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A Weekend Getaway in Ludington: From SS Badger to Sunset Views

Welcome aboard the SS Badger, setting sail from Wisconsin to your unforgettable weekend in Ludington, Michigan! As you embark on this picturesque journey, prepare for a blend of adventure, culinary delights, and the tranquil ambiance of Lake Michigan. Here’s your ultimate weekend itinerary in Ludington:

Your Trip Starts Aboard the SS Badger

Leaving Manitowoc, Wisconsin at 12 p.m. (CT), your Ludington adventure begins the moment you step aboard the SS Badger, setting sail from Wisconsin across picturesque Lake Michigan. This iconic ferry offers a four-hour journey that’s as relaxing as it is scenic. Onboard, you’ll find a variety of amenities designed to enhance your comfort and enjoyment. Unwind in the spacious seating areas, or stroll the decks to take in the expansive views of the lake. The SS Badger also features a snack bar, gift shop, and free onboard entertainment, ensuring that your cruise to Michigan is a memorable part of your weekend getaway.

Friday Evening: Arrival and Sunset Dinner

Upon your arrival from the SS Badger, kickstart your evening at Jamesport Brewing Company or Ludington Bay Brewing Company, which are both conveniently close to the dock on South James Street. Both are great spots to savor locally brewed beers, menus of pub favorites and unique offerings, and casual outdoor decks and patios to enjoy the evening air. From there, you can check in to a cozy lakeside hotel or a charming bed and breakfast. Ludington offers many walkable accommodations to downtown and nearby attractions.  

Saturday Morning: Adventure and Discovery

Start your morning with a delicious breakfast at Cafe 106, which offers a delightful breakfast experience, serving up homemade pancakes, hearty omelets, and freshly brewed coffee in a cozy setting. During the summer months, guests can enjoy their morning meal al fresco at the charming sidewalk cafe, soaking in the vibrant downtown atmosphere.

After fueling up for the day, and if weather permits, head to Ludington State Park. One of Michigan’s top state parks, this is a sprawling natural oasis, encompassing nearly 5,300 acres of scenic landscapes. It offers visitors an extensive network of trails covering over 21 miles, ideal for hiking, biking, and nature walks. The park also features diverse activities, from kayaking and fishing on Hamlin Lake to exploring sandy dunes and lush forests, ensuring that every visit is filled with adventure and discovery. Ludington State Park provides the perfect setting for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts.

If outdoor adventures aren’t your thing or the weather is not cooperating, great spots like the Sandcastles Children’s Museum and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum offer engaging and interactive indoor alternatives that are perfect for families. 

Lunch awaits at quick stops like Cluck Bucket or Keeper’s Fish Shack, both located along Legacy Plaza in downtown Ludington. Post-lunch, explore downtown Ludington’s quaint shops and galleries.

Saturday Afternoon: Beach Time and Historical Exploration

After exploring downtown, head to Stearns Park Beach, repeatedly ranked as one of Michigan’s top beaches. This expansive beach boasts a pristine sugar-sand shoreline and a host of first-rate amenities. Enjoy unique treats from the concession stands, like Mermaid Shakes and Snackleboxes, or partake in activities at the nearby skate park. The beach also features volleyball courts, a playground, and grassy picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and fun. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of the North Breakwater Lighthouse, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer. The panoramic views from the top are not to be missed!

Saturday Evening: Culinary Delights and Craft Beers

A great Saturday night includes Stix in Ludington, which offers a unique dining experience combined with delectable cuisine and lively entertainment. In addition to a diverse menu, visitors can enjoy a few rounds of bowling on the venue’s state-of-the-art lanes, or step outside to enjoy the Biergarten, perfect for unwinding with a drink and soaking up the local vibe and live music found during most weekends. 

Wrap up your evening with a true Ludington tradition: an ice cream cone from House of Flavors enjoyed while strolling to the waterfront, just in time to watch the SS Badger return to port against a stunning sunset over Lake Michigan – something Wisconsin doesn’t see.

Sunday: Leisure and Departure

Enjoy an early breakfast at Old Hamlin Restaurant before making your way to the docks. This downtown staple has been serving breakfast and homestyle dishes to locals and visitors alike since 1942, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking a taste of local history and hospitality.

As you make your way to the dock after breakfast, visitors can enjoy a final stroll along the waterfront, soaking in the peaceful views. As your weekend concludes, board the SS Badger with cherished memories of a delightful escape to Ludington.

Ludington invites you to embark on this captivating journey, where each moment of your weekend getaway promises a discovery, making memories worth revisiting time and time again.