If you’re craving a holiday in a stunning setting where you can get back to nature and contribute to sustainable tourism, these are the best eco-lodges in the United States.
Now, more than ever, people are being mindful of the impact they have on the environment — particularly when it comes to travel. One way to travel more sustainably is to seek out eco-friendly accommodation where you can sleep comfortably knowing that you’re doing your part for the Earth. These eco-lodges are scattered all over the United States, and their prices range from $125 to $1,000 a night.
Calistoga Ranch, Napa Valley, California
Nestled in a peaceful Napa Valley canyon, Calistoga Ranch offers 50 freestanding lodges surrounded by lush foliage. As part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, the hotel aims to offer sustainable luxury with eco-friendly initiatives like water and energy conservation, a wastewater treatment system, recycling, biodegradable cleaning products, and all-natural bath amenities.
The ranch has an organic garden and beehives onsite, both of which provide food for the renowned Lakehouse Restaurant. Nature lovers can cycle through wine country, hike on private trails, and meet the ranch animals, including chickens and goats.
Zion National Park Lodge, Utah
Zion Lodge offers historic cabins, hotel rooms, and suites set against the backdrop of towering sandstone walls. The lodge has a strict environmental policy that aims to conserve the unique environment of the park. All of the energy comes from renewable sources and food waste goes into compost for the community garden. More than 65% of the retail items are sustainable and the resort only sells reusable water bottles. In addition, the resort is committed to educating guests and lodge employees about environmental stewardship.
El Monte Sagrado, Taos, New Mexico
Rustic chic is just one way to describe this five-star eco-lodge that sits just outside downtown Taos. All of the rooms are made with local materials like stone, compressed earth, and timber. Each room opens to gardens and ponds fed by conserved rainwater and purified wastewater.
El Monte Sagrado resort is heated and cooled with geothermal energy and solar panels, and features a dome-shaped greenhouse where guests can learn about water management. Luxurious extras include a world-class restaurant and an eco-conscious spa that offers treatments inspired by Native American healing rituals.
Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Kachemak Bay, Alaska
The family-run Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge was built as a home in the 1970s using driftwood that owner Keith Iverson milled by hand. In 1981, the Iversons established the home as an eco-conscious lodge and began welcoming guests to this pristine natural area.
Run entirely on wind and hydro power, the lodge features hand-crafted cabins that overlook a private beach and mountain peaks. Guests can set off on walking trails through the forest and along coastal paths or borrow a kayak to see wildlife like bald eagles, sea otters, and humpback whales.
Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana
Embrace the authentic spirit of the American West at Lone Mountain Ranch just outside the northwest border of Yellowstone National Park in Montana.
Built in 1915, the ranch is set on 148 acres of pristine wilderness and features 23 log cabins and two private log homes. Ranch hands and professional guides are happy to help guests explore the surroundings on horseback and foot. The staff is deeply committed to protecting and preserving this undisturbed natural area and the wildlife that calls it home.
Bentwood Inn, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Set within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Bentwood Inn consistently wins awards for its incredible setting and commitment to sustainability.
Each of the five rooms was built with reclaimed wood salvaged from the Yellowstone fire of 1988, and they feature water and energy-conserving devices. The inn uses GreenView Software to monitor environmental data and has a sustainability coordinator on site. Guests can dine on locally sourced, organic food, learn about the cultural heritage of the area in the library, and explore miles of untouched nature surrounding the inn.
Little St. Simons Island, Georgia
Little St. Simons Island is a privately-owned island in Georgia’s Golden Isles. The island is populated with five comfortable cabins set amid oak trees draped in moss.
The owners are so passionate about preserving the unique ecosystem that they donated a conservation easement so that the island would be permanently protected by The Nature Conservancy. The lodging rates include three daily meals made with fresh produce from the lodge’s garden, boat transfers to and from the island, and activities led by in-house naturists including cycling, birding, and beach combing.
Eagle Cottages, Gulf Shores, Alabama
Sit back and relax on your private patio as you gaze out at herons flying over a freshwater lake at Eagle Cottages. The lodge is part of the Gulf State Park, which features over 6,000 acres of beaches, lagoons, and pine savannas. Sustainability is the main priority at the lodge. Each of the 11 stilted cottages features furniture made from recycled materials, energy-efficient lighting, and natural BeeKind amenities. Visit the Interpretive Center to learn about the unique nature, history, and culture of the area. Then head off on adventures along bike paths, hiking trails, and waterways.
Eco-lodges come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, but they all have a few key characteristics in common. Firstly, they aim to protect the environment by minimizing the impact they have on the Earth. Secondly, they respect and support the local community and the cultural heritage in the area where they operate. Finally, they encourage visitors to enjoy the natural beauty and uniqueness of the local area via responsible tourism activities.