Finding a location that is both environmentally focused and packed full of fun venues that go beyond spending time in nature can be a challenge. However, there are a few destinations that have spent the time and money necessary to ensure the surrounding environment is not only sustainable but complete with events that appeal to people of all ages.
California is one of the most environmentally conscious states in the country. San Diego is progressive and environmentally proactive. They have a Green Building Program which helps homeowners implement strategies to conserve resources and improve the environment. The city is also a powerhouse in facilitating annual events to build the community and attract visitors.
There are many seasonal events co-hosted by mother nature and the city. Between the middle of December and April, the city hosts gray whale watching expeditions. About 20,000 gray whales make their way from Alaska to Baja, California, to give birth to their calves then they make their way back up the coast for the summer and fall. San Diego is an ideal place to view the beautiful migration. Between March and May the hills of San Diego County blossom with breathtaking fields of flowers, something that definitely needs to be on your bucket list!
The city hosts several annual cultural events as well. Restaurant Week happens each January with nearly 200 restaurants participating and featuring specialized menus for people to explore. In February, Museum Month kicks off with more than 40 area museums discounting their admission and featuring engaging programming.
There are also weekly San Diego events, such as concerts hosted at local venues like Sycuan Casino, comedy acts, plays, and sporting events throughout the year. The city is culturally diverse and on any given night visitors and locals have numerous options from which to choose.
Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rosa Beach is a hidden gem along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The area has made a significant effort to limit the development of the beaches and surrounding area. It is not entirely isolated but the state parks scattered throughout the area have helped keep the area feeling as if it was.
There are many individual beach communities dotting the stretch of 30-A that is collectively known as Santa Rosa Beach. The entire stretch has been designed to be bike and pedestrian friendly which encourages both residents and visitors to explore in an eco-friendly way.
In addition to the stunning natural beauty waiting to be explored, there are many annual events to look forward to. In January, the 30A Songwriter’s Festival takes place each year to bring together hundreds of songwriters and musicians for three days of creative writing and collaboration. The Sandestin Gumbo Festival is hosted each February at a local resort along with various Mardi Gras festivals throughout the community.
April is a busy month with the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in nearby Panama City Beach and the local Sandestin Wine Festival; both events offer delicious food and live music. In June, the internationally renowned Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic begins with more than $1,000,000 in prizes.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, is surrounded by thousands of acres of state and federal parks. They work with the community to facilitate sustainable efforts such as the Silver Line No Fare Zone, the eco-friendly Downtown Market, and an ongoing goal to create a 40 percent canopy of trees throughout the city. In addition to their city-wide efforts, there are many annual festivals that make this a great destination to explore.
ArtPrize is a three-week event that happens each fall. The community comes together to turn three square miles of downtown into an art extravaganza. International artists gather to showcase their work and guests are invited to enter into the conversation about the cultural relevance and importance of art.
The Tulip Time Festival happens in May of each year. This cultural festival celebrates the Dutch history of the area and features international, national, and regional artists and musicians as well as crafts, parades, and food.
In March, the LaughFest comes to town. This two-week festival features live shows, authors, improve, films, and community performers. The festival draws 50,000 visitors each year and all proceeds are donated to local charities.
Whether you are looking for a place to live permanently or simply want an eco-friendly vacation, there are some truly inspirational green living places from which to choose.