|Ludington State Park|
We returned to Ludington State Park in western Michigan for a quick weekend getaway. Our last visit was in the fall. You can read all about that trip here. This time, we had an opportunity to witness the summer season. Ludington is a ideal place to go if you are active and love the outdoors. There is so much to see and do.
|Dunes from the trail|
|Morning on Lake Hamlin|
|Ethan fishing off the dock|
|Morning bike ride to Big Sable Point Lighthouse|
There are three campgrounds in Ludington State Park suitable for the Airstream. In addition, there is a walk in primitive campground close to the lighthouse which I would try out if I were there long enough. The Pines campground is located just behind the dunes on Lake Michigan. We stayed there last fall and the kids loved it because they could climb up the dunes from our site and entertain themselves on the endless hills. The Cedar campground is further inland and has the camp store. It is close to a number of wooded hiking trails but a little crowded for my taste. The Beechwood campground is located furthest from Lake Michigan on the shores of Lost Lake. We secured a spot in Beechwood for this trip.
|Lucy loves the water|
|Jack preferred to sit on the deck and enjoy the view while enjoying a good book.|
Beechwood is a great campground for the kids. While it is crowded and a little tight for my taste, the attractions at Ludington are not the campgrounds themselves. They simply provide access to all of the natural beauty. This park was fully booked for our late July weekend. That is typical. We were camped near the boardwalk along Lost Lake and Ethan took every opportunity to fish. He hooked a small mouth bass right away and he became obsessed with catching more. He made a lot of friends on the dock. Despite the crowds and the density, the patrons are well behaved and quiet at night. Strangely, alcohol is allowed in this park and it isn’t in other state parks. I am not complaining, but it is odd. Perhaps, everyone lucky enough to secure a reservation realizes how good they have it.
Once you arrive in Ludington State Park, there is very little reason to leave. I could spend a week here if I didn’t have such ambitious future travel plans. We left the park once to check out Bortell’s, the local fried fish shack between Ludington and Pentwater. It was well worth it. They served up fried whitefish and perch with fries.
|Fresh and Local|
My days began early with my dog nudging me out of bed around sunrise. Maggie and I hiked around Lost Lake while Melizza and the kids slept in. Watching the sunrise over the lake in the morning is an inspiring way to begin the day. After our morning hike, I would drop Maggie off and jump on my bike to explore. Bikes were our primary mode of transportation and there are paths that lead from the campgrounds to the Lake Michigan beach house and the lighthouse. There were more hiking trails than we could tackle in our short trip. Thankfully, we will be returning in the fall.
|Maggie eyeballing the deer wading through shallows|
|Sunrise over Lake Hamlin|
|The kids walking atop the dunes after sunset|
We spent most of our time in or around the water. The beach on Lake Michigan was wide with soft white sand and clear water. I am always amazed how much Lake Michigan feels like the Atlantic Ocean minus the salt and seafood. We could not have asked for better beach weather. Once everyone woke up on Sunday morning, we went kayaking and canoeing on Lost Lake and Lake Hamlin. We took turns on the kayak which felt like driving a Ferrari after the canoe. I am going to have to figure out how to carry around a kayak because we all love exploring in the water.
|An island in the middle of Lost Lake|
As always, I could have used a few more days in Michigan. There are plenty of things to do within the park. Next time, we will be fishing for salmon in the very same river when the fall run begins. I also want to explore the coast between Ludington and Manistee which is one of the last stretches along Lake Michigan that I have not explored. Just north of Manistee, the scenic M-22 road begins and runs north along the coast up past Sleeping Bear Dunes. If we get lucky, the fall colors should be spectacular. Perhaps I will stay longer next time. For now, I will remember the sun setting over the lake and remember the good times with my family.
|Me and my Lucy bear|