When planning your vacation this summer don’t forget
to think about the environment. Consider spending time
outdoors at one of Florida’s 160 state parks, book your
overnight stays at a designated Florida Green Lodging
facility, and remember it’s easy to think green on
vacation by being a green guest, driving green and
Florida State Parks
Florida’s state parks, celebrating 75 years, encompass World-class beaches, springs, rivers and lakes, gardens, historic
sites and museums, geographical and archaeological sites, and historic and cultural sites. There really
is nothing comparable that offers so much to people of all ages and abilities for so little — a whole
day of great experiences still costs less than a movie ticket. Start your state park adventure today!
One Tank Adventures
Close-to-home Florida State
Parks offer the perfect avenue for family relaxation or
recreation. Just outside your door, many state park
adventures await within a short car ride. Plan your
affordable family getaway by visiting
One Tank Adventures to locate all Florida State
Parks within a 100-mile radius.
Thousands of events from festivals, tours, concerts and battle reenactments occur year round in the 160
parks statewide. Visit the Florida State Parks Events page for
specific events this summer.
Staying Green with the Florida Green Lodging Program
You don't have to sacrifice creature comforts to be a green traveler. Book your next hotel stay
with a designated member of the Florida Green Lodging Program. Properties are located throughout
the state and range from local bed and breakfast’s to five star resorts with more than 1,000 rooms
to suit any traveler’s needs.
The Florida Green Lodging Program requires each designated property to meet a minimum set of
environmental practices in areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation, clean air practices
and waste reduction. The specific set of practices will vary from one hotel to another. Since each
hotel will have a slightly different program be sure to ask hotel staff about their green
Common things you will see are:
- Recycling in guest rooms, the lobby, vending and/or eating areas
- Compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) used throughout the hotel
- Low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets
- Linen and/or towel reuse programs
- Green cleaners
- Energy Star rated electronics and appliances.
Other things to consider when seeking green accommodations:
- What kind of recycling programs does the hotel have (aluminum, plastic, paper, gray water, composting)?
- Do guests have the option to reuse towels and sheets instead of having them changed every day?
- What programs does the hotel have to reduce consumption? Examples include energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers, and alternative energy sources like solar or wind power.
- How does the hotel contribute to the local community?
It's Easy to be a Green Guest
Even if you're not spending the night in a green hotel, there are still practices you can
take to make your stay more eco-friendly.
- Keep your showers short, and turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth.
- When you leave the room, turn off the air conditioning, heat, television, lights or any other electric devices.
- Reuse your sheets and towels instead of having them changed every day. Many hotels will not replace your towels if you leave them hanging up neatly; if you're not sure, write a note for the housekeeping staff or notify the front desk.
- Bring your own toiletries and drinking cup rather than using the prepackaged ones provided. If you do use the hotel's toiletries, take them with you and use them at home or during the rest of your trip.
- Know your hotel's recycling program and sort your trash accordingly. If your hotel doesn't recycle, consider taking your empty bottles or other items home with you to recycle them there.
- Give your hotel feedback. Express your appreciation for any eco-friendly programs it currently offers -- or if it doesn't, encourage the management to go green in the future.
- For more easy actions visit
www.dep.state.fl.us/easyasone or follow on Twitter,
Car Games for the Family
Though we live in a world of handheld video games and in-car DVD players, there are plenty of
traditional car games that can get the entire family involved. Have you ever heard of the license
plate game or counting cows? Try greening your games by spotting bumper stickers with messages
about the environment or count how many hybrid cars you see on the highway. Visit the following
Web sites for ideas on fun car games for the family.
Easy Tips for On the Road Travel
- Call 511 or visit www.FL511.com for up-to-the-minute information on traffic,
accidents, road closures and severe weather on major roads in Florida.
Plan ahead to bypass congested roads and reduce idling in stop-and-go traffic.
- Avoid rapid acceleration to reduce fuel consumption.
- Avoid hard braking and sudden stops. Stay alert and anticipate traffic lights, stop signs and merges. Use turn signals. Traffic will move more smoothly which saves fuel for everyone.
- When starting out, shift up to the next gear (manual transmission) as soon as possible without straining the engine.
- Drive more slowly. One study reported that for all vehicles tested there was at least a 20 percent loss in fuel economy as cruising speed was increased from 55 to 75 mph. So, 20 miles per gallon (mpg) at 55 mph becomes 16 mpg or less at 75 mph.
- Remove extra weight from the car—100 extra pounds may cost 1 mpg.
- Avoid using roof racks and remove when not in use.
- Use cruise control on highway trips.
- For any stop lasting more than a minute, shut off the engine rather than letting it idle.
- Avoid warming the engine up before driving; it is not necessary, even in cold weather.
- Do not rev engine before shutting it off; this wastes fuel, dilutes motor oil and leads to excessive wear on engine parts.
- Reduce the use of the air conditioner at low driving speeds. When driving over 40 mph, using the air conditioner costs less fuel than having the windows open.
- Park in the shade or leave the windows slightly open to reduce the need for air conditioning.
- Check tires—an under-inflated tire can decrease fuel economy by 2 percent.
- Refrain from topping off the tank at the gas pumps.
- Replace air and fuel filters regularly as instructed by the vehicle maintenance manual; change air filter more often if driving in dusty conditions.
- Keep engine properly tuned.
- Use API certified "Energy Conserving" motor oil, either conventional or synthetic. Use the service classification and viscosity specified for the vehicle.
- Avoid buying "aggressive" tread tires.
- Determine gasoline mileage periodically. Declining mileage can be an early indicator of mechanical problems or a need for servicing.
Boating Green with the Florida Clean Marina Program
If you’re vacationing on the water be sure to use a Clean Marina and observe Clean Boating Practices.
- Fill fuel tanks just before leaving on a trip.
- Use oil absorbent material to catch drips from the fuel intake and the vent overflow.
- Fill portable fuel tanks ashore where spills are less likely to occur and easier to clean up.
- Add a fuel conditioner to tanks if the engine is used infrequently.
- Place oil absorbent material or a bioremediating bilge “sock” in the bilge to prevent oil leakage into waterways; replace regularly.
- Place an oil absorbent pad under the engine.
- Check fuel lines for damage; replace with alcohol resistant hoses.
- Secure fuel hoses to prevent chafing and leaks.
- Never discharge bilge water with a sheen; it is illegal.
- Wash boats with a sponge and plain water.
- Use phosphate-free, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaners.
- Wax boats; a good coat of wax prevents surface dirt from becoming ingrained.
- Conserve water; use a spray nozzle on hoses.
- Share leftover paint and varnish with fellow boaters rather than disposing in the trash, where it can end up in a landfill and seep into waterways.
- Bring used solvents and waste gas to hazardous waste collection sites.
- Keep vessel engine clean to spot and repair leaks.
- Use premium two-cycle engine oil.
- Use alternatives to toxic bottom paints.
- Never discharge raw sewage.
- Use marina pumpout stations and rinse holding tanks regularly.
- If pumpout stations are not available, encourage marinas to install them through Clean Vessel Act funding.
- Use restrooms on shore.
- Use approved Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs) when underway.
- Conduct regular maintenance for Marine Sanitation Devices.
- Use enzyme-based products to control odor and reduce solids in holding tanks.
- Avoid holding tank products that contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) and formaldehyde.
Protecting Sensitive Habitat
- Proceed slowly in shallow areas and do not disturb wildlife.
- Avoid contact with submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) such as fragile seagrass beds.
- Watch the wake; it can lead to shoreline erosion and disturb wildlife.
- Do not let trash get thrown or blown overboard.
- Buy products without plastic or excessive packaging; plastic is deadly to fish and birds.
- Do not toss cigarette butts overboard; they are made of plastic (cellulose acetate).
Be A Responsible Boater
- Learn about environmentally safe products and practices.
- Obey laws governing speeding, littering and discharge.
- Encourage boating facilities to provide trash cans, recycling bins and pumpout stations.
- Support marinas that are environmentally responsible.