When planning your vacations for the year, you don’t want overlook Ludington on the coast of Lake Michigan. The natural and cultural amenities of this small, coastal town are not to be missed -- no matter which season you are traveling.
We’ve compiled what we think are the Top 10 Reasons You Should Visit Ludington this year:
1. The water
The vast, unsalted Lake Michigan is stunning throughout all seasons. But it’s known particularly for its magnificent salmon population. The city hosts the Ludington Offshore Classic/Big Boys Fishing Tournament every July, and participants never cease to brag about their prized catches. Catch a trip across the Big Lake during a relaxing cruise on the S.S. Badger Carferry, arriving in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Or continue to enjoy the water and its sugar sand beaches at Stearns Park or the Ludington State Park. The area’s inland lakes and rivers are also popular havens for fishing, paddling and other watersports.
2. Craft beer
Two breweries in Ludington have been quickly made famous for serving up some of the best Michigan craft beer! Ludington Bay Brewing Co. and Jamesport Brewing Co. offer house-made brews on tap and have menus of delicious food to add to the experience of visiting their tasting rooms. The Mitten Bar in Downtown Ludington is also known for its wide selection of craft beer, wine and spirits from around the state. All three local pubs feature regular, live entertainment and special events to promote the community gathering together. Ludington is also home to Suds on the Shore and the Pure Ludington Brrrewfest craft beer festivals, where hundreds flock each year.
3. Town festivals
Ludington residents find many ways to revel in the holidays and celebrate the seasons. It boasts the largest New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Western Michigan and celebrates the Fourth of July with a bang during the Freedom Festival parade and fireworks. Residents and visitors love to gather in the summertime for Rhythm & Dunes Concerts and Sunset Beach Bonfires. Summer also brings Friday Night Live, when the downtown streets are closed for games, music, food and fun.
4. Ludington State Park
This 5,300-acre park nestled between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan is an icon for any vacationer. It has 360 campsites, 21 miles of hiking/biking/skiing trails, a river for fishing or floating, sand dunes, two beaches and a beach house. Complete with educational, nature programs, this park cannot be rivaled. The weekend of May 10-12 marks the 100th Anniversary of Michigan State Parks, so make your plans to be part of this special celebration on the park’s reservations website.
Historic beacons of light attract many visitors to Ludington each year. The Big Sable Lighthouse has been recognized as the most scenic in the area, and enthusiasts either walk or ride a bus to the state park landmark to climb to the top for amazing Lake Michigan sights. The Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse at Stearns Park is another popular spot for tourists and locals alike. It’s a common activity to enjoy an evening stroll on the pier, ending at this place famous for destination photos. Big Sable is open May-October, and the Ludington North Breakwater Light is open May-September. The lighthouse keepers association has stamps available for those who are keeping track of their lighthouse visits.
6. House of Flavors ice cream
Both iconic and delicious, there is nothing like a hand-dipped House of Flavors ice cream cone in the summer - or any time for that matter. There are a multitude of flavors from which to choose, notably Michigan Pothole and Blue Moon. You can’t miss this popular spot when in Downtown Ludington. Dine in or lick your cone outside on a warm evening.
7. The Buttersville Peninsula
On the south side of Ludington, a small peninsula between Pere Marquette Lake and Lake Michigan displays some of the most beautiful scenery, any time of year. The 60-site Buttersville Campground is right on the big lake, and campers can simply walk down a set of stairs to enjoy the beach. A daytime park/beach, where dogs are allowed, is located just passed the campground, and the peninsula also offers a boat launch on PM Lake and a pier on Lake Michigan.
8. A Vibrant Downtown
Visitors to Ludington will not want to pass over the downtown streets, lined with small businesses and restaurants to suit your fancy. Here you can find clothing, home goods, bicycles, shoes -- as well as homemade food, locally made craft beer, wine and coffee. During the summer months, James Street Plaza is host to a Thursday evening live music set and a Friday farmers’ market. After a visit downtown, head to the beach to watch the S.S. Badger carferry makes it way in and out of the harbor, just a short walk from downtown Ludington.
9. Cultural Activities
If you are a history buff, check out Historic White Pine Village, and take a tour through the 29 museum buildings and sites from the past. Want to see some of Ludington’s rich maritime accounts? Visit the Ludington Maritime Museum, and you will discover how Ludington has roots in lumbering, carferries and fisheries. The area also hosts a number of cultural trails, including one which leads you to lumbermen’s estates of the past.
10. Golf courses
Hit the greens with your favorite foursome at any of our local golf courses: Hemlock Golf Club, Lakeside Links or Lincoln Hills. Sculpted from natural landscapes, these Ludington locations offer affordable options for a sport conducive to all ages and abilities. All are close to Lake Michigan and Downtown Ludington.
Choose one, several or all of these Top 10 reasons, and make Ludington your vacation retreat this year! Start planning now at www.PureLudington.com, and be sure to check our great travel deals and specials available here. Share your vacation photos with us using #PureLudington.