Yes, You Can Take a Luxurious, Sustainable Beach Vacation: Here's How

The high life in Miami can be eco-friendly, too.

Green, Sand, Turquoise, Sky, Sea, Tree, Beach, Vacation, Ocean,
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"Eco-friendly" is no longer code for "earthy-granola" (though if that's your thing, no judgement), and it's certainly no longer code for "rustic" or, worse, austere. There are plenty of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tour groups that take your comfort and enjoyment into account without forgetting about Planet Earth's. Here, how to embark on a sustainable vacation—Miami-Beach style—that leaves nothing to be desired.

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1 Where to Stay:

Let's pretend we woke up here.

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If not for its sleek white furniture and reclaimed wood interiors (or its prime beach-front real estate), stay at the 1 Hotel and Homes South Beach for the sustainable brand ethos and eco-glam decor actualized in every detail- like floor-to-ceiling glass windows, vertical orchid gardens, and a residential light installation made with naturally formed quartz crystals. Each room offers purified water and glass bottles to limit plastic consumption, recycled materials are transformed into living art installations (including a 6-foot custom whale sculpture made by artist Cindy Pease Roe, crafted entirely from marine debris), and a Tesla house car, available to chauffeur you wherever you need.

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2 What to Do:
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For starters, indulge in some retail therapy for a great cause at Everything But Water located on Collins Ave. Pick up a bathing suit from Vitamin A’s Cause Capsule Collection made from recycled plastic water bottles or nautical-inspired earrings from Nicole Schumann, featuring naturally sourced materials from around the world—25 percent of the proceeds go to the Water is Everything Initiative, fighting plastic pollution, coral whitening, and ocean acidification in partnership with the 5 Gyres Institute.

When you’re not lounging beachside, take time to enjoy Miami’s alluring natural resources at The Miami Beach Botanical Garden, a self-proclaimed urban oasis and home to a wetland preserve, an expansive water garden, and indigenous flora and fauna. Not only beautiful, the garden’s mission promotes sustainability through education and interaction with nature.

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3 Where to Eat:

Enjoy a vegan brunch at Planta South Beach. Under Chef David Lee and owner David Grutman, the restaurant creates delicious food sans animal products. Order up a refreshing watermelon poke made with watermelon, avocado, cilantro, and jicama and a kelp Ceasar salad prepared with kelp noodles and a cashew Ceasar dressing.

For dinner, make a reservation at KYU, under the leadership of Chef Michael Lewis and his partner Steven Haigh. The James Beard–nominated, Asian-inspired restaurant has made clever eco-friendly practice a key component of their business: They plant trees to offset the use of their wood-fired grill, utilize upcycling in their cocktail program (like using the rinds from juiced citrus), and take advantage of locally sourced ingredients to decrease their carbon footprint.

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4 Where to Drink:

No bad days ✌🏽📷: @onehungryjew #imbibegram #miamibeach #goodvibesonly

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Located in a revamped Art Deco building, The Broken Shaker at the trendy Freehand Hotel Miami features handcrafted cocktails infused with herbs and spices picked from their on-site garden. The team uses bamboo and other environmentally safe materials for packaging and to-go containers. The cocktail menu is continually evolving, but inventive drinks like the waste-free South Point Mule is includes garden-grown basil and mint, a ginger-cherry reduction, cucumber juice, and lime stock made from spent lime shells.

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Isn’t she lovely? #earthdayeveryday 🌏

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In the U.S. alone, we consume over 500 million straws every day, and while sipping a cool tropical drink through one can be tempting, consider this: Straws rarely make it into recycling bins and their small size only makes them a bigger threat to fish and other marine life.


Oxybenzone, a chemical commonly found in SPF, might keep the UV rays at bay, but it's also contributing to the harmful bleaching of coral reefs. This isn't an excuse to avoid lathering up, though. The solution? Read your labels and opt for an oxybenzone-free variety instead.


"Part of living a sustainable lifestyle includes buying high-quality, long-lasting items," recommends Everything But Water owner and advocate Sabra Krock. While you may initially be paying more, with the right kind of care, the result will be a longer-lasting investment.

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