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.