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Spring is in the air and many families will be heading to the beach in the coming months. Traveling somewhere warm while the weather is chilly holds quite a bit of draw for many people! If you are looking for a few beach vacation tips to make your life easier, I wanted to a share a few that will reduce your carbon footprint. Between buying supplies, packing the car, getting there and actually spending some quality time lounging, there are a lot of ways to leave a huge carbon footprint behind. If you are planning a beach vacation this month, here are a few ways to enjoy the surf while treading lightly on our planet. I will included a few affiliate links that you may find helpful.
Beach Vacation Tips for a Smaller Carbon Footprint
Choose eco-friendly beach toys
Beach toys are pretty much a requirement when you have kids. What child wants to go to the beach and not play in the sand with shovels and buckets? Even my TEENS love playing with beach toys! Try to find ones that are are made from recycled materials or buy second-hand beach toys whenever possible. And make sure you remember to bring them all home with you! Check out Amazon for a few eco friendly beach toys for your kids!
Skip the soap in the outdoor shower area
Many beaches have outdoor shower areas to help rinse off the sand before you go home. Or rinse off melted popsicles before you put your kid in the car! These outdoor shower areas usually don’t drain into a municipal water supply. Don’t use soap or shampoo in them or it will wash into the local water source and possibly right into the ocean. A quick rinse with water is all you need. If you really need soap, choose a biodegradable soap so it is easier on the environment.
Obey all caution signs
Many beaches restrict access to certain areas of the dunes or even the beach itself due to nesting animals. Keep your eyes out for signs as you enter the beach area. Keep children away from sea turtle nests and shore bird habitats when they are clearly marked. Children are naturally curious but make sure you explain why they need to stay out of these sensitive areas.
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Buy eco-friendly swimsuits
Many companies today are making eco friendly swimsuits from recycled water bottles, organic cotton or bamboo. Choose those over conventional materials whenever possible. They aren’t always easy to find. You may need to shop online or at a larger outdoor sport retail location. Make sure you wash your eco-friendly bathing suit carefully. Hand wash them with swimwear wash and line dry.
Use natural sunscreens
There have been a few recent studies that seem to indicate that some conventional sunscreens may not be all that safe for marine animals. Choose a natural sunscreen instead to protect both you and the ocean wildlife. Safe sunscreens have come a long way in the last 5 or 10 years. There are many easy to use sprays and you don’t need to walk around with a white residue on your skin anymore. Natural sunscreens protect YOU from harmful radiation and protect the environment from harmful chemicals.
Take home only photos and memories
It is important that you not take home everything you find at the beach. While a few shells in your pocket aren’t too big of a big deal, sand dollars, starfish and other marine life are NOT souvenirs! There are many souvenir shops near beaches that are happy to sell you such things but remember that starfish and sand dollars are living creatures and scooping them out of the water and throwing them in your trunk is both cruel for THEM and bad for long-term sustainability.
Leave behind only footprints
Remember to pack out any trash you create while you hang out on the beach. Leftover food and trash can become a major hazard to wildlife. Try packing a waste-free lunch and pack snacks in reusable plastic containers. Cloth napkins won’t blow away with the wind like paper varieties and an insulated reusable water bottle won’t tip over and spill in the sand!
Support small, local businesses
Many beach area businesses rely on tourism to bring in most of their money. While on your beach vacation, consider shopping at small, local stores rather than large, chain businesses. Many of these small mom and pop stores would not be in business unless they made money from seasonal tourists. Whether it is an ice cream cone or some cute memorabilia, try to shop small while you are on your vacation.
I hope these beach vacation tips will help you prepare for a fun beach vacation with a smaller carbon footprint. You may need to plan ahead and do a bit of shopping before you leave but remember that our beaches are fragile environments that need our protection!
Have any other sustainable beach vacation tips to share?
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.