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A Complete Guide to Biking in Ludington, Michigan

Ludington has long been a destination for cyclists who enjoy exploring the outdoors. The area boasts picturesque shoreline routes with sand dune panoramas, scenic wooded trails and miles of idyllic rural country roads. With the rising popularity of year-round fat tire biking, gravel road riding and bike-packing, new adventures are opening up that are only limited by your imagination.

Fun Paths for Kids

The Cartier Park Pathway on Lincoln Lake in Ludington is an easily accessible, paved one-mile loop with minimal elevation. It is a great cycling destination for families with young children. Here kids can also explore fun mountain bike trails built recently.

Families love to discover the many treasures of the Ludington State Park by bike. There are paved paths and roads running throughout the park and along the Big Sauble River between the Lake Michigan Beach area and the Hamlin Dam and Beach area. There is also a 1.5 mile gravel road for the adventurous that will lead you to the Big Sable Lighthouse.

Be sure not to miss a casual cruise through Stearns Park Beach and the Ludington harbor during the arrival or departure of the S.S. Badger Carferry in the morning or evening.

Scenic Road Routes

A visit to Ludington is not complete without a cruise along M-116 to the Ludington State Park. It is one of the most scenic roads in the entire Midwest. On one side of the road are continuous sand dunes, and, on the other side, Lake Michigan spans the horizon. Another shoreline route runs along South Lakeshore Drive to Bass Lake and Pentwater. A highlight of this route is crossing the bridge that spans the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant, a hydroelectric plant and reservoir built on Lake Michigan. For a more ambitious tour, chart a course on the way back through the orchards and rolling hills south of Ludington. Riders will be awestruck by the scale of the 56 wind turbines comprising Lakewinds Energy Park.

Four Season Mountain Biking

A recent addition to Ludington’s cycling scene is the development of an Urban Single Track trail system encompassing Cartier Park and the Ludington School Forest. Both trail systems are located within the city limits less than two miles apart and include a total of 10 miles of dedicated single-track for biking with potential for additional trail linking the systems in the future. These trails were built as “Gateway Trails” which are designed to create a fun, widely accessible introduction to mountain biking. The trails are intentionally not intimidating for new and novice riders yet they are designed in a way that even the most experienced mountain biker will find fun and enjoyable.

Fat tire mountain bikes allow riders to float through conditions that would be impossible with a conventional tire. This trend toward wider tires creates a new and exhilarating way to take in Michigan’s winter wonderland. Several trail systems in the area are starting to groom trails for winter riding. Winter beach riding can also be a thrill. When the snow melts, fat bikes are just as fun on traditional trails.

For current information on local bicycling routes, maps, group rides and cycling related events, visit or stop in to Spindrift Cyclesports or Trailhead Bike Shop both located on Ludington Avenue in downtown Ludington for all of your biking needs and rentals.

Ludington is located at the crossroads of two popular bike routes—U.S. Bicycle Route 20, an east-west route of just over 300 miles spanning across Michigan, and U.S. Bicycle Route 35, a 500-mile route running north-south generally following the Lake Michigan shoreline.


Craft Beer is Brewing in Ludington, MI

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, just between Grand Rapids and Traverse City, Ludington is making an even bigger mark in the beer scene as of lately. With a new brewery opening this Spring, a micro-brewery expanding into canning operations, a Michigan-only craft beer bar and great beer festivals throughout the year, Ludington is a beer lovers destination.

Let’s start where it all began in Ludington, which is at Jamesport Brewing Company. This month they are celebrating 17 years of business! Located on South James Street, their deck offers great views of Ludington’s harbor and everyone’s favorite, the SS Badger! With 12 taps of their own beer, you are bound to find something you enjoy. Favorite Summer seasonal beers include the Blueberry Wheat and the Badger Brown. Jamesport also boasts a full menu of American fare.

Next on the scene was The Mitten Bar, which opened its doors in July of 2011 in heart of downtown Ludington on Ludington Avenue. This beer bar is faithful to Michigan-only. Meaning they only serve Michigan craft beer, wines and spirits. But honestly, why would they need to serve anything else? It’s a great place to hang with the locals, enjoy a brew and some really great live music!!
In 2015, Starving Artist Brewing Co., opened as a production-only nano-brewery. After winning the 2015 Momentum Business Plan Competition, they used the $50,000 prize to double their square footage, in turn doubling production capacity. Expanded distribution now includes the entire west side of Michigan from the Mackinaw Bridge to the Indiana border. Just last week, Starving Artist released cans of two of their popular brews, Conspiracy IPA and Hop Marley. You can stop by the brewery for cans, growlers and tours by appointment. You can also find their brews at Blu Moon Bistro downtown, Chuck Wagon, The Mitten Bar and many others locally.

The new kid on the block, as of this Spring, will be Ludington Bay Brewing Company. Just down the block from Jamesport Brewing Company, this brand new space will be located on South James Street and features a massive brewing and distribution space, a spacious tap room, and a gorgeous outdoor patio.  Ten taps are set for the brewery’s debut, with more to come once they are up and running. Be sure to keep an eye out for the grand opening of this long awaited addition to the craft beer scene.

Our favorite picks for places to pick up craft beer for the beach or river:

  • Biercamp Market in Downtown Ludington- Located just blocks from the beach and the marinas, this is a great stop for beer and snacks on-the-go. Not only do they have a great selection of craft beer, but you can even grab a drink from their 6 taps while you shop.
  • Bottle & Can in Scottville – If you are heading to the Pere Marquette River, mak a quick stop on Main Street to nab some great craft beer selections.

For upcoming beer events, save the date for the Suds on the Shore, which features over 50 brewers in Rotary Park in downtown Ludington in mid-August. Tickets go on sale in May.

With so many beer activities, Ludington may be your one-stop-destination for a true Pure Michigan experience. While you are in the area, check out our amazing parks and beachesDon’t forget to share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook using #PureLudington. For more travel information, visit

5 Things to Know About Lantern-Lit Snowshoeing & Skiing in Ludington, MI

Ludington boasts a number of excellent snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails – and one of the most popular places for a winter sojourn is at the 5,300-acre Ludington State Park. Several miles of trails are groomed for cross country skiing, and snowshoers can explore all the other trails. The park also hosts a series of snowshoeing and cross country skiing events on weekends in January and February, including the popular lantern-lit snowshoe and skiing event. Here are 5 things you need to know about this unique event coming up this weekend:

  1. It’s free! There are not many activities for families and couples these days that don’t come with a price tag. Thanks to the Friends of Ludington State Park, this event is free of charge. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy some fresh fallen snow with family or friends. 
  2. Snowshoers, cross country skiers and hikers of all ages and fitness levels are welcome. Snowshoeing is one of the season’s safest activities and a great way to get moving during these colder months. Of course, cross country skiers and hikers/walkers are also welcome to participate as well. The self-paced atmosphere of this event means you can take your time and really take in the sights and sounds of the park this time of the year.
  3. You don’t need your own snowshoes. Thanks to the Friends of Ludington State Park, 50 pairs of snowshoes are available for free use on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have your own gear, even better! 
  4. There’s a fire – or two! You can warm up and enjoy a hot beverage alongside two bonfires along the trail. It’s the perfect spot to rest, warm up and take in the beautiful winter scenery. Although you will be moving and keeping warm on the trail, you will still want to be sure to wear warm winter attire.
  5. The most unique aspect of this event is that the 3/4 mile trail is lined with approximately 75 red lanterns. They perfectly compliment the winter backdrop and are a great guide as the sun begins to set.

Upcoming lantern-lit snowshoe and skiing events are Feb. 4 and 18 from 6 – 8 p.m. starting at the Warming Shelter just inside the entrance of the park.

Don’t forget to share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook using #PureLudington. For more travel information, visit


BrrrewFest – The 411 on Ludington, Michigan’s Winter Beer Festival

We know you love Ludington and we know you love Michigan craft beer. With that, we bring you the 3rd Annual Pure Ludington BrrrewFest, happening Saturday, January 28 in Downtown Ludington. The only winter craft beer festival in Ludington, features nearly 30 Michigan craft brewers who will be showcasing their best and unique brews.

Wondering if one of you favorite brewers will be there? Check out the list of brewers and what they are bringing to the festival here. Tickets are available online through 1/26 for $25. Your ticket includes a commemorative 5oz. sample glass as well as 6 drink tokens. Additional tokens and pint glasses are available for purchase. Tickets at the gate that day are $30.

This event is a fundraiser for the Friends of Ludington State Park, which is a non-profit organization whose volunteers maintain and enhance the programming and infrastructure of one of Ludington’s greatest attractions; the Ludington State Park.

An event in Ludington would not be complete without live music, and BrrrewFest is no exception. Andy Thomas, owner and master brewer of Starving Artist Brewing Co,. will be opening with an acoustic set, followed by headliner American Hairband, who are dedicated to the glam and hard rock movement of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Looking to check out a little more of Ludington while you are here for BrrrewFest? There are plenty of new restuarants and spots downtown to check out including Timbers Bar & Grille and Table 14. A downtown favorite, Barley & Rye, will be hosting a Boozy Breakfast before BrrrewFest from 9-11:30am featuring beer-mosas, breakfast burritos and more!

Certainly, Ludington is known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Attendees to BrrrrewFest can also get a taste of that at the Shoreline Cycling Club’s Winter Fat Tire Biking Open House.

No matter how you choose to spend your BrrrewFest weekend here in Ludington, we know you will enjoy the beauty of Winter and the cold brews of Michigan’s best craft brewers.

Don’t forget to share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook using #PureLudington. For more travel information, visit

Everything You Need to Know About the Pure Ludington NYE Ball Drop

Did you know what every December 31st in Downtown Ludington we hoist a six foot ball covered in 6,000 LED lights up into the air, let you dance under it for a few hours then lower it to the ground at the stroke of midnight followed by an awesome display of fireworks?

It’s an amazing, FREE, family-friendly way to ring in the New Year. Evening activities begin at 9:00pm when the entertainment area in the North James Street Plaza opens for music, dancing and beer tasting.  Then at midnight, the ball drops down from high above the main intersection in downtown. Once the clock strikes midnight, turn your attention to the night’s sky for an amazing fireworks salute to the New Year!

The event is always very busy, so it is recommended to buy your commemorative beer mugs and drink tokens in advance online.

Family Friendly NYE Parties All ages are welcome at the NYE Ball Drop and in the entertainment area in the North James Street Plaza, but for those of you looking to celebrate with young kids, we have you covered.

Sandcastles Children’s Museum opens up for a special NYE balloon drop featuring more than 500 balloons! The party also will feature live music, food, favors, ice cream sundaes, crafts, photo booth and more. $10 per person or $35 per family. The party is from 5-8pm.

The Ludington Library is also hosting an evening of great family activities including FREE crafts, games and activities for partygoers of all ages. At 11:30 p.m., the party closes so everyone can stroll downtown to enjoy the ball drop. Children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

New Year’s Day The party is not over after the ball drop. Wake up and get a great breakfast (or lunch depending on what time you wake up!) in to kick-off the day. Here are some of our favorites that will be open New Year’s Day:

For those of you with “get healthy” as part of your new year resolutions, you can get a jump-start by taking part in the Resolution Run 5K at 11am on January 1. $25 entry fee includes a custom die-cast finishers medal.

Register online or on race day at Ludington Pub from 10 to 11 a.m.

As always, please share your photos and videos with us by tagging them:

7 Things to Do this 4th of July Holiday Weekend in Ludington

s Happening fireworks

Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

If you are looking to celebrate the 4th of July, Pure Ludington must be on your list. This small town does 4th of July big!  To make your trip easier, we have put together a list of things to be sure to check out if you are in the Ludington Area this holiday weekend: 

1. Kick off the holiday weekend in Downtown Ludington. These is always something new to see and do in Downtown Ludington, which is why if you are in town this weekend, you must take stroll along Ludington Avenue and South James Street to see what is new. Stop by the North James Street Plaza on Thursday evening (June 30) for live music! There are great outdoor dining options and quaint shops for you to find something to take home to remember your trip to Ludington.

2. Spend a day at one of Michigan’s top beaches. Summer is finally here and a trip to Ludington isn’t complete without a day at the beach. Known for our award winning sugar-sand beaches, there are plenty of places along the shoreline for you to enjoy the sun, sand and fresh water of Lake Michigan.


Photo courtesy of Ludington Area Center for the Arts

3. Enjoy the West Shore Art Fair. July 2 & 3, the Ludington Area Center for the Arts will be hosting the West Shore Art Fair at Rotary Park (formerly City Park), an annual tradition in Ludington for 48 years. This open-air, juried fine art and fine crafts show features 100-plus fine artists in a variety of media, including clay, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, painting and photography. The show features live music, food stations and a children’s activity area.

4. Catch the Hamlin Lake fireworks on Saturday evening. If you are all about the fireworks, you can catch 2 nights of fireworks in Ludington this weekend starting with the show over Hamlin Lake on Saturday, July 2. An annual fireworks tradition at Hamlin Lake since the 1970s, this fireworks display is best viewed by boat in the Upper Lake from Indian Pete Bayou west to Victory Park, or on the south shore of the Upper Lake. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent a boat from places like Hamlin Lake Boat Rentals for you and the family to enjoy a spectacular view of the fireworks. If you would rather stay on land, Wilson Hill Park is a great place to watch from and there is an ice cream social prior to the display. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

5. Take part in the Freedom Festival Children & Pet Parade. Get the kids and your four legged friends dressed in their best patriotic garb and celebrate the holiday weekend in style. This family-friendly event takes place on Sunday, July 3 and begins at the corner of Loomis and Ferry Streets and proceeds to the Waterfront Park Pavilion, where prizes will be awarded.

4th of july -92

Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

6. Take part in the tradition by attending the Freedom Festival Grand Parade. The Freedom Festival Grand Parade is one for your weekend list of must-do’s while here for the 4th of July. This small town knows how to put on a big parade. You will want to find your seat along Ludington Avenue between Madison Street and Lakeshore Drive early, but the parade doesn’t begin until 2pm. The kids will be able to see firetrucks, classic cars, animals and of course the Scottville Clown Band! You can follow the parade to the beach and enjoy an afternoon picnic on the beach until the fireworks later in the evening.

7. Take in the amazing Fireworks over Lake Michigan. This 20 minute display brings 20,000 people to the Lake Michigan shoreline in Ludington. Before dusk, make your way to Stearns Park Beach and dig yourself a cozy spot in the sand to lay back and take in the amazing colors and sounds of the show. It is the perfect ending to a 4th of July done right in Ludington!

Come explore the Americana traditions and celebrations of Independence Day here in Pure Ludington

Holiday Happenings in Pure Ludington


This weekend kick’s off the holiday season and Pure Ludington is celebrating too! Here are 5 things that should be on your holiday weekend bucket list. However you choose to kick-off the holiday season, we hope you have a warm weekend surrounded by those near and dear to you all! 

1.Creative HeARTS Gala – Friday, November 27 at 7PM

Put a little art into every heart this Christmas. This event is a holiday fundraising gala for the children’s programming at The Ludington Area Center for the Arts. The event will feature music, food, drinks, live canvas art, performances and much more. More information here.

2.  Small Business Saturday:  Saturday, November 28 from 11AM – 7PM

Support our local businesses and shop small this holiday season. Downtown Ludington businesses will be open from 11am – 7pm and offering great holiday specials and deals for your gift giving this Christmas season. Find the Downtown Ludington Booth in the James Street Plaza at 11am for a free canvas tote and other goodies along with 1 free entry to win the $1000 Gift Basket! Find out more details here.

3. 7th Annual Holiday Craft Show at LACA, Saturday November 28 from 10AM-4PM

Start your holiday shopping in Downtown Ludington with a stop at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts at their Holiday Craft Show. Shop for holiday gifts that are made with love and passion! 28 artists/crafters from West Michigan will have their holiday arts and crafts available for purchase.

4. Holiday Open Air Market & Christmas Tree Lot, Saturday November 28 in North James Street Plaza

From 11AM-8PM, Needlefast Evergreens have a downtown Christmas Tree lot set-up in the James Street Plaza. From 3-7PM enjoy the open-air holiday market complete will of your holiday goodies!

5. Aglow on the Avenue Holiday Parade, Saturday, November 28 at 6PM

Welcome Santa to town as he makes his way down Ludington Avenue during the holiday parade! Live holiday music will be in the North James Street Plaza and several downtown businesses will be unveiling their holiday light displays! Follow santa to Sandcastles Children’s Museum at 6:30pm for a chance to share your Christmas wishes with him!

 Check out our Holiday Happenings Pinterest Board  to pin and share the holiday fun!

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Haunted Fun Done 8 Ways In Pure Ludington

Halloween fanatics will find more than tricks and treats in Pure Ludington this Halloween weekend. Grab your brooms, masks and costumes and head to Pure Ludington for a thrilling weekend of fun and fright. Here are 8 of our haunted favorites happening this weekend:image1

1. Self-guided Cemetery Walk along the Lumber Heritage Trail 

The Mason County Lumber Heritage Trail includes stops at 2 cemeteries in Ludington. Your cell phone leads the way and will bring the stories of Ludington’s lumbermen to life. Who knows, you may even stumble upon ghosts of Justus Stearns or Warren Cartier along the way!

2. Haunted Eclectic Marketplace

Can you make it out alive? Test your fright level at downtown’s Eclectic Marketplace, located at 307 S. James Street. Stop by on Friday night from 6-11pm and Saturday night from 5-11:30pm for your thrills.

10582992_10152817488123189_7538366221224000376_o3. Rocktober: LudRock’s Night of Fright @ Ludington Area Center for the Arts

Friday evening from 6pm-12am, you do not want to miss the Night of Fright that will be rocking the Center for the Arts. Costumes, Starving Artists brews and food- what more could you ask for to kick-off your haunted fun?

4. Crane Wives @ The Mitten Bar

The Mitten Bar welcomes to their live music stage The Crane Wives. Kick-off the weekend of fright and fun with brews and beats at The Mitten Bar starting at 9pm. Costumes are encouraged!

5. Run For Your Lives 5K + 1 Mile Kids Run 

Grab your costumes and your running shoes and kick-off Halloween by taking part in the Run For Your Lives 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run on Saturday, October 31. Race steps-off at 10:30am.

10433214_10152779497368794_3520567816217206391_n6 . Downtown Ludington Trick-or-Treating & Costume Parade 

Parade your costume through downtown Ludington beginning at 1:30pm before downtown Trick-or-Treating begins. From 2-4pm downtown Ludington businesses invite families to come trick-or-treating and shop along the way.

7. Halloween Crafts and Trick-or-Treating @ Sandcastles Children’s Museum 

Sandcastles Children’s Museum will be open from 9:30am-3pm to children to play and let their imaginations run wild. Kid’s can take part in Halloween crafts before and during Downtown Ludington trick-or-treating.

10350538_10153225753854918_2910463310768582449_n9. Pumpkin Destruction @ Lewis Farm Market

When the Halloween fun is over, bring your pumpkins to Lewis Farm Market on November 1 from 10am-5pm for the ultimate pumpkin destruction! Watch as your pumpkins are dropped from a crane and crushed underneath the tires of monster trucks!

We wish you luck making it out of Pure Ludington alive this haunted weekend! Don’t forget to share your haunted fun with us on Instagram using the hashtag #pureludington or post them to our Facebook page

4 Reasons Not to Miss Octoberfest in Ludington this Weekend

In partnership with Bell’s Brewery, Downtown Ludington hosts their 3rd Annual Octoberfest Music & Craft Beer festival this weekend, October 9 & 10 in downtown Ludington. Here are 4 reasons you don’t want to miss out on this fall favorite: 

1. VIP Beer School hosted by Bell’s Brewery. Kicking off the weekend is an exclusive Bell’s Beer School offered to VIP ticket holders on Friday evening at 7pm. VIP ticket holders will get schooled by Bell’s on the brews being offered at the next day at the festival, all the while enjoying samples!

2. The Music. While the beer is great, the music will definitely take the main stage at the event. Headlining the music festival is national touring band, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. The rest of the lineup includes heavy hitters like Levi Britton, Afro Zuma, K Jones & The Benzie Playboys and Awesome Distraction.

3. The Beer. Octoberfest is brought to you in partnership by Bell’s Brewery from Kalamazoo, which means you will have access to not only some of your favorite Bell’s beer, but also a few brews you can’t find in stores.  If you are a Bell’s Brewery fan, be sure to check out the tap takeover happening at The Mitten Bar on Friday and Saturday. 

4. Food, food and more food. Saturday you can kick-off the day at Barley & Rye’s Boozy Breakfast and Bloody Mary bar. The official Octoberfest activities begin with the downtown chili walk at 12pm, where downtown Ludington businesses will be facing-off against each other and offering festival goers samples of their best chili. There will be stations throughout downtown for you to vote for your favorites. And if that wasn’t enough there will be BBQ, hot dogs and more at the entertainment for eating enjoyment!

5. Fun for the whole family. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the kids. From 12-3pm on Saturday, families can stop by the North James Street Plaza in downtown and enjoy kids art activities, pumpkin decorating and baby badger rides! Don’t forget to snap a photo on the harvest wagon in the plaza and tag us on Instagram using #pureludington.

Be sure to check out for great places to stay while in town for the festival and some ideas to enjoy the fall colors and activities while visiting the area.

For more information on the Octoberfest Music & Craft Beer Festival, you can check out their Facebook Page or their website. Tickets are available online and at the door. General admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $40.

Season of Savings and Adventure this Fall

couple walking fall

As the sun sets on Summer, deals are heating up in Pure Ludington this Fall. We aren’t talking small sales either. We are talking 50% off your second night stay at a dozen hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts in the Ludington Area. Too good to be true? No way!

Ready to book your trip? Check out one of these participating properties and mention the 50% Off Fall Special at the time of reservation.


This deal is only valid now through October 28, so act fast and make plans to getaway to Pure Ludington this Fall! Don’t forget to tag your photos #pureludington!

Explore more of Pure Ludington by clicking here or call 800-542-4600 to request a free travel guide.