Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

Take a Step Back in Maritime History at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum!

Residents and visitors alike are invited to step back in the past and learn about Ludington’s rich maritime history at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum. Located in the former US Coast Guard Station, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum entertains, enlightens, and instructs.

Visitors can pilot the famed carferry Pere Marquette 22 into Ludington’s harbor, meet holograms of both Captains Nels Palmer and Wallace Van Dyke, and enjoy several interactive exhibits.

The museum is located in downtown Ludington, 2 blocks South of Stearns Park Beach.

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Within the Museum

The museum tells the story of Ludington’s rich maritime history and heritage with three floors of exhibits that cover lighthouses, shipwrecks, the Coast Guard, the Ludington carferries, the lumber industry, and much more. The museum features the two original Fresnel lighthouse lenses from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse and the Ludington North Breakwater Light. Visitors can look into the recreation of the captain’s cabin of Captain Wallace Van Dyke, who was the captain of the historic Ludington carferry, the Pere Marquette 22, and see a hologram of an actor portraying Captain Van Dyke talking about his life growing up on the Lakes and becoming a captain. One of the museum’s premier exhibits is the fully interactive pilothouse simulator, where you can experience driving the carferry Pere Marquette 22 into the Ludington harbor as it would have looked in the late 1920s.

A portion of the carferry exhibit. | Photo by Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.

S.S. Badger Carferry Exhibit

The third floor of the museum features an exhibit dedicated specifically to the S.S. Badger carferry. Though several exhibits in the museum tell the full story of Ludington’s carferry industry, the Badger itself continues to be an important historical and cultural icon of Ludington’s maritime heritage. The exhibit explores the history of the Badger from its time as one of the railroad carferries, through the present day.

The Armistice Day Exhibit

The Armistice Day Exhibit. | Photo by Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.

The museum’s newest exhibit, which just opened in May of 2021, is on the historic Armistice Day Storm of 1940.

On Armistice Day- November 11, 1940, three storm fronts collided over the Midwest, creating a massive storm that wreaked havoc throughout the upper Midwest area, and then struck Lake Michigan. 

The storm sped north along Lake Michigan, damaging dozens of vessels, and causing its worst destruction between Big Sable Point and Little Sable Point Lighthouses; grounding the carferry City of Flint 32 on the beach at Ludington, and sinking three large freighters. The Armistice Day Storm, as it became known, took the lives of 154 people, including 64 sailors on Lake Michigan.

This highly immersive exhibit will take you back in time to experience the dramatic events of the storm. When you enter the exhibit, 1940s parade music plays as you learn about the many Armistice Day celebrations that were taking place that morning, and visitors are introduced to the various vessels and topics that the exhibit follows throughout the storm. As you progress through the exhibit, the lighting changes to reflect the sudden and drastic change in weather as you learn the dramatic story of the storm and its many impacts. The end of the exhibit explores the shipwrecks of the vessels that sank in the storm and includes a mockup of a small submarine where visitors can sit and see underwater video of the shipwrecks.


General Admission:

  • Adults- $17
  • Seniors (age 60+)- $15
  • Children (4-12)- $11
  • 3 and under-  Free

Combo Tickets for Both the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum and the Historic White Pine Village:

  • Adults- $25
  • Seniors (age 60+)- $21
  • Children (4-13)- $17
  • 3 and under-  Free

Combo Tickets for Both Museums and the Historical Society’s Research Center:

  • Adults- $33
  • Seniors (age 60+)- $27
  • Children (4-13)- $20
  • 3 and under-  Free

Special Considerations:

  • Veterans and AAA Members receive $1 off all admission prices.
  • Admission to several special events is slightly higher.

Port of Ludington Maritime Museum

217 S. Lakeshore Dr.
Ludington, MI 49431

(231) 843-4808

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Experience the Activities and Attractions of Ludington!

The Baby Badger

A children’s flotilla that’s a miniature replica of the historic S.S. Badger carferry. Children get to ride in one of many “cars”.

Beaches & Parks

Ludington has many beautiful beaches and parks to explore. Enjoy a day on the shores of Lake Michigan or take in the scenery at a local park.

Ludington Art Scene

Ludington is alive with an array of artistic events that take place throughout the year. There’s music, photography, art galleries, and more.

Ludington Has Two Lighthouses!

Ludington visitors flock to the area to view our two majestic lighthouses, the North Breakwater Light and Big Sable Point Lighthouse.

South Bayou Park

Enjoy this small, relaxing park as an easy place to place your boat in the water or throw a line out to catch some pan fish for dinner.