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Vacation in Ludington MI: Ultimate Travel Guide

Ludington MI
Big Sable Point in Ludington

Discover Ludington MI…

You need to visit Ludington, MI.

Looking for the perfect spot for a Michigan family vacation that mixes miles of wild and wonderful Lake Michigan beaches and rivers surrounded by acres of pristine natural forest?

Throw in three historic lighthouses, towering sand dunes with hiking trails, a few inland lakes and miles of rolling river and you’ve found pure Ludington.

Pretty Ludington is one of Michigan’s top vacation destinations with good reason: clean, wide sugar sand beaches; a friendly Lake Michigan beach town vibe and tons of opportunity to outdoor activity. Ludington State Park is also one of the best places for in the state for ADA Accessibility to the lake.

Use this Michigan Guide to Ludington Michigan Travel and start planning your vacation getaway now.

ludington mi

Plan a Ludington MI Vacation

Naturally beautiful Ludington, MI is a prime Michigan beach hot spot for fun-seekers of all ages. Inviting, well-manicured beachfront parks dot the city’s shoreline, making it perfect place to splash along the shore or simply watch a Lake Michigan sunset.

Ludington, Michigan is a vacation destination for travelers from around the country seeking a spot where they can roam wide open Lake Michigan beaches, walk along the pier to the Ludington North Breakwater Light, relax in a waterfront park and soak up some west Michigan beauty.

This popular harbor town located in Mason County, Michigan, at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River, is set in the middle of some spectacular outdoor landscapes.

Surrounded by Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness area, Manistee National Forest, Ludington State park and the vast, untamed Lake Michigan shoreline, the Ludington area is very picturesque, so you’ll want to bring your camera with you when you visit.

You’re going to want to add Ludington to your travel bucket-list soon, because this west Michigan beachtown paradise is just too good to miss.


Explore Ludington Michigan

Do you know what we love most about Ludington?

As popular as this spot is, there’s always enough sand and water to go around, and room enough for everyone on the Ludington beaches. There is simply so much to do in Ludington for visitors of all ages.

Outdoors, you’ll find spacious sand dunes, natural forests with a many trails for hiking and clear inland lakes for swimming and boating.

You’ll also find farmers markets; a sculpture trail for art-lovers;
a top-rated children’s museum and a maritime museum celebrating the rich history of the port of Ludington.

Whether you are seeking a crowded beach for a pick-up game of beach volleyball or an opportunity to spend a day visiting the downtown shops, you are sure to find some pure Michigan fun in Ludington.

ludington mi

Ludington, MI is Known for…

  • The incredible scenery surrounding this harbor town set at the mouth of Michigan’s Pere Marquette River
  • Home to two of Michigan’s most-photographed Lighthouses: Big Sable Point Lighthouse and the Ludington Breakwater Lighthouse
  • The port of the SS Badger carferry, a vehicle and passenger ferry with daily service in the summer across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin
  • Ludington State Park, on of the gems of the Michigan State Park system, boasting some of the best wheelchair and ADA-accessibility in the state
  • Charmingly quaint downtown shopping area in the city of Ludington featuring parks, shops, restaurants and more…all within walking distance of beautiful Lake Michigan
  • Ludington’s North Breakwater Light, a 57-foot tall lighthouse is open to the public during the summer season for climbing tours

Getting to Ludington, MI

By Car: Ludington is located just west of US-31, the highway that runs north and south along west Michigan.

By Air:
Blacker Airport, neat Ludington in Manistee offers daily service between Chicago’s Midway Airport and Manistee.

By Water: You can reach Ludington by way of Lake Michigan if you take the car ferry that runs to and from Wisconsin. The S.S. Badger Lake Michigan Carferry Service runs daily late spring through fall between Ludington and Manitowoc, WI.

Ludington, MI Weather

Ludington, MI weather is typical northern Michigan: cold and snowy in the winter and delightfully warm in the summer.

Expect temperatures to range from 70 F to 80 F during the day from June-September. During the summer months, mornings and evenings may be cooler; typically lower 70 – 60 F. You can find the current weather conditions in Ludington, MI here.

Ludington’s Lake Michigan Sunsets

Ludington’s shoreline was made for sunsets…or at least it seems like it. With so many miles of wide-open freshwater coast, catching a glimpse of the sun as it sinks into Lake Michigan is a must for visitors to Ludington. Grab a spot along the shore and watch the as the sun slowly sets in the lake, casting fiery reflections on the water.

Best Beaches in Ludington, MI


Ludington State Park

Beach, Swimming, ADA-Accessible, Dog-Friendly, Campsites, Hiking, Biking Trails, Interpretive Center, Fishing, Boating, Wildlife Viewing from Extensive Trail System, Metal Detecting Area

Buttersfield Park Beach

Swimming, Beach, Dog-friendly

Summit Park Beach

Beach, Swimming, Picnic Tables

Stearns Park Beach

Beach, Swimming, ADA-Accessible, Family-Friendly Beach, Sand Volleyball Courts, Playground, Skate Park, Shaded Grassy Picnic Area, Grills, Concession Stands, Mini-Golf, Shuffle Board

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Ludington

Ludington State Park

Access mats for the sand and free beach wheelchairs are available for use, and the park also offers ADA-accessible fishing, drives and parking, boardwalks, walkways, and overlooks, as well as boardwalks and decks along the river.

Stearns Park Beach

Voted the one of the 51 Great American Beaches AND the boasting the fifth most-accessible walkway in the nation, Stearns Park Beach is one of the must-visit destinations on the Michigan’s freshwater coast. This sprawling park on Lake Michigan has three ADA Accessible walkways from the parking lot to the waterfront, as well as a new accessible playground.

There are also accessible picnic tables along the beach walkways – a nice place to grab a bite and take in the stunning scenery.

Dog-friendly beaches in Michigan - best beaches in Alpena

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Ludington

Buttersville Beach
Dogs Allowed on Beach

Loomis Street Boat Launch
Dogs Allowed On Small Beach On Either Side Of Launch

Explore Downtown Ludington, MI

A beautiful Lake Michigan port city loaded with shops, restaurants, galleries and more, downtown Ludington is located within walking distance of the Lake Michigan beachfront.

The quaint downtown area also offers antiques shops, a natural food store, clothing and music retailers and even a brew pub – what’s not to love?

Ludington businesses love their visitors, and the Ludington CVB, chamber of commerce and visitors bureau keep fun activities happening all year long – even in the winter. In fact, the Ludington Ball Drop on News Year’s Eve see thousands of visitors flock to the area to ring in the new year. June’s Gus Macker basketball tournaments also brings swarms of hoopsters to town.

Stroll to the farmers markets in summer and fall for fresh-from-the-farm produce and other delicious treats.

Ludington, MI Restaurants

With restaurant options ranging from high-end fine dining to casual cafes and everything in between, Ludington has something for every taste. There are so many really good places to eat in Ludington; you really can’t go wrong.

One spot that MUST go on your list is the House of Flavors, one of Michigan’s most popular Ice Cream spots. The House of Flavors in downtown Ludington holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest Ice Cream Dessert featuring 600 cans of whipped topping and more than 100 pounds of Maraschino cherries.

Craft Beer in Ludington, MI

Ludington as not one but three fantastic spots for Craft Beer. Try these three breweries:

  • Jamesport Brewing Company
  • Ludington Bay Brewery
  • Starving Artist Brewing

Wineries in Ludington, MI
The fertile, rolling hills and lake-effect weather equal the perfect growing environment for grapes and other fruits and vegetables. Wineries in and around Ludington produce some delicious wines and ciders.

Try these three wineries in the Ludington area:

  • Jomagrha Winery
  • Love Wines, LLC
  • Oceana Winery & Vineyard

Things to Do in Ludington, MI

Ludington Outdoors
Surrounded by high dunes, inland lakes and rivers teeming with fish, Ludington is truly a nature-seeker’s paradise. In addition to fantastic beaching, Ludington offers disc golf, cycling, hiking, fishing and a multitude of other outdoor activities.

Sandcastles Children’s Museum

This fun hand-on museum for kids is a favorite spot for families and young visitors, with more than 30 hands-on displays such as a mini pizzeria, a grocery store and a music studio. Even the adults will find this museum interesting.

Stearns Park Beach

With more than 2500 feet of wide open Lake Michigan public beach, the Lake Michigan views here are some of the best. Visitors will find everything they need for a perfect beach day at this waterfront park: wide handicapped accessible walkways, picnic tables, concession stands and of course, easy access to the north breakwater light.

Find a comfortable spot on the sand or under a shady tree on the grass and enjoy watching the carferry pass by. A mini golf course is located nearby for even more fun.

Historic White Pine Village

Take a step back in time at White Pine Village to the time of the Ludington lumber baron, and explore 30 historic exhibit buildings, including the original 1849 Mason County Courthouse (on the State Register of Historic Places) and an authentic turn-of-the-century steam locomotive, tender car, and flat car loaded with logs and headed toward the Village’s working sawmill.

Charter Boats

Visitors of all ages and fishing abilities can try their luck catching salmon and steelhead trout on one of the more than 40 charter fishing boats in the Ludington area.

Mason County Sculpture Trail

This cultural trail throughout downtown Ludington and the surrounding area features 20 sculptures celebrating the rich history of the area. If you go, bring your cellphone; you can scan the QR codes to get detailed information on each piece.

West Shore Community College

West Shore Community College in nearby Scottville serves the area with lectures, theater productions, dance and musical performances in the Center Stage Theater, art exhibits and other types of entertainment. Check the West Shore calendar of events for upcoming productions and exhibits.

Ludington’s Lighthouses

Ludington is home to two Lighthouses that are must-see destinations for your visit. The North Breakwater Lighthouse in downtown Ludington features a half-mile walk out to the 57-foot lighthouse. The views are well worth the trip. The iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse, a black-and-white striped, 112-foot lighthouse located on in Ludington State Park offers tours.

Ludington Car Ferry

Looking to add even more adventure to your Ludington trip? Hop aboard the S.S. Badger carferry for a memorable trip across Lake Michigan and four hours later you’ll land in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee.

The S.S. Badger, the largest car ferry on the Great Lakes, is a historic steamship that has been taking cars, bikes and passengers on a 60-mile journey across Lake Michigan for more than 65 years.

Lake Michigan can get a bit wavy at times, so be sure to tuck some Dramamine in your pocket for motion sickness. A ride on the the Lake Michigan carferry is also a great way for Chicago vacationers to cut the drive time and sit back and enjoy Lake Michigan views.

the cartier mansion in Ludington Michigan

Where to Stay in Ludington, MI

In addition to chain hotels and motels, the Ludington area, a popular tourist destination, has many independently-owned and operated cottages and resorts. In addition, many privately-owned lake homes and cottages are available for rent.

The Cartier Mansion, a stunning neoclassical Bed and Breakfast is perfect for couples and famililes alike, with spacious family suites. The best part? Dogs are welcome, too!

Questions and Answers About Ludington

Q. What is There to do in Ludington Today?

A. It depends on the season, because the Ludington is rich with opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming and boating in the summer; hiking and biking in the spring and fall; and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Q. What is Ludington, MI Known For?

A. Ludington is known for their numerous beautiful, wide Lake Michigan beaches, quaint downtown shopping area and rich maritime history. Ludington State Park is one of most popular state parks in Michigan.

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