Ludington, MI is a charming lakeside town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, stunning sunsets, and outdoor recreational activities, Ludington offers a wide range of top-rated things to do for visitors of all ages.
One of the must-visit attractions in Ludington is the Ludington State Park. With over 5,300 acres of land, this park offers miles of scenic hiking trails, sandy beaches, and dunes. Nature lovers can explore the diverse ecosystems, including forests, marshes, and sand dunes, while enjoying breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
If you’re interested in history, a visit to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a must. This iconic lighthouse, built in 1867, stands at an impressive height of 112 feet and offers panoramic views of Lake Michigan. Take a guided tour to learn about its fascinating history and climb to the top for a memorable photo opportunity.
No trip to Ludington is complete without a visit to the Ludington Maritime Museum. Located in the former U.S. Coast Guard Station, this museum showcases the rich maritime history of the area. Learn about the history of the Great Lakes and explore interactive exhibits, including a replica of a 19th-century schooner.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the Ludington State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities. Enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan, sunbathing on the sandy beaches, or paddling along the scenic Hamlin Lake. The park also offers camping facilities, making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway.
In addition to its natural beauty, Ludington is also known for its vibrant downtown area. Take a stroll along Ludington Avenue and explore the charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Don’t forget to taste the local cuisine, including the famous Michigan cherry pie and freshly caught Lake Michigan whitefish.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, historical landmarks, or a relaxing beach getaway, Ludington, MI has it all. Plan your visit to this hidden gem and discover why it’s considered one of Michigan’s top-rated destinations.
Explore Ludington State Park
Ludington State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, this stunning park offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages.
One of the main highlights of Ludington State Park is its beautiful beaches. With miles of sandy shoreline, visitors can relax and soak up the sun, go for a swim, or build sandcastles. The crystal clear water and picturesque views make it a perfect spot for a day at the beach.
In addition to the beaches, Ludington State Park is home to a network of hiking trails that wind through its diverse landscapes. From dense forests to rolling sand dunes, these trails allow visitors to explore the park’s natural beauty and spot wildlife along the way.
If you’re a fan of water activities, Ludington State Park also offers opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and boating. There’s nothing quite like paddling along the calm waters of Hamlin Lake or casting your line in search of the perfect catch.
For those interested in history, Ludington State Park is home to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. This iconic landmark offers guided tours, allowing visitors to learn about its rich history and climb to the top for breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
No visit to Ludington State Park would be complete without a picnic. Numerous picnic areas with tables and grills are scattered throughout the park, providing the perfect setting for a family gathering or a romantic lunch.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or a peaceful escape, Ludington State Park has something for everyone. With its stunning beaches, diverse nature trails, and exciting activities, it’s no wonder this park is a top-rated attraction in Ludington, Michigan.
So don’t miss out on the chance to explore Ludington State Park during your visit to Ludington. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Visit the S.S. Badger
The S.S. Badger is a famous car ferry that operates on Lake Michigan, connecting Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI. It is the last remaining coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. A visit to Ludington wouldn’t be complete without experiencing a ride on this iconic vessel.
The S.S. Badger offers a unique opportunity to travel across Lake Michigan while enjoying the scenic beauty of the lake. The ferry ride takes approximately four hours each way, and passengers have the opportunity to explore the ship and enjoy its amenities during the journey.
Onboard, you’ll find a variety of amenities to make your journey comfortable and enjoyable. The ship features comfortable seating areas, a lounge, a restaurant, a gift shop, and even a children’s play area. You can grab a bite to eat, relax with a book, or take in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from the deck.
During the crossing, keep an eye out for wildlife such as seagulls, dolphins, and even the occasional whale sighting. The ship also offers narrated tours that provide interesting facts about the history and operation of the S.S. Badger.
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Ludington, a visit to the S.S. Badger is a must. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a memorable adventure, the S.S. Badger offers something for everyone. So hop onboard and enjoy a journey across Lake Michigan on this historic steamship.
Take a Scenic Drive on M-116
One of the top-rated activities in Ludington, MI, is taking a scenic drive on M-116. This beautiful stretch of road runs along the shores of Lake Michigan, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for exploration.
As you drive along M-116, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the area. The road winds through lush forests and dunes, providing glimpses of the sparkling waters of Lake Michigan. It’s a truly picturesque drive that will leave you in awe of the region’s natural wonders.
Along the way, there are several points of interest that you can stop and explore. One of the highlights is Ludington State Park, which offers hiking trails, sandy beaches, and picnic areas. It’s a great place to stretch your legs and take in the scenery.
Another must-see spot along M-116 is the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse is located in Ludington State Park and offers tours and panoramic views of Lake Michigan. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the area’s maritime history and enjoy a unique vantage point.
If you’re a fan of birdwatching, make sure to keep an eye out for the many species that call this area home. The diverse habitats along the drive attract a wide variety of birds, making it a popular spot for bird enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a peaceful way to enjoy the scenery, taking a scenic drive on M-116 is a fantastic choice. So, hop in your car, roll down the windows, and let the beauty of Ludington, MI, unfold before your eyes.
Go Fishing on Pere Marquette River
If you’re an avid fisherman or just looking to spend a relaxing day on the water, the Pere Marquette River is a must-visit destination in Ludington, MI. Known for its excellent fishing opportunities, this scenic river offers a chance to reel in a variety of fish species.
Anglers flock to the Pere Marquette River for its world-class trout and salmon fishing. Whether you prefer fly fishing or casting with spinning gear, you’ll find plenty of spots along the river where fish are known to gather. The river is also teeming with steelhead, brown trout, and smallmouth bass, providing ample opportunities for a successful day on the water.
Not only is the Pere Marquette River a great place to fish, but it also offers a serene and picturesque setting for your fishing excursion. As you make your way down the river, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests and breathtaking scenery. The calm waters and steady flow of the river make it an ideal spot for both beginner and experienced anglers.
To enhance your fishing experience on the Pere Marquette River, consider hiring a local guide. With their expertise and knowledge of the river, they can help you navigate the best fishing spots and provide valuable tips and techniques. They can also ensure that you have all the necessary gear and equipment for a successful outing.
Before you head out to the Pere Marquette River, be sure to check the current fishing regulations and obtain any required permits or licenses. This will ensure that you stay in compliance with local laws and regulations.
So, grab your fishing gear and head to the Pere Marquette River for a memorable fishing adventure in Ludington, MI. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, you’re bound to have a great time on this beautiful and bountiful river.
Marvel at Big Sable Point Lighthouse
One of Ludington’s most iconic landmarks, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and nature lovers alike. Located within the picturesque Ludington State Park, this towering lighthouse offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding dunes.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse was first lit in 1876 and has been guiding ships along the Lake Michigan shoreline ever since. Standing at an impressive height of 112 feet, this black-and-white striped lighthouse is a sight to behold. Visitors can climb the spiral staircase with 130 steps to reach the top, where they can enjoy panoramic views of the lake and the vast expanse of sand dunes.
Aside from its remarkable architecture and scenic location, the lighthouse also has a fascinating history. It has survived numerous storms and has been a witness to countless ships navigating the treacherous waters of Lake Michigan. The lighthouse keepers’ quarters, which are adjacent to the tower, have been renovated and now serve as a museum that showcases the history and importance of the lighthouse.
Exploring the area around the lighthouse is equally rewarding. Ludington State Park offers miles of hiking trails, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can spend the day picnicking, swimming, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
If you’re visiting Ludington, make sure to include a visit to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse in your itinerary. Whether you’re interested in history, stunning views, or simply want to experience the beauty of Lake Michigan, this lighthouse is a can’t-miss attraction that will leave you in awe.
Enjoy Beach Time at Stearns Park Beach
When visiting Ludington, Michigan, one of the top-rated things to do is to spend time at Stearns Park Beach. With its beautiful sandy shores and crystal clear waters, this beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Stearns Park Beach offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax and soak up the sun, or participate in water sports and activities, you’ll find it all here. The beach is well-maintained and has lifeguards on duty, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
One of the highlights of Stearns Park Beach is its iconic North Breakwater Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse has been a symbol of Ludington for over a century, and is a popular spot for photos. Visitors can walk along the breakwater to get a closer look at the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of Lake Michigan.
In addition to sunbathing and swimming, Stearns Park Beach offers amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, and volleyball courts. You can pack a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view, or join a friendly game of beach volleyball. There are also beach volleyball tournaments held throughout the summer, attracting both locals and visitors.
If you’re interested in water sports, you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other equipment from nearby rental shops. Exploring the lake by kayak or paddleboard is a great way to appreciate the beauty of Stearns Park Beach and its surroundings.
Overall, Stearns Park Beach is a must-visit destination in Ludington, Michigan. With its picturesque views, family-friendly atmosphere, and array of activities, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a day at the beach.
Discover the Ludington Maritime Museum
The Ludington Maritime Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the rich maritime history of Ludington, MI. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the area’s past as a bustling port and shipping hub.
Inside the museum, visitors can explore a variety of exhibits that showcase the importance of the Great Lakes and maritime industry to Ludington’s development. From interactive displays to historical artifacts, there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.
One of the highlights of the museum is the Pere Marquette 41, a fully-restored car ferry that operated on Lake Michigan from 1940 to 1973. Visitors can step aboard the ship and experience what life was like for the crew and passengers during its heyday. The ship is a true marvel of engineering and a testament to the importance of the maritime industry in this region.
In addition to the Pere Marquette 41, the museum also features exhibits on the history of the US Coast Guard in Ludington, the commercial fishing industry, and the famous S.S. Badger car ferry. Visitors can also learn about the lighthouses that dot the shoreline of Lake Michigan and the important role they played in guiding ships safely to port.
For those looking to delve deeper into Ludington’s maritime history, the museum offers educational programs, guided tours, and special events throughout the year. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the area’s past, the Ludington Maritime Museum is a must-see destination in Ludington, MI.
Take a Sunset Cruise on Lake Michigan
One of the top things to do in Ludington is to take a sunset cruise on Lake Michigan. There’s nothing quite like watching the sky transform into a myriad of vibrant colors as the sun sets over the lake.
Board a luxurious boat and set sail on the calm waters of Lake Michigan. Feel the gentle breeze on your face and breathe in the fresh air as you cruise along the shoreline. The breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding landscapes will leave you in awe.
A sunset cruise is the perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring Ludington. Sit back and relax as you sip on a glass of wine or enjoy a cold beer. Watch as the golden rays of the sun reflect off the water, creating a stunning reflection.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the magical moments. The serene beauty of the sunset over Lake Michigan is a sight that you’ll want to remember forever.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to enjoy a peaceful evening on the water, a sunset cruise on Lake Michigan is an experience you don’t want to miss during your visit to Ludington.
- Watch the stunning sunset over Lake Michigan
- Experience the calm and tranquility of the water
- Sip on a glass of wine or enjoy a cold beer
- Capture beautiful photos of the sunset
- Create lasting memories
Note: Sunset cruises are weather-dependent, so make sure to check the forecast before booking.
Shop and Dine in Downtown Ludington
When visiting Ludington, MI, make sure to set aside some time to explore the charming downtown area. With its unique shops and delicious dining options, downtown Ludington offers something for everyone. Here are some top recommendations for shopping and dining in downtown Ludington:
- Shop: Take a stroll down Ludington Avenue and browse the many boutiques and specialty stores. From clothing and accessories to home decor and gifts, you’ll find a wide variety of shops to explore. Don’t miss the Ludington Bay Brewing Co. Gift Shop, where you can find unique items related to craft beer.
- Dine: Downtown Ludington is home to a diverse range of restaurants and eateries, offering everything from casual dining to fine cuisine. Enjoy fresh seafood at The Blu Moon Bistro or satisfy your sweet tooth at House of Flavors, a local favorite known for its homemade ice cream. For a taste of Mexican cuisine, visit Qdoba Mexican Eats.
- Explore: In addition to shopping and dining, downtown Ludington also offers various attractions and activities. Take a leisurely walk along the waterfront at Stearns Park Beach, or visit the Ludington Area Center for the Arts, which showcases the work of local artists. Don’t forget to check out the historic Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, a popular landmark and a perfect spot for a photo.
Whether you’re looking to shop for unique treasures or indulge in delicious cuisine, downtown Ludington has something to offer. Plan a visit to this vibrant area and experience all that it has to offer!
Take a Bike Ride on the Ludington Avenue Bike Path
One of the top-rated things to do in Ludington, MI is taking a bike ride on the Ludington Avenue Bike Path. This scenic path offers a beautiful way to explore the city and its surroundings while enjoying the great outdoors.
The Ludington Avenue Bike Path spans approximately 2 miles, running parallel to Ludington Avenue and providing easy access to shops, restaurants, and other attractions. The path is paved and well-maintained, making it suitable for riders of all ages and experience levels.
As you bike along the path, you’ll pass by picturesque neighborhoods, charming downtown streets, and stunning views of Lake Michigan. The path also takes you through Ludington’s waterfront park, where you can stop for a picnic or take a break to enjoy the scenery.
Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, cycling is a popular activity in Ludington, and the Ludington Avenue Bike Path is the perfect place to get started. Grab your bike and helmet and set off on a two-wheeled adventure through this charming lakeside town.
Visit Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse
If you’re looking for a picturesque spot to visit in Ludington, Michigan, make sure to check out the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse is situated at the end of a long breakwater, offering stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Ludington shoreline.
The Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1871 and has been guiding ships safely into the harbor for over a century. Today, it serves as a beloved landmark and a popular tourist attraction.
To reach the lighthouse, visitors can take a leisurely walk along the breakwater. The walk itself is an experience, as you’ll be surrounded by the tranquil waters of Lake Michigan. Keep in mind that the breakwater can be uneven and slippery, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and exercise caution.
As you approach the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, you’ll be able to see its distinctive red exterior and tall tower. Remember to bring your camera, as the lighthouse provides an excellent backdrop for stunning photos.
Once you reach the lighthouse, you can admire its architecture up close and learn about its history. The onsite museum offers insightful exhibits on the lighthouse’s role in the maritime industry and the history of Ludington. You can also climb to the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the surrounding area, including breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan.
If you’re interested in exploring further, you can take a ferry ride to nearby Big Sable Point Lighthouse, another iconic landmark in the area. The ferry offers a unique perspective of the Ludington shoreline and provides an opportunity to see the lighthouse from a different angle.
Overall, a visit to Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse is a must for anyone exploring the Ludington area. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of breathtaking views, or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax, this lighthouse has something to offer. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience this iconic symbol of Ludington’s maritime heritage.
Go Kayaking on Hamlin Lake
One of the top-rated things to do in Ludington, MI is kayaking on Hamlin Lake. This beautiful lake offers a peaceful and scenic setting for kayakers of all skill levels.
There are several kayak rental companies in Ludington that offer rentals for a few hours or a full day. They provide all the necessary equipment, including kayaks, paddles, and life jackets, so you can easily explore the lake without having to bring your own gear.
As you paddle through the calm waters of Hamlin Lake, you’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including birds, turtles, and maybe even a deer or two. The lake is also home to several fish species, so fishing enthusiasts can enjoy casting a line from their kayaks.
One of the highlights of kayaking on Hamlin Lake is the chance to explore the shoreline and discover hidden coves and sandy beaches. You can take a break from paddling to relax on the beach, have a picnic, or go for a swim in the clear waters.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider taking a guided kayak tour. Experienced guides can show you the best spots on the lake and provide interesting information about the area’s history and natural features.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, going kayaking on Hamlin Lake is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Ludington, MI and make lasting memories.
What are some top-rated things to do in Ludington, MI?
Some top-rated things to do in Ludington, MI include visiting Ludington State Park, taking a scenic drive along M-116, exploring the S.S. Badger car ferry, visiting the Ludington Maritime Museum, and enjoying the beautiful Lake Michigan beaches.
What can I do at Ludington State Park?
There are various activities you can enjoy at Ludington State Park. You can hike along the trails, go birdwatching, have a picnic, swim at the beach, rent a kayak or paddleboard, go fishing, or camp overnight at one of the campsites.
Where can I take a scenic drive in Ludington, MI?
M-116 is a popular scenic drive in Ludington, MI. It runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline and offers breathtaking views of the dunes, forests, and beaches. It is a great way to explore the natural beauty of the area.
What can I see and do at the Ludington Maritime Museum?
The Ludington Maritime Museum showcases the rich maritime history of the area. You can learn about the lighthouses, shipwrecks, and the Great Lakes shipping industry. There are exhibits, interactive displays, and even a simulator where you can experience piloting a boat.
What are some popular Lake Michigan beaches in Ludington, MI?
Some popular Lake Michigan beaches in Ludington, MI include Stearns Park Beach, Summit Park Beach, and Buttersville Beach. These beaches offer sandy shores, clear water, and beautiful views of the lake. They are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing, and beach volleyball.
What are some popular tourist attractions in Ludington, MI?
Some popular tourist attractions in Ludington, MI include Ludington State Park, Stearns Park Beach, the S.S. Badger car ferry, and the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. Ludington State Park is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and scenic hiking trails, while Stearns Park Beach offers a playground, picnic areas, and a mini-golf course. The S.S. Badger car ferry allows visitors to take a scenic ride across Lake Michigan, and the Big Sable Point Lighthouse offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area.