By definition, conservation means prevention of wasteful use of a resource. It’s something we’re taught as children: don’t litter, don’t let the faucet run, reduce, reuse, recycle. But what does conservation look like today?

In Florida, water is our greatest and most valuable resource. It gives us a place to recreate; enjoy the beaches, go boating and fishing, or just take in a sunset. It’s why we welcome visitors from around the world and it’s what drives a healthy economy for businesses around the state.

When something is this important, it’s imperative that we take care of it; that we respect the resources and leave them better than we found them so future generations can experience the same joy of using them. 

When you visit Florida, here are some ways you can have a sustainable vacation and help us preserve the beauty of this place we know and love.

  • Bring a reusable water bottle or tumbler. Many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, are happy to fill your reusable beverage container. With brands like YETI and Tervis, there are so many styles and colors to choose from!
  • Go strawless. Unfortunately, single-use plastics such as straws, cups, and plastic utensils, often end up in our oceans. Many waterfront establishments won’t provide a straw unless requested. If you must use a straw, try bringing one of the reusable kind. Follow the efforts of the Punta Gorda group called The Last Straw who are working with Punta Gorda-area establishments. 
  • Pack in, pack out. Whether beaching, boating, hiking, camping; no matter the activity, clean up your trash when you leave and dispose of it properly. 
  • Fish responsibly. Anglers know that line-breaks and re-rigging are inevitable. Stash fishing line scraps and worn-out soft baits in a safe place until you can recycle them. Don’t toss them overboard where they could harm marine life. Many boat ramps offer fishing line disposal receptacles.
  • Opt for reusable shopping bags. Most grocery stores offer reusable bags with fun designs. Bring your bags when shopping or, if you forget (as I often do), opt for paper bags instead of plastic. You can also find reusable mesh produce nets online. 
  • Avoid feeding or touching wildlife. All too often, humans get too close to friendly manatees or feed the local wildlife (such as alligators!). This causes the animals to become habituated to humans which could cause them (or you) harm. Observe their beauty from a distance and take photographs, but please don’t touch.
  • Never, ever litter. This one speaks for itself. Just don’t do it. 

If you’re ready to book your next Florida vacation, check out local accommodations on our Where to Stay page. From small inns, to bed and breakfasts, to waterfront resorts, you’ll find the perfect place for your taste in Punta Gorda or Englewood Beach. Enjoy!