Ludington State Park is one of Michigan’s most popular state parks, known for its sugar-sand shores on Lake Michigan, beautiful hikes to towering Big Sable Point Lighthouse and abundant campsites. Here’s what to do before the park partially closes for renovations, plus more details about the upcoming projects.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced several big projects at Ludington State Park—paving the park’s main road and Hamlin Lake day-use area parking lot, expanding parking and enhancing the entrance to help traffic and pedestrian flow. Most of the park will close Sept. 3, 2024, through July 1, 2025, while renovations are underway.
While the main entrance will be closed, there will still be accessible areas such as the beach along M-116 south of the fee area, the waterways, the north part of the park from Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, and some of the trails. For more information, check out this FAQ post by Ludington State Park and this Q&A with the park manager courtesy of Ludington Area CVB.
Before the extended closure, make sure to love-up your favorite spots and activities. Here are a few of our faves to get you started:
Rent a Track Chair
This all-terrain, off-road track chair can handle uneven trails, snow, sand and even water. Jennifer McDonald Murphy, whose husband used the Ludington track chair, shares: “I cannot begin to describe the feelings my family had seeing [my husband] truly happy for the first time in years. Driving along the beach he said, ‘I never thought I’d hear the waves again.’” Reserve a chair (free) by contacting the Ludington State Park office.
Photo by Dave Weidner
Trek to Big Sable Point Lighthouse
Sure, you could wait for the summer crowds, but why not enjoy a leisurely off-season hike to one of the most iconic lights in the North? No matter the weather, the two-mile sandy trek to Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park is well worth the Lake Michigan views (lingering snow and ice only add to the drama of the 112-foot-tall, black-and-white tower).
Photo by Dave Weidner
Paddle the Water Trail
Rent a canoe or kayak from Hamlin Lake Boat Rentals and paddle the four-mile canoe trail that skirts parts of Hamlin Lake that aren’t accessible on foot. The Ludington State Park Canoe Trail begins at the Hamlin Canoe and Concession and meanders 4 miles along the Hamlin Lake past marshy areas and a variety of wildlife. Great for novice paddlers. Bonus: Time it so your paddle ends with the sunset.
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Photo by Shelby Soberalski
Pack Your Tackle Box
Ludington State Park is often hailed as a fisherman’s paradise with an abundance of Hamlin Lake walleye, bass, northern pike, perch and bluegill. During the fall salmon run, fish attempt to jump over the dam on their way upstream, and spectators and fishermen often line the Sable River Boardwalk to capture the thrill.