Virginia Green Travel
© by Mary Burnham
During tough economic times, we're all looking for affordable, value-added recreation and vacation options, and many of these just happen to be green. Human-powered activities like hiking, kayaking, biking and camping can give families and friends unforgettable experiences without breaking the bank.
Virginia Green Travel certifies attractions, lodgings and restaurants that have adopted environmentally friendly practices, along with tons of ideas for green getaways and outdoor adventure.
Hanging up one's towels in a hotel for a second use might seem trivial, but the Department of Environmental Quality says that optional linen service can reduce water usage by 30 percent, an low-flow water fixtures by 40 percent.
Green-certified destinations are supposed to do much more than this, however, including recycling, eliminating disposables (or using compostable, recycled ones), and switching to CFL light bulbs, which can reduce energy use by 75 percent.
That adds up, whether you're talking the 8-room Charlotte Hotel in Onancock, the first Virginia town to have all its lodgings green-certified, or the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, part of the first national hotel chain to go entirely green.
Virginia's four-season resorts like Wintergreen allow you to stay-and-play, responsibly. Plan a fun family weekend of human-powered fun: golf, ski, horseback or bike ride, hike and spa.
Virginia's 34 state parks offer more than 500 miles of trails for hiking and biking, waterways for fishing and kayaking, and thousands of acres of green space for self-exploration, guided bird and nature walks. Pitch a tent in a campground or stay in a cozy cabin (www.dcr.virginia.gov).
Green Travel Tips
-Before you leave home, adjust your heating and cooling systems, unplug unnecessary appliances and chargers.
-Practice Leave No Trace ethics such as Pacck it in, Pack it out (www.LNT.org).
-Park the car: when possible, walk, bike orr take public transportation.
-When hiking, stay on trails and pack out aall trash.
-Use refillable water bottles and recycle wwhenever possible.
Check out our award-winning Hiking Virginia and other outdoor books.