The S.S. Badger Carferry is a fun and relaxing shortcut across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Ludington Has Two Lighthouses!
Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography
About the Iconic Lighthouses in Ludington
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. North Breakwater Light Tour hours are from 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday, May 28th-September 6th, 2021.While at Stearns Park, enjoy the Skate Park, mini-golf, playground, shaded picnic area, and concessions.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse
This 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. You can tour the lighthouse from 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday, May 10th-October 24th, 2021, or 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.
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.
More Activities & Attractions in Ludington...
The black-and-white striped, 112 foot lighthouse at the Ludington State Park stands proudly on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Arrive in Ludington by boat and dock at one of three marinas: Ludington Municipal Marina, Harbor View Marina, & Pere Pointe Village Marina.
Ludington visitors flock to the area to view our two majestic lighthouses, the North Breakwater Light and Big Sable Point Lighthouse.
The Barn Quilt Trail, highlighting the lost art of barn decor, is one of four trails that comprise the Mason County Cultural Trails.
The Ludington Pumped Storage Plant and Lakewinds Energy Park are the two main sources of energy that power Ludington! Check them out!
The Mason County Sculpture Trail was launched in 2012 and includes nine sculptures in Ludington, Scottville, and Fountain.
Disc golf is a big deal here in the Ludington area, with up to 20,000 people per year visiting one of our six courses.
No matter your experience level, Ludington area charter captains will guide you in what to bring and what to expect on the big lake.
The three accessible walkways installed at Stearns Park Beach in Ludington allow everyone to make their way to the water and sand.