Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography
Ludington Has Two Lighthouses!
Ludington is known for many things but visitors flock to the area to view our two majestic lighthouses, the North Breakwater Light and Big Sable Point Lighthouse. Once used primarily as a way to guide ships into port, these are now historic structures that are beautiful backdrops to our Lake Michigan shoreline. Both lights are owned and maintained by the Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association and volunteers staff the lights during the busy summer season. There is a $8 donation fee for adults to tour the lights, and $5 for youth age 17 & under.
If you are within 200 yards of any Michigan lighthouse you can activate the foghorn. Just turn your marine radio to channel 79, then click five times in rapid succession.
Ludington's North Breakwater Light
Located at Stearns Park Beach, the North Breakwater Light is ranked as the #1 Michigan lighthouse to visit, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset or wave at the S.S. Badger carferry as it cruises out onto Lake Michigan. The breakwall leading out to the light is a popular venue for fishermen and those who enjoy walking the mile-long round trip. Originally built in 1871 and replaced in 1924, the light shines across nearly 20 miles of water, and its familiar horn warns boaters of impending bad weather. While at Stearns Park, enjoy the Skate Park, mini-golf, playground, shaded picnic area, and concessions.
2023 North Breakwater Light Tour Hours: 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday from May 23-September 3.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse stands proudly at the tip that juts out into Lake Michigan within the Ludington State Park. The black-and-white striped tower is listed on both the state and national registers of historic places. Take a tour of the lighthouse and visit the gift shop that is located in the original keeper’s quarters. The Ludington State Park was named the #1 state park in the Midwest and offers camping, hiking and biking trails, a dam, two beaches, and seasonal programs. Tube down the Sable River or take a relaxing canoe ride along the shoreline. The wildlife and natural habitat at the park are spectacular, and even when there are thousands of visitors, you can find a quiet trail to escape the crowds.
2023 Big Sable Point Lighthouse Tour Hours: from 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday from May 9-October 22.
Ludington Lighthouses & Stunning Sunsets
One of the best times to visit the lighthouses may be in the evening. We have some of the most gorgeous sunsets you’ll find anywhere. In fact, many people make sure they’re down at the beach to witness the golden orb sink into Lake Michigan. Check for the sunset times by viewing the sunset schedule.
S.S. Badger Facts
The 410′ S.S. Badger is the largest carferry to sail the Great Lakes, and can carry 620 passengers and 180 autos. It travels at roughly 18 mph to make the four-hour trip, with nearly 490 crossings per year. On board are 40 staterooms, outside deck, snack bar, video arcade, gift shop, TV and movie lounges, and children’s playroom. In 1997, the Badger was officially named a Registered Wisconsin Historic Site, and in 2002, was named Ship of the Year by the Steamship Historical Society of America. In 2009, the Badger was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior. And in 2016, the S.S. Badger finally gained its status as a National Historic Landmark- almost five years after Lake Michigan Carferry’s initial application.
It started with the Ann Arbor I in the early 1900’s, and 13 carferries later, the S.S. Badger still sails from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin from mid-May to mid-October. It is as symbolic to Ludington as our lighthouses, and a beloved sight to watch.
To Learn More About Ludington’s Lighthouses:
Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association
P.O. Box 673, Ludington, MI, 49431
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More Activities & Attractions in Ludington
One of the most popular state parks in the Midwest! Ludington State Park has four campgrounds, hundreds of sites for your camping pleasure.
Water fun in the Ludington State Park! Float down the Big Sable River, paddle Hamlin Lake water trails, launch a pleasure boat, or swim!
The Ludington State Park trails are as varied as they are beautiful. Hike or bike 18 miles of eight marked trails with information kiosks.
The black-and-white striped, 112 foot lighthouse at the Ludington State Park stands proudly on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The Ludington State Park holds multiple events for the whole family during the summer months. Don’t miss the live music and presentations!
The Hamlin Lake Beach within the Ludington State Park is fun for the whole family! With a dedicated, weed-free swimming area and more!
The Ludington State Park offers winter activities. With snowshoeing tours, cross country skiing, and natural beauty, it’s a winter paradise!
The beautiful Lake Michigan Beach House in the Ludington State Park is a two-story shelter with visitor exhibits, lounging, and concessions.
One of the most popular state parks in the Midwest offers a vacation within itself. Enjoy beautiful natural resources and endless activities.
The aerial view of Big Sable Point features Hamlin Lake, Ludington State Park, and Big Sable Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan.