Green Connecticut – Sustainable Travel Last Updated: November 2023
Connecticut gets greener by the minute. The state has the #1 lowest impact on climate change in the U.S. out of all 50 states and is the #6 most environmentally friendly state in the nation. And in 2022, Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order and set 2040 as the target year to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from electricity supplied to customers in the state.
So, if you want to travel the eco-friendly way, you know where to go. Connecticut boasts the best-of-the-best — from green activities and tours to sustainable shopping, dining, and jaw dropping Green Certified accommodations. Here's our guide to reducing your carbon footprint and pumping up the fun.
Get out the green way. If you’re adventuring with sustainability in mind, Connecticut makes it easy.
A good way to start is exploring state parks and enjoying nature at its finest – hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and more. Rent an e-bike from Covered Bridge Electric Bike, go tubing, kayaking, and river rafting, or try rock climbing or ice climbing.
Eco-centered activities are all around the state. The Connecticut Audubon Society offers Eco Travel day trips and overnight trips of all kinds. Meanwhile Black Hall Outfitters and RiverQuest both host Eco Tours on the water. You can even unwind at eco-friendly spas like Aristex Salon & Spa or Spavia Green.
And if you’re looking to make a difference while you’re here, do a little “voluntourism” and help conserve lands with The Nature Conservancy, protect natural resources with DEEP Volunteer Opportunities, or pick up litter on the shoreline with Save the Sound – you can even use the Clean Swell app to complete community service hours.
Find more spots for eco-friendly adventures below.
Walkable, Bikeable Towns
Reducing your emissions? Hang in Connecticut’s most walkable, bikeable towns and check out the spots with the highest Walk Scores. Plus, don’t miss these charming town centers perfect for exploring on foot – and find more suggestions below.
Part of living greener is eating your greens! Plant-based lifestyles are known to help the environment, so why not make your next foodie outing eco-friendly? Connecticut has lots of plant-based restaurants offering clean, sustainably sourced ingredients – and amazing flavors.
Amongst Connecticut’s Green Certified Restaurants, are a few standout seafood destinations – like Miya’s Sushi. This New Haven based restaurant found an innovative way to protect the environment: using an invasive crab species to create tasty new sushi. By using these Asian shore crabs in cooking, they're prevented from causing ecological damage — while adding fresh flavors to Miya's fantastic menu.
Connecticut — producing 200k buchels of pysters per year — is home to incredible oyster destinations making waves in the green scene. Many of them participate with CTSeaGrant, which recycles oyster shells into a shell reef aimed at creating more, optimal oyster beds for increasing sustainability.
Green Hotels & Lodging
Hotel Marcel, a completely reimagined hotel in New Haven, is the first all-electric, solar powered, LEED Platinum certified, net-zero carbon hotel in the United States. The hotel is set in the former Pirelli building designed by Marcel Breuer and is distinguished by its unique architecture in addition to its sustainable feats – truly a must-stay for any eco-friendly traveler!
For a more intimate getaway, try a tiny house retreat set on a sustainable farm in Guilford. Enjoy bucolic 8 acres of land and see goats, ducks, and chickens on Waystone Farm. Or find farm stays at Sweetbriar Farm and Woolley Acres Farm.
Find more eco-friendly accommodations below.
Go on a green shopping spree. There are so many ways to shop sustainably in Connecticut.
Browse secondhand beauties at top consignment shops like The Hunt in New Milford, Bliss Marketplace in Willimantic, PRP-R3 Thrift Shop in Deep River, and Consignment Originals in Rocky Hill, Avon, Cheshire, and Milford. Or go luxe and try upscale consignment at The Real Real in Greenwich, Pemberly Designer Consignments in Monroe, Cloud Nine Designer Consignments in Westport, or Designer Resale By CODOGIRL in Greenwich.
Plus, you’ll find all kinds of sustainable businesses from clothing shops to candle companies. Check out the spots below.
Ways to Get Around
Or if you plan to drive, you’ll find Connecticut is very EV-friendly, offering charging stations around the state for electric vehicles. Don’t have your own EV? No problem. Bradley International Airport’s Ground Transportation Center is home to a large EV rental facility with reasonable prices and a variety of models – including a nice row of Teslas. Plus, you can find more EV rentals on sites like Turo.
Connecticut's transition to EVs is an essential strategy toward the state’s commitment to creating cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable communities and achieving our state-wide clean air goals. Learn more about the state's commitment to EVs here.