Looking for a great escape from the chilly dregs of winter, or planning a beachfest when the kids are out of school?
If you head for Florida, you’ll have sun, sand and eco-friendly lodging. And, you don’t have to sleep in a hammock or bathe in a nearby creek to be a green traveler, thanks to Florida’s Green Lodging program.
The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched the voluntary program in 2004. Today, nearly 450 hotels, motels, resorts or bed & breakfasts throughout Florida have become designated members by putting into action environmentally friendly practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources.
Members must meet a minimum set of environmental practices, which may vary from one hotel to another. When you stay at a green lodging look for: recycling in guest rooms, the lobby, vending or eating areas; compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout the property; low flow toilets, showerheads and faucets; linen and/or towel reuse programs; the use of green cleaners and Energy Star rated electronics and appliances. A team of DEP assessors gives each property a detailed walk-through to assure it complies with the program requirements.
Similar to the star classification for hotels, motels and other guest accommodations, Florida’s Green Lodging program confers Palms — one, two or three — on properties according to their level of commitment and continual improvement over time.
Florida’s DEP has details on designated green lodging accommodations sorted by geographic area for quick browsing. Note, too, the Palm designation. Follow the link to each member’s website for photos, amenities, rates, reservations, area events and things to do.
Go for the gold (as in sunshine), stay with the green.