Events at Ludington State Park

Photo by: Steve Begnoche

Activities the Whole Family Will Enjoy at Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park Summer Weekly Programs From June-September

There’s always something interesting going on at the Ludington State Park during the summer. A variety of special summer programs are offered that are both educational and fun. Most programs are suitable for all ages, so bring the entire family and enjoy!

Summer Guest Presenters at the Ludington State Park from June-August

There’s no better place to be in the summer than at the Ludington State Park. In addition to camping, tubing, hiking, biking, and fishing- the State Park offers special summer programs that are both educational and fun. Don’t miss the unique experience of enjoying an evening of live music in the open-air amphitheater surrounded by the natural beauty of the Ludington State Park. You may even see wildlife come close to listen as well. These events are made possible through money raised by The Friends of the Ludington State Park.

Programs are held in the State Park Amphitheater on Wednesdays and Saturdays (unless noted otherwise) and begin at 7pm. Updates are posted on Bulletin Boards located throughout the State Park.

Here’s the schedule of guest presenters for 2021:

June
22 – Mike Lenich
26 – Lee Murdock
29 – Chris Vallilo at Lake Michigan Beach House

July
3 – Chloe Kimes at Lake Michigan Beach House
6 – Eric Engblade
10 – Live Birds of Prey
13 – Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians, afternoon at Lake Michigan Beach House, evening at Amphitheater
17 – Road Less Traveled
20 – Uneven Ground
24 – Ben Bedford
27 – Jim Key
31 – Hicks with Picks

August
3 – Awesome Distraction
7 – Live Birds of Prey
10 – Canopy Space
17 – Magic of Kevin
24 – Salt City Dixie Jazz Band
31 – Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians, afternoon at Lake Michigan Beach House, evening at Amphitheater

The Big Sable River flows into Lake Michigan during a colorful sunset at Ludington State Park. | Todd & Brad Reed Photography

Below are weekly programs that have previously been scheduled:

Stay tuned as we update this information as it becomes available.

Thursday

Park History Walk, 10am, Hamlin Dam.
Michigan Mammals, 2-4pm, Lake Michigan Beach House.

Friday

Invasion of the Water Aliens, 2-4pm, Lake Michigan Beach House.
Arrows Away, 6-8pm, Archery Range behind Amphitheater.

Saturday

Craft Adventure, 10am, Cedar Campground Host Site.
Live Michigan Reptiles, 3-5pm, Lake Michigan Beach House.
Live Snakes Presentation, 7pm, Amphitheater.

Sunday

Michigan Sand and its Dunes, 2-4pm, Lake Michigan Beach House.
Tour Through the Night Sky, sunset, Lake Michigan Beach House.

Here are details on the summer programs listed above:

The Ludington State Park arranges several special guest presenters who offer a variety of programs during the summer months. These include programs featuring musical performers as well as informational subjects including fishing and flintknapping.

Here is what has happened in the past. Watch the weekly program flyers posted throughout the Park’s bulletin boards for more programs.

“Kayaking 101”
Meet at the Hamlin Dam to join Brent and Amy, owners of River Run Canoe Livery in Scottville for an introduction course in kayaking. They will teach you how to choose and use a kayak, and participants will take a short kayaking trip with them. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. A limited number of kayaks will be available by signing up at the park headquarters.

“Live Birds of Prey”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Jamie Krupka from the Outdoor Discovery Center of Wildlife Unlimited returns 5 times this summer to present his outstanding program on “Live” Birds of Prey! This is a must-see program for the whole family and one you will never forget! Mark you calendar and get there early!

“Captain Clark’s Fishing 202”
Meet at the Hamlin Boat Launch area. Captain Ken Clark from Whitehall presents Fishing 202 for campers and visitors. Captain Clark is the 2011 Michigan Walleye Tour Team Champion and has a charter boat fishing business. Learn the secrets of walleye fishing; bring your chairs and learn from one of the best. Three lucky fisherman will be chosen in a drawing to go out on Hamlin Lake with Captain Clark after his presentation and fish for walleye.

“Bill Jamerson’s, True Stories and Songs of the CCC”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Bill will be bringing us stories and songs of the Civilian Conservation Core from 1937 to the present. Come hear how the CCC turned boys into men!

“Jim Miller’s, How did they do that?”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Have you ever wondered how to start a fire without matches? Have you ever wondered how Native Americans made a canoe from birch bark or, how to make a pair of moccasins. Jim will demonstrate how Native Americans did all this. You might even get to try your hand.

“Tim Grimm’s walking a fine line of Folk and Country”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Tim Grimm walks the fine line between Folk and Country, while maintaining a strong footing in tradition. Tim’s songs are full of the rural rumblings that have shaped his life, rich with descriptive details, and sung with warmth and intimacy. Tim has performed at many different venues and festivals across the United States.

“Flintknapping, the way people did it for generations”
Meet at the Warming Shelter and join the Michigan Flintknappers for day-long demonstrations on how Native Americans made tools from stone for thousands of years.

“Flintknappers Demonstration Day”
Meet at the Warming Shelter. Craftsmen from all around the Midwest come together this day at the Park to do live demonstrations on the ancient art of making stone tools. From arrowheads, axes, bows, to jewelry they invite you to see how they carve out these unique tools from rocks. Sometimes they will let you try your hand at it!

“Chris Vallillo’s, Midwest History through Historic Songs”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Award-winning folksinger Chris Vallillo will present a lively musical program for all ages using historic narratives, contemporary folk music and period folksongs to bring Midwestern history to life. Entertaining and fun for everyone!

“Lee Murdock’s, Great Lakes Lighthouse Legends through music”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Famous Midwest Singer-Songwriter Lee Murdock will be our guest for an evening of music and stories from Great Lakes maritime history. Lee’s songs wrap real life Great Lakes history in entertaining musical arrangements. Your chance to see and hear one of the best!

“Mark Dvorak’s, Old Songs and New People, American Folksongs for a Summer’s Evening”
Meet at the Amphitheater. Back for his 4th season folksinger Mark Dvorak will present a lively musical program for all ages. His singing is warm and engaging … Mark reminds us of how folk music becomes folk music. Mark puts pizzazz and humor, fine pickin’ and an obvious affection for the American tradition in his songs!

Ongoing Programs Throughout the Year

“Arrows Away”
Spring, Summer, Fall. 2 hrs, at Archery Range near Amphitheater.
Taught by certified USA Archery Instructors. Designed for beginners and families. This activity is recommended for ages 7 years old and up, and participants 15 and younger should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Safety is emphasized around the range at all times.

“Hook, Line, and Sinker”
Spring, Summer, Fall. 90 minutes, at Hamlin Dam.
This is a “learn to fish” children’s program, where participants will experience the fun of fishing through games and fishing in the river. Parents are required to accompany their child. Near the end of the program there is a fun fishing tournament to see you can catch the most Round Head Gobies, which is an invasive aquatic species that hurts the native fish population. Fishing equipment is provided free of charge, but for those 17 and older, you must have a fishing license, which can be purchased at one of the many sporting goods stores in Ludington.

“Lost Lake Canoe and Kayak Tour”
Summer. 2 hrs, at the Hamlin Beach House.
Join park staff for a fun guided boat tour through Lost Lake and along the Hamlin Lake shoreline. Hear about and see the unique features of these two inland lakes. Children under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Bring your own canoe/kayak or rent one from the Park Concessions. Rental boats are limited so reserve yours ahead of time.

“Exploring the Dunes”
Spring, Summer, Fall. 1 hr, Lake Michigan Beach House
Take a fun guided walk through the sand dunes to see and learn about this fragile environment. Experience the diverse and unique plant life and the ways animals adapt to this harsh environment. Discover the threats occurring in the sand dunes. This walk is mostly off-trail and can be strenuous.

“Night Sky Tour”
Spring, Summer, Fall. 2 hrs, begins at sunset, Lake Michigan Beach House.
While enjoying a beautiful sunset at the beach you can listen to the presenter prepare you for an interesting tour of the starry night sky. You’ll learn fun facts and tips as they lead you through the stars, planets and constellations. If conditions are good, telescopes are brought out for you to get an up-close view of heavenly objects.

“Michigan Geological History, the Proof is in the Rocks”
Spring, Summer, Fall. 1 hr, Warming Shelter.
Come join the fun as you discover the answers to previous life in the park. The answers are hidden in the rocks!

“Who Lives in the Forest & Where are the Trees Going?”
Year-round. 90 minutes, Warming Shelter.
This program takes you out into the forest dune lands to discover what is living out there and how the forest provides for their survival. You also get to see what good and bad changes have occurred among the trees as invasive species continue to attack the forest. It’s a relaxing hike under nature’s canopy!

“Park’s History, Walking Tour”
Summer, Fall. 90 minutes, Hamlin Dam or Lake Michigan Beach House.
Take a walk through Ludington State Park’s history as you explore the park for evidence of past eras. Your guide takes you to the 165 year old Logging Era ruins and cemetery; site of one of the earliest Life Saving Stations on Lake Michigan; an actual shipwreck on the shoreline; a “Pork Barrel” structure paid for by federal tax payer funds in 1912; and historic structures still being used from the earliest days of the building of Ludington State Park.

“Salmon Are Running”
Fall. 1 hr, Hamlin Dam.
Every year hundreds of adult Chinook salmon leave Lake Michigan to run up the rivers that feed into Lake Michigan. From mid-September through October, these salmon make the journey to spawn in the rivers. You will leave with a better understanding of how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources manages our water ways for a healthier aquatic environment.

“Autumn Color Hike”
Fall. 1 hr, Hamlin Dam.
Ludington State Park and along the Big Sable River host a spectacular rainbow of colors from late September through October. Join the park interpreter on a relaxing walk along the river to view and learn about this natural exhibit of colors. You’ll also learn about how the animals are getting ready for the cold winter months ahead.

“Guided Nature Walk on Snowshoes”
Winter. 90 minutes, Warming Shelter.
Snowshoeing is a fun activity, and the Park staff will lead you through an enjoyable guided nature work within the Ludington State Park. If you don’t own a pair, the Park lends out 50 pairs of snowshoes. Walks are held on Saturdays in January and February. No reservations are necessary but please call ahead for snow conditions.

AM Lakeshore Family Guide Ad

Winter Activities

Take a Guided Snowshoe Walk at the Ludington State Park in January & February

Looking for a great way to explore our winter wonderland? The Ludington State Park offers free guided snowshoe walks on Saturdays in January and early February, weather permitting so, think snow! These one and a half hour guided programs will take you past some of the most beautiful State Park scenery.

Visitors can bring their cross country skis and/or snowshoes to ski or walk a groomed trail through the Ludington State Park’s snow-covered forested sand dunes. The trail starts from the Warming Shelter. Bring a flashlight or headlamp for the 6pm walks. You can borrow one of the park’s snowshoes, but there are no cross country skis to loan out. Reservations are required and limited to the first 25 participants. 

Tired of skiing or just want to try something different? Come out to experience for yourself the fun and benefit of walking in snowshoes! Your guide will teach you how easy it is to put on and use this winter-friendly footwear. Snowshoeing can burn up to 750 calories in one hour of moderate walking! It’s also one of the safest winter activities around and can be enjoyed by anyone at any age.

A group treks through the Ludington State Park while wearing snowshoes. | Advantage Marketing Photo

Snowshoe Making Classes at the Ludington State Park

The Ludington State Park offers snowshoe making classes every winter. Classes are held at the Warming Shelter (unless otherwise noted) and are limited to participants 16 years and older. Instructor guide you through the steps to making top-of-the-line traditional wooden snowshoes that will get you through the deep snowfalls, and will last for generations. The cost for making a pair of snowshoes is $180, which includes the pre-formed wooden frames, lacing, high quality bindings, personal instructions and lunch. When you are finished, you have snowshoes you can use throughout the winter, or give them away as a unique gift. During the warmer months, you can display them as a decoration. Snowshoeing is inexpensive and a great way to burn some calories while enjoying the outdoors.

To make a reservation:
1) Go to the “Michigan Department of Natural Resources” website
2) Click on “Education and Safety”
3) Click on “Outdoor Skills Academy”
4) Click on “Ludington State Park”
5) Click on “Snowshoe Making Clinic for November 1st through 2nd”
6) Follow the directions to sign up and how to pay

A Michigan State Park Recreation Passport is required to enter the park and may be purchased at the park. Residents may also now purchase the $11 Recreation Passport when they renew their Michigan license plate at the Secretary of State office or through the Michigan e-store at michigan.gov/estore.

Stay tuned for information on Guided Snowshoe Walks and Snowshoe Making Classes in 2022!

For more information on programs and events at the Ludington State Park:

Camping Reservations (Michigan DNR): (800) 447-2757 or Ludington State Park Michigan DNR Reservations
Ludington State Park Local Office: (231) 843-2423
Concessions & Watercraft Rental: (231) 843-1888
Snowshoe Class Reservations/Special Programs: (231) 843-9261

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