USA Sustainable Travel Guide
With 50 states, 59 national parks, and a whole lot to see and do, it’s difficult to begin where to start when talking about travelling throughout the USA.
Although the USA is home to some of the world’s first and greatest metropolises, we recommend getting out of the big cities to enjoy this vast and boundless country at its best. 59 national parks, spectacular scenery, endless nature and incredible landscapes make the USA simply one of the best countries to see outside of its cities. The Hawaiian islands, the Oregon and Californian coasts, the Grand Canyon, the fjords of Alaska, Yosemite and Yellowstone are just a few examples of the breath-taking sights you can see.
National parks, in addition to being crown jewels of the United States, are also great places to view wildlife. From roaming elk in the Rocky Mountains, Grizzly Bears in the Yosemite, and Whales off the coast of Alaska, there’s an abundance of beautiful creatures to witness firsthand. That said, wildlife guidelines are in place, and they should be respected for the safety of the animals and yours. Keep in mind things like the recommended amount of distance from a wild animal, the use of food caches if you’re camping to keep animals such as bears away from your camp, and especially not to feed any wildlife. This ensures your safety, and that you’re doing your part to protect them as well. It's vital that wild animals do not become habituated and dependent on humans for food.
When travelling in national parks, respect marked trails as going off them can harm sensitive ecosystems and habitats. When camping, pack out what you bring in (ie: zero-trace camping) to keep the area pristine and clean for the next travelers that pass by.
Should you prefer the comforts and conveniences of big cities, consider those that have serious sustainability policies such as Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California. Portland uses environmentally-friendly streetcars for public transportation (as does San Francisco), many restaurants support local farms and sustainable fisheries, and some buildings are equipped with LEED gold certifications and use innovative technologies such as rain-water harvesting for non-consumable water. In 2016, the state of California had banned the use of single-use plastic shopping bags.
Travelling sustainably in the USA is far easier than it sounds. By getting outside of large metropolises and enjoying the great outdoors in a way that respects wildlife and ecosystems, you can mitigate your environmental impacts, and see some of the world’s greatest landscapes and scenery all at the same time! You’ll leave yourself breathless at the vastness of the United States, and it’ll give you a new appreciation for the land of the free.