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Ludington State Park

West Coast/Lake Michigan, Michigan

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Ludington State Park

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  • Walking toward the historic beach house.- Ludington State Park
  • The volleyball courts at the Lake Michigan beach are very popular.- Ludington State Park
  • The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a great place to catch a sunset.- Ludington State Park
  • An early morning paddle on Hamlin Lake.- Ludington State Park
  • Enjoying the Ludington Canoe Trail.- Ludington State Park
  • The iconic dunes of Ludington State Park.- Ludington State Park
  • The Beach House and visitor center.- Ludington State Park
  • There are several informational displays in the Beach House.- Ludington State Park
  • Boardwalks over and along the Big Sable River provide access to the water for floaters and paddlers.- Ludington State Park
  • A typical site in the Jack Pines Campground.- Ludington State Park
  • Wildflowers bloom throughout the summer.- Ludington State Park
  • A wide variety of creatures call the park home.- Ludington State Park
  • A shelter along one of the hiking trails.- Ludington State Park
  • The Island Trail is not to be missed.- Ludington State Park
  • The park offers rentals for kayaks, canoes, and tubes.- Ludington State Park
  • The beach on Hamlin Lake provides a more sheltered swimming experience.- Ludington State Park
  • A typical site in the Pines Campground.- Ludington State Park
  • Mink can often be seen along the banks of the Big Sable River.- Ludington State Park
  • A porcupine feeds in Ludington State Park.- Ludington State Park
  • Sunset over the dunes.- Ludington State Park
  • Backcountry camping is available in the Jack Pines Campground.- Ludington State Park
  • The Milky Way over the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.- Ludington State Park
  • Amazing stargazing opportunities abound in Ludington State Park- Ludington State Park
  • The entrance to the park.- Ludington State Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Several adventures. Historic Lighthouse. Campgrounds.
Cons: 
Can be crowded.
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Region:
West Coast/Lake Michigan, MI
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Ludington State Park is a jewel along the Lake Michigan coast, featuring miles of sandy beaches, an inland lake, multiple campgrounds, and 18 miles of trails. Resting just north of Ludington and adjacent to the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, the 5,300-acre park feels like an endless haven for all things outdoors.

Three campgrounds offer tent and RV sites, restrooms, and showers, while a fourth hike-in-only campground serves tent campers seeking a more secluded experience. Beechwood Campground hosts 147 sites near the shore of Hamlin Lake, the Cedar Campground features 110 sites and the Park Store, and the Pines Campground hosts 98 sites and offers the best access to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The Jackpine Campground offers 10 tent sites, requiring a 1-mile hike or bike in. Sites in all of the campgrounds are often reserved months in advance via the Michigan DNR website.

Many of the trails in Ludington State Park are bike friendly, including the Big Sable Point Lighthouse Trail and the Big Sable River Trail. Hiking trails range from sand dune ridges, beach walks, and inland lake marshes. They are also popular in the winter with cross-country skiers and snowshoers. There are swimming areas located both on Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, with restrooms and concessions at each. The Historic Beach House on Lake Michigan was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was renovated in 2013 to include a visitor center with aquariums and several displays about the great lakes. There are also plenty of paddling opportunities and fishing opportunities, from the Ludington Canoe Trail to the Big Sable River float, and even an option to paddle to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan. A boat ramp allows for boats up to 22 feet long.

The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is listed on both national and state historic registers, and it is still used to aid navigation today. The 112-foot tower was originally built in 1867 and continues to be maintained by the Big Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association. Tours are available daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through October.

Visitors to the park will need to purchase a Michigan State Park Recreation Passport to enter. The annual fee is $11 for Michigan state residents and $32 for non-residents and provides vehicle access to 103 Michigan State Parks.

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(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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