California offers numerous ways to be an eco-friendly visitor. The biggest favor you can do for the environment is keeping your driving to a minimum, and in California there are numerous car-free adventures to choose from. Here are a few examples:

  • Instead of driving though the Wine Country, consider a self-guided but fully supported 3-day biking tour with Wine Country Bikes (tel. 866/922-4537;
  • From San Francisco, you can take a bus to Yosemite National Park and join one of the numerous hiking, biking, and horseback riding trips that explore Yosemite Valley.
  • Tour the state via Amtrak ( Some of the most beautiful train routes in the U.S. wend along the California coast, stopping in such coastal cities as San Lois Obispo, Los Angeles, San Juan Capistrano, and San Diego. (At some train stops, such as Santa Barbara and Ventura, you can literally walk to your hotel from the station.)

In San Francisco there are numerous restaurants that purchase only organically grown foods (processing foods and manufacturing fertilizers and pesticides take significant amounts of energy), and the city's $25-million Orchard Garden Hotel is the only hotel in the state that was built to the nationally accepted standards for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. San Francisco's extensive public transportation system makes it easy to get around without a car (in fact, we recommend not driving here).

For more information on ecologically responsible travel, visit California Vagabond at Here you'll find tips on environmentally friendly accommodations, car rentals, and more. In addition to the resources listed above, visit for more tips on responsible travel.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.