Eco-Friendly Traveling in Connecticut Last Updated: November 2023
Some people say a travel experience should make an impact on the traveler, not the place. In other words, if you are looking for travel that lets you make the most of your visit, without taking a toll on the environment, consider Connecticut. Here, you can stay in an environmentally conscious hotel, go on eco-friendly adventures and more.
Planning how to get there? Choose a greener way to travel. See all the transportation options near you with the CTrides transit finder. And find great ways to explore some of Connecticut’s best sights without needing to fill your gas tank.
Start by booking your visit to Connecticut at one of the many Certified Green hotel properties around the state. Connecticut's industry-leading Green Lodging program program is sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and offers a lot of choices for everyone from luxury-seekers to budget-conscious travelers.
Stay at Hotel Marcel in New Haven, the nation's first net-zero carbon hotel. An icon of Brutalist architecture by designer and achitect Marcel Breuer, the hotel features 165 guest rooms and suites outfitted with the latest in-room technology, an onsite fitness center, lobby lounge, and over 9,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and event space. Additionally, Hotel Marcel is home to BLDG, a restaurant and bar serving modern American cuisine.
Or rest your head at EVEN Hotel in Nowalk, designed with sustainability and relaxation in mind. Relax, exhale, and enjoy the natural light and open spaces.
Learn more about Connecticut’s Certified Green hotels here and find more below.
Sustainable Eats & Local Treats
There are restaurants and eateries around Connecticut that specialize in farm-to-table menus, like Heirloom Food Company, Farmer's Table, Ore Hill & Swft, and Fresh Salt. You'll even find farm-to-food truck options like The Farm Belly, Bounty, and Lobstercraft. Meanwhile, grocery stores like Fiddleheads Food Cooperative work with local farms to create a locally focused, sustainable and health-driven food system.
Can’t wait for your fresh, local-grown specialties to come to you? Several restaurants, such as River Tavern and Millwright’s offer special dining events that take place at local farms. And here are a few of the other places you can capture the truly magical experience of dining right on the farm.
- A group of Connecticut farms come together for Madison’s and East Lyme's Dinners at the Farm, offering memorable menus and mouthwatering dining experiences that also benefit good causes.
- Popular dinner series hosted by the Max Restaurant group, Max Chef to Farm Events offer ever changing locations throughout the state and extraordinary menus.
If you want to find locally sourced foods at the source, check out Connecticut's farmer's markets or find farms all across Connecticut here. And check out the Live Local UConn Trail for a list of local spots near the University of Connecticut offering some of the state’s favorites. Find a few more suggestions below.
Rent a bike for a day, a weekend or just a short hop around town. Here are few of the places that will be happy to help you plan a two-wheeled journey. And find more bike trails here.
Grab a Paddle
Rivers, lakes, even along the shoreline in Long Island Sound, there are outfitters ready with a boat and paddle to help you enjoy Connecticut from the water. And find more ways to get out on the water here.
Take a Walk
Of course, there are miles and miles of hiking trails in Connecticut. But you can also join one of dozens of guided and self-guided walking tours in scenic towns and locations around the state.
Looking to shop sustainably? Here are a few local spots to consider.
Cinder+Salt, Middletown: Eco-friendly clothing brand specializing in sustainable casual apparel for men, women, and children. All designs are organic and screen-printed in a zero waste printshop and sold via online or at their retail shop in Middletown. The company is committed to sustainability by supporting several eco-initiatives.
Nabii Organics, Hartford: Natural and organic bath, body, skin and wellness products that are handmade using sustainable (100% plastic free) and ethical ingredients/supplies.
Knots on Euclid, Fairfield: Handmade macrame items including earrings, purses and more made with recycled/eco-friendly fibers.
Luke’s Toy Factory, Danbury: Eco-friendly, sustainable and safe toys such as fire trucks.
Isankofa Natural Skin Care, Willimantic: Skin, hair and body products made from sustainable, natural, organic and food-grade ingredients.
Crunchy Diva Designs, Madison: One-of-a-kind jewelry made with hand selected stones, minerals, raw materials and reclaimed objects.
Red Bee, Weston: This Connecticut apiary offers homemade gifts in store and online, including single-origin honey and fresh honeycomb, honey tasting kit, beeswax pillar candles, gift boxes/kits, made-to-order skin care products and much more.
Clothes Mentor, South Windsor: Trendy resale clothing with the mission of supporting local communities with low carbon footprint shopping.
Eileen Fisher, Westport: Women’s clothing that embraces simplicity, sustainability, and great design. Eileen Fisher is committed to responsible business practices that create positive change – giving to causes that support women and girls, building a more sustainable fashion industry and creating a more responsible supply chain.
Hugo & Hoby, New Haven: One of the only furniture companies in North America that is both a certified B Corp and 1% for the Planet Member, crafting stunning furniture from reclaimed, salvaged, and renewable materials to support the betterment of the environment.
"Voluntourism" for Environmental Change
“Voluntourism” lets you experience something new while giving you an opportunity to do a little good, too. A popular travel trend in many countries around the world, it’s also something you can do right here in Connecticut. Want to help support environmental initiatives while visiting the state? Volunteer with the organizations below.
The Nature Conservancy (New Haven) Addresses biodiversity and climate crises to conserve the lands and waters on which life depends.
Mystic Aquarium (Mystic) Inspires people to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education, and research.
Connecticut Forestry Work (Statewide) Improves the health, care, diversity, and management of Connecticut’s trees and forests through activities and education.
CT Audubon (Statewide) Stands up for birds, defending the clean air, clean water, healthy habitat, and stable climate they require.
DEEP Volunteer Opportunities (Statewide) Promotes conserving, improving, and protecting the natural resources and the environment of the state of Connecticut.
Ambler Farm (Wilton) Cultivates an appreciation and respect for the land, animals, and each other through immersive programs, community events, and sustainable farming.
Common Ground CT (New Haven) Invites people of all ages and identities to connect to their urban environment, build community, and contribute to a just and sustainable world.
Save the Sound (New Haven) Fights climate change, saves endangered lands, protects the Sound and its rivers, and works with nature to restore ecosystems.
- Natural Dividends (Statewide) Hosts in-person clean-up and community meet-ups to exchange ideas, solutions, and implement strategies to protect Earth’s environment.
Electric Vehicle Travel
Connecticut is great if you're traveling by car. The state has so much to do, all close together — and 23.5 million people within a 2 ½ hour drive of Connecticut.
If you're driving greener in an electric vehicle, Connecticut has over 360 public EV charging stations, with at least 23 Tesla supercharging stations across the state. And if you're flying in, you'll find multiple rental car agencies with counters in the new Ground Transportation Center at Bradley International Airport, offering EV or Hybrid cars.