Ludington Summer Bucket List

 Are you ready for a summer adventure in Ludington? We are here to help with your plans with our Ludington Summer Kickin' MI Bucket List! Ludington has so much to do in the summer including parks, beaches, lighthouses and great food. Lets go!

Ludington Bucket List

  • Visit Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park is a must visit while in Ludington! The park is 5,300 acres and includes the iconic Big Sable Lighthouse, which is also on our bucket list. Inside the park there are beaches, hiking trails, lakes, rivers, campgrounds, dunes and more. It is easy to spend a day or even an entire weekend inside of the park. It is a great place for paddle sports and if you don't have your own you can rent them at the park. We enjoy all of the options that come with this park and we will get into more details about some of our favorites coming up on the list! 

  • Visit Big Sable Lighthouse

Visiting Big Sable Lighthouse was an easy thing to add to our Ludington Bucket List as it is one of our favorite lighthouses. The lighthouse is 1.8 miles down a gravel (and sand) road that can be walked or biked. We have walked, biked and once, when the conditions were right, paddled to the lighthouse. Depending on the time of year, you can go to the top of the lighthouse and that is a bonus item on the bucket list! The views from the top are amazing and we highly recommend going to the top! 

The top of big sable lighthouse

  • Go for a hike 

There are many great trails to hike in the Ludington area. Ludington State Park offers a variety of great trails and in our latest vide we hiked the Lost Lake Loop. Other trails in the area include Cartier Park and Ludington School Forest, which are both close to downtown. Some of these trails also offer great biking opportunities.  

  • Visit the North Breakwater Lighthouse

Ludington offers not one, but two great lighthouses. The North Breakwater Light is located on the pier at Stearns Park Beach. When the conditions are right, a half-mile walk out to the lighthouse lets you get close to the lighthouse. We have walked the pier but during our recent visit we paddled out to the lighthouse to take it in from a new perspective. During windy conditions there are some great spots from shore to watch the waves crashing! Spending the day at Stearns Park Beach gives you this lighthouse as a backdrop for the day. 

Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse

  • Welcome the S.S. Badger

The S.S. Badger is an iconic coal-fired passenger steamship that calls Ludington home and travels between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The ship leaves Ludington at 9:00 AM and arrives back for the night at 7:00 PM. While watching for the Badger, you can see it standing tall out on the horizon as it makes its way into the dock. There are many spots along Lake Michigan where you can see the ship coming in including the piers, Stearns Park Beach and Waterfront Park.

SS Badger

  • Go for a paddle

Paddling is one of our favorite things to do and there are so many great options to check out to cross this off your summer bucket list. First off, there are multiple spots where you can get out on Lake Michigan. When the conditions are right, Lake Michigan is an amazing place to paddle! Ludington State Park and Stearns Park Beach offer great access points. To go along with Lake Michigan, there is Hamlin Lake, Lost Lake and the Big Sable River all at Ludington State Park. The Pere Marquette River offers a great winding river experience and also leads to Pere Marquette Lake. 

Paddleboarding in Ludington

  • Step foot in Lake Michigan
Here is an easy one! We enjoy swimming in Lake Michigan but taking a walk along the beach is also a fun way to cross this item off the bucket list. With so much Lake Michigan lakeshore, it is easy to find a spot to make this happen and spend some time on the beach. 
  • Cross the dam

A fun spot to check out inside Ludington State Park is the dam on the Big Sable River. This is a popular fishing spot and you can often see fish in the water or attempting to get upstream. 

  • Grab a coffee
We always enjoy walking around downtown Ludington and feel that this is best accomplished with a coffee in hand. Grab a coffee and head to Waterfront Park to walk along the path and check out the bronze sculptures that explain some of the history of Ludington while walking along Pere Marquette Lake. 
  • Eat dinner on a patio

Does anything say summer more than enjoying food and drinks on a patio? There are great options for patio dining in Ludington including Ludington Bay Brewing, Blu Moon, Jamesport Brewing and we also enjoy getting The Q Smokehouse for takeout! While we haven't been to every spot with a patio in Ludington, we will keep adding to our list!

Ludington Outdoor Dining

  • Get ice cream
Summertime means ice cream. This is maybe one of the easiest items on the bucket list. In our bucket list video below we went to the famous House of Flavors!
  • Catch a fish
We never claim to be great fisherman but we enjoy doing it! Depending on what you are looking for, there are options for crossing this item off the bucket list. There is a lot of great fishing opportunities at Ludington State Park, The Pere Marquette River or out on Lake Michigan. There are charter boats available as well. Maybe we will need to go out with a charter boat during our next visit!
  • Relax

Summer has to have some time set aside for relaxation, right? This can be accomplished by whatever you feel is right for you. We decided to play a game of shuffleboard at Stearns Park Beach. 

  • Watch the sunset

Last, but not least, is to watch a sunset! They are hard to miss while you are spending a summer evening in Ludington!

Ludington Sunset

Check out our full Ludington Summer Kickin' MI Bucket List video here!