Set in the sand dunes of Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, Ludington, Michigan, is an underappreciated gem that lures visitors with its small-town charm and natural beauty. This delightful spot perfectly balances the wonders of its surrounding landscape with the rich heritage of its maritime history. Whatever you’re looking for from your getaway, you’re sure to find things to do in Ludington to fill your time.
A haven for nature lovers, its crowning glory is undoubtedly the sprawling Ludington State Park. It stretches to the north. Miles of hiking trails wind through a diverse landscape of dunes, forests, and beaches. You can take in stunning panoramic views across Lake Michigan and its surrounding towns from atop the dunes.
The historic town itself is packed with independent establishments that ooze local warmth and hospitality. You can spend your days exploring quaint backstreets lined with cafes, galleries, and museums extolling the town’s connection to the great lake it overlooks. Here are the best things to see and do in Ludington, Michigan so you can focus on making the most of your stay in this delightful lakeside town.
- Ludington, Michigan
- 20 Things To Do In Ludington
- 1- Look Around The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum
- 2- Check Out The Historic White Pine Village
- 3- Admire The SS. Spartan
- 4- Take A Ride On The S.S. Badger
- 5- Follow The Mason County Sculpture Trail
- 6- Kick Back At Stearns Park
- 7- See What’s On At The Ludington Area Centre for the Arts
- 8- Relax In Waterfront Park
- 9- Conquer The Ludington State Park Skyline Trail Dune Climb
- 10- Explore The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area
- 11- Raise A Glass At Pere Marquette Winery
- 12- Get A Taste For The Town At Ludington Bay Brewing Co
- 13- Look Out For Big Sable Point Lighthouse
- 14- Take A Break On Ludington State Park Beach
- 15- Venture Out To The Ludington North Breakwater Light
- 16- Test Your Aim At Leviathan Disc Golf Course
- 17- Bat To Win At The Ludington Pickleball Courts
- 18- Take The Kids To Sandcastles Children’s Museum
- 19- Wander Through Pere Marquette Conservation Park
- 20- Whip Around Jaycees’ Mini Golf Course
- 20 Things To Do In Ludington
20 Things To Do In Ludington
1- Look Around The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum
Start your stay in Ludington by diving straight into the rich history of the town with a visit to the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.
The museum is bursting with exhibits spanning three floors of a beautiful, historic coast guard station.
Within the museum, you’ll find fascinating displays on everything from different types of boats and local lighthouses to haunting mysteries and ghost stories.
The museum is open throughout the summer, from May to October. Standard adult entry costs $15.
Pop into Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, 217 South Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI 49431.
2- Check Out The Historic White Pine Village
If you want an immersive experience, head just south of Ludington to the historic White Pine Village.
Here you’ll find thirty reconstructed 19th century buildings, along with other attractions like a vintage steam train.
It is spread over 23 acres of land for you to explore, offering a glimpse back at what life would have been like for the first settlers of Ludington.
The village is open from May through October, so visitors can spend the warm, summer days learning about the heritage of the local area in the fresh air.
Head Out to 1687 S Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
3- Admire The SS. Spartan
Permanently moored in the Pere Marquette river, just along from the Harbor View Marina, is the mighty SS Spartan.
Launched in 1952 as a railroad car ferry, she served several routes between Ludington and Wisconsin for decades.
She now rests as a monument to the city’s maritime heritage, as well as providing hard-to-find parts for her still operating sister ship.
Spot it at 1 Maritime Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
4- Take A Ride On The S.S. Badger
If you want to experience what it’s like to actually take a journey on one of these impressive steam ships, hop aboard Spartan’s twin, the SS Badger.
The vintage coal-fired ship still operates a regular ferry schedule throughout the summer, crossing Lake Michigan over to Manitowoc in Wisconsin.
It’s an ideal choice for a relaxing day trip, and offers stunning views of the waterfront districts of both Ludington and Manitowoc.
Hop aboard at 701 Maritime Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
5- Follow The Mason County Sculpture Trail
Dotted around the city is a trail of sculptures and statues for visitors to discover.
They represent various aspects of Ludington’s history and development, and following the trail makes for the perfect way to introduce yourself to the town’s heritage while also getting a good look around the area.
You can start the trail wherever you like, and maps are available online, but one of the best starting points is at Stearn’s Park, down by the waterside.
Start the trail at 420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
6- Kick Back At Stearns Park
When you just want a quiet day, relaxing on the sand, head down to Stearns Park.
The comfortable beach is right next to the heart of the city, so it’s super convenient to get to.
There are plenty of shops and cafes near by for you to grab refreshments or bring your own and take advantage of the provided barbeque areas.
Head down to 420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
7- See What’s On At The Ludington Area Centre for the Arts
Fans of the arts who want to take a look at the local creative scene will want to pay a visit to the Ludington Area Centre for the Arts.
The centre hosts a wide range of productions and exhibitions, while also offering various workshops to help get people involved and exploring their own creativity.
With tons of festivals and events throughout the year, it’s well worth taking a look at what they’ll have on during your stay.
Head into 107 S Harrison St, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
8- Relax In Waterfront Park
When you want to take a moment to really relax and take a breath, head over to Waterfront Park.
The comfortable park is tucked between Pere Marquette River and Harbor View Marina, so you can spend your afternoon watching the boats drift in and out of the bay.
Just a short stroll from various cafes, bakeries, and convenience stores, it’s the perfect location for a stress-free picnic.
It is also where you’ll find many of the Mason County Sculpture Trail’s installations.
Go to 391 S William St, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
9- Conquer The Ludington State Park Skyline Trail Dune Climb
The more adventurous among you will be aware that Ludington is well known for the towering sand dunes that stretch out to the north of the city.
Those willing to climb the sandy mountains will be rewarded with stunning views across Lake Michigan and the surrounding landscape.
The Skyline Trail leads hikers out of the luscious forests and up into the peaks of the dunes.
While the ascent might seem a little arduous for some, the path is well maintained and accessible, so as long as you take it at your own pace, you’ll be fine.
Go along to 8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
10- Explore The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area
If you really want to get away from it all and escape into the wilds of nature, head out to the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.
The rich forest stretches out far beyond the reach of the dunes, providing a sanctuary for the wealth of wildlife that calls the area home.
Miles from any big cities, it’s ideal for anyone who wants to see lots of critters and very few people.
Head out to Free Soil, MI 49411, United States.
11- Raise A Glass At Pere Marquette Winery
Just south of Ludington, on the other side of Pere Marquette Lake, is the lovely Pere Marquette Winery.
Here, you can sample wines grown and bottled right on the edge of Lake Michigan and really get a taste for the region.
The winery’s tasting room is open from 12-6 on Saturdays and 12-4 on Sundays, so it’s perfect for relaxing weekend afternoons.
Visitors can also take a glimpse behind the scenes at the process for crafting the very drinks you’ll be indulging in.
Find the vineyard at 1914 S Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
12- Get A Taste For The Town At Ludington Bay Brewing Co
If you’d rather kick back with a brew instead, head into Ludington Bay Brewing Co to try their alternative array of delights.
Here you can sip on a range of locally crafted beers, including limited edition seasonal specialties.
Alongside your yeasty treats, you can also enjoy a delicious meal from their menu of tasty comfort foods.
And don’t forget to check out their packed calendar of events, featuring everything from live music to special dining experiences.
Go to 515 S James St, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
13- Look Out For Big Sable Point Lighthouse
If you make your way all the way a few miles north along the dunes, you’ll come across Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which is well worth the trek out.
Dating back to 1867, the towering lighthouse offers stunning views across the water for those who climb up to the top.
The lighthouse is open to the public from May through October, with an $8 fee for those wanting to make the climb.
If you’d rather stay down on the ground, you can still enjoy reading the information boards about the lighthouse’s history and heritage and browsing the giftshop for mementos.
Strike out for 8800 W M-116, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
14- Take A Break On Ludington State Park Beach
Midway between the city and Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington State Park Beach is the perfect spot to lay back and relax.
The soft sand of the beach makes for a comfortable place to laze in the sun, or take a stroll along the waterfront and paddle in the gentle waves.
It’s far enough out of town to be quieter and more tranquil than the more urban waterfront locations, but still close enough that it’s not too much of a hassle to get to.
Go down to 8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
15- Venture Out To The Ludington North Breakwater Light
If you want an even closer look at the lake without having to actually get in the water, head out to the Ludington North Breakwater Light.
You can walk on top of the waves along the north breakwater wall until you reach the beacon a couple of hundred metres out into the lake.
From here you’ll also be greeted with a stunning view of the town’s waterfront district.
Head out to XG3J+F6 Ludington, Michigan, USA.
16- Test Your Aim At Leviathan Disc Golf Course
When you’re looking for something a little different to encourage everyone to get out in the fresh air, try your hand at a round of Disc Golf.
The Leviathan Disc Golf Course will take you into the trees just north of the city to test your aim as you try to get your frisbees into a series of chain baskets.
It’s a gentle but challenging sport that’s perfect for participants of all ages.
Shoot over to N Jebavy Dr, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
17- Bat To Win At The Ludington Pickleball Courts
If traipsing around the woods hurling frisbees into the trees doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, perhaps you’d rather try your hand at pickleball instead.
While it may just look like some kind of tennis knock-off, the unique rules of the game make it an interesting challenge.
Courts are open daily from 9am to 9pm, so you’ll have no trouble fitting a game into your itinerary.
Head over to 700 W Tinkham Ave, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
18- Take The Kids To Sandcastles Children’s Museum
When you need a simple and effective way to keep the kids busy for a few hours and let them burn off some of their energy, take them for a visit to the Sandcastles Children’s Museum.
The museum is packed with interactive displays for kids to get stuck into.
With over thirty exhibits from science experiments and career role plays to music studios and climbing walls, there’s something for every kid, no matter their interests.
The museum is open Friday through Monday, so it’s ideal for filling some time on the weekend.
Find it at 129 E Ludington Ave, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
19- Wander Through Pere Marquette Conservation Park
When you want to feel like you’ve escaped into the wilds of nature but don’t feel like heading too far from downtown, head over to Pere Marquette Conservation Park.
The leafy park features hiking trails winding through the trees and right up to the edge of Pere Marquette Lake.
Tranquil and quiet whist being just across the water from the lively town, it’s the perfect place to go when you just need some peace to destress.
Head out to WHJ4+FQ, Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
20- Whip Around Jaycees’ Mini Golf Course
If you need something to get the whole family together for an hour or so, go for a game of minigolf. Jaycees’ Mini Golf Course is open throughout the summer, providing wholesome fun alongside beautiful waterfront views.
Skate along to Ludington, MI 49431, United States.
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