Want inspiration to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your impact on the environment? Just visit Michigan’s wildly beautiful Upper Peninsula and you will want to do all you can to protect it for you and generations to come! 

Here are eight easy-to-do things to help safeguard our beloved lands, fresh air, waters and wildlife. 

Planning your green vacation in the U.P.

With rare exceptions, you don’t have to compromise your adventures and relaxation to make your trip more eco-friendly. Most of these tips are very simple to do and if every one of our thousands of annual visitors incorporated them into their travels, the collective impact would significantly guard our fragile environment. So, please help! 

Choose eco-friendly transportation.

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The most common way to reach the Upper Peninsula is by driving your vehicle. If your car or truck isn’t eco-friendly, consider renting a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) that uses less fuel and produces fewer carbon emissions. Choose destinations where you can park your vehicle for several hours while you explore the area on foot, bike, kayak, snowshoes or cross-country skis. 

If you fly to the U.P., book non-stop flights when possible. Commercial and private flights arrive and depart daily from these airports. Most of the plane’s carbon emissions come from takeoffs and landings. If you have more time, traveling by commercial bus or a Great Lakes cruise ship usually makes a smaller carbon footprint than a plane. 

Find more and more EV-charging stations in the U.P.

Communities throughout the U.P. have installed standard EV and/or Tesla charging stations and continue to add more. Check your EV charging app and the Michigan State Parks site for locations.

Stay at a green hotel.

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TripAdvisor recognizes Nine U.P. hotels for their environmentally friendly practices. These properties provide linen reuse programs, energy usage tracking, recycling, energy-efficient light fixtures and/or electric charging stations, and more.

Wherever you stay in the U.P., you can do your part to reduce the environmental impact by reducing water usage. Reuse your towels and sheets until check out and take shorter showers (10-17 gallons), not baths (35-50 gallons). Recycle paper, plastic and aluminum cans. When you leave the room, turn off the lights, television, electronics and heat/air conditioning. During your summer stays, close the blinds and curtains to keep out the sun and heat. 

Leave the “Do Not Disturb” on your door throughout your stay to reduce the use of chemical cleansers and electricity for vacuuming. Take home any leftover soap and unused portions of shampoo and other toiletries. And leave behind any unneeded maps, brochures and other tourist information for the next guests. 

Overnight at a campground.

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One of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact in the Upper Peninsula is to stay at one of our scenic rustic or primitive campgrounds. You can pitch a tent or rent a yurt or cabin throughout the Upper Peninsula. There are no electric hook-ups and Wi-Fi, but most sites have a vault toilet, drinking water, a fire ring and a picnic table. Solar lighting is available at some sites. State forest campgrounds are on lakes or rivers so you can hike, bike, swim, catch-and-release fish and paddle. Be sure to leave no trace of your stay when you pack out.

For an environmentally friendly, glamping experience, choose a solar-lit teepee or yurt at Au Train Beach Campground near Munising.

Bring reusable items to reduce waste and litter.

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Use a refillable BPA-free water bottle. Carry reusable bags and cleaning cloths. When picnicking, pack washable plates, eating and cooking utensils and napkins. 

Support local shop owners, artisans and chefs.

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Seek shop owners who use energy-saving lighting, recycle and sell locally made clothing and products. Support artists and artisans who responsibly create with natural, recycled or renewable materials. Order our chefs’ delicious foods made with locally raised, harvested and house-made ingredients.

Enjoy eco-friendly activities.

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There are thousands of miles of pristine shoreline, rivers, mountains, meadows and forest trails where you can enjoy carbon-free hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, stargazing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing adventures. Park your vehicle and go outside and play for hours — it’s the best thing you can do for your physical, mental and emotional health. 

When adventuring, stay on designated trails and avoid damaging plants, wildlife and their habitats. Do not dump chemicals, harmful products or trash in our fresh waters. 

While we prefer you not to collect rocks, we know rockhounding is a favorite pastime in the Upper Peninsula. There is a 25-lb. annual limit for collecting rocks, minerals and fossils from state-owned land and lands held in the public trust. 

Leave no trace that you visited our gorgeous peninsula. Bring a bag for your trash and dispose of it in a covered trash can or bring it home. 

Learn more about our many cultures and history.

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While here, learn about the culture and history of the Upper Peninsula. Some of our people deeply respected our land and resources from the moment they arrived, others did not. Like us, you can learn from both how to take better care of this world treasure. Visit our historical places and museums and natural attractions to understand and appreciate the Upper Peninsula all the more.

Read our “Know Before You Go” page.

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This page is a heartfelt conversation about other ways you can show you care about keeping our forests, lakes and waterways healthy and our wildlife strong. Please read it before you visit.

Customize your sustainable travels to the U.P..

Use our Trip Planner to build your upcoming green vacations. We hope you come often — for outdoor adventures and spectacular encounters with nature, there is no better place to be in spring, summer, fall and winter. Every time you enter the U.P., you will know why! 

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