Earth Day might have you thinking how you can make a difference. While it’s always good to fit being green into your daily routine, have you ever considered a green vacation? Most people look at vacations as a way to escape their day-to-day and indulge, but what if there was a way to relax and give back all at the same time?
Stunning view from Cayucos Dog Beach
As part of new Stewardship Travel program in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., caring travelers can add a meaningful activity to their dog-friendly vacation. Stewardship Travel embodies ecotourism’s qualities of appreciation for place and culture, adventure, enjoyment and learning, but takes one step further by also providing clear opportunities to participate in regional conservation and preservation.
“Stewardship Travel offers visitors a lighter touch than a high intensity volunteer vacation,” explains Stewardship Travel Director and Diane Strachan. “For instance, WineCoastCountry’s Stewardship Travelers can pair a luxury spa visit with a brief dog friendly beach clean-up, followed by wine tasting from a Stewardship Traveler vintner that invites dogs, fine dining (without your dog) and a donation to the Pacific Wildlife Care Foundation.”
This mix means you can pamper yourself, your dog, and mother Earth at the same time – what could be better?
The beautiful Santa Rita Road
“Do good” vacationers can choose from itineraries in 10 destinations along Highway 1 of the Central California Coast including: Ragged Point/San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, unincorporated Morro Bay, Los Osos/Baywood Park, Avila Beach and Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo.
Each offers activities where dogs are invited to join their owner in demonstrating their philanthropic side:
- Avila Beach and Valley – Stewardship Traveler dogs (especially retrievers!) and their owners can visit Avila Beach and pick up a Stewardship Beach Cleanup Kit at participating lodging properties to look for flotsam, jetsam, and plastic litter harmful to wildlife (best to explore the beach after storms). Avila has a special dog run beach north of town. Dogs are also welcome on the public beach before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
- Cayucos – Stewardship Traveler Dogs may accompany Stewardship Traveler owners on the dog friendly beach in Cayucos and help pick up the poop left behind my not so caring dog owners. Often times good intentioned people forget their green bagged dog poop on the beach. Poop bags are to be found at almost every beach access point in Cayucos.
- Lopez Lake Recreation Area – Leashed pooches can join their guardians at one of the top choices for camping and leisure trips featuring 22 miles of shoreline, there’s something for everyone: camping, fishing, boating, skiing, sailing, windsurfing, picnicking, hiking, equestrian trails, mountain biking, canoeing, bird watching, hanging out with your dog, and so much more. Dogs cannot swim in the lake but can take the natural history boat cruise.
- Pismo State Beach – From late October to February, leashed dogs and their guardians can marvel as thousands of black and gold Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of a Eucalyptus grove at Pismo State Beach, providing an amazing glimpse of nature in all her vibrant glory. This colony, easily accessible from Highway 1, is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 50,000 butterflies every year.
- San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden – Leashed canines are invited to the Botanical Gardens (although not during activities or events.) Featuring the diverse plant life of the Mediterranean climate zones of the world, this Botanical Garden provides opportunities for education, recreation, conservation and research. Through special programs and facilities, the Garden fosters an appreciation and understanding of the relationship between people and nature, and encourages a sense of stewardship toward the environment.
A colorful activity map outlining more than 70 carefully created Stewardship Travel activities and attractions along the famous Highway 1 Discovery Route is available in Welcome Centers throughout California, as well as the many Hotels, Motels, B&B’s and Vacation Rentals in WineCoastCountry.
For more information and to plan a Stewardship Travel adventure, visit WineCoastCountry.com.