Ludington State Park | Outdoorsy

Ludington State Park
Guide

Introduction

Resting on the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Hamlin, and the Big Sable River, Ludington State Park is the perfect RV vacation destination, with 5,300 acres of untouched natural beauty. Whether you want to enjoy aquatic recreation along seven miles of Lake Michigan shoreline or hike with majestic views of marshlands, hardwood forests, and sand dunes, you’ll love this escape to one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets. Lake Michigan is one of the Great Lakes that is home to sandy beaches and rustic islands. Hamlin Lake is a smaller body of water that covers 4,900 acres that can be used for swimming and boating. The Big Sable River runs right through the park, which is a great place for tubing and catching fish.

Ludington State Park is an oasis for hikers and bikers, offering 18 miles of scenic park trails. Avid anglers and boaters will love the limitless possibilities for fishing and boating, from canoes to rowboats. In the colder months, you can park your RV and go snowshoeing through a winter wonderland or ice fish in some of the best waters in the state. For history buffs, this state park offers several enchanting sites to discover, including an old lumber town and the beautiful Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which has been standing at 112 feet tall since 1876. If you want to get out of the RV and explore the rustic outdoors, go backpacking in the lesser-traveled areas of the park.

If you have extra time on your hands and want to explore the nearby forests then head over to Huron-Manistee National Forest, 20 miles west of the Park. There are numerous RV camping options to make use of as you explore the lakes, forests, and dunes in this area of Michigan.

RV Rentals in Ludington State Park

Transportation

Driving

Ludington State Park is easy to access off Highway 10 and M-116, just seven miles north of Ludington. Roads leading to the park have no restrictions, and RVers can enjoy the scenic drive with peace of mind. You will need a Michigan Recreation Passport to enter the park, which can be purchased on-site or with your next license plate renewal registration.

Once inside the park, several main roads will take you wherever you want to go within the park, from the beach to the campgrounds. The central area of the park around the Big Sable River, between the two lakes, is where most of the activities happen. You can park your RV here and spend the day walking around the park.

Parking

There are several convenient parking lots dotted around the state park, located at the Lake Michigan Beach House, the Hamlin Beach House, near the trailheads, and the campgrounds. RV spots are located in the parking lots, although they may fill up quickly during the peak season.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Ludington State Park

Campsites in Ludington State Park

Reservations camping

Ludington East / Pere Marquette River KOA

The Ludington East/Pere Marquette River KOA, nestled deep within the Manistee National Forest, is a camping dream. The area is known for its towering pines and clear streams along the beautiful Pere Marquette River. The campground, with sites both spacious and shady, can accommodate oversized motorhomes and trailers. Unique amenities at the campground include a swimming pool, movie nights, wagon rides, a petting farm and much more. The campground also has bike rentals available on-site. If you’d like to explore the area, the local tour shuttle makes multiple stops at the campground each day for your convenience.

Pines Campground

This beautiful pet-friendly campground is located on the western edge of the park, near the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. Pines Campground offers 95 sites for tents and RVs, featuring restrooms and sanitation stations. Fire pits and picnic tables are available for use near sites. Some sites have restrictions for RV and trailer length, ranging from 20 to 30 feet. You can choose from open sites or quiet shady spots. Electric hookups are available at most sites. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

Beechwood Campground

Beechwood Campground is a beautiful pet-friendly spot to stay overnight on the shores of Lake Hamlin. Ninety sites are available for RVs and tents. The RV and trailer length restrictions ranges per site from 20 to 40 feet. You’ll have easy access to a playground and the Coast Guard Trail. Amenities include sanitation stations and restrooms. Each site also has a fire pit and picnic table, and most sites have electric hookups. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

Cedar Campground

This pet-friendly campground is centrally located, with 107 spacious sites available for RVs and tents. Eight of those sites are available for tents only. Amenities at this campground include a sanitation station, restroom, and a playground. This campground is also closest to the park's concession store. You can enjoy easy access to the Coast Guard Trail. RVs and trailers can be accommodated with varying length restrictions per site from 20 to 35 feet. Electric hookups are available at most sites, and reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

Alternate camping

Private Campgrounds

There are a number of private campgrounds and RV Parks available in the area if you prefer to stay outside of the park. These private campgrounds will range in terms of amenities to fit your needs, from rustic to resort experiences. You might be able to enjoy wireless internet, cable TV, or a swimming pool while still being close to all the action in the park.

Jack Pine Hike-In Sites

If you are an adventurous backpacker, you may enjoy spending the night at Jack Pine Campground. There are ten remote, tent-only sites located on a one-mile hike from Pine Campgrounds along the hiking trail to the lighthouse. Whether you carry your bags or pull a wagon along the gravel path, this is an easy hike to do. Toilet facilities are rustic, and there is no electricity available at these sites. There is a central water pump, and you are welcome to use the showers available at the main campgrounds in the park.

Seasonal activities in Ludington State Park

Off-Season

Photography

You’ll want to pack your camera when you take an RV trip to this beautiful state park in the winter. You can take awe-inspiring shots of the Big Sable Lighthouse covered in snow or the icy waters of Lake Michigan. Thanks to its location, the lighthouse makes a great spot for sunset photos. You’ll love exploring 5,300 acres of open wilderness to find the best winter shots for your photo album. Whether you're into hiking or prefer to find a quiet spot to capture the natural beauty, you'll find ample opportunity to use your camera at this park.

Winter Hiking

Make sure you bundle up when you step out of your RV and hit the trail in the colder months. Ludington State Park is open year-round so you can still enjoy over 18 miles of hiking trails through snow-topped forests and sand dunes. The trails are a lot quieter in the winter months but the chance of spotting woodpeckers, eagles, ducks, and geese are good.

Snowshoe Making Classes

If you’re looking for a fun-filled activity the whole family can enjoy during your trip to Ludington State Park, attend a snowshoe making class. You’ll be guided by an expert to weave your own pair of traditional wooden snowshoes. If the weather conditions are right, the class often includes a short snowshoe walk as well. The cost of the class includes all of the materials you’ll need. These engaging classes take place in December and January.

Guided Snowshoe Walk

Ludington State Park is a perfect winter RV destination, when the lighthouse is covered in snow and the marsh is dressed in white. You can explore this winter wonderland by snowshoeing on your own or by taking a free guided snowshoe walk. Held on Saturdays in January and February, these walks will take you through snow-covered sand dunes and forests and ends at the cozy warming shelter. The park also offers lantern-lit walks along a nearly one-mile trail starting at the Warming Shelter. They even have snowshoes available for use on these walks if you don't have any of your own.

Ice Fishing

Make sure you pack warm clothes because you can spend a thrilling day ice fishing on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Hamlin. Ludington State Park is an excellent place to park your RV and head on over to the waters during the cooler months to hook your bait for some native Michigan fish. Throughout the winter months, you'll be able to catch a variety of fish on Hamlin Lake, including walleye, bluegill, crappie, northern pike and perch.

In-Season

Summer Programs

Fun and educational programs for the whole family are on offer all year round at Ludington State Park. During the peak summer months, they happen more regularly and include walks and talks about the wildlife and the natural history of the park from knowledgeable experts. Explore the night sky, get close to the reptiles, and try your hand at archery if you're up to the challenge. On selected evenings musicians perform in the open-air amphitheater where you can relax under the stars after a day of fun in the park.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a sight you won’t want to miss during your RV trip to this Michigan state park. The lighthouse is a 1.5-mile walk behind the Pines Campground. From May to October, you can tour this beautiful lighthouse to learn about its history and architecture. This 112-foot tall beacon has been shining its lights on the open waters since 1876. If you're energetic enough to climb the 130 steps to the top of the lighthouse you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views over the lake.

Swimming and Boating

If you’re up for some aquatic adventure, an RV trip to Ludington State Park is a must. You can swim or suntan along the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. If you’re into boating, you can rent a canoe, kayak, rowboat, or paddleboat and cruise on the waters of Lake Hamlin. You can even enjoy a quiet journey tubing down the Big Sable River. On a windy day, you may even be able to catch a wave or two!

Fishing

Make sure you pack your fishing gear in your trailer when you make a trip to Ludington State Park. With three large bodies of water to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities to catch some fish. There is a wide variety of fish swimming in these waters including salmon, steelhead, tiger muskie, northern pike, walleye, large mouth bass, and bluegill. You can check the weekly fishing report before heading outdoors if you want to know what fishing conditions are like at the time. If you'd like to go out on the lake but don't have your own boat you can rent one at the beach house on Hamlin Lake.

Hiking and Biking

Ludington State Park is a haven for hikers, so if you want to get out of the RV and hit the trail you’ll be able to choose from over eight different loops. There are more than 18 miles of trails that will take you through majestic woods and over scenic dunes. If you prefer, you can bike while enjoying gorgeous views along the two-mile Bicycle Trail which runs along the Big Sable River. You can also enjoy bike riding along all the paved park roads and non-paved Lighthouse Road. Remember to look out for the information kiosks and trail markers along the routes - they provide interesting natural and historical information about the area.

Find the perfect campsite.