There is a lot to discover during a visit to Ludington State Park. This state park is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
So what makes Ludington State Park so great?
Gorgeous Views From Every Angle
Let’s start with the views.
My family has been able to visit Ludington State Park several times over the years during different seasons and each visit is always beautiful and memorable.
The landscape at Ludington State Park is very diverse which is a photographer’s dream made up of 5300 acres of sand dunes, forests, wetlands, marshes, and beaches.
Ludington State Park is located between 5.5 miles of shoreline at Lake Michigan and 5,000 acres Hamlin Lake. The park also includes a 1-mile section of the Big Sable River.
Things to Do at Ludington State Park
You’ll find plenty of options when it comes to outdoor adventure.
Visitors can go fishing, hiking, boating, tubing, visit a historic lighthouse, enjoy walking paths/bike trails, and spend time on a beautiful beach.
Relax at Ludington Beach
The turquoise water will remind you of the Caribbean, nature’s only cruel joke is that it’s A LOT colder.
The good news is that you are not at the bottom of the food chain when you enter the water. You can also ride a few waves without a salty aftertaste in your mouth after a swim.
You have plenty of room to spread out on the 5.5 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan.
The sand is soft and you can enjoy a leisurely walk along Lake Michigan or climb and tumble down a dune.
Explore the Hiking Trails
There are 21+ miles of marked hiking trails located throughout Ludington State Park. You can walk through the woods or climb a sand dune or do both.
There are plenty of areas for fishing or just relaxing as you observe nature.
Take a Float Trip to Lake Michigan
Floats trips at Ludington State Park are really popular.
Lots of visitors start near the dam inside the park and take a few hour float trip that leads to Lake Michigan in inner tubes that are either bought or rented at the park.
Unforgettable Lake Michigan Sunsets
Sunsets by Big Sable Point Lighthouse located at the State Park are pretty incredible. You can also tour the lighthouse during the day for a small fee.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse
If you decide to walk to the lighthouse from the Ludington State Park beach be prepared to walk for a while. The lighthouse is open for tours from May-October.
It’s 2 miles each way and you cannot drive directly to the lighthouse. On select days there are buses that can transport you to the lighthouse for a fee.
You might also consider riding a bike so that you can get back to the campground faster when it’s dark. There are lots of great bike paths throughout the campground and you will most likely see deer along the paths.
Insider Tips for Visiting Ludington State Park
Here are a few additional insider tips from my sister in law who camps at Ludington State Park often.
- You can make reservations 6 months in advance and for the busy season and I would recommend that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot get a site if you didn’t plan 6 months ahead.
- Fishing is best on Hamlin Lake and the campsites in Cedar are the closest to Hamlin and Lost Lake.
- The first group of campsites are the ones located closest to Lake Michigan/beach.
- There is a beach on Hamlin Lake which is great if it’s cold on the big lake.
- Bring bikes, a boat, tubes for tubing down the river, and shoes for hiking.
Where to Eat Out in Ludington
- We go to breakfast at Old Hamlin restaurant. Their homemade bread is to die for and French toast is awesome. They have a breakfast buffet. It’s a tradition so we go there.
- House of Flavors for ice cream. The line is always long but it’s a Ludington tradition for many.
Additional Tips for Visiting Ludington
- In the fall the salmon run up the river and it is awesome to see. People still camp at the state park in the fall. The trees are beautiful in the fall.
- Stay more than a couple of days so that you can enjoy everything there is to do there.
- The park has a nice playground by the dock and a Skatepark close to downtown.
Camping Options at Ludington State Park
Does Ludington State Park Allow Dogs?
Ludington State Park does not allow pets in any water area used for swimming or wading, including Lake Michigan.
Pets are allowed on the Big Sable River (east of the highway bridge) and on Hamlin Lake (outside of the swim area) as well as other public park areas.
Dogs must not be left unattended and must be on a leash no longer than six feet and under the owner’s control at all times.
Learn More About Ludington State Park
You can find out more from the Ludington State Park website.
Ludington State Park is located at 8800 W. M-116, Ludington MI, 49431
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