Ludington is a beloved town located on Lake Michigan’s eastern shores. It is known for the beautiful beaches, lighthouse, fishing, and access to year-round outdoor fun.
Nestled in Mason County, Ludington offers small town charm with plenty of attractions and activities to fill your itinerary.
In this guide, I’ll highlight the best things to do during your Ludington getaway.
Relax at Ludington State Park
Ludington State Park features one of the area’s most pristine and popular stretches of sandy beach.
It spreads over 5,300 acres with 18 miles of hiking trails through forests, sand dunes, and shoreline along Lake Michigan.
It offers nearly 7 miles of sandy beach with swimming areas and concessions stands. Main beach area located off M-116. The beach is very easy to access.
If you are into water sports, you will certainly love this place. Canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals available on Hamlin Lake
The park offers ample opportunities for camping as well. Campground with over 200 sites for tents and RVs. Modern cabins available for rent.
If you visit the park at the weekend, don’t miss the nature programs. They are held at the Amphitheater and Nature Center on every weekends
Address: W. M-116, Ludington, MI 49431
Contact: Michigan DNR reservations – (800) 447-2757 / Ludington State Park Local Office – (231) 843-2423
Climb the Big Sable Point Lighthouse
The lighthouse is located 7 miles north of Ludington on Lighthouse Road. It is 56 foot tall lighthouse completed in 1867. It is still fully functioning until today.
Visitors can climb the 112 steps to the top for panoramic views of Ludington and its beaches. 112 steps sound like a bit of a workout, but you won’t regret seeing the view on top!
Tours run daily from 10am – 5pm between May and October. You will have chance to look at the historical side of the lighthouse as well.
There is a small museum inside. It displays living quarters and tools of former lighthouse keepers
Go Charter Fishing
If you are into fishing, visiting Ludington provides unique opportunities to brush up your hobby.
With a prime location on Lake Michigan, Ludington is a top-rated fishing destination. Here you can find many types of fish, such as salmon, trout, walleye, perch, and other big catches.
Charter boats offer exciting fishing excursions from morning until evening. You can sign up for quarter day or a full day trip. Captain Mike’s Charters will guide you around the best spot for prime fishing.
Captain Mike’s Charters, Ludington Charters and Hooked up Sportfishing Charters are some of the experienced local fishing guides.
Ludington Charters has 32 foot Trojan yacht for 1-4 people, which is perfect for single or a small family.
If you are on a hunt for certain fish, check out Hooked Up Sportfishing Charters. They targets salmon and trout on Lake Michigan.
The lake won’t allow you to fish the whole year. If you plan for fishing, please come around April through October. All equipment is provided, and fish cleaning services are available. They won’t let you down.
Ride the Ludington Carferry
How about a cup of coffee on the most exciting Carferry in the region? The 4 hour ferry service will take you across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
This impressive ferry has transported passengers across Lake Michigan between Ludington and Wisconsin since 1897. They are certainly experienced!
S.S. Badger ship transports walk-on passengers, vehicles, RVs, motorcycles. You won’t miss a chance to enjoy the scenic view along the lake.
Enjoy lake breezes from the outdoor decks and views of the harbor and shoreline. What’s more, the ferry allows you to access to food vendors, children’s play area, and ship museum. There are a lot to see for you and your family.
Carferry excursions run daily from May through October. Mark your calendrer and come around for half-a-day tour in this beautiful excursion.
Check Out Downtown Ludington
Ludington’s quaint downtown along Ludington Avenue offers amazing evening strolls. It has an array of antique and gift shops, restaurants, a candy store, and craft brewery to stop by on the way.
From the morning, you can start your day at the House of Flavors. It is not only famous for delish brunch options but also known for its pristine homemade ice cream. You will want a second scoop!
If you ever wonder what it is like to walk under the water, check out Rasmussen’s inner-tube floating down Pere Marquette River. This is an unique experience I want to recommend.
At night, locals and tourists gather around the Working Artists Sculpture and Community Fountain. This is a chance to watch the city life and immerge yourself in local vibe.
There are a lot more to see at the downtown, such as regional art galleries, fudge and candy store, antique shops. You can also stop by Jamesport Brewing Company, one of MI’s original microbreweries for a cup of freshly brewed beer.
Hike at Hamlin Lake State Park
Address: Free Soil, MI 49411, United States
For outdoor lover, a morning hike at Hamlin Lake State Park is what you soul needs.
Just a 10 minute drive from Ludington, this state park surrounds Hamlin Lake with over 7,000 acres of recreation.
Picnic areas, playground, fishing access and boat launch sites are all available in good conditions. It is perfect for a planned picnic.
Hike or bike the 26 mile network of trails winding through forests and wetlands abundant with wildlife and birds. Not just that, you can rent canoe, kayak or paddleboat rentals and paddle a canoe around to watch for resident bald eagles.
Play at Stearns Park Beach
This popular public beach right in Ludington has sandy shoreline, a bathhouse, playground, volleyball courts and concession stand.
Located at the end of Lakeshore Drive, Stearns Park Beach offers views of the harbor lighthouses and easy access for swimming, building sandcastles, picnicking and walks along Lake Michigan.
Tour Historic White Pine Village
Address: 1687 S Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Take a step back in time at this collection of over 30 19th century buildings preserved to replicate a lumber town circa the 1880s.
Costumed interpreters demonstrate heritage crafts and trades. Special events include an old-fashioned 4th of July, Harvest Days, and Christmas celebrated with traditional decorations and music.
Ride the Mini Train at Ludington Bay
All ages will enjoy a ride on this miniature locomotive train offering tours of Ludington Bay and nearby parkland.
The 15 minute routes provide fun family views of the harbor, beaches and marina.
The tracks are located behind the Sandcastles Children’s Museum.
Explore the Maritime Museum
Address: Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, 217 South Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI 49431
Learn about Ludington’s past through interactive exhibits at this museum focused on Great Lakes maritime heritage.
Artifacts include real lighthouse lenses, foghorns, navigation tools, shipwreck salvage, and stories of local maritime tragedies like the Rouse Simmons “Christmas Tree Ship”.
Discover the Sculpture Walk
Address: 420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431
Over 30 outdoor sculptures are installed along a path connecting Ludington Avenue to Stearns Park beach.
This walkable sculpture exhibit displays works crafted from bronze, stone, steel, and glass by regional artists. Maps are available to guide you to each art piece.
With its beautiful lake setting, charming downtown, and diversity of attractions, Ludington offers an ideal Michigan beach town getaway.
Enjoy the great outdoors boating, fishing, hiking and at the golden sand beaches. Learn local history, explore shops and restaurants, and discover public art around town.
Ludington provides endless opportunities for adventure, relaxation and making memories along Lake Michigan’s shores.