A slice of Pure Michigan at Ludington State Park

My little traveling family has turned into quite the camping/hiking/outdoor-ing family. You may have noticed that this blog has taken on similar themes lately to chronicle our nature outings. Well, our last camping adventure took us to Ludington State Park in Ludington, Michigan, a park we’d been to before but never when it was NOT covered in snow. I thought the park was beautiful when we were there during the winter to snowshoe, and now I know it’s even more glorious in late summer.

The campground was quite crowded but it was a holiday weekend; we were expecting it to be packed. But with a view like this from our campsite, how could we complain?

Just beyond that tall grass is a boardwalk that is part of the park’s well-connected hiking trails, and beyond that is Lost Lake. The boardwalk is a great place to sit and watch the sun rise over the trees, and I did just that on my mornings there, with a cup of fresh coffee in my hand.

Ludington State Park is in a prime location, right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Lucia and I spent a good three hours playing together on the beach, and pretty much had the whole area to ourselves. On a Sunday. Of a holiday weekend. I was shocked that it was not more crowded, but I definitely was not complaining. There the Lake Michigan water is much cleaner and clearer than what I’m used to seeing in Chicago and inย Southwestern Michigan.

I mentioned the hiking trails… there are eight different trail loops, adding up to a total of 21.5 miles. The trails range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. My favorite is the Island Trail; it takes hikers along the boardwalk and over foot bridges to the various “islands” along Hamlin Lake. What really makes the trails awesome is that they connect at different points in the park. So, if you’re hiking a relatively easy trail and suddenly feel like you can conquer the world, you can hook up with a more difficult trail at an upcoming intersection. The trails are well-marked but remember: we’re talking about sand dunes here. It’s not Rocky Mountains-type elevation, but there are some inclines, and going uphill in the sand isn’t a cakewalk. If you do choose one of the more difficult trails, you couldย be rewarded with a private swimming hole like this:

Outdoor-adventure opportunities abound at Ludington State Park! Along with hiking and camping, visitors can also kayak and canoe…

…and go tubin’…

… and fishing…

Lucia caught a fish! And never mind the White Sox cap; it belongs to Grandma ๐Ÿ™‚

We all had so much fun and loved everything about Ludington State Park that we are talking about making it an annual trip. We already know we’ll be back in the winter for snowshoeing, but hopefully we can camp there a few times next summer. Just can’t beat that Pure Michigan.

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24 Responses to A slice of Pure Michigan at Ludington State Park

  1. D.J. - The World of Deej September 18, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Great stuff…you know, all these posts on Michigan are really turning around all my preconceived notions of your state. I think a visit just might be in order:)

    • Francesca September 22, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      I think so, too, Deej. Just don’t visit during winter, Florida boy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. butterflydiary September 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    I’ve been to Michigan quite a few times and love it there…especially Leelanau Peninsula. Your little one is SO adorable!!

    • Francesca September 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Thank you, Charu! She LOVES to go fishing. I am a big fan of Leelanau Peninsula, too! I also really like Old Mission Peninsula and, of course, the Upper Peninsula. I’ve got two trips to Michigan coming up next month – can’t wait!

  3. The World Wanderer September 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    This looks like my paradise! Hiking, camping, swimming! Really going to have to head out by you sooner rather than later!

    • Francesca September 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Please do, Erin! You’re always welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Raul (@ilivetotravel) September 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Maybe we need to do a tweetup up there – it looks beautiful! And I am glad Lucia caught a fish!!

    • Francesca September 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Thanks, Raul. You can’t really tell by the look on her face, but Lucia was excited to catch that fish, too. I’m all for a tweetup in Michigan. Just tell me when and I’ll get to planning!

  5. Kieu ~ GQ trippin September 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    I’ve never been but that looks like a great family vacation spot..

    • Francesca September 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      It really is a great spot for families. I’m looking forward to planning our winter trips up there!

  6. Margaret September 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    The photo with the fish is so sweet! I do agree that being outdoorsy is a great way to go places. It gives you such a different perspective when your goal is to experience nature.

    • Francesca September 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks, Margaret! I agree – outdoor adventures are a big part of how my family travels.

  7. jan September 19, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    yes, this is a beautiful park – there are SO many in Michigan! a little further south is beautiful Orchard Beach State Park in Manistee…then there’s Muskegon State Park a little further south…..And then there are the glorious parks on the eastern shore of Michigan!

    • Francesca September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      So true, Jan: there are tons of gorgeous parks in Michigan! I’ve been to Muskegon State Park but I’ve not heard of Orchard Beach. We’ll have to check it out! Thanks for stopping by & for commenting!

  8. the lazy travelers September 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    this place looks soo pretty! we’re more than ready for fall, but this post makes us a little sad summer is over already…

    • Francesca September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      Summer schmummer. I love me some fall and I’m so glad it’s here!

  9. Captain and Clark September 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Beautiful pictures. That looks like our kind of place. The campgrounds are stunning and it seems like the whole family had a blast. Way to go Lucia. Looks like you’ve got yourself a gifted fisherman.

    • Francesca September 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      My little girl does love to fish and I can’t tell you how that makes my heart swell. Just today she asked, “When can we go fishing again?”

  10. Ted Nelson (@travelingted) September 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Never heard of this park, but the scenery looks beautiful and familiar. I have been to Nordhouse and Sleeping Bear Dunes, which are quite close. Lucia looks so cute with the White Sox hat. Yay Grandma!

    • Francesca September 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      I knew you’d like the White Sox hat, Ted. She was wearing it under duress! Anyway, you should check out Ludington State Park. I think you’d like it. Perhaps a canoe trip next year?

  11. john September 23, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Looks beautiful. I’m definitely turning into more of an outdoorsy person as well…there is so much to discover in nature! Thanks for sharing.

    • Francesca September 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      You are welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ This city girl has always been outdoorsy and I’m so thrilled to be introducing my daughter to the great outdoors.

  12. Leah Travels (@L_e_a_h) September 24, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    This summer certainly has turned you into a nature lover again. Seeing what you’ve done might just turn me into one as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Francesca September 25, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Yes, I am thrilled to be exploring the outdoors and places close to home with my family!

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