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.
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.
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!
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:
- Hang out at one of the many beautiful beaches.
- Do a family beach clean up before you enjoy the ocean. E-mail us a pic of your haul for a free ocean art print from our shop!
- Go on an eco-friendly snorkeling trip, kayak tour, or whale watching tour.
- Go ziplining with a sustainable company.
- Book a tour with a sustainable tourism operator.
- Enjoy delicious food at eco-friendly restaurants in Hawaii.
- Book an eco-educational tour.
- Ask for no straws/cuterly with your drinks and meals.
- Bring your own reusable shopping bag.
- Check out our sensory-friendly Maui family activities.
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!
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:
- Take the Maui bus.
- Use sustainable Maui tour operators that offer pickups and dropoffs.
- Catch an Uber.
- Rent a bicycle on Maui.
- Stretch your legs and go for walks and hikes.
- As your hotel concierge about a transportation service if available.
- Stay where you want to be so you don’t need to travel much once here.
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:
- Horseback riding
- Agricultural and ecological tours
- Whale watching
- Water sports
- Boating or sailing
Some eco-friendly Maui tour operators and activities:
- Valley Isle Excursions
- Atlantis Adventures submarine tours
- Maui Kayak Adventures
- Trilogy Excursions sailing, snorkeling, and whale watching
- Skyline Hawaii ziplining
- Maui Eco Tours kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling
- Hawaiian Paddle Sports surfing, canoeing, kayaking, SUP
- Redline Rafting snorkel tours
- Old Lahaina Lu’au traditional hula and feast
Ecotourism places to visit on Maui:
- Hawai’i Nature Center
- O’o Farm
- Kula Botanical Garden
- Kahanu Garden
- Maui Tropical Plantation
- Helewai Eco-tours
- Maui Garden of Eden
- Haleakala National Park
- Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
- Surfing Goat Dairy
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:
- Paia Bowls
- Flatbread Co.
- Hula Grill
- Monkey Pod
- Coconut’s Fish Cafe
- Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream
- Alchemy Maui Bistro
- Choice Health Bar
- Farmer’s Market Maui
- Moku Roots
- Brekkie Bowls Maui
- Milagros Food Company
- A’a Roots
- Mama’s Fish House
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.
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
- View our beach family photography portfolio.
- What to wear for your Hawaii family portrait beach session.
Eco-friendly couples photography on Maui
- View our beach couples photography portfolio.
- What to expect from your Hawaii photoshoot with Love and Water.
- Choosing a Hawaii beach portrait outfit.
- 5 can’t-miss Maui couples portraits.
Proposal and engagement photography on Maui
Babymoon and maternity photos on Maui
- View our maternity photography portfolio.
- Things to do on your Maui Babymoon.
- The best babymoon ideas on Maui.
- Where to shop for your Maui maternity photo session.
- When is the best time for maternity photos?
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.
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:
- Using public transport on the Big Island with Hele-On bus.
- Using shared rides on the Big Island like Uber and Lyft.
- Rent a bicycle on the Big Island.
- Take in the sights by foot.
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
- Canoeing and kayaking
- Helicopter tours
- Coffee tours
- Park tours
Some eco-friendly Big Island tour operators and activities:
- KapohoKine Adventures volcano hikes, island tours and stargazing
- Skyline Hawaii ziplining
- Seaquest Kona Hawaii snorkeling tours
- Paradise Helicopters helicopter tours
- Anelakai Adventures snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking
- Hawaiian Legacy Tours forest exploration and tree planting
- Hawaii Forest & Trail hiking and park tours
- Kona Coffee Tours
Ecotourism sites to visit on the Big Island:
- Papakolea Beach (Green Sand Beach)
- Akaka Falls State Park
- MaunaKea Summit
- Waikoloa Petroglyph Field
- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
- Greenwell Farms
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:
- Two Ladies Kitchen
- Kamuela Farmers Market
- Kilauea Lodge Restaurant
- Village Burger
- Kamuela Provision Company
- Hilo Bay Cafe
- Sweet Cane Cafe
- The Fish & The Hog
- Island Naturals Market & Deli
- Cafe Ono
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.
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
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!
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.
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:
- Kayaking and canoeing
- Whale watching
Some eco-friendly Oahu tour operators and activities:
- Hoku Hawaii Tours sightseeing and guided tours
- Kailua Beach Adventures kayaking, SUP, snorkeling, rentals
- Kualoa Ranch Adventures Jurassic Tours and more
- Kama-aina Eco-Adventures snorkeling and kayaking
- North Shore Eco Tours hiking and off-roading
- Deep Blue Eco Tours shark diving, whale watching, snorkeling
- Island Cruzin Hawaii tours
- Waikiki Beach Services surf lessons, canoeing, beach rentals
- Gunstock Ranch horseback riding, off-roading, eco-tours
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:
- Kahala Resort
- Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
- The Equus
- Turtle Bay Resort
- Westin Moana Surfrider
- Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
- Ala Moana Hotel
- Bamboo Waikiki Hotel
- Hokulani Waikiki
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:
- Merriman’s Honolulu
- Off the Wall
- Encore Saloon
- Fete Hawai’i
- Hau Tree
- Mud Hen Water
- Kahumana Organic Farms & Cafe
- Sunrise Shack
- Kalapawai Market
- Hiking Hawaii Cafe
- Moku Kitchen
- Koko Head Cafe
- Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill
- Ai Love Nalo
- Roy’s Waikiki
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!