5 Vegan-Friendly Beach Towns You Need to Visit


by Aruka Sanchir

Sometimes, you need to escape city life and enjoy the beachside breeze, radiant sun, and plant-based grub—and what better time than just before tourist season starts? From coast to coast, we’ve compiled a list of five hotter-than-ever beach towns to catch some rays while devouring amazing vegan food. So grab your SPF 50 vegan sunscreen and cat-eye sunglasses, and let this guide be the starting point for your next beach adventure.


Café Gratitude

1. Santa Cruz, CA

Located 90 minutes south of San Francisco, this college/hippie town is home to VegNews headquarters and, during summer months, is a tourist hot-spot. During the height of the season, this city’s main attractions include a boardwalk full of retro arcade games, nostalgic carnival rides, and groovy concerts on the beach. With the expansion of popular plant-based eateries such as Café Gratitude, Sri Lankan restaurant Malabar, vegan-friendly grocery store Staff of Life, and all-vegan West African-influenced Veg on the Edge, Santa Cruz understands vegan cuisine. Furthermore, weekly farmers’ market serve plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables from the region’s many farms. Stop by Mutari Chocolate House & Factory for ethically-sourced and decadent coconut-based hot chocolate. Finally, don’t leave town without ordering from Dharma’s (a favorite among VegNews editors).


Cookman Creamery

2. Asbury Park, NJ

An hour-and-a-half from New York City, Asbury Park is a popular destination for nearby beach bunnies and beach bros. Start your adventure with a refreshing smoothie and nutritious lunch at Twisted Tree Cafe, where vegan-friendly options such as a tempeh Reuben and creamy coconut berry smoothie are available. Next, take a stroll through the touristy boardwalk before heading to Cookman Creamery for vegan ice cream flavors such as blue lavender and cookie butter. Replete with local musicians and artists, the nightlife in Asbury Park is an experience not to be missed. Before heading to the many bars (Wonder Bar is known for being dog-friendly), grab dinner at local pizzeria Crust & Crumble, which offers many vegan-friendly Italian options. When you think you’ve had enough, popular music venue The Stone Pony, where rock legends Bruce Springsteen and The Doors have performed, hosts live outdoor music.


Spoiled Vegans

3. San Diego, CA

San Diego is arguably the vegan hot spot in California. Start your trip with a tofu scramble and a fresh-squeezed juice at Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar before walking cliffside around the Bay Walk. Have lunch at Veganic Thai Cafe, where a menu boasting mock duck curry and veggie tempura awaits. If you’re looking for a fun and foodie-approved activity, take an all-vegan cooking class at Veg-Appeal, or—if you’d prefer to sit in your car to eat—visit the drive-thru at Evolution and head for the beach to catch the sunset. After dinner, check out vegan cocktail-bar and restaurant Kindred, where fun cocktails with names like Zombie Prescription and Electric Mayhem are the ideal way to end a vegan day. Even better? San Diego is also home to a number of vegan favorites such as Loving Hut, Veggie Grill, Native Foods Café, and the city’s first vegan breakfast café Spoiled Vegans (don’t miss their signature waffle-wrapped breakfast sausage).


The Surfinista

4. Cocoa Beach, FL

Any beach town in the Florida Keys is worth a visit, but the surfer’s paradise known as Cocoa Beach is a crowd-favorite among those in the know. It’s not hard to see why: the ocean views are stunning, and the food is fresh and nourishing. Grab a cup o’ joe at the artsy local café The Surfinista, an eclectic art gallery-meets-surf shop-meets-health-conscious restaurant (wraps, bagels, and açaí bowls are central to their menu). When you’re done with your meal, take a tour of Ron Jon Surf Shop, and when inspiration strikes, grab your surfboard and hit the waters. Next, venture to organic, vegan-friendly restaurant The Green Room Café, where the calming yellow-and-blue interior serves as the ideal backdrop to a tropical menu featuring açaí and endless bowl combinations such as the Big Surf Bowl (featuring pineapples, strawberries, and guava juice).


Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

5. Lahaina, Maui

The small, scenic Maui town Lahaina is surrounded by numerous beaches with golden-white sands and wondrous whale-watching views. To fuel your body before channeling your inner Moana, head downtown for a plethora of dining options. Organic and locally sourced Choice Health Bar offers a full menu of vegan goodies from kale salad to Buddha bowls to cashew chèvre-topped raw pizzas. If you’re out with children, head to Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice for more than 40 flavors and combinations of shave ice, an incomparable Hawaiian treat. For date night, enjoy a wine tasting or cold beer at Fleetwood’s on Front Street’s rooftop patio that overlooks the glistening Pacific Ocean. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s owned by Fleetwood Mac’s drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood. 

Aruka Sanchir is an editorial assistant at VegNews who is eagerly planning her next beach town getaway.

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Dead Griz Along Yellowstone River Now Subject Of Poaching Investigation


by Todd Wilkinson

June 30, 2021

The body of Grizzly 394, a 25-year-old male, attracted lots of human photo ops in Gardiner but now is a criminal case after someone removed its head and claws, officials say

Photo of Grizzly 394 courtesy George Bumann

by Todd Wilkinson

An old dead grizzly bear that attracted photo opportunities for rafters floating the Yellowstone River just north of Yellowstone National Park has now become the subject of a criminal investigation after both the bruin’s head and claw-filled paws were removed from its body.

Kevin Frey, senior grizzly specialist with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, told Mountain Journal the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking a lead role in the case because removing parts from a federally-protected animal is a violation of the Endangered Species Act and punishable potentially by fines and jail time.

 “I understand the desire someone might have to take the head and claws as souvenirs, but what they did—whether they realize it or not— is a serious matter and it’s against the law,” Frey said. “It makes no difference if a person poaches a bear to kill it or to take its hide and claws as trophies or comes upon a dead grizzly and decides to help themselves to the parts. Grizzlies are a federally protected species and it’s illegal.”

Transporting grizzly parts across state lines is also a violation of the federal Lacey Act, a law that first came on the books as a result of a bison poaching case in Yellowstone more than a century ago.

Apart from the latest poaching intrigue, the sudden appearance of the grizzly carcass in June set off a buzz of public attention in and around Gardiner, Montana, a Yellowstone Park gateway community and Yellowstone River town. It started after the 25-year-old bruin’s hulking body was spotted at the edge of the river and could even be seen from houses above.

As avid speculation ensued among locals about the potential cause of the bear’s demise, including people who posted their theories on social media, the dead male griz also became a magnet for humans wanting to pose with it.

“It’s kind of amazing to me how popular the dead bear was,” said Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone Park’s chief bear management specialist who has spent three decades studying grizzlies and lives in Gardiner. “Every raft guide in town going down the river probably stopped. People who were rafting would stop and hold the bear up and get a picture. It was quite the tourist attraction. I would bet that half the town of Gardiner went out and looked at it.” 

“It’s kind of amazing to me how popular the dead bear was. Every raft guide in town going down the river probably stopped. People who were rafting would stop and hold the bear up and get a picture. It was quite the tourist attraction. I would bet that half the town of Gardiner went out and looked at it.” —Yellowstone chief grizzly bear manager Kerry Gunther

Gunther did not venture down to the river to inspect the bear but he did see it from Highway 89 and he photos taken which showed it had an ear tag.  According to Frey, the state had planned to remove the animal either via helicopter or by boat but by the time arrangements could be made for transport someone had already gotten to the grizzly and severed its head and claws.

The bear, who had been given the numeric ID 394, had for years been part of ongoing grizzly research efforts carried out by Yellowstone Park, other agencies and the USGS’s interagency grizzly bear study team.  In reviewing 394’s file, Gunther said the bear had a home range that encompassed Hayden Valley in the center of the park but, like many male grizzlies, ranged widely. 

Looking back at significant events in the bear’s life, Gunther highlighted several points of intrigue. Grizzly 394 had been caught four different times by bear managers in 2011, as park officials attempted to capture a grizzly that killed  59-year-old John Wallace from Michigan. In August of that year Wallace was fatally mauled while he hiked alone along Mary Mountain Trail in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley.

Grizzly 394 had been caught four different times by bear managers in 2011, as park officials attempted to capture a grizzly that killed  59-year-old John Wallace from Michigan. In August of that year Wallace was fatally mauled while he hiked alone along Mary Mountain Trail in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley.

Grizzly 394 was not implicated in the fatal attack, Gunther said, though he was among several different bears that were in the area following Wallace’s death, some of which may have fed on the hiker’s body—this according to details presented in a federal report that investigated the incident.

A decade prior, as a five year old, 394 roamed Yellowstone but headed south.  “The interesting thing is he was involved in sheep depredations on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in 2001,” Gunther said. “He was trapped and relocated and then stayed out of trouble the rest of his life.” Gunther added that the sheep depredations happened near Klondike Creek in the Upper Green River drainage and the bear was transported to Mormon Creek between Yellowstone’s East Entrance and Cody, Wyoming on the Shoshone National Forest. After that, 394 headed back to familiar terrain in Yellowstone. 

It’s not clear how 394 died and the cause may never be known. Gardiner-based naturalist and wildlife artist George Bumann had taken photos of the bear, posted them on Facebook, and speculated that 394 might have died following a violent scrape with another male grizzly.  His musing was published at Mountain Journal and can be read by clicking here.

Both Frey and Gunther said there is no overt evidence to support the theory of 394 being killed by another bruin though Frey said the animal did have slight non-fatal facial wounds consistent with coming in contact with another bear. 

As far as 394 being called, by some, “a Hayden Valley bear,” Gunther noted:  “It’s not that far a stretch to have a bear associated with Hayden Valley turn up in places a long ways away like the northern end of the park,” Gunther said. “We have males [bears] that use Lamar Valley and have gone all the way out [more than 100 miles] to the Centennial Valley in far southwest Montana.”

Frey and Gunther say it is entirely possible 394 might have died trying to ford the Yellowstone River and was drowned.  “What we do know is his teeth were bad, which isn’t uncommon for a grizzly that old,” Frey said, noting that photos confirmed both worn down or chipped molars and canid teeth.  Both bear experts further noted that while 394 weighed 500 pounds in his prime, his muscle mass and physical appearance was in obvious decline.

Frey cited a handful of incidents in which poachers in Montana have killed grizzlies and removed their capes, heads and claws. However, Gunther noted, “In my career we’ve never had a grizzly poached in the park that we’ve found.

How uncommon is it for a male bear to reach a quarter century old? “Inside Yellowstone it’s not that unusual,” Gunther said, noting that the oldest bear documented in the park was 31. “Outside the park where there are so many more things and ways that bears can get into trouble, reach that age is probably more rare.”

Frey encourages those with information about the removal of 394’s head and claws to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668). He said tipsters can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward.

Todd Wilkinson

About Todd Wilkinson

Todd Wilkinson, founder of Mountain Journal,  is an American author and journalist proudly trained in the old school tradition. He’s been a journalist for 35 years and writes for publications ranging from National Geographic to The Guardian. He is author of several books on topics ranging from scientific whistleblowers to Ted Turner and the story of Jackson Hole grizzly mother 399, the most famous bear in the world which features photographs by Thomas Mangelsen. For more information on Wilkinson, click here. (Photo by David J Swift).

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Dog who survived horror crash which killed owner needs help after 75% burns


by Tom Coates, Kelly-Ann Mills15:28, 29 Jun 2021Updated15:29, 29 Jun 2021 3 – 4 minutes

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES. Samantha Garcia was a passenger in a head on collision which killed her and two others. Remarkably her dog Nala survived despite suffering horrific burns

The family of a mum who died in a horrific car crash is appealing for donations to save her pet dog who survived with 75% burns.

Samantha Garcia was a passenger in a head on collision which also killed two others.

Miraculously, the 24-year-old healthcare worker’s dog Nala survived – but suffered burns to most of its body and is fighting for its life.

A rescue centre is attempting to raise money to pay for vet bills and ongoing care for Nala, so the pet can be reunited with Samantha’s only daughter Aurora, two.

Nala the dog is still in need of treatment

Nala, a two-year-old pitbull mix, is being treated for infections and has to be placed under anaesthetic every day so vets can clean the pooch’s wounds.

The pet is currently in a critical state, and if it survive, will require back surgery and may even need to have an ear removed, which could cost around £30,000. Nala the dog is still in need of treatment(Image: Rane Garcia / SWNS.COM)

Lisa Rose, 35, from Second Chance Rescue, an animal charity promoting the fundraiser, said: “The two-year-old keeps asking for her mummy and she keeps asking for Nala.

“She wants to know where Nala is, so it’s important for us to try bring Nala home.

“It is up in the air because of the infection component. She is in a critical care unit 24/7 with specialists. She is getting the top care.

“They are optimistic if they keep everything on course, she’ll be okay, but they can’t say that to us.

“It’s a huge undertaking.

“The hospital is providing a discount because even the hospital feels bad about the whole situation, but even with the discount it’s up there because the level of care she needs is so great.” Nala the dog after the horrific accident(Image: Rane Garcia / SWNS.COM)

Mum Samantha was the passenger in a Chevy Equinox which collided with a Lexus in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on June 4.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, along with the driver and passenger of the other car, Michael Blackmon, 25, and Nicholas Barruzza, 26.

The driver of the Equinox, a 26-year-old, was flown to hospital with serious injuries, it was reported.

Family and friends of Samantha, from Rockaway, New Jersey, launched an online fundraiser to pay for Nala’s treatment.

Writing online, one said: “She has needed multiple surgeries and was badly burned from the flames.

Nala the dog after the horrific accident

“Nala is the only part of Samantha that her family and young daughter have left.

“Her vet bill has been accumulating to thousands of dollars between transfers to multiple vet facilities for care.

“Family and friends would appreciate any donations or help in finding resources to help Samantha’s family for Nala’s bill.”

They have so far raised more than $2,000, but Second Chance hope to collect $50,000.

Charity founder Jennifer Brooks, 41, said: “It’s such a tragic, terrible situation for the family and we want to ease their burden and ease their pain during this time.”


Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter Begins


By Eliza Erskine

Save the Reef shared on Instagram that the Faroe Islands‘ annual whale hunt has started. The organization reported 131 pilot whales were killed overnight.

The organization shared on Instagram, “The Faroese eat dolphin meat and defend a tradition called ‘Grindadrap’, which allowed their ancestors to survive in a hostile climate while today, their supermarkets are full of food of all kinds and yet the hunting persists anyway. On average, 800 cetaceans are killed each year in the Faroe Islands in the name of ‘tradition’ despite less than 20 per cent of the islanders even consuming pilot whale meat and blubber anymore. Once we spread enough awareness and there is enough public outcry about this then barbaric traditions like this will stop once and for all.”

According to Sea Shepherd, 6,500 whales have been killed during the practice in the last decade. Robert Read, chief operating officer at Sea Shepherd, said in the Daily Mail, “The grindadráp is a barbaric relic of a bygone age. A needless hunt of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins which should have ended a century ago which is not needed to feed anyone on the islands.”

Sign this petition to demand that Norway end the practice of killing whales!

Read more about whale hunting in Norway in One Green Planet, including whale hunting in the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian government’s response to hunting. 

Read more about the Faroe Island slaughter and how you can help. Check out these articles:


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