
- Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, New York
- Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
- Buffalo National River, Arkansas
- Rocky Mountains of Idaho
Visit Your Spring Break Destinations Sustainably
When enjoying your spring break ideas in 2023, it’s crucial to be as mindful and sustainable as possible. Eco-friendly and sustainable travel focuses on reducing the negative impacts of tourism and maximizing its benefits for local communities, ecosystems and the planet.
This way of traveling can be effective, both short and long-term. You contribute to the economy by eating in local establishments, and you are respectful and mindful during your stay — better for the locals and more sustainable in the long run. If you are new to eco-friendly travel, start with our guide to zero-waste travel and follow these tips:
- Slow down: Packed itineraries are fun to plan, but you end up rushing from one place to another. Choose a few quality spring break destinations and make realistic plans allowing you to enjoy and explore the area. Meet the locals, try the food and get to know unique spots. This is also a great time to go on a digital detox.
- Skip tourist traps: Avoid tourist hotspots where over-tourism is a problem. Most of these places are too crowded, and they end up less enjoyable for visitors and less sustainable for the local community. Read our article What is Eco-Tourism? for the simplest ways to avoid this problem.
- Be mindful of transportation: According to the World Tourism Organization, international travel is expected to grow 45 percent by 2030. Get to your spring break destination by train, take the bus or travel by bike once you get there to minimize your carbon footprint.
- Help the local community: Support communities that rely on tourism by staying at locally owned accommodations, shopping at local stores and eating at local restaurants — not chains!
- Avoid single-use plastics: Plastic pollution in the ocean is becoming a big problem for the environment. According to National Geographic, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. In tourism, one of the most common items used is single-used water bottles. By bringing your own eco-friendly water bottle, you can help reduce these numbers. Keep in mind that you will need to clean your reusable water bottle to avoid the buildup of potentially harmful germs. For more ideas about how to use less plastic day-to-day, read our guide Life Without Plastic: Simple Tips for Going Plastic-Free.
We hope you enjoyed these spring break ideas for 2023. Want to learn more about sustainability and the environment? Follow us on Instagram or Twitter!
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