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Best Eco-Friendly Getaways

Pier South Resort beach - Pier South Resort
(Credit: Pier South Resort)

Sustainable practices have become the action du jour for just about every industry, including the travel and tourism sector. Many travelers appreciate hotels that implement green techniques, and in many respects, they've come to expect it. Eco-friendly hotels and resorts strive to decrease their strain on the environment, as well as contribute to the surrounding community and benefit the local economy. If you're planning the next weekend trip, here are a few places that will offer a socially responsible getaway.

Pier South Resort patio - Pier South Resort
(Credit: Pier South Resort)

Pier South Resort
800 Seacoast Drive
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 621-5900

Pier South Resort, part of the Marriott's Autograph Collection of hotels, recently celebrated its first year as the new kid on the block. The all-suite hotel brings new energy to Imperial Beach, a city that sits at the most southwesterly point of the U.S., directly across the border to Mexico. Pier South is LEED Silver certified and incorporates water conservation, solar power and beach and nature conservation into its business model. Book an appointment at the spa, enjoy a meal at the Baja-Mediterranean Sea 180 restaurant, or savor the sun sinking behind the pier from the rooftop deck. Outside of the hotel, take advantage of nature's beauty with a visit to the Tijuana Estuary or a horseback ride along the waves.

Terranea Resort - Terranea Resort
(Credit: Terranea Resort)

Terranea Resort
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
(310) 265-2800

A sprawling Mediterranean-inspired collection of rooms, suites and private bungalows, casitas and villas, Terranea Resort overlooks the blue Pacific and Catalina Islands and is part of the Destination Earth initiative which upholds many sustainable practices, including the installation of energy efficient lighting, on-site hybrid and low-emission vehicles, locally cultivated landscaping, water irrigation on its golf course, and use of recycled collateral. Eat at one of the eight restaurants on the resort property, reconnect with yourself at the 55,000 square foot spa/wellness center, play a round at the par-3 course, or simply enjoy the surrounding 75 acres of nature. Explore the cove and tide pools, or saunter along the Discover Trail to learn more about indigenous plants and wildlife in the area.

Hotel Indigo bar - Hotel Indigo San Diego
(Credit: Hotel Indigo)

Hotel Indigo
509 9th Avenue
San Diego, CA
(619) 727-4000

San Diego's Gaslamp District boasts the first LEED certified hotel in the city, the "eco-chic" Hotel Indigo. The property uses efficient water irrigation systems, drought-tolerant plants, eco-roof planting to reduce heating and cooling costs, recycling and composting programs throughout the hotel and on-site restaurant, as well as offering guests easy access to public transportation. Hotel Indigo is about 15 miles from most beaches, but the San Diego Zoo, Petco Park and a number of bars, restaurants and lounges are close by. Plus, Hotel Indigo is dog-friendly, so furry four-legged family members are welcome.

Cavallo Point Lodge at Golden Gate - Cavallo Point
(Credit: Cavallo Point Lodge)

Cavallo Point Lodge
601 Murray Circle
Fort Baker
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 339-4700

Cavallo Point is a LEED Gold certified hotel in Golden Gate National Park, approximately 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco. Green and sustainable practices are priority, including the use of non-toxic cleaning products, sourcing local foods for the property, incorporating programmable sensors and thermostats for energy control and eliminating non-biodegradable packaging and storage materials. Stay in either one of the historic or modern rooms, dine at Murray Circle or Farley Bar, relax at the spa, take a class at the Cavallo Point Cooking School, or spend some time learning about environmentally sound health, food and climate practices at the Institute at the Golden Gate.

Orchard Garden Hotel room - Orchard Garden Hotel
(Credit: Orchard Garden Hotel)

Orchard Garden Hotel
466 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 399-9807

If you like the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, the Orchard Garden Hotel's location in the middle of the city makes it a dream. It is the first hotel in CA, and the fourth in the U.S., to receive LEED certification. Recycled fabrics and carpeting make up the decor, in-room amenities are housed in bulk containers, the property is Energy Star Rated and also purchases Verified Emissions Reductions, and each guestroom's power can be controlled by the keycard, which contributes to reduced energy consumption. The hotel, in conjunction with Plant a Billion Trees, will also plant a tree for each review shared on TripAdvisor. The Orchard Garden Hotel is within walking distance to Chinatown, North Beach, Union Square and the Financial District, and popular attractions such as Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Zoo and Alcatraz Island are easy to access.

Sunriver Resort - Sunriver Resort
(Credit: Sunriver Resort)

Sunriver Resort
17600 Center Drive
Sunriver, OR 97707
(800) 801-8765

Sunriver Resort is actually one piece of a four-part, self-governed development that includes residential properties, a commercial village and recreational facilities. As a member of the Destination Earth initiative, Sunriver Resort focuses on the use of local food and beverages, implements Green Meetings practices for large events, and establishing partnerships with environmentally-conscious corporations and organizations. If you love the outdoors, the vacation rentals are surrounded by the essence of nature and The Cascade Mountains and Deschutes National Forest are close by. Plus, the resort offers guided nature and bike tours, canoeing, fly fishing, horseback riding and whitewater rafting and more. For those who want to explore Oregon, three of the state's Seven Wonders--Smith Rock State Park, Crater Lake National Park, Painted Hills--are less than two hours away by car.

Chrystal Baker is a freelance food and events contributor for CBS Los Angeles and Basil Magazine. She is the co- editor of a recipe
blog, The Duo Dishes, as well as her personal lifestyle blog,Any and Everywhere.
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