Ecotourism is such a trend these days.
With our hectic modern-day lifestyles, more and more people are craving for a break from the city to enjoy nature and the serenity it offers.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about the best group eco-travel destinations near New York City, as well as NYC group tour bus rental options that are also friendly to the environment.
What is eco tourism?
Before we dive into the best spots and transportation options, let’s first discuss ecotourism.
To be exact, what is ecotourism?
How can you, as a tourist, be as eco-friendly as possible during your vacation?
Ecotourism is a category of travel that carefully considers its surrounding environment and, through science and research, consciously tries to minimize its impact to local ecosystems.
Both tourists and businesses play a part in preserving the environment.
According to Tricia Barnett of Tourism Concern, there are a few ways that tourists can help to implement responsible ecotourism:
Do research on how your vacation impacts the local ecosystem.
Tour operators need to be held accountable for how they affect the environment.
As a key player to the success of these operators, you can choose to support businesses that are consciously trying to protect surrounding natural resources.
Ask questions about how tour operators support and protect their community.
For example, you can ask them about their waste and water management.
Put your money where your mouth is and pay fairly to ensure that businesses can do their part in protecting the environment.
After all, it costs more to operate an eco-friendly business.
Aside from these tips, you can always be respectful to the environment you’re visiting.
You can do this by bringing reusable water bottles to minimize plastic consumption, throwing trash properly in designated garbage cans, and leaving the place as you have arrived in it.
Eco Travel Destinations near NYC
Now that you know what ecotourism is and what you can do to support it, here are the best eco-travel destinations near New York City:
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort – $
For the most budget-friendly vacation, visit the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, New York.
This is one of the hotels and the first resort in the US that received the Audubon International’s Platinum Eco Rating for Hotels.
From the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, you’ll have a great view of the beautiful Lake Placid and the Adirondack Mountains.
Whiteface Lodge – $$
Whiteface Lodge is also in Lake Placid, New York.
Like the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, you can see the Adirondack Mountains.
It is also a short ride away from the Whiteface Mountain where you can go skiing and snowboarding.
The 19th-century lodge is a great place to escape to if you want a luxurious vacation at a reasonable price.
Mohonk Mountain House – $$$
The Mohonk Mountain House is a Victorian-style resort that was built in 1869.
Named a National Historic Landmark, it is surrounded by pristine forests that will make you forget about the city.
Although staying here is on the pricey end, you’ll surely enjoy its surroundings and award-winning spa.
NYC Group Tour Bus Rentals
Since you’re planning an eco-friendly vacation, you should really consider chartering a bus for your group.
Going to your destination in a single vehicle (instead of taking several cars to fit your luggage and friends) is a sure way to cut down carbon emissions and gas consumption.
From NYC, you can rent a coach bus, a mini coach bus, or a minibus that will take you to one of the above mentioned eco-friendly destinations.
Ecotourism is a great way to have fun, relax, and spend time with your friends while also doing your part in conserving the environment.
With our tips, you’ll hopefully have the best, most rejuvenating, and most eco-friendly trip of your life.
Why New York is a Great Place To Visit
New York city, also called the “Big Apple”, is a lively metropolitan city with multinational populations and unmatched opportunities for entertainments, and cultural diversity.
If you’re not already convinced, let me give you only three reasons to visit, after that I’m pretty sure you’ll be sold 🙂
New York truly is a city that never sleeps, and you’ll have as much fun exploring the city by day as you will by night.
From world class venues like Broadway, to small local venues with local bands playing – there is something for every taste, every night of the week.
You can enjoy a quiet night at a laid back Jazz pub, or party hard in one of the hippest clubs in the city – if you manage to get in, that is.
New York is full of landmarks that are worth checking out.
For starters, you have the Statue of Liberty, perhaps the most recognizable landmark in the world, but unfortunately also the most difficult attraction to reach…
Then you have Wall Street with New York stock Exchange and Federal Hall, and nearby, the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Site which commemorates the victims of that fateful day.
For beautiful views, head over to the Brooklyn Bridge where you’ll get an awesome photo opportunity capturing the skyline of New York.
New York has some incredible shopping malls and shopping streets that shopaholics will go crazy over.
Some neighborhoods boast more shopping than most other American cities, so giving you advice on exactly where to go is a bit difficult.
You should really get a guide purely for the shopping, as there are so many different areas to go.
If you like to get good deals, then check out Century 21, a discount department store where you can find high end brands for cheaper prices.
The shop is located across Church Street from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
For electronics you have the J&R Megastore, which is farther north by the City Hall, for stylish trendy shopping, Nolita (North of Little Italy) has become a very popular place to go shopping lately.
Another area not to be missed is East Village, a funky, sassy and generally pretty cheap shopping area.
Foodie Travel Guide to New York City
Visitors will quickly discover why New Yorkers are passionate about food.
The city boasts an amazing variety of delicious choices, haute cuisine to street carts, with prices to match…enjoy this Foodie Travel Guide to New York City.
New York has always had a reputation as a culinary melting pot.
From Jewish delicatessens to Mexican taco joints to the United Nations Delegates’ dining room, people can enjoy a staggering range at every price range.
They can order a hot dog at Gray’s Papaya or a hamburger at DB Bistro Moderne.
Diners are a New York institution found in almost every neighborhood, serving from breakfast through dinner with a wide variety of choices from snacks, sandwiches, and salads to full meals, all at moderate prices.
The city’s top-drawer restaurants take pride in serving the very best of French cuisine.
Fashions in Food
Fashions are vital in New York, and the contemporary fashion is for famous-name kitchens fronted by celebrity chefs, both homegrown and from as far afield as London, Paris, and Italy.
Current stars include Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alain Ducasse, and Daniel Boulud.
Another current fashion is to preface food styles by the words ‘haute’ and ‘real,’ stressing the quality and authenticity.
‘Haute Italian’ describes Italian cuisine at its most elaborate, for example.
Menus that change with the seasons, stressing foods fresh from local farms, are points of pride for many restaurants, as are organically grown vegetables and preservative-free meats and poultry.
While ‘vegetarian’ has graduated from a regular option to a mainstay, with vegan choices increasingly available, the extreme theme is continue with diets containing the prefix ‘free’ (‘dairy-free’ or ‘wheat-free,’ for example).
These terms are sprinkled over all but the least fashionable menus in New York, making it possible for everyone to find suitable food, whatever their dietary requirements.
Food Trends by Area
Some of the world’s finest and most expensive restaurants.
Four Seasons, Le Bernadin, and Alain Ducasse’s Adour at the St Regis to name but a few – are located in Midtown.
Many Manhattan mainstays are here too, with the longevity prize going to the fabulous nonagenarian Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal.
For Midtown dining, ti pays to do your homework.
While spontaneity is fun farther Downtown, in Midtown it’s best to make reservations, especially to dine before or after the theater.
Restaurants here, especially the more expensive ones, often have formal dress codes.
Men are suited (or at least jacketed) and women go groomed for a glamorous night on the town.
Many Midtown restaurants are closed Sundays, and for lunch on Saturdays, as their corporate customers have gone.
Chelsea, Soho, and Tribeca
The Meatpacking District is good for both dining and posing, even if the patrons are often wafer-thin models who look as if they never eat.
Chelsea Market, at Ninth Avenue and 15th Street, is heaven for food fetishists – a dozen or so bakeries, meat markets, kitchen suppliers, and other stores of gastronomic bent, along with trendy dining places.
Once Soho gained recognition as an artistic center, people began streaming here in search of ‘the scene.
The restaurant tariffs reflect Soho’s now-dominant chicness, but there’s no need to go hungry, or to pay through the nose.
You can shell out for a steak at Balthazar, but you can also each for plenty less at Fanelli Cafe.
In bordering Tribeca, the star element plays a big part, this time in the shape of actor Robert De Niro.
Now one of Tribec’s most famous diners, he moved here in 1976, and began investing in restaurants such as Nobu, and the Tribeca Grill.
He promoted his ‘hood’ as a cool area in which to hand out, and it still is.
East Village and Lower East Side
While once there was little reason to venture into these neighborhoods, and certainly not at night, they now come alive then the sun goes down, and, for many New Yorkers, the best two reasons to visit the Lower East Side and East Village are to drink and to dine.
The once-mean streets of the Lower East Side, an enclave of immigration in previous centuries, are now very much the domain of hipsters.
To witness this renaissance, check out the restaurants around Ludlow and Clinton streets.
Even once-lowly Bowery is becoming a restaurant mecca.
For a taste of the area’s heritage, however, visit Katz’s Delicatessen (“When Harry Met Sally” fame) or seek out the colorful, inexpensive Indian restaurants along Sixth Street between Second and First avenues, known collectively as Curry Row.
For a look at the East Village scene, check out hip bars and restaurants along avenues A and B, although expect to feel old if you’re over 40, unfashionable if you’re wearing a color other than black, and out of sync if you show up before 10 o’clock.
Upper West Side
This part of town, home to the Lincoln Center and the focal point of the New York Jewish community, is good for understated neighborhood dining.
Columbus Circle and the Lincoln Center area have fine-dining choices, long topped by Jean-Georges.
The arrival of the Time Warner Center upped the culinary sweepstakes (with the price tags) even higher, with Michael Lomonaco’s highly regarded Porter House New York, Thomas Keller’s ‘edible art’ at Per Se, and the always-booked Masa, current holder of the highest price tag of any Manhattan dining experience.
Keller’s Bouchon Bakery offers light meals and decadent desserts with a far less stratospheric tab.
Upper East Side
With sky-high real-estate prices and stores to match, the upscale Upper East Side is where ladies of leisure like to lunch.
You can dine very well indeed in this part of town, and the neighborhood demographics supply the sort of crowd that appreciates upmarket dining.
Many of the neighborhood’s best restaurants are old standbys that seem tailor-made for special occasions, or to wine and dine a client or a visiting in-law.
The neighborhood has attracted chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Philippe Bertineau, in search of customers with refined taste buds and big dining budgets.
For the most part, the best restaurants are concentrated in the western part of the neighborhood, on leafy streets lined with palatial townhouses and white-glove apartment homes.
In general, the farther east you go, the younger the restaurant crowd becomes.
Second Avenue, especially, is noted for its noisy bars and eateries catering to restless singles on the prowl.
Weekends are when New Yorkers stroll instead of sprint.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, restaurants are filled with Manhattanites enjoying a slow start to the day, eating brunch in the company of a friend, with a partner or spouse, or alone with the newspaper or a book. Sunday brunch in particular is a local tradition.
Most restaurants offer a set-price brunch menu, but here are some stand-out choices.
In the heart of Central Park on the edge of a pond dotted with colorful rowboats, the Boathouse wins the prize for charm.
The menu is good, too; try the smoked salmon frittata, French toast or steak and eggs.
For the best French-inspired brunch, head for Balthazar in Soho, and dip your croissant into a gigantic cup of the house hot chocolate.
For bohemian appeal, head over to Brooklyn, which excel s at laid back weekends.
Before you Travel to New York
Make sure that you do your homework on Visas before you travel to the USA.
If you are from a participating country you may be eligible for an ESTA visa.
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and was introduced in 2009.
Travelers who are spending less than 90 days in the US and who are from a participating country may apply for a Visa Waiver.
The ESTA Visa Waiver Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security and you can find out more about US Visa requirements at www.estafasttrack.org.uk
Now – are you convinced yet?