A Beautiful State Park in Michigan That You Need to Visit

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?

Ludington State Park

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 on Hamlin Lake. The park also includes a 1-mile section of the Big Sable River.

Big Sable River at Ludington State Park

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.

beach at Ludington State Park

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.

beach at Ludington State Park

The sand is soft and you can enjoy a leisurely walk along Lake Michigan or climb and tumble down a dune.

sand dunes at Ludington State Park

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.

fishing at Ludington State Park

There are plenty of areas for fishing or just relaxing as you observe nature.

float trip to Lake Michigan at Ludington State Park

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.

photographer during sunset Lake Michigan

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.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park

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.

The Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park

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.

Ludington State Park

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.
Ludington State Park in Michigan

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.
kayaks at Ludington State Park

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.
cabin at Ludington State Park

Camping Options at Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park has 360 campsites total within three sections (Pines, Cedar, and Beechwood) and three mini cabins.
If you don’t have a camper or tent, the cabins on site are a great option.
I’ve stayed in the mini cabins and they are pretty basic with bunk-style beds that you need to bring your own bedding for. The cabin has electricity, a bunk bed on each side, and a picnic table and a fire pit outside.
There is no bathroom inside the cabin but the bathhouses are a short walk from the cabin.
deer at campground at Ludington State Park
The Cedar Campground includes eight tent-only sites that are located on a separate loop. The tent-only sites in the Cedar Campground do not have access to electricity but are within walking distance of the restrooms and showers.
For primitive backpackers, Ludington offers 10 remote tent sites along a 1-mile trail in the Jack Pine Hike-In-Only Campground.
There is no electricity and the toilet facilities are rustic. Showers are available at the Pines Modern Campground (seasonal and all equipment and supplies must be backpacked or bicycle packed into the sites.
Michigan has lots of beautiful campgrounds so you know it’s a pretty amazing place if Michiganders go there annually.
beach 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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Ludington State Park in Michigan

2 thoughts on “A Beautiful State Park in Michigan That You Need to Visit”

  1. Ludington State park is great. The Badger ship is in town and you can take that over the lake to Manatowac Wi. then drive across the U.P. come back down the bridge and go west along Mich. and back to the park. This will take a couple day to do but is a great trip.
    Also Muskegon State Park on the channel is another great park. Great camping, beaches, dunes, trails and walk ways. The park is on Lk. Mich. and the large Muskegon lake. There you can take the trip across Lake Mi. to Milwaukee and back in one day. Also the have a Sub. Museum.

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