“Travelers are making more eco-friendly travel considerations than ever before. And as it happens, we’re seeing an ever-growing appetite to embrace natural, undiscovered destinations in an environmentally responsible way. In the countdown to Earth Day, and in the sustainable spirit, consider paying homage to a top ecotourism destination ideal for eco-conscious travelers seeking out ways to embrace their wanderlust and give back to nature at the same time, “according to a press release by Aqua Marketing & Communications, Inc., which reps the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach portion of Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. The region is a secluded coastal gateway to preserved land and Florida’s second-largest marine estuary, Charlotte Harbor, where more than 80 percent of the 830-miles of shoreline is protected.
Travelers to the area can engage in sustainable travel practices in four distinct ways:
1. Fly Nonstop: This is one way to help reduce your carbon footprint since a significant percentage of a plane’s carbon emissions – one of the main gases responsible for climate change – come from airplanes takeoff and landing. Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), is served by Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines, and offers nonstop flight options from 34 different U.S. cities.
2. Rent a Bike: The City of Punta Gorda is home to Florida’s first expansive bike sharing program, maintained by TEAM Punta Gorda, an all-volunteer organization, providing free loaner bikes for residents and visitors alike. Rent a bike at one of six area locations and engage in emissions-free sightseeing. Recognized as a “Florida Bike-Friendly Community” by Florida Bicycle Association, Punta Gorda is also home to an 18-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail system called Punta Gorda Pathways, connecting the city’s parks, neighborhoods and commercial areas. There are four bicycle routes throughout the city, with the longest route being 31 miles. Help contribute to the bike-friendliness of the City by renting a bike (or bring your own) and enjoy exploring the sublime beauty of natural Florida.
3. Eat Local: Eating locally is one of the best ways to support a community, and possibly the best way to lower your carbon footprint when it comes to what you eat. Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach is hauling in impressive harvests of sustainable products, local heritage seafood, tropical fruits, as well as fresh-from-local-farm-produce sourced straight from the area’s own farms and waters.
4. Explore the Green (and Blue) Spaces: Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach provides all the best of Florida’s coveted outdoor activities in one place. Known for its unspoiled beauty and amazing amount of preserved open space, its biggest attraction is its natural resources. More than 70 parks, preserves, and recreational areas give travelers the chance to see the real “Old Florida.: Join a guided eco-tour with Babcock Ranch Preserve Eco-Tours or Don Pedro Island Guided Kayak Tour with Hooked on SUP: