There are few more universal traditions in America than an annual family vacation. For eco-minded consumers, vacations can be a difficult situation. We all want some time away from work and commitments at home, yet we hate to let our recreation create too much cost to the planet.
Hotels, in particular, are unappealing to environmentalists, because they create more waste, use more utilities, and contribute to urban sprawl and traffic. For the eco-minded consumer, then, a beach home represents a far more appealing option.
But just buying a beach home isn’t enough. In the right parts of the country, the value of avoiding hotels can be compounded by other factors. Here are some to consider.
Best Places To Buy Vacation Homes With Sustainability in Mind
Buy Vacation Homes in Low-Overhead Markets
It’s important to think about several areas of overhead when you consider a vacation site. For example, how much cost–both financial and ecological–will be associated with getting there? If the trip to your vacation home requires too many miles on the road, it’s not a good choice.
Then there’s the matter of traditional overhead, things like utilities. While the house itself will play a big part in its power consumption, its location will as well. Since beach houses are all located in areas where it gets hot, you can’t hedge with climate. So that leaves the utility market.
In an area like Galveston Beach, these factors come together. Texas has a deregulated electrical market, which means your place at the beach can be powered by an electric company in Houston, one that you can choose based on their rates and their environmental responsibility. As for travel, it’s cheaper in Galveston, too, since you can fly into Houston and reduce your driving.
Buy Vacation Homes in Uncrowded Markets
The most popular vacation destinations are typically crowded. If you love hustle and bustle, they’re just the place for you. But for people who prefer a more sedate vacation, the quieter locales are more appealing.
Beach homes are typically situated in the less-crowded areas. After all, the beaches with the highest traffic are typically armored with high-rise hotels on property far too valuable for single homes.
A good example of one in the middle is Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. The area has enough restaurants, festivals, and shopping to cover your rainy days, yet its beaches are free from excessive crowds. It makes for a safer, quieter vacation.
Is it green? Absolutely. Remember that traffic is an archenemy of fuel economy. If you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic just to go a couple miles for dinner, you’re burning far more gas than you would with less congestion–or with restaurants in walking distance.
In Recovering Markets
In 2010, an oil spill from an offshore drilling rig coated much of the Gulf Coast with a thick layer of crude oil. While remarkable progress has been made in the cleanup, the impact on animals and plants is still going on.
It may seem illogical to suggest a damaged area like the Gulf as a prime destination for eco-minded travelers, but it actually makes sense. The market is still soft, as many of the homes have been on the market for a long time. And there are environmentalists involved in every part of the recovery, assuring you that a healed Gulf will be perhaps the best-managed beach, in environmental terms, in the entire country.
And your investment will help. If the community is seeing revenue come in as a payoff on their efforts to become greener, their determination to remain green will persist. And there may even be volunteer opportunities while you’re in town.
There’s no question that travel creates an impact on the environment. But just as we can reduce our carbon footprint in other parts of our life, we can reduce the environmental damage that can be attributed to our travel. Buying a beach home is a great start, but buying a beach home in the right place is even better.