Visit Mesa
Credit: Visit Mesa

As snowbirds both young and old fly south for the winter, more and more are choosing to spread their wings in Mesa.

Nestled on the outskirts of Phoenix, Mesa is gaining a reputation as the destination of choice for the eco-friendly snowbird. So what, exactly, does Mesa offer environmentally-conscious traveller?

Many of Mesa's top rated hotels are adopting green initiatives to attract like-minded guests, and the one of the most progressive has to be the Clarion Inn.

The Clarion Inn chain has really stepped-up its green initiatives all around the country, including Mesa. It offers sheet and towel reuse programs upon request, as well as recycling bins in all public areas and guest rooms. Water conservation programs have been adopted, and organic soaps and chemical-free cleaning agents are used.

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Credit: Visit Mesa

Looking to pick up a unique souvenir to commemorate your time in Arizona? Then check out the variety agri-tourism products on offer. Local businesses like the Orange Patch and Lehi Valley Trading Company offer a variety of unique culinary products made from local desert pants – and nothing shows off a fun trip to Mesa like some cactus jelly or chili-coated almonds.

If you’d rather see desert flora up-close-and-personal rather than in your snack bowl, Mesa boasts hundreds of kilometers of desert hiking trails. Popular local trails include Usery Mountain Regional Park, Lost Dutchman State Park and Tonto National Forest.

Of course, the best way to view the Sonoran Desert is from the air. Many of the hotels in Mesa are serviced by Hot Air Expeditions, who will fly over to pick you up – quite literally. Hot air balloon tours also happen to be one of the most eco-friendly ways to see the desert – from the air, anyway. Take advantage of sunrise rides for the best views of the iconic desert terrain.

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Credit: Visit Mesa

For the more daring eco-adventurer, SkyVenture is worth a try. SkyVenture is an indoor skydiving experience where you can do a simulated free-fall at 240 kilometres per hour without all the greenhouse gas emissions of actually skydiving.

After all those hiking and aerial adventures, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite. Luckily, Mesa’s restaurateurs have recognized the allure and demand of organic food. Embracing the eclectic flavours of the southwest and the natural flavors found within the desert, local restaurants are serving up locally grown organic meats and vegetables, as well as organic vegetarian and vegan dishes made wholly from the ingredients found within the Sonoran Desert.