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There’s a reason that beautiful Ludington MI is routinely at the top of the list as one of Michigan’s top vacation destinations. Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, this west Michigan travel hotspot is more than just a favorite beach town.
Surrounded by wide windswept Lake Michigan shoreline; the scenic sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan; inland lakes (think Hamlin Lake); rivers (like the Pere Marquette River) and the Manistee National Forest, lovely Ludington is a natural paradise for outdoor-activity lovers.
Waterfront parks, like Stearns Park offer fantastic public beach access (including accessible walkways for wheelchairs) and views of the north breakwater lighthouse.
The city of Ludington is fun to explore for kids of all ages, too: you’ll find breweries like the Jamesport Brewing Company and Ludington Bay Brewing; and many restaurants and shops to explore. Downtown Ludington’s the home port of the S.S. Badger carferry, which travels daily from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Top Tourist Attractions in Ludington Michigan
You’ll also find tourist attractions like the Ludington Maritime Museum; historic sites like Historic White Pine Village; charter boats for some serious Lake Michigan fishing expeditions and so much more. In addition, there are many festivals and events (check the Ludington calendar of events HERE) to keep you busy all year long.
Use our Michigan guide for 10 top things to do in Ludington to discover some pure Michigan fun.
Best Things to Do in Ludington Michigan
Visit Stearns Park Beach
This Ludington waterfront park features 2500 feet of shoreline and a wide, shaded, grassy area with picnic tables and other amenities including three accessible pathways for wheelchairs and strollers.
You’ll find a skate park, mini golf , concessions and access to the Ludington north breakwater light. The half-mile walk along the pier to the lighthouse is a favorite activity for visitors, especially at sunset when the sun sinks into the lake in a glowing, fiery ball.
Waterfront Sculpture Park
One of the prettiest waterfront parks in west Michigan, this is a perfect spot for a picnic: comfortable and scenic, with paved pathways, picnic tables and a playground for the kids. Nine bronzed sculptures are scattered throughout this five-acre park overlooking the naturally scenic Pere Marquette River.
Grab a seat and watch the SS Badger Lake Michigan carferry pull in or out of port on her way across Lake Michigan, and spend some time meandering among the works of arts in the sculpture garden. There’s an amphitheater here, too, a popular site for free concerts and events.
Ludington State Park
Ludington State Parks reputation as one of the top state parks in the state of Michigan is well deserved: set between warm inland Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, this park north of Ludington is a must-visit for anyone in the area. It’s simply lovely: miles of hiking trails set among the sandy beach, dunes, wetlands and marshland to explore.
This state park and campground is ADA-accessible, too. In terms of outdoor activities, you’ll find fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking and cross-country skiing in the winter. Nature programs highlighting the area’s flora and fauna are fun, informative and no-to-be-missed.
Of course, the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse – towering 112-feet over Lake Michigan is a must-see, too. Stunning scenic on a sunny day, it’s a really pretty hike on a rainy day, too.
Sandcastles Children’s Museum
It’s one of our favorite things to do in Ludington with kids. If you’re traveling with children, put this children’s museum and fun center at the top of your list. You’ll find more than 30 hands on exhibits, including a play grocery store, music studio and pizzeria: all perfect for kids to explore. Your curious kids will love the interactive exhibits, especially the real small airplane where dreams take flight.
Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is more than 3000 acres near Ludington and Manistee Michigan on Lake Michigan. This federally-designated wilderness area is part of the Big Sable Dunes complex.
There are 10 miles of hiking trails, and the area is a popular spot for beachcombers looking for treasures such as the Michigan Petoskey Stone. Primitive campsites and fantastic opportunities for nature viewing.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes
South of Pentwater Michigan, this amazing spot must be seen to be believed: massive sand mountains that tower above both Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, a sandy-bottom inland lake. It’s a popular spot for ORV’s: a dune ride over the glistening, silver sand to a deep blue Lake Michigan is unforgettable.
Little Sable Point Lighthouse, which is located in the Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park, is one of the tallest lighthouses in Michigan at over 100 feet. Visitors can climb to the top; all 130 steps.
More Top Things to do in Ludington Mi
Amber Elk Ranch
This is a 130-acre farm outside of Scottville Michigan and is home to world-class bull elk. Take a wagon ride through the rambling pastureland and see these magnificent beasts up close. There’s a petting zoo, here, too, where you can see goats and other farm animals. Children and adults alike will enjoy this spot.
House of Flavors
One of the best things to do in Ludington Mi is visiting The House of Flavors for some ice cream. It’s not just the home of the “Largest Ice Cream Dessert” (according to the Guinness Book of World Records), it’s also one of the largest producers of ice cream in Michigan.
The House of Flavors has been serving up delicious ice cream for more than 80 years, with a rotating list of 30 flavors. There’s a full-service restaurant, too, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. By the way, we’re quite partial to the fresh, creamy Strawberry: it will ruin you for the grocery-store variety.
Jump Around Fun Center
This 11,000 square-foot inflatable park : think bounce houses, slides and more. Kids of all ages can crawl, walk, hop and bounce their way through this spot.
Historic White Pine Village
Visit 30 historic buildings that provide a living history of Mason County, highlighting a late nineteenth century pioneer village. These family-friendly exhibits are meant to be explored: stroll the grounds, tour the buildings and learn what life was like more than 100 years ago, when timber was the primary industry.
More Fun Things to Do in Ludington
Use our Ludington Travel Guide to more fun things to do in this west Michigan beach town.
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