​10 Tips to Make Your Vacation in The Palm Beaches More Sustainable

June 24, 2022

Here’s a list of practical, earth-friendly ways to help you enjoy your next visit to The Palm Beaches.

White sand beaches, treasured animal sanctuaries and protected nature preserves make The Palm Beaches a coveted destination for nature loving, conscious travelers. Here’s a list of practical, earth-friendly ways to help you enjoy your next visit to The Palm Beaches.

 

1. Get off the beaten path

The Palm Beaches are rich in beauty of all kind. Whether you are looking for a nature filled adventure or a culturally rich one, you’ll have no trouble tailoring an authentic visit of your own. Choose to discover any of the 30 beach and oceanfront parks spanning 47 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, from Jupiter Beach to Boca Raton, or head to Mounts Botanical Garden, a 14-acre living plant museum, or the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens where you’ll also witness one of the largest collections of rare palms in the United States.

Mounts Botanical Garden
Courtesy of Mounts Botanical Garden

 

2. Travel off season

The summer months, May through September, are our least visited times and a perfect opportunity for you to get away from the larger crowds and take advantage of the great summer specials, while also supporting local, independent businesses that may struggle off season.

 Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Courtesy of @denisecflorida

 

3. Slow down and use efficient modes of transportation

Air travel and driving make up the largest part of tourism’s carbon footprint. Though most modes of transportation require energy, some are more efficient and cleaner than others. Shuttles, electric cars, buses, golf carts and ride-sharing vehicles are some of the methods available in The Palm Beaches. Brightline, the high-speed rail service, provides passengers ride share bicycles, while Molly’s Trolleys, offers guests free air-conditioned trolley service to The Square, Clematis Street, Palm Beach Outlets and the Tri Rail Station.
Luckily, many neighborhoods in The Palm Beaches are quite walkable and offer fun self-guided walking tours as well as history strolls, hosted by The Historical Society of Palm Beach County.

 

4. Conserve water and energy

Beyond transportation, tourism also relies on energy for cooling, lighting, and electricity that puts a strain on water and energy supplies. Do your best to conserve local resources by turning off the lights and any other electronics when not in use, setting the AC thermostat a few degrees higher when you leave your hotel room, and taking short showers instead of baths. Lastly, don’t forget to hang up the “Do Not Disturb Sign” to avoid excessive laundering.

Do Not Disturb Sign

 

5. Pack reusable items

The best way to reduce your waste is to produce less of it. When packing, bring your essential reusables such as a trusty water bottle, coffee mug, steel or bamboo straws and cutlery, and collapsible food containers. Another great item to have on hand is a reusable shopping bag and produce bags for your local food and souvenir shopping. Finally, you’ll also want to pack zero waste toiletries, like shampoo bars, deodorant paste and tooth paste tablets. They create much less waste and you won’t be accountable for any liquids at the airport.

 

6. Enjoy eco-friendly activities

Parks, animal sanctuaries, and other protected areas play an important role in protecting our natural resources. Here are some of the best eco-friendly attractions to visit in The Palm Beaches.
The Manatee Lagoon is a free Florida Power & Light eco-discovery center that serves as a haven for threatened Florida manatees. The center has a manatee viewing area, hands-on exhibits, and free yoga and environmental classes.
The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is a 147,392-acre wildlife sanctuary that includes a 12-mile bike trail along the levee and a 5 ½ -mile paddling trail.
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is a 20-acre refuge that includes a quarter-mile boardwalk, four saltwater aquariums and a nature center.
The McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary treats and releases sick and injured native animals, including foxes, bobcats, cranes, pelicans, owls and more.
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary combines a nature center and a wildlife hospital.
INSIDER TIP: Many facilities offer guided tours by appointment. Make sure to inquire ahead of time.

signs at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
Courtesy of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

 

7. Shop local

Whether you are stocking up on food and groceries or bringing souvenirs back home, shopping local and seasonal is always the best idea. The Palm Beaches are full of small artisan craft makers and have a rich history of local farmers and growers. Local farms such as Swank Specialty Produce host regular markets featuring their own produce and other local vendors. Red Splendor Farm, Prosperity Farms specialize in exotic herbs and mushrooms respectively, while Celis Produce and Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market are local markets.
INSIDER TIP: Make sure to check out the many farmers markets where you’ll find the freshest produce and artisan goods. Here’s a few you’ll want to check out: The West Palm Beach Green Market on Saturdays, The Delray Beach Green Market on Saturdays, Jupiter’s J-Town Farmers Market on Sundays, and The Gardens 2 Go Market on Sundays in Palm Beach Gardens.

Celis Produce
Courtesy of Celis Produce

 

8. Eat local

With all this fresh produce, there is no shortage of sustainable dining experiences in the county. Here are a few local gems worth spotlighting:
Fern Street Wine Bar & Kitchen is dedicated to changing the standard of dining and they do so by sourcing their menu from small, local operations that share their same philosophy. With the purpose of sourcing their own beef, they now own and operate their own small, local ranch. Rancher's Reserve humanely raises Akaushi cattle without the use of antibiotics and hormones.
Swank Table brings together the best of the local farmers, ranchers, artisanal chefs and sommeliers to craft communal dinners right at the farm.
Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton and North Palm Beach focuses on healthy, farm-to-table and sustainable fare and plant-based daily specials.
Lionfish, has been recognized twice as a James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Leader. Serving more than just delicious seafood, the Delray restaurant is also doing its part to help save the ocean’s ecosystem by serving its namesake Lionfish, a species that is ravaging sea life and damaging coral reefs.
 PB Catch Seafood & Raw Bar serves fare with an emphasis on local and sustainable seafood. They host World Oceans Day dinners to recognize the importance of sustainable seafood.

Salmon dishg
Courtesy of Lionfsish Delray

 

9. Stay at eco-friendly accommodations

You can also reduce your environmental footprint by staying in a low impact accommodation. Luckily, there are many hotels in the county that utilize renewable energy and/or environmentally efficient technologies.
Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is the first hotel in Palm Beach County to receive the 4 Green Keys rating, the ultimate honor for hotels that show national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through wide-ranging environmental policies and practices.
The Breakers, the iconic Palm Beach resort, was the first hotel in Palm Beach County awarded Green Lodging certification by the state. Eco-friendly practices there include an on-site organic garden and reserve osmosis irrigation for the resort’s ocean golf course.
In Delray Beach, the historic Colony Hotel & Cabana Club also utilizes high efficiency practices and donates a dollar for each room night sold to a local green organization every year.

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island
Courtesy of Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island 

 

10. Share your sustainable travel experiences

If you choose environmentally efficient accommodations, eat at sustainable restaurants, buy locally made products and/or choose eco- friendly experiences, talk about the ones you enjoyed to your friends, family, colleagues and social media. 
Remember, the most sustainable travels are those that shape and inspire you to make a positive change.

Acai bowl
Compostable bowl - Celis Produce

 
 

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Jules Aron profile picture
Jules Aron
Jules Aron is an author and freelance writer with a focus on wellness, travel, spirits, wine, food and culture. Having lived and worked in Montreal, New York City, Miami, and now Palm Beach, she’s witnessed the power of food and drink to bring strangers together in the most wonderful ways. This perspective inspires her to seek out the stories and personalities behind the curtain. Follow her on Instagram: @julesaron