Planning a trip to Ludington, Michigan in the summer? Join the club of travelers surrounded by the Lake Michigan Shoreline’s most treasured sights and gorgeous beaches. Ludington is a city that blends small-town tradition with delightful openness that welcomes new experiences. You’ll have home-brewed beer from generations, yet you can always order a playful new taste, like a Peach Berliner Sour at the Ludington Bay Brewing Co.
But if you’re looking to go back to the basics, you need to look to nature. For us, that’s the shoreline. That’s why we’ve built our Waters Edge Suites in locations that deliver uninterrupted, gorgeous sites of Ludington sunsets and horizons.
Speaking of the sun, we’ve got a few recommendations on how to best enjoy it while you’re in Ludington: the beaches. Relax, lay back, and marvel at the crystal-clear waters forever ebbing and flowing against West Michigan’s sands.
Once you’re done? Head on back to your home away from home, pour a glass of wine and watch the sunset with your loved ones.
Here are our favorite beaches in Ludington for you to fill your vacation itinerary.
1. Ludington State Park Beach
- Location: 8800 M-116, Ludington, MI
- Best for: Seeing the famous sugar sands and sand dunes.
You can’t plan a visit to Michigan’s West without including a trip to Ludington State Park. There’s something so serene about the park’s Big Sable Point Lighthouse, channeling the region’s nautical history against the ever-changing colors of the sky throughout the day.
Then, there’s the main beach. The perfect place to swim, kayak, paddle board, fish — take your pick. Just make sure to get here early to avoid the crowds, as the sugar sands and sand dunes make it one of the most popular destinations in Ludington. PS: the sand aren’t actually made of sugar. It’s just named sugar sands for its fine, powdery consistency.
As for lunchtime eats? Our rentals have fully stocked kitchens for you to make a delectable lunch and have a picnic. But if you’re in a pinch, the park has endless concession stands with snacks and ice cream to hold you over with a little sweetness.
2. Hamlin Lake Beach
- Location: Free Soil, MI
- Best for: Weed-free swimming; Hamlin Lake Dam; ducks.
Traveling with kids? Hamlin Lake Beach is a must-see on your Ludington vacay. Why? For starters, it’s one of the few with a dedicated playground and picnic shelter. Plus, the beach has dedicated weed-free swimming areas, which are a breath of fresh air amidst all the duckweed in even the most beautiful beaches on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan.
You’ll also enjoy a touch of history during this trip. A short walk from the shoreline takes you to the Hamlin Lake Dam, which decades previous, lumberjacks constructed to catch falling trees.
Don’t forget your binoculars to catch some wildlife sightings. You could meander to the park’s canoe pathway and catch a glimpse of some mallards and wood ducks. So cute!
3. Buttersville Park Beach
- Location: 1100 S Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI
- Notable feature: Dog-friendly beach; lots of unique rocks in the sand.
Hoping to bring your furry best friend to the beach with you this summer? Look no further than Buttersville Park. Located high up on a bluff between Lake Michigan and Pere Marquette Lake, Buttersville Park offers a stunning view of the waters below. We’ve also heard from our family clients that their kids tend to find tons of fun rocks, prompting games of scavenger hunts to keep them occupied!
Entertaining for kids? Check. Then, there’s your pet!
If you take the steps down below, you’ll find yourself on an expansive stretch of dog-friendly beach — the perfect place for you and your fuzzy pal to play and goof around in the water. After playing down in the water, head back and use the grills. Oh yes, you can have your very own BBQ in this beautiful, idyllic area with your family and friends.
4. Waterfront Park
- Location: 391 S William St, Ludington, MI
- Notable features: Dry fun at the beach; walking distance to great restaurants.
While not exactly a beach, Waterfront Park is a local favorite on both Lake Michigan and Pere Marquette Lake. Right at the edge of Downtown, this lovely oasis is within walking distance of one of the many restaurants, breweries, or attractions around.
Now, this isn’t really a beach. Most people don’t strip to their bathing suits and catch the sun’s rays on any sand. But nonetheless, you’re by the water with access to lovely gazebos and greenery to hang out and spend time with your loved ones. If you have a more high-maintenance traveler that isn’t into sand stuck in her sandals or getting her hair wet — this is the place to go.
Next stop? Maybe a couple of rounds at a golf course, or Jaycee’s Mini Golf. Or if you’re hungry or need to use the restrooms, how about a snack at a Ludington favorite: House of Flavors, brimming with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors like Pistachio almond. You can also grab a savory Monte Cristo sandwich if you’ve worked up an appetite!
5. Stearns Park Beach
- Location: 420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI
- Best for: Big groups; ferry views; accessibility.
Bring on the family reunions, large friend groups, and triple-date vacation parties to Stearns Park Beach. Why? Because it’s the largest beach in Ludington, with an impressive 2,500 feet of shoreline!
Plus, you can catch views of the S.S. Badger Michigan Carferry, a massive ship that has ran from Manitowoc, WI, to Ludington for over fifty years.
Along with your regular beach activities, like swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more, you can also see the North Breakwater Lighthouse, which was voted Michigan’s #1 Lighthouse!
Stearns Park Beach is highly accessible and is great for those using wheelchairs or pushing strollers with their accessible walkways from both the north and the south concession stands, and one right in the middle of the beach.
Soak Up the Sun in Ludington
So, which is the best beach in Ludington? We can’t tell you. You’ll have to get out there and experience each one for yourself. While you plan your itinerary, skim through our notable features for each beach to help you figure out the best beaches for your trip.
But honestly, you’ll have a blast at every beach you pick. Boasting scenic lighthouses, sandy beaches, and mesmerizingly clear waters, you can’t go wrong each day of your vacay here. After your time at the beach, shower off at your lovely beach house vacation rental and get ready to hit the town for drinks and dinner. Ready to plan your Ludington vacation? We’d be delighted to host you at Waters Edge Vacation Rentals. Book your Ludington vacation home today!