The S.S. Badger car ferry has a long history and is the last remaining example of the Great Lakes rail/car ferry design.
Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography
The S.S. Badger Carferry Cruises Lake Michigan from Ludington to Manitowoc
Early on the morning of July 21st, 2023, the Badger experienced a mechanical failure of its ramping system that has resulted in the cancellation of the rest of the 2023 sailing season. Reservation teams are in the process of issuing full refunds for ticketed passengers.
For more information, please visit ssbadger.com.
Blending tradition with innovation, the S.S. Badger is the fun and relaxing shortcut across Lake Michigan- a spring, summer, and fall treat for the entire family. The four-hour, 60-mile cruise between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin has all the comforts of home and more. The 410′ S.S. Badger carries up to 620 passengers and 180 cars, tour buses, RVs, and semi-trucks.
Congratulations to the S.S. Badger on its status as a National Historic Landmark! Click here to read more about the history of this great ship.
Typical Sailing Times for the S.S. Badger Carferry
May 18th-October 9th, 2023*
- Leave Ludington 9am (ET)
- Arrive Manitowoc 12pm (CT)
- Leave Manitowoc 2pm (CT)
- Arrive Ludington 7pm (ET)
*Overnight sailings are generally offered from mid June to early September
Amenities on the S.S. Badger
Passengers will find spacious outside decks for walking or lounging, free movies and satellite TV, live entertainment, two restaurants, full cocktail service, shopping and staterooms for relaxing or sleeping during the cruise. Activities for kids include a video arcade, coloring contests, and kids’ playroom. During the fall, passengers can sleep on the Badger in a stateroom while the ship is at the dock in Ludington.
A trip on the S.S. Badger carferry is a vacation within itself! No matter which way you are crossing the lake, there are restaurants and shops within walking distance of the dock. You can even set sail from Ludington in the morning, and sail back in the evening! Remember, when you’re on board the Badger, there’s plenty to keep you busy, and staterooms are available. Many lodging facilities in both Ludington and Manitowoc offer free shuttle service to and from the carferry docks for those who choose to spend the night. It’s a fun and very affordable mini-vacation for your entire family.
Visiting Port Ludington, Michigan
The S.S. Badger’s home port is in Ludington, Michigan, at about the halfway point between the northern and southern tips of Lake Michigan. Ludington is a top vacation destination in Michigan due to the miles of beautiful beaches, first class fishing, and the Ludington State Park. The S.S. Badger docks just a few short blocks from Ludington’s vibrant downtown, filled with great shops, restaurants and galleries or visit one of our historic lighthouses. Ludington has plenty of lodging facilities, from hotels/motels and resorts to charming bed & breakfasts. Any time of year, there’s a fun event happening in the area, guaranteeing a great time for the entire family. Across Lake Michigan, the carferry dock is in Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Visiting Port Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Manitowoc, Wisconsin is a community of roughly 35,000, rich in maritime history, and is the lone Wisconsin port for the S.S. Badger carferry. Manitowoc was ranked #2 by Forbes Magazine for “Best Small Cities to Raise a Family.” The downtown area is within walking distance of the carferry port where you can shop, catch a movie, or dine in one of the local restaurants. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride or hike on the Mariner’s Trail, a seven mile trail that runs along Lake Michigan. There are numerous other things to do in and around the Manitowoc area.
Daily Cruises Across Lake Michigan
The S.S. Badger carferry travels across Lake Michigan between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan once daily during the spring and fall seasons. Once summer is underway, the Badger makes two round-trip crossings daily. During the overnight crossing, passengers can enjoy sleeping in a stateroom aboard the ship. Staterooms are available by reservation during each sailing. The number of staterooms is limited, so reserve early.
Crossing time from Manitowoc to Ludington is 4 hours.
If you don’t have the need to cross Lake Michigan, but still want to experience a cruise aboard the S.S. Badger, start small and take a Shoreline Cruise! It’s time to join in the festivities and celebrate this grand ship.
For more information on the S.S. Badger Carferry:
Ludington: 701 Maritime Drive, Ludington, Michigan 49431
Manitowoc: 900 South Lakeview Drive, Manitowoc, Wisconsin 54220
More About the Lake Michigan Carferry...
Where’s the best place to watch the S.S. Badger arrive or depart Ludington? Here are great locations for viewing the Lake Michigan Carferry.
Enjoy a variety of shoreline cruises with various themes on the S.S. Badger Carferry in both Ludington and Manitowoc.
The S.S. Badger Carferry is a fun and relaxing shortcut across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Traveling to Ludington on the Lake Michigan Carferry? Here are some helpful hints for your arrival into Port Ludington on the S. S. Badger.