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We're a husband and wife team who formed Love + Water Photography on Maui in 2014. Since then we've created a series of sessions from the land + sea, drawing inspiration from the gorgeous colors of Maui sunrises and sunsets.

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Sustainable Travel in Hawaii: How to Have the Eco-vacation of a Lifetime!

Sustainable travel to Hawaii by Love + Water Photography on Maui

Learning about sustainable travel in Hawaii is a must if you’re planning to visit any of its beautiful islands!

In general, traveling isn’t a very eco-friendly activity. But exploring other areas of the world can also be so fulfilling and bring us so much joy! Those who already have the travel bug understand that it’s not an easy thing to give up.

Artistically blurred palm trees along the beach at sunset on Maui.

Thankfully, sustainable tourism and ecotourism offer us a compromise that allows us to explore while minimizing our impact on the environment.

Hawaii is one place that many people dream of visiting, and with good reason! The natural beauty is breathtaking, the culture is fascinating, there is a never-ending list of things to do, and the tropical weather is perfect for beachy holidays. Hawaii is a popular travel destination for family trips, honeymoons and couples trips, babymoons, engagements—you name it!

However, Hawaii continues to experience environmental issues due to tourism. That’s why it’s so important to do your research when planning a trip to Hawaii so that you can plan an eco-friendly vacation.

Here are some FAQS and tips to help you plan a sustainable vacation in Hawaii!

Is Sustainable Travel to Hawaii Possible? 

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s even possible to take a sustainable vacation in Hawaii, we have good news.

Hawaii is an eco-leader, especially when it comes to ecotourism. Hawaii’s ecology is one of its main attractions, but it’s also vulnerable. And tourism is one of Hawaii’s main economic drivers. So it makes sense that sustainable tourism and responsible travel would be a priority for many local businesses and organizations in the area.

The ocean reflecting the clouds at sunset; one of the reasons why sustainable travel in hawaii is important.

A few ways to embrace green travel in Hawaii:

  • Go car-free. Staying on the beach might be more expensive, but if you choose a spot next to everything you need, you will save hundreds without a rental car.
  • Use eco-friendly tour operators.
  • Stay at eco-friendly accommodations.
  • Frequent eco-certified businesses.
  • Stay out of ecologically protected areas and private property.
  • Take part in eco-friendly activities.
  • Learn about and respect the culture and the land.
  • Pack mindfully (avoid single-use plastics, use reef-friendly sunscreen and natural insect repellent, use shampoo bars and eco-friendly laundry soap, bring a reusable water bottle, etc.).
  • Never approach or touch wildlife or marine life. Give them plenty of space. 
  • Be aware of coral reefs – do not touch or stand on them.
  • Do not feed the wildlife or leave food/wrappers on the beach.
  • Be a responsible visitor and respect the environment. Don’t take anything home such as coral or lava rock.
  • Use the Hawaii Eco-Friendly Travel Planner by Sustainable Tourism Hawaii.

What About Eco-Friendly Travel to Hawaii with Kids?

Hawaii is a great place to travel as a family because there’s so much to do and see!

a family running on the beach together for sunset family beach photos on Maui, an eco-friendly activity in Hawaii.

However, sustainable travel with kids might sound challenging. The good news is that there are definitely things you can do to keep it as eco-friendly as possible! In fact, eco-friendly family vacations can be seen as a great opportunity to teach your kids about sustainability and being a respectful traveler.

Things to teach kids about eco-travel in Hawaii:

  • Why it’s important to respect the environment.
  • Why to avoid using single-use plastics.
  • Not to litter.
  • Not to take things from the beaches.
  • To respect the wildlife.
  • Not to touch coral reefs.

Sustainable, family-friendly activities in Hawaii:

These are just a few of the many kid-friendly activities you can enjoy in Hawaii, and companies that offer them sustainably. No matter which island you’re staying on, with a little research, you’ll likely find plenty of eco-friendly activities that your whole family will enjoy! You’ll also see more ideas as you read on.

Is Maui Eco-Friendly?

If you’re looking to book a tropical eco-vacation, Maui is a great place to start!

White caps frothing as they land on a beach during sunset in Hawaii, captured by Love + Water Photography.

Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii. It’s a popular destination for tourists because of its incredible ocean, beaches, mountains, and forests. The diverse ecology has also put Maui at the forefront for new energy technologies such as solar, wind, and wave power, eco-certified tours and accommodations, and electric vehicles.

Eco-friendly and sustainable vacation options on Maui

Here are some ideas for taking a sustainable vacation on Maui:

Go car-free on Maui.

Going carless on Maui is a great way to make your vacation more eco-friendly! Luckily, there are plenty of other options for getting around the island:

Book an eco-educational tour on Maui. 

Eco-educational tours and eco-adventures on Maui are a great way to learn about the land while also enjoying all that it has to offer!

An eco-tour on Maui might look like:

  • Snorkeling
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing
  • Horseback riding
  • Biking
  • Agricultural and ecological tours
  • Whale watching
  • Kayaking
  • Water sports
  • Ziplining
  • Boating or sailing

Some eco-friendly Maui tour operators and activities:

Ecotourism places to visit on Maui:

Eat at eco-friendly Maui restaurants.

When it comes to sustainable restaurants, Maui does not disappoint! There is no shortage of eco-friendly places to grab a bite to eat or drink. Maui is abundant with fresh, farm-to-table food and organic goodies—all prepared with love and care for the environment!

Here are just a few sustainable Maui restaurants to check out:

If you’re feeling thirsty, here are some great places to grab a drink on Maui:

Eco-friendly photo sessions on Maui

Whether you’re traveling to Maui for a babymoon, a family trip, a proposal, a honeymoon, or just because, many visitors choose to book a beach photo session during their stay. It’s the perfect backdrop and photos are a wonderful way to memorialize your vacation without harming the environment!

If you are planning to have professional photos taken during your trip, make sure you hire a sustainable photographer in Maui who is conscientious about the places they take you and the impact they leave on the environment.

A couple embrace in the waves during a couples beach photoshoot in Hawaii while taking the eco-tourism vacation of a lifetime.

Love and Water Photography is committed to offering photography services in Wailea and West Maui that respect the environment. We leave it better than we found it every time, and encourage our associates and clients to do the same.

Here are some helpful tips for those thinking of booking a beach photo session on Maui!

Sustainable family photos on Maui

Eco-friendly couples photography on Maui

Proposal and engagement photography on Maui

Babymoon and maternity photos on Maui

Contact Love and Water Photography to learn more and book your Maui beach photo session!

What About Sustainable Travel on the Big Island?

The Big Island, also known as the Island of Hawai’i, is another popular tourist destination in Hawaii. The Big Island is known for its incredible volcanoes, beaches, and forests. It’s most famous for being home to Kīlauea, the world’s most active volcano.

Shadows of palm trees over crystal blue waters on a beautiful beach in Hawaii, a reason why eco-tourism and sustainability are so important here.

The Big Island is full of history, natural beauty, and fun things to do. And, like most of Hawaii, the businesses and organizations here have made ecotourism on the Big Island a priority.

Eco-friendly and sustainable vacation options on the Big Island, Hawaii

Go car-free on the Big Island.

Again, going carless on the Big Island helps to make a difference! Exploring the Big Island without a vehicle can be a little trickier since it’s larger in size, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible—especially if you plan ahead.

Here are some ways to get around the Big Island without a vehicle:

Book an eco-tour on the Big Island. 

There are plenty of options for sustainable tours and eco-friendly activities on the Big Island!

An eco-tour on the Big Island might look like:

  • Hiking a volcano
  • Stargazing
  • Ziplining
  • Snorkeling
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Helicopter tours
  • Coffee tours
  • Park tours

Some eco-friendly Big Island tour operators and activities:

Ecotourism sites to visit on the Big Island:

Eat at eco-friendly Big Island restaurants.

From farm-to-table goodness to organic meals to fresh seafood, you won’t go hungry here! There are tons of options for sustainable food on the Big Island, and none of them disappoint.

Here are some eco-friendly restaurants on the Big Island:

Here some places to get a drink on the Big Island:

Eco-friendly photo sessions on the Big Island

As with Maui, many people who visit the Big Island choose to book a photo session as the perfect keepsake! Choose a Big Island photographer with environmentally friendly practices, like Love and Water Photography. 

Shells on a beach in Hawaii, reflecting the light from sunset.

Love and Water Photography offers the following photo session on the Big Island:

  • Couples beach photo session on the Big Island
  • Proposal and engagement photography on the Big Island
  • Babymoon and maternity photo sessions on the Big Island
  • Family photography sessions on the Big Island

No matter what you’re celebrating, check out our Instagram and contact us if you’re interested in booking an eco-friendly photo session on the Big Island!

What About Sustainable Travel on Oahu?

Thinking of taking an eco-friendly trip to Oahu? With a little research, sustainable travel on Oahu is definitely an option!

Oahu is known for its stunning beaches, awesome surfing, delicious food, and nightlife. It’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hawaii. It looks like paradise and there’s never a dull moment!

Blue waves crashing on shore as the sun sets in Hawaii, a popular eco-tourism destination.

Because it’s so popular, it’s all the more important to be an eco-conscious traveler when visiting Oahu.

Sustainable and eco-friendly vacation options on Oahu, Hawaii

Go car-free on Oahu.

Going carless on Oahu is an option and one way to lower your carbon footprint during your sustainable travels in Hawaii. It’s especially easy to do within specific cities, like Waikiki and Honolulu

Book an eco-tour on Oahu.

What better way to explore all the beauty that Oahu has to offer than with an eco-tour or eco-friendly activity? There are plenty to choose from, no matter what you enjoy!

An eco-tour on Oahu might look like:

  • Surfing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Snorkeling
  • Off-roading
  • Whale watching
  • Sightseeing

Some eco-friendly Oahu tour operators and activities:

Stay at a sustainable hotel on Oahu.

As with any trip, where you stay makes a difference! Take your sustainable travel in Hawaii to the next level by booking at an environmentally friendly hotel, resort, or other accommodation.

Here are a few eco-conscious places to stay on Oahu, Hawaii:

Eat at eco-friendly Oahu restaurants.

Oahu is known for its delicious, fresh cuisine! From farm-to-table delicacies to ocean-friendly restaurants to fresh, organic snacks, you’ll find it on Oahu.

Here are some eco-conscious restaurants on Oahu to try:

Thank You for Taking Sustainable Travel in Hawaii Seriously!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read these tips for sustainable travel in Hawaii. We hope you found them helpful and that you enjoy your tropical eco-vacation!

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Maui portrait photographers specializing in Wailea maternity portraits, couples photography and babymoon portraits.

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