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Logans Pass Continental Divide Glacier National ParkThis past July, my husband and I biked through one of our nation’s most iconic parks, Glacier National Park. Just one year earlier, the park was ravaged by fire caused by persistent drought in the region. 

Yet, this summer, signs of recovery – in the form of lots of sightings of bears, cougars, bald eagles and wildflowers – were already showing Mother Nature’s determination.

Glacier National Park, which was formed prior to the establishment of our National Park Service in 1916, is filled with many plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, alpine and, of course, glacial features.  

Ambassador for the EnvironmentA few months ago, for our Spring Break, our family traveled to the Hawaiian island of Maui.  We chose Maui for a few reasons including the chance to experience Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, which is affiliated with three of Ritz-Carlton's Resorts (Maui, Grand Cayman, and Puerto Rico), and to better understand how the programs were affecting local communities, ocean conservation efforts, and of course children's understanding (and interest) in environmental issues.

Although we signed up for the Whale Watch excursion as a family, it was cancelled due to rough seas. However, our son did have the chance to participate in the Survivor program.

Horse BlogWhile I know my son was having a wonderful time at his summer camp in New Hampshire, I was still so glad to be able to have this extended road trip with my daughter.

During part one of this two-part series, I talked about our adventures from Georgia up to New Hampshire. Now, at the half way point of the trip, appropriately spent riding a zip line over the Pemigewassett River and then taking a gondola up the White Mountains to explore some granite caves, we now had to continue back home.

After my son's visitation day, my daughter and I explored D Acres a bit more. We took a dip in the swimming hole, rode our bikes to some surrounding farms to visit some goats and a friendly horse, and hung out in the open-air "Summer Kitchen".

AirBnB Inspired Road TripAs my son was packing up for another season at his summer camp in New Hampshire, I realized I had to do something to make these weeks special for my daughter too. So what better than a grand road trip!

My daughter and I love animals and have been especially interested in raising chickens after our town passed legislation allowing them to be kept locally. My daughter even began lobbying school administrators to create a kind of 4-H club for some students to raise a few hatched chicks.

So, creating a trip to visit chickens along our route seemed like a natural theme for our adventure!

Approach to Ferry Port on Car Free Mackinac IslandThe more I travel, the more I appreciate, downright relish, the unhurried feeling of a pedestrian zone, where locals and visitors alike can only traverse by foot or bicycle (or maybe by an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage).

One can usually find a pedestrian zone within an historic center, such as we did in Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Krakow (Poland) or within a national park, such as Maria Island in Tasmania (Australia).

However, lately, I've started to gravitate toward car-free islands where it is downright acceptable to slow down, meander through roadways and scenic areas, think, and even strike up a conversation with a passer-by or two.

Alaska AdventureAlaska is one of the least-densely populated places in the world, and much of the state remains wild and road-less. Travel to Alaska typically focuses on these remote areas, and enjoying the stunning scenery and abundant wildlife they offer.

To ensure that nature and eco-travel can continue, we must be stewards for the natural environment so that wild places like these remain for future generations to enjoy.

It’s that time of year where thoughts turn to summer camps, festivals and vacations.

Summertime has always been a great occasion for families to relax, reconnect and (re)discover historical sites, cultural traditions and natural wonders. Fortunately, the United States has a wide variety of nature and wildlife focused activities that spotlight the country’s diversity of flora and fauna.

Some of my formative summer seasons were spent in Rhode Island and since Block Island and Newport were within close driving (or ferry) distance, it never occurred to our family to visit Kennebunkport too. Well, during all those summers, we were definitely missing out!

Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Rhonda Cira
    Rhonda Cira says #
    Amazing pictures,it seems you had a great fun over there,Even I am planning for a vacation over there.

Bar Harbor, Maine has the distinction of being the second most popular outdoor adventure area in the United States (behind Yellowstone National Park). And, it is easy to understand why as this is the area where the Atlantic Ocean meets the mountains of scenic Acadia National Park.

Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, Bar Harbor offers families a low-key eco-travel adventure, and during the fall foliage season, it puts on a spectacular show of colors! In and around Bar Harbor, there are many miles of shoreline to explore, 125 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage trails. In addition, there is a wide variety of ranger-led programs that will introduce your family to Acadia's diverse natural and cultural history.

Alaska has the highest mountain (Mt. McKinley), the longest coastline, eight national parks, ten national preserves, four national monuments, sixteen national wildlife refuges, twenty-six national wild and scenic rivers, and two national forests. Nearly 16% of the state is designated as wilderness, compared to only 2.5% in the contiguous United States. And, although a bit cooler, it is an eco destination for all seasons as Alaska offers a special connection to nature, native culture and wildlife.

Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Rebecca Rubin
    Rebecca Rubin says #
    I had a similarly lovely experience in Alaska, what a stunning place!
  • Jamie Fernandez
    Jamie Fernandez says #
    It's incredible to look at the immense size of those glaciers and just imagine how big they are over and under the water.

This Ecotourism in America series, which has highlighted many of the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities available in the U.S., concludes with an eco-itinerary for what is typically viewed as the most environmentally conscious states of the union - namely Washington and Oregon. Washington has an informative website full of great ideas for exploring the state. Travel Oregon's website offers the revealing experiences section, which helps visitors whet their appetites for adventure.

Let's find ourselves in California. With a bevy of national parks and forests, California offers ample opportunities for family ecotourism adventurers to enjoy one last end-of-summer weekend mountain biking, hiking, and whitewater rafting. Besides the option of taking the Amtrak train or driving a hybrid vehicle, you may want to consider a sustainable Undiscovered Country bicycle tour through the Pacific Coast, Redwoods, and Mountain parts of California. Tours include lodging, dining, local sightseeing, luggage transfer, small group sizes and all the nature and breathtaking scenery you can take in along the way.

In the eighth installment of a series that highlights the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities available within the U.S., our focus turns to Southwest, where in the last year, New Mexico has made a concerted effort to promote its specialized ecotourism events, activities, and lodgings. Not to be outdone, Arizona has also advanced its ecotourism marketing including links for volunteering at Grand Canyon National Park. With plenty of opportunities for birding, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, or just taking in the breathtaking scenery, the Southwest is a sure-hit for all eco-minded travelers.

Our family ecotourism series through the United States now focuses on the wildlife viewing opportunities available in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Not just for cheese lovers and ice hockey enthusiasts, this area of the Great Lakes region has abundant flora and fauna as well as numerous ecotourism and adventure travel opportunities. Amtrak's Empire Builder route runs between Chicago and Seattle. With many stops in Minnesota and Wisconsin, you could rent a hybrid car and explore the rest of the area with the following eco-itinerary.

One would be remiss if a family ecotourism series did not include Cowboy Country, namely Colorado and Wyoming. Amtrak's California Zephyr route runs between Chicago and San Francisco. With its sleeping, dining, and private bathroom accommodations, it may offer a fun alternative to driving. Once at your destination, you could rent a hybrid car from Enterprise, Budget, or Hertz to explore the rest of Colorado and Wyoming.

In the fifth installment of the family ecotourism series, consider an eco-getaway to Georgia and Florida. With a remarkably easy setup, Georgia's Department of Natural Resources website allows for the interactive search of state parks as well as reserving of rooms at any of the state's Lodges. Florida's State Parks website also has a One-Tank Adventure search engine that lists all refuges, beaches and rivers within a 100 mile radius of your selected city. With plenty of opportunity for fishing, horseback riding, hiking, biking, swimming, and visiting nature centers, the Southeast packs a pleasant surprise for all.

In the fourth installment of a series entitled Ecotourism in America that focuses on the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities available within the U.S., consider an eco-getaway to North Carolina. Whether it's meandering along the 11 national wildlife refuges that encompass the Charles Kuralt Northern and Southern Trails or appreciating the spectacle of seeing millions of migrating birds making their way to their final destination for the season, North Carolina has something to meet everyone's taste.

In the third installment of aseries that focuses on the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities available within the U.S., consider a family eco-getaway to Virginia. Within its state sponsored website, Virginia Green, one can find travel tips, green vacation packages, eco-lodging by region and dining options as well as information about holding green conferences. There is also a special emphasis on eco-events, which from birding to dolphin watching to scavenger hikes to farm tours to park restoration days promises fun for each member of the family.

In the second of a series of articles highlighting the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities within the United States, why not consider taking the family on an ecotourism getaway through New York. Whether it is a long weekend break or enjoying the fall colors, it may be about time to get into the "New York State of Mind" with this suggested eco-itinerary.

One does not necessarily need to escape to another country to experience the joy and wonder of ecotourism. In the first of a series of articles highlighting the natural beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities within the United States, why not consider taking the family on an ecotour getaway through New England, specifically Massachusetts and Maine. Whether it is a long weekend break or taking one last trip before school starts again, we sugget the following eco-itinerary.

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