Summer is officially here! You’ve worked hard all year for it, and you deserve a break. But instead of hopping on the next plane to a tropical island far, far away, consider a vacation that’s a little more domestic–and a little more ethically responsible. Try a vegan getaway! Not sure where to start? Here are a few recommendations from east coast to west. So whether you’re looking to stay local or planning on going far, there is a vegan vacation with your name on it.
Tucked into the Northern California bay, the Stanford Inn is housed by one of the quaintest and most natural towns along the coast. With a small population of largely artists and outdoor enthusiasts, Mendocino is the ideal vacation spot for a nature lover (especially one who appreciates the fine wines of nearby Anderson Valley and Sonoma). But the Stanford Inn is unique not just in its surroundings, but in what it offers within its doors. The Raven’s Restaurant in this eco-resort offers 99% organic cuisine with a focus on vegan/vegetarian dishes. In line with the sustainability of the inn, Raven’s cuisine is all made from sustainably harvested ingredients – most of which come from local farms. From walking through the Stanford Inn’s certified organic garden to hiking along Big River to taking a relaxing yoga class, the Stanford Inn by the Sea is a must for the ethical California traveler.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
For the activist, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – the largest no-kill refuse for abused and abandoned animals in the US – offers a five-day trip in both August and October. While most time is spent on-site grooming, feeding, or just spending time with animals, the Sanctuary also offers trips to Grand Canyon and the Zion National Park. The canyons of the nearby North Kaibab Trail may not be an easy hike, but the trip is highly recommended by the Best Friends staff. Nights are usually spent around a campfire, and the accommodations provided by the Sanctuary –whether you opt for a cabin or a cozier cottage – are surprisingly spacious and nice. Vegan meals are served, but vegetarian options are available upon request. Looking for something with a little less structure? Best Friends is open year-round to volunteers, because it may not be easy to leave these animals after just a few days.
Looking for a getaway farther north? Try the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast, a vegetarian B&B operated in an 1835 farmhouse. The cuisine is predominately organic and locally grown, and some ingredients are actually picked from the Bed & Breakfast’s own garden. While the accommodations feel far removed from everything with stunning views of the Killington and Pico mountains, downtown Rutland is just three miles away. The beautiful Rocky Pond is just a hike away, but Leffert’s Pond – slightly farther away – offers canoeing and kayaking. The Chittenden Reservoir is steps away and, if the weather’s right, is the perfect spot for swimming. If you’re more of an indoors-y type, sites like the Normal Rockwell Museum are close by in downtown Rutland. Vermont may be a ski state, but it is a gorgeous destination in the warmer months.
Cedar House Inn & Yurts
Located in the North Georgia mountains and wine country, the Cedar House Inn is an eco-friendly bed and breakfast that offers one main unique difference: yurts. These tent-like cabins provide visitors with a more natural and simplistic experience. Certainly they’re not for everyone; the Cedar House website strongly encourages guests to leave the yurt midday to avoid the risk of overheating. Whether you opt for the adventurous yurt or a more comfortable room in the inn, this sustainable bed & breakfast is truly a green place. (The inn owners have even created a permaculture system that is now a demonstration site for the practice.) Nearby attractions include the Gold Mine Tour downtown, the Desoto Falls of Lumpkin County, and the Amicalola State Park – ideal for hiking. And, as mentioned, the Cedar House Inn is the center of North Georgia’s wine country: definitely a good way to cool down after a hot day in a yurt.