Growing up in Ludington, MI, I couldn’t wait to get out. Everyone knew everyone's business and I grew tired of knowing the same people from Elementary and Junior High School through graduation.
Now that I've been gone for five years, I thoroughly enjoy going home to enjoy the beach and my favorite places to eat and shop. When I mention that I am from Ludington, people always applaud the beauty of this favorite tourist town. If you’ve always wanted to visit Ludington or are looking for a vacation spot this summer or fall, my insider tips are sure to give you a good mix of tourist activities and local favorites.
1. Jamesport Brewing Company. Every visit to Ludington seems to be jam packed with seeing family and friends, and often, I don’t have the time to visit every place on this list. I insist on making a visit to the Brew Pub every time I’m in Ludington. There is always a mix of locals and visitors and the micro brews are sure to make you come back several times during your visit. My personal beer favorites are: Apricot Wheat (in season during late spring and early summer), Blueberry Wheat (in season late summer) and Heffewizen (available year round). They even sell growlers (half gallon jugs) of beer to take home and enjoy. In the last five years, we’ve accumulated four growlers and we definitely get all four filled every time we are home in the summer. Since you might want to eat after trying all this beer, their Cheese Ale Soup in a bread bowl is a must. The Cherry Pecan Perch is a great appetizer and the Cherry Pecan Salad is delicious and also comes in a lunch wrap version as well.
2. Stearns Park Beach. I don’t remember a sunny, summer day between my freshman and senior years of high school when I wasn’t at the beach. With the perfect beach atmosphere and plenty of space, you can have fun with the kids in the water, catch up with friends, or enjoy a good book. When you want to cool off, take a walk out to the lighthouse. Even growing up in Ludington, I still love to walk out there.
3. Shopping at Craze. If you're like me, I can never visit anywhere new without visiting unique stores and boutiques. Craze, located 20 minutes south in Pentwater, is a place I have to visit almost every time I am home. Described best as an urban shopping experience brought to a small town vacation community, Craze offers a broad selection of unique and elegant styles by Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles designers.
4. Ludington State Park. Listed as one of the Best State Parks in Michigan, the Ludington State Park offers a variety of hiking trails that lead through multiple lakes and the dunes. I’ve walked along the lake part of the trails and taken some beautiful pictures! You can also camp, swim and take paddle boats. It’s definitely worth it to take the 2 mile hike out to beautiful Big Sable Point Lighthouse, you can even take a tour of it May through October. Nearby Hamlin Lake offers canoe and jet ski rentals for you to view this beautiful area. My super secret local tip about the state park is that the curves leading out to the state park offer great beach areas and if you’ve got a lot of baggage to carry down to the water, you can usually reach the shore in a short walk.
5. Wine tasting. By now you might have gathered that I love a good cocktail and I like to relax and have a good time when I go home. Krolczyk Cellars and Jomagrha Vineyards & Winery offer great wines without having to drive too far from Ludington. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to visit either of these places, but many of my friends who visit Ludington frequently say the wine is just as good as a Traverse City area winery.
6. Orchard Market. Some of my best memories growing up are making weekly trips to this local market with my grandparents to get the freshest fruits and vegetables. If you are camping at one of Ludington’s many campgrounds, this stop is a must to stock up on all the freshest food for your visit
7. S.S Badger. Last but not least, a trip to Ludington is not complete without a walk down to the marina where the S.S Badger is docked. If you can take a trip on the only coal fueled steamship in operation in the U.S across the lake to Manitowoc, the experience is even better. Originally used to haul railroad freight cars across the lake, this ship is now used to take daily trips across the lake. If you are lucky enough to be in town on the Fourth of July, the S.S Badger offers a shoreline cruise with one of the best views of the fireworks.
If there is another great experience that you’ve heard about in Ludington or you want to know where to stay, the Ludington Chamber of Commerce has all you need to know about visiting this beautiful beach town.
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Is your home town a great tourist spot? Do you go back home to where you grew up to take vacations? Tell us about what it is like for you when you go home.
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