Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Eco Travel Guide to South Florida: Bask in the Sunshine State


South Florida is teeming with sustainable hotels and trendy plant-based restaurants — an eco-traveler’s dream.

Taking a much-needed vacation doesn’t have to come at the expense of the planet. Nowadays, the plethora of eco-friendly resorts and plant-based restaurants that are readily available around the world make eco-travel even easier. This is good news if you’ve got an insatiable case of wanderlust.

For some fun in the sun and sand, look no further than The Sunshine State. A cultural melting pot of Caribbean and Latin flavors, take a trip down yonder because South Florida has it all — endless stretches of pristine beaches, a unique dining scene, and a year-round tropical climate. 

Whether you’re looking to explore the luxurious shops in trendy Miami or go swimming in the Keys, pack your sunscreen and resort wear — we’ve got everything you need to plan the most memorable and sustainable Florida getaway.

Sustainable Hotel Options

Ocean Key Resort

Ocean Key Resort & Spa

Relax in luxury at this lavish, oceanfront Key West resort. Featuring a boutique store and a relaxing, on-site spa, the property is nestled in the midst of all things fun and exciting. Walking distance from Mallory Square, Truman’s Little White House, and more — you’ll find a treasure trove of activities nearby, including wildlife refuges, national parks, and sanctuaries. Your home away from home awaits.

1 hotel miami

1 Hotel South Beach

1 Hotel, a mission-based hotel company, is tackling sustainability from all angles: reducing single-use plastic, energy and water efficiency strategies, environmental design, and sustainable dining options. Going somewhere local? 1 Hotel’s Audi electric e-tron will take you there.

The hotel’s sustainability commitments don’t skimp on the luxe stay. The hotel rooms offer the greatest retreat, prioritizing comfort and style.

And be sure to check out the monthly candlelit evening in the hotel lobby. It’s romantic, but there’s a deeper message there: it’s raising awareness about global brightening.

Palms Hotel

The Palms Hotel & Spa

For a tropical paradise, look no further than this nature-inspired resort, which is located right on the coast in Miami Beach. This historic property has everything an eco traveler could ever need: ocean views, a full-service spa, an organic garden, and even a farm-to-table restaurant, which serves up sustainably-sourced dishes with plenty of vegan options. The Florida Green Lodging accredited hotel boasts a recycling program and even hosts beach clean-ups. 

kimpton hotel miami

Kimpton Epic Hotel, Miami Beach

The Epic Hotel is indeed epic. Part of the Kimpton chain of boutique hotels, it’s committed to sustainability, bringing eco materials like driftwood and tile flooring into the space. The Epic, like all Kimpton hotels, is Green Seal-certified. The hotel prioritizes water and energy conservation, low-impact construction materials, and non-toxic cleaning products.

Head into the hotel’s restaurant for organic and sustainably produced wine, and menus that feature locally grown and sustainable ingredients.

breakers hotel

The Breakers

Founded in 1896, this luxury Palm Beach resort is “the original home of R&R.” A private beachfront, four pools, secluded cottages, an indoor-outdoor spa, golf courses, tennis courts, and boutiques—need we say more? The resort’s sustainable initiatives include water conservation, waste reduction, and energy efficiency.

The Miami Beach Edition

The Miami Beach Edition

The stunning Edition is always working to improve its sustainability metrics. It recently launched a Stay Plastic Free initiative, a campaign VP of Brand Experience, Ben Pundole says is helping to remove single-use plastic from the hotel industry at large. It also partnered with Jaden Smith’s water company, Just, which uses paper bottles that feature a biodegradable sugarcane cap.

Soak poolside or head down to the beach, just steps from your room, suite, or bungalow. Enjoy an aromatherapy session, a power nap, or a luxe massage at the hotel’s spa. Check out the plant-forward recipes from Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, or take a quick stroll around the neighborhood to one of South Beach’s many fine restaurants.

cadillac resort

Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club

Miami’s first LEED-certified hotel, the Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club sits on a historic Art Deco property. A Marriott hotel, the company is part of the chain’s Serve 360 Doing Good in Every Direction sustainability and social impact platform. It supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The hotel chain says it minimizes its environmental footprint by managing its water and energy use, reducing waste and emissions, and increasing use of renewable energy. It’s also looking longer term and how to implement, track, and communicate its efforts in mitigating the climate emergency.

A top hotel winner picked by Conde Nast, you won’t need to venture far from the beachfront hotel with stunning views. Enjoy Mediterranean-inspired fine dining with farm-to-table cuisine. Let the Cadillac Concierge craft a personalized itinerary for you to enjoy the natural wonders of the region. Or unwind with natural treatments at the hotel’s Kalma Spa.

The Standard Spa, Miami Beach

The Standard Spa, Miami Beach

One of Miami’s best hotel stays is also one of its greenest. The Standard Spa has earned recognition from the Florida Green Lodging Program for its overall promotion of sustainability and its organic and healthy food focus. Located amid the peaceful tropical gardens and the Biscayne Bay, you’ll enjoy a breezy, airy stay with private terraces and a range of soaking tubs.

Get a health coaching session along with a holistic facial or massage. And take an arctic plunge or soak in the waterfall hot tub for a refreshing reset. Dine on the freshest, healthy cuisine, visit the juice café, or grab a Peloton class in the hotel gym.

Sustainable Dining


This plant-based chain has locations all over North America. But for those embarking on a getaway to The Sunshine State, you can chow down at the West Palm Beach and South Beach locations. Planta’s offshoot, Planta Queen, also has spots in Coconut Grove and the newly opened location in Fort Lauderdale.

Planta features locally sourced, plant-based ingredients in its dishes. This upscale restaurant “reimagines, reinvents, and revitalizes, providing flavorful proof that the power of plants can change the world.” Order the coconut ceviche for an appetizer. Opt for a veggie pizza for dinner. In the mood for sushi? The restaurant has every roll of your stomach’s desire. 

Love Life Cafe

For a Miami rendezvous, stop by the Love Life Cafe in Wynwood. There, you’ll find the quaint, plant-based eatery, which serves up breakfast staples like egg and cheese croissants and omelets, soups and salads, burgers, bowls, pizza, and more.

Full Bloom Vegan

Unearth this gourmet restaurant in Miami Beach. Full Bloom Vegan has everything from Italian-inspired dishes like baked eggplant to mouthwatering curries and comfort classics like barbecue wings—all vegan, of course.  

Glaser Organic Farms

Clear your Saturday morning schedule and head over to one of the city’s most beloved destinations, Glaser Farms. It hosts a pop-up farmers market and café every Saturday in the heart of Coconut Grove. Shop for the best locally grown organic fruits and vegetables and then feast on raw salads, juices, desserts, and so much more.

Sustainable Shops

Courtesy Reformation


If you find yourself vacationing in Miami, then a stop at Reformation’s storefront location is in order. The brand has it all — dresses, jeans, sweaters, and even wedding dresses — all of which are consciously created clothing made from recycled or natural fibers.


You can find a designer bag lover’s dream at the Design District’s Rebag. Shop your favorite luxury labels like Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Fendi at a fraction of the price. Rebag buys and sells pre-loved designer bags in an effort to promote the circular fashion model.

eco travel miami

Nomad Tribe

“Sustainability feels good,” is this sustainable clothing brand’s mission. Located in Wynwood Marketplace, Nomad Tribe’s eco-conscious boutique carries recycled and handmade clothes for both men and women.

Sacred Space Miami

Sacred Space Miami is a spot of quiet in the busy Wynwood neighborhood. The shop and market also hosts wellness retreats, meditation sessions, and yoga classes. Snag the latest plant-based cookbooks, organic skincare, and sustainable wellness products.

Spas and salons

Sana Skin Studio

Sana Skin Studio operates on a belief system that good skin comes from the inside out. It’s the mantra behind the spa’s signature three-facial approach. The spa only uses only clean ingredients free of toxins, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, and synthetic fragrances. The studio founders believe that what’s good for our bodies is good for the planet, too.

Bamford Wellness Spa

Located inside of 1 Hotel South Beach, the Bamford Wellness Spa takes a luxury approach to self-care and sustainability with holistic treatments, organic ingredients, biodegradable materials, and sustainably sourced retail products.

The Palms Hotel Aveda Spa

Get a massage or makeover at the plant-based and cruelty-free Aveda spa inside the eco-friendly Palms Hotel. All of Aveda’s products are botanically based and cruelty-free. And like the sustainability commitment of the hotel, the Palms Spa aims to provide low-impact experiences that calm the body, mind, and spirit, while also reducing its carbon footprint.

Planning your next destination vacation? Click here for Ethos’ guide to the best luxury beachfront hotels and resorts from around the world.

Sustainable transportation

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are a great option for those looking to be environmentally friendly while traveling through South Florida. It’s a great state for planning the perfect road trip, too. A growing number of rental platforms now offer EVs as do peer-to-peer rental platforms like Turo. Be sure to read up on a legal guide to car accidents in Florida on to ensure you are aware of the legalities surrounding vehicles accidents in the state.

Bike sharing

Bike-sharing systems in cities make for a great way to explore the state while also helping the environment. These services have become increasingly popular over recent years, with stations located throughout. Bike-sharing is both affordable and convenient, making it an excellent choice for those wanting to explore Florida without leaving behind a carbon footprint.

Public transport

Check into the public transport options throughout South Florida. Depending on where you’re staying there may be local bus systems and trains. Some hotels also offer shuttle services to popular destinations.

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