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Ludington Parks, Trails and More

Downtown Ludington has a casual vibe with art galleries, antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants within walking distance of the municipal marina and Stearns Park Beach. The waterfront community is a welcoming destination for weekend getaways and longer stays.

Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park has nearly seven miles of sandy beach on Lake Michigan, perfect for playing and relaxing on sunny summer days. Some visitors will park their cars along M-116 and walk over the dunes down to a section of the beach. Others will park near Ludington State Park's beach house, which has restrooms and changing rooms and is a short walk from the water's edge. Near the beach house, there is a sand volleyball court and benches, which visitors like to use for watching boats on the lake and the sunset.

Hamlin Lake borders the eastern edge of Ludington State Park. There is a small swimming beach on Hamlin Lake near the Beachwood Campground. Park visitors can rent a canoe and paddle along the edge of Lake Hamlin, the canoe loop is shown on the park map.

Ludington State Park has trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Bikes can use the paved trails, paved roads, and unpaved roads within the park. Cyclists can also us bike lanes on M-116 go to/from the state park and Ludington.

A biking/hiking trail from the Pines Campground travels 1.5 miles to Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which was built in 1867. The lighthouse is also accessible by walking 1.5 miles from the beach house along the beach on Lake Michigan. The beach route is very beautiful with views of Lake Michigan and sand dunes. You'll want to be in decent shape if you decide to walk the beach route since it can be very tiring to walk 1.5 miles one way on sand.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse is open for tours between May 1 and October 31. You can't drive to Big Sable Point Lighthouse, so you'll need to hike or bike to the historic site.

Ludington State Park has 355 total campground sites at its three modern campgrounds: the Pines Campground, Cedars Campground, and Beachwood Campground. Electrical service, shower facilities, and restrooms are available at the campgrounds. The state park also has a rustic campground for backpack campers. To make a campground reservation, visit the DNR's web site.

A state park vehicle permit is required for entry to Ludington State Park, and you can acquire a pass at the contact station when entering the park.

The Great Lakes Visitor Center is located at the state park and hosts weekly nature programs for school groups.

Downtown Ludington is located 3 miles south of the state park.

Stearns Park

With Ludington's largest beach, Stearns Park is one of the most popular locations in Ludington, especially when the temperature rises. The park has 2,500 feet of sandy, swimming beach on Lake Michigan. There's plenty of room to catch some rays, build a sand castle or play on the water. It's also a great spot to watch the sunset.

The park is a favorite for family fun. Kids enjoy the Jaycees Mini Golf Course and Skate Plaza, which has several challenging ramps for skateboards. Several picnic areas in shady areas are used for family reunions and other gatherings. A playground, shuffleboard courts, and concession areas are also located at Stearns Park.

Bike Route to Ludington State Park

Cyclists can ride between Ludington and Ludington State Park along M-116. Much of the route features a designated bike lane along M-116, and in other spots, you'll need to ride along the outer edge of the road. The bike route is very scenic when you get with the boundaries of the state park, which feature sand dunes on both sides of the road with glimpses of Lake Michigan to the west.

Park visitors can travel within the park on bikes to reach the campgrounds and the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.


Ludington Municipal Marina is located at 200 South William Street, near the channel to Lake Michigan. Transient and seasonal boats are welcome. The municipal marina features 152 boat slips and can accommodate vessels up to 150 in length. The marina is open from April 15 to October 15 and features a 900-foot-long seawall. The facility offers pump-out service, diesel fuel, gasoline, ice, water, electrical service, and cable television. Restrooms, showers, laundry, dog-walk area and fish-cleaning station are also available. For more details, call the harbormaster at (231)843-9611.

Private marinas in Ludington include Barnhart's Marina., Harbor View Marina and North Bayou Resort and Marina.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Kayaks and canoes can be launched near the boat launch at Ludington State Park, where paddlers can enjoy an adventure on Hamlin Lake. The canoe loop route along the shoreline and island features is approximately 4 miles long. The Cedar Camp Store at Ludington State Park's Cedar Campground offers rentals of canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and rowboats.


Fishermen come to the Ludington area to catch trout, steelhead and salmon. Fishing boats can be launched on Hamlin Lake from the state park's boat launch facility, near the Beachwood Campground. The Big Sauble River flows from Lake Michigan to Hamlin Lake, and fly-fishermen like to cast their lines on the river near the Hamlin Dam. After a thick layer of ice forms on Hamlin Lake, ice fishing becomes popular during the winter months.


There are two lighthouses in the Ludington area that serve as helpful landmarks to boaters in Lake Michigan and provide photogenic spots for others.

The North Breakwater Lighthouse is on the northern pier at the mouth of Pere Marquette Lake on Lake Michigan. The lighthouse is very close to downtown Ludington, and visitors to Stearns Park Beach enjoy walking on the concrete pier to and from the lighthouse. It's a half-mile walk (one-way) to reach the lighthouse. The pyramid-style lighthouse dates back to 1924 and has a steel structure. The lighthouse was built to withstand the large waves that pound the Lake Michigan shoreline during heavy storms. Visitors should NOT walk on the concrete pier when the waves are large or during a storm.

North of downtown at Ludington State Park, Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a towering structure that was built in 1924 and stands 112 feet tall. The brick tower has a cast-iron outer shell that is painted with black and white horizontal stripes. The lighthouse is open for tours between May 1 and October 31. You can't drive to Big Sable Point Lighthouse, but you can hike or bike to the historic site using trails at Ludington State Park.

More About Ludington

The S.S. Badger Car Ferry docks in Ludington and makes scheduled trips across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin during the summer. The ferry can accommodate cars, trucks, motorcycles and RVs.

East of downtown Ludington on US-10 and US-31, you can find additional eateries, stores, and hotels. Best Western Splash Park Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Ramada of Ludington are all located on US-10.

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