10 Best Coastal Eco-Resorts

From open-air tropical bungalows to luxe tree houses, let these idyllic hideaways decrease your carbon footprint as they expand your horizons

9 Beaches, Bermuda

Annie Schlechter

9 Beaches, Bermuda

866/841-9009 or 9beaches.com

Bermuda is usually formal, but there’s no need for evening dress at this casual out-post. Six of the 84 rooms are over-the-water cabanas (as shown) that include a window in the floor so you can peer down at fish.

Eco cred: Ocean breezes make using air-conditioning unnecessary, so your carbon footprint practically disappears.

Insider’s tip: Hi Tide, the resort’s main restaurant, turns out some of the best meals on the island. Try the blackened rockfish with grilled shrimp and dill sauce.

Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Alaska

Courtesy of Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge

Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge, Alaska

888/283-7234 or sadiecove.com

Hand-built from milled driftwood, this remote inn inside Kachemak Bay State Park has been welcoming guests for nearly 30 years. With just five cabins, the hosts guarantee peace and quiet.

Eco cred: Wind and hydropower mean guilt-free electricity, and all water comes from a swift mountain stream. The lodge ships out its recyclables for proper processing.

Insider’s tip: Take a flight over beautiful, volcanic Augustine Island.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Courtesy of Sal Salis Nigaloo Reef

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Australia

011/61/ 29/571-6399 or salsalis.com.au

Stay in roomy safari tents nestled in Australia’s western dunes. This resort borders a national park and offers from-the-beach access to coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.

Eco cred: Ningaloo has the bases covered with solar power and composting toilets. About 780 miles north of Perth, the retreat is free from light pollution, meaning great stargazing.

Insider’s tip: Swim with whale sharks, which migrate through the area from April to June. Sounds scary, but they’re harmless to humans.

Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California

Courtesy of Yediburnular Lighthouse

Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California

877/424-4787 or treebonesresort.com

Nestled between Los Padres National Forest and the Pacific Ocean, this getaway remains true to the region’s hippie roots. The comfortable yurts include queen-size beds, pine flooring, and decks overlooking the coast. Guests can hike through redwood forests, kayak in the marine sanctuary, or indulge in an in-yurt massage.

Eco cred: Treebones heats its pool, hot tub, and common areas with a clean–burning generator.

Insider’s tip: Is a yurt too tame for you? Spend the night up a tree in an eco-nest, a bed of woven wood, bird’s nest style.

Yediburunlar Lighthouse, Turkey

Courtesy of Yediburnular Lighthouse

Yediburunlar Lighthouse, Turkey

011/0208/605-3500 or exclusiveescapes.co.uk

Yediburunlar means “seven noses,” the Turkish description of the seven bays that make up the Turquoise Coast at the Mediterranean’s eastern end. This six-room inn delivers seclusion in a big way. Though the structure isn’t technically a lighthouse, guests will find sweeping views of the sea where Jason and the Argonauts once sailed. Activities include coastal hikes, local excursions, and sailboat cruises.

Eco cred: Solar panels heat the water, and recycling is a priority.

Insider’s tip: Innkeeper Semra Aydeniz welcomes guests into the kitchen to learn how Turkish specialties are prepared.

The Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport, Maine

Courtesy of The Colony Hotel

The Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport, Maine

800/552-2363 or thecolonyhotel.com

Although nearly a century old, this New England classic can teach eco-upstarts a thing or two. Guests drawn by sweeping Atlantic views, the heated saltwater pool, and a private beach also get organic foods and a nature education program.

Eco cred: The Colony composts waste and has banned plastic foam containers, aerosol sprays, and plastic bin liners. Trash baskets in each room have four compartments, allowing guests to sort recyclables.

Insider’s tip: Pick up a recycled souvenir. The hotel turns worn bedspreads and linens into handcrafted dog blankets.

Anjajavy l’Hotel, Madagascar

Courtesy of Anajajvy l’Hôtel

Anjajavy l’Hôtel, Madagascar

011/26/187/366/275-0676 or anjajavy.com

Arrive at this Indian Ocean retreat on the hotel’s private plane. Once settled into one of 25 rosewood villas, guests can take guided hikes through the tropical forest, snorkel, mountain bike, or even water-ski.

Eco cred: Anjajavy has brought economic development and health programs to a remote and poor corner of the island. The property is next to an 1,100-acre nature preserve.

Insider’s tip: Don’t miss afternoon tea in the Oasis garden, where birds and lemurs are as much an attraction as the cake.

Maho Bay Camps & Estate Concordia, U.S. Virgin Islands

Courtesy of Maho Bay Camps

Maho Bay Camps & Estate Concordia, U.S. Virgin Islands

800/392-9004 or maho.org

More than 30 years ago, the granddaddy of today’s eco-resorts opened on St. John with a radical idea: Travelers would willingly stay in tents with communal baths if it allowed them easy access to a deserted beach and ocean breezes. More than 1 million guests later, no one’s doubting.

Eco cred: From the arts center where guests create souvenirs from recyclables to a make-your-own-bed approach to housekeeping, Maho sets the standard for low-impact travel.

Insider’s tip: If a safari tent sounds too close to nature, try the newer Estate Concordia Studios―same concept but with a solid wall between you and the elements.

Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge, Nicaragua

Shelley Metcalf

Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge, Nicaragua

011/505/670-7676 or morgansrock.com

Going green doesn’t mean giving up luxuries at this eco-chic getaway about 15 miles north of the Costa Rica border. Perched in the forest, open-sided bungalows await guests, who can fall asleep to the sound of the Pacific and wake to the calls of monkeys.

Eco cred: The 4,400 acres remain a nature preserve and sustainable tree farm, where 1.5 million trees have been planted in the past decade.

Insider’s tip: Order a rum drink. Sugarcane is grown on site, and the resulting molasses is distilled to produce a sweet, potent spirit.

Natura CabaNas, Dominican Republic

Peter Crass

Natura CabaÑas, Dominican Republic

809/571-1507 or naturacabana.com

The Dominican Republic offers more than giant resorts and all-inclusive buffets. Natura Cabañas shows another side of the Caribbean, with a private beach for just 11 palm-thatched bungalows. The modern spa’s services include a heavenly chocolate wrap.

Eco cred: The cabanas are built from natural materials. Screened walls and windows keep it comfortable without air-conditioning.

Insider’s tip: Unwind at the resort’s new yoga pavilion. Classes include one that mixes yoga and Pilates.

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