Looking for a weekend getaway? This trip lets you enjoy a Lake Michigan sunset, experience a unique National Historic Landmark, visit another state and even tour a submarine.
Starting Friday after work, pack a weekend bag and hit the road to Ludington, Michigan. This beach town offers a chance to catch one of the state’s best free shows — a Lake Michigan sunset — while enjoying some good food and a comfy night’s sleep.
Eat at the classic House of Flavors or check out Jamesport Brewing Co., Luciano’s Ristoranti or Table 14 before catching the sunset at the city’s Stearns Park. For a different view, you could drive north of town to Ludington State Park, which is always worth a visit.
Stay the night at a bed and breakfast like Cartier Mansion and catch the early Badger Breakfast seating, or one of the many motel or hotel options in the city.
On Saturday morning, step aboard the S.S. Badger in Ludington. The Badger is the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States and in 2016 was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The 410-foot ship can accommodate 600 passengers and 180 vehicles, including; RVs, motorcycles, motor coaches, and commercial trucks. You don’t have to bring a vehicle though, as it is possible to walk to accommodations at your destination: Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Bringing a car would open up your options, though.
While aboard, you can watch a movie or TV, play Badger Bingo, eat or drink at the cafe and bar, take in sights while crossing Lake Michigan or enjoy a private stateroom if you choose to rent one. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating available.
You will arrive in Manitowoc in time for lunch. The city offers several great places to eat within walking distance of the ferry dock. Brix, Courthouse Pub and Waterfront Wine Bar will keep you well fed. The Wharf also had a fun summer vibe. Shops in the downtown allow some retail therapy after filling up.
A fun stop for the late afternoon is the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, which highlights Manitowoc’s shipbuilding past and life on the lakes of the Badger State.
The museum also offers daily tours on a World War II-era submarine, the U.S.S. Cobia. The tour gives you a view into the difficult conditions sailors experienced protecting our nation.
The city also features the Rahr-West Art Musuem, parks, a marina and regular weekend events.
Want a late dessert? Stop by Beerntsen's Confectionary for a sundae.
Stay the night at Baymont by Wyndham Manitowoc Lakefront if you want to be on the lakeshore, or pick one of the other hotels or bed and breakfasts available in the area.
A car would allow you to explore further out, including Two Rivers and other lakeshore areas of Wisconsin.
On Sunday, catch breakfast and lunch in Manitowoc in between making any last-minute stops, then board the S.S. Badger for the trip back to Ludington.
You’ll arrive back in Michigan at about 7 p.m., so it will be time to head home.