Your efforts to help the planet don’t have to take a vacation just because you are traveling.  Many West Michigan destinations, businesses, and organizations are making sure to do their part to promote eco-friendly and sustainable practices to conserve energy and minimize environmental impact.


Behind busy vendors and enthusiastic customers, a farmers market is a vibrant hub full of sustainable choices! Michigan’s 250+ farmers markets are celebrating National Farmers Market Week with the Michigan Farmers Market Association across the state August 7-13. By choosing a local market, you promote an opportunity to cut down on packaging, overall waste, and food transportation. In addition, every purchase goes directly towards supporting the community and the people who nurture it! Join in the celebration and find your market! A greener getaway is just an Amtrak away. Riding the train produces up to 83% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than driving. Learn how you can plan your next trip here! Imported Image  

Green Activities

The Lakeshore Harvest Ride is eco-friendly because this Southwest Michigan bike tour is completely powered by you. Bring your bike, bring a friend, there is so much to discover in the rolling countryside as you visit wineries, cider mills, family farms, orchards, and art studios along the way. Here’s another reason to love the Ride: download their GPS app to guide you along your route. Track every turn, know your mileage, and even see the grade of your route from your phone. Visit Windmill Island Gardens, not only to see an authentic wind-only-powered windmill, but to also learn all about how the Holland area is working together to restore the Macatawa watershed. During the Macatawa Water Festival (August 13th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), local businesses and organizations will join together to provide fun and educational activities suitable for all ages. You can even register to make your own rain water barrel! Taking a ferry boat to Mackinac Island is by far the easiest mode of transportation. Once you arrive in Mackinaw City or St. You can park your car at the dock for free at Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Company. They offer valet parking and priority boarding too. One of the benefits of paying for valet is that you can text 60 minutes prior to your departure from the island and your vehicle will be waiting when you get off the ferry. Your island adventure begins with Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry! John Ball Zoo is committed to conserving resources and in doing so, they strive to make all of their operations as green as possible. They stay green through a number of initiatives: waste management, vegetated walls, green roofs, paper straws and compostable food and beverage containers, heating and cooling solutions, energy conservation, water conservation, and other sustainability efforts! At the Grand Rapids Public Museum, you can enjoy a number of exhibits about our natural world. Check out West Michigan Habitats, where you can learn about the natural environments of West Michigan in this life-like exhibit of mounted animals and plants in their natural settings. Or visit Grand River, Grand Fish, which explores how the Great Lakes region’s largest and oldest fish, the Lake Sturgeon, once found in great abundance, is now a threatened species in our watersheds. You’ll even get to see two live sturgeon at the museum! Finally, don’t miss out on Amazing Pollinators, where museum guests can participate in this game-based experience, traveling through immersive environments and visiting diverse flowering plants. You’re sure to have a blast while learning about ecosystems, adaptations, and the importance of biodiversity and nature conservation. Imported Image You don’t have to choose between high thrills and being green! At High Caliber Karting and Entertainment in Okemos, you can do both, racing around the track in their electric race karts. They also partner with local recycling centers for all of their Rage Room supplies. What’s a Rage Room, you may ask? You’ll suit up head-to-toe in safety gear, select your very own rage music, choose your “tools” and swing/smash away at a variety of bottles, jars, vases, plates, and more to release any pent up “rage”! For over 30 years, Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay has sought to provide people with the information they need to become stewards of the Great Lakes. They continue this mission by teaching people about protecting the Great Lakes through their programs on tall ship schooners. Participants engage in hands-on activities as they collect lake samples and analyze them to determine the health of the Great Lakes. Some of the programs also collect microplastics. When you visit, you’ll also get a chance to raise the sails and steer the ship. Keweenaw Adventure Company is your headquarters for Upper Peninsula outdoor adventures in the Keweenaw Peninsula - and they’re green too! While leading a variety of sea kayaking and mountain biking adventures, they have also been enacting ethical business practices that today are being defined on an international scale as sustainable and responsible tourism. They truly value, respect, and support their area’s pristine natural areas, culturally rich history, and local community. They understand their role in facilitating meaningful experiences, while striving to maintain the area’s character and sense of place.

Green Restaurants and Shopping

In the Saugatuck-Douglas area, Fennville’s Virtue Cider brews and serves award-winning farmhouse cider, and has been recognized and awarded for its sustainability and environmental standards, including being recognized by the state as an MEAEP certified farm. They have over 20 acres of grasslands that create a monarch waystation for pollinators, which in turn helps the wellbeing of the overall local environment. They use very little water or energy and are on their way to being majority solar powered.   River Saint Joe Farmstead Brewery takes great care when it comes to the environment. Not only are they located on a Certified Organic farm, called Flatwater Farms, but the brews are also Certified Organic. The hops utilized in the beers come from on-site, with many of the grains having been grown by other organic, local farms nearby. The water used for brewing comes from a ground aquifer located on the property and is run through a carbon filtration system to ensure the right starting profile. The fare served in the brewery is often sourced from Flatwater Farms, just steps from the beer garden. Composting and recycling programs are in effect. Solar panels adorn the roof and the building is designed for energy efficiency. River Saint Joe's mission and plant-to-pint philosophy is sure to make you feel good about drinking beer! Imported Image Bonobo Winery, on Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula, takes their role as a steward of the land seriously. The winery's picturesque view of Grand Traverse Bay is a constant reminder of the importance of fresh water, and how vital it is to our whole state. Bonobo does not use irrigation, which depletes the water table, but instead relies on rainfall and Mother Nature to keep its vines watered. Bonobo also steers clear of any pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard, using natural methods like beneficial bugs and strategic mowing to control pests instead. When visiting Mt. Pleasant, you can grab a snack at their local co-op grocery store and know you are helping local businesses with their sustainability practices. Visit the Mt. Pleasant Convention & Visitors Bureau site to learn more. Visit the Holland Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays 8:00 am-2:00 pm and support local agriculture. The Holland Farmers Market is a producers market, which means the large majority of items sold at the market are locally grown right here in West Michigan. By purchasing these local items, shoppers and vendors are cutting back on packaging and emissions that would otherwise be used to transport goods to grocery stores from across the country. Visit their many local vendors and enjoy so many treats like farm fresh cheese, eggs and meats, baked goods, produce, flowers, gourmet specialty foods, and much more! The focus at Shady Lane Cellars is to reduce emissions and pollutants. On the farming side of things, they have invested in a new fuel efficient tractor that also has an emission filter to collect much of the diesel particulate matter that contributes to exhaust pollution.  By utilizing compost and/or manures, they are not supporting the synthetic fertilizer industry, which uses high rates of natural gas during the nitrification process. They have also adopted a reduced mowing program. This allows for natural habitat to thrive, which gives shelter and food to valuable beneficial insects.  Efforts can also be seen at their winery and tasting room in Suttons Bay. They have been kegging select wines for several years now. This practice uses less heavy glass by allowing many cases of wine to be condensed down into one recyclable bulk container.

Green Accommodations

Help save the planet while you are on vacation in Ludington by visiting Ludington’s green businesses. Stay in one of their sustainable hotels, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn, or Best Western. Or visit one of their other local entrepreneurs, who have committed to sustainable practices and can be located on the AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World) web page. “Going green” is all about making choices that minimize your environmental footprint. When it comes to travel, that can mean choosing a destination that prioritizes sustainability – like Grand Rapids. It can also mean choosing places to meet, stay, dine and play based on their earth-friendly practices. Grand Rapids offers a whole host of options for eco-conscious visitors.  The Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Big Rapids participates in the IHG Green Engage program, which seeks to provide a sustainable environment. This particular hotel achieves these policies through the maintenance of the building as well as housekeeping. Maintenance ensures that there is energy efficient output on all room units, light bulbs, furnaces, etc., whereas house keeping offers guests opportunities to re-use personal items such as towels and toiletries.     The Highlands in Harbor Springs is committed to sustainability, and are working hard to reduce their environmental impact at every level of resort operations. Their efforts are in coordination with ForeverProject, Boyne Resorts' goal of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero throughout North American operations by 2030.

Experience life without cars! Mackinac Island is a car-free town in Northern Michigan that placed a ban on motor vehicles way back in 1898. Everyone travels by foot, bike, or carriage. Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to this small Michigan island on Lake Huron annually to get a taste of this walking city, the history, the fudge the island is so famous for, and the unique resort flair. Visitors to Mackinac Island love the   novelty of being in a quiet place without the chaos and pollution caused by motorized vehicles.

  The Keweenaw Peninsula is a wilderness adventure destination. Surrounded by an essential freshwater resource, Great Lake Superior, and covered in lush forests full of wildlife, incredible geological formations, and ancient historic remains. The Keweenaw calls to people who yearn for these elements. As we are drawn to explore and recreate in the Keweenaw, there is much we can do to make sure the confluence of people in nature and the local communities remains harmonious. At Visit Keweenaw, they take the concept of responsible recreation very seriously. Slow down, enjoy the view, plan ahead, leave no trace, and enjoy responsible backcountry recreation.      Imported Image