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
When Traveling to Ludington Aboard the S.S. Badger
So you’ve just arrived in Ludington after a relaxing cruise across Lake Michigan on the S.S. Badger carferry. Now what?
If you brought your car, you’re all set to begin exploring the wonderful town of Ludington, including our beaches, lighthouses, and the Ludington State Park. You exit the carferry dock on South James Street, with six blocks filled with restaurants and shops. Continue on to Ludington Avenue, which begins from the east at US-10, and continues straight through downtown Ludington right to Stearns Beach, where you’ll discover Ludington’s North Breakwater Lighthouse, the Skate Plaza, and other great features of this charming community on Lake Michigan.
Transportation & Shuttle Services
If you have no transportation, certain lodging facilities offer free shuttle service. If you’re not sure if your hotel/motel/resort offers it, be sure to call them, as many will arrange pickup by appointment. There are also local car rental services and bus transportation listed below.
Lodging Near the Carferry
There are many places to stay near to the carferry in the Ludington area. There are hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, vacation and cottage rentals, and campgrounds.
Walk to Ludington Restaurants
Closest to the Carferry Dock, on South James St:
- Brenda’s Harbor Cafe
- Jamesport Brewing Company
- The Q Smokehouse
Restaurants in Downtown Ludington, Within Walking Distance of the Carferry Dock:
- Chef John’s Bakery & Cafe
- Cluck Bucket at The Port
- House of Flavors
- Old Hamlin
- Sportsman’s Restaurant & Bar/The Mitten
- Timbers Prime
If you have transportation or call for a ride, there are more restaurants east of downtown Ludington on the US-10 corridor.
Sights to See in Ludington
While you’re in downtown Ludington, be sure to take in the colorful murals that are found on the facades of many area businesses. Or spend some time at Ludington’s Waterfront Park, nestled between our two marinas. This beautifully landscaped area features nine sculptures, a playground, and plenty of tables and benches on which to relax. Stearns Park Beach is a wonderful spot to catch a sunset or walk out on the long pier to the North Breakwater Lighthouse. Ludington is a great place to visit, and it’s easy to get around. Also, check out one of Ludington’s newer attractions, the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum which is housed in the old Coast Guard Station right near Stearns Park. This museum will take you back in time to explore Ludington’s rich maritime history.
Communities Near Ludington
While you’re in Ludington, be sure to visit other nearby communities, each one offering unique activities. Take a thrilling dune ride at Silver Lake or stroll the sidewalks of the charming village of Pentwater. Families love to vacation at Hamlin Lake year after year, where cozy resorts dot the waterfront and you can enjoy fishing, swimming, or boating. The Victorian port city of Manistee has the 1.5 mile Riverwalk, the Manistee National Forest and the best in Lake Michigan charter boat fishing. If you like canoeing and kayaking, be sure to visit the Pere Marquette River, a National Wild and Scenic River.
For more information on the S.S. Badger Lake Michigan Carferry:
Ludington: 701 Maritime Drive, Ludington, Michigan 49431
Manitowoc: 900 South Lakeview Drive, Manitowoc, Wisconsin 54220
When you arrive at the Ludington carferry dock, it’s just a short walk to the downtown area.
More About the Lake Michigan Carferry...
Traveling to Ludington on the Lake Michigan Carferry? Here are some helpful hints for your arrival into Port Ludington on the S. S. Badger.
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.
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.