Ludington: Detroit Mom’s Favorite Vacation Cities

For our family, Ludington began as a happy mistake. For months, my family and I had a weekend trip planned in Pentwater. The day before we were set to check-in, the owners called to notify us that our reservation was canceled due to a mice problem. I scrambled to find something else, and found only two options. Another cabin in Pentwater . . . or a house in downtown Ludington.

Something about the house in Ludington called to me, so Ludington it was! We’re so grateful for those mice. Our stay in Ludington ended up being better than we could have ever hoped for. I really liked staying right off the main road in downtown because it meant we could walk everywhere. This is a great option if you have a larger group like we did.

Sandcastles Children's Museum in Ludington
Sandcastles Children’s Museum in Ludington, Michigan.

During our short stay here, we did so much. The city had everything. From food and drinks, to recreational fun, you can’t go wrong with Ludington!

3 Favorite Restaurants

Blu Moon Bistro | 125 S. James St., 231-843-2001
I would make the drive back JUST for the lobster nachos! Absolutely delicious. The atmosphere is super fun and there’s an upstairs bar section as well.

Keeper’s Fish Shack | 106 N. James St.
The cutest little shop! Only open during the summer months, Keeper’s serves fresh fish sandwiches that are sure to make your taste buds happy.

Sportsman’s Restaurant and Bar | 111 W. Ludington Ave., 231-843-2138
Connected to a great craft brewery place (The Mitten Bar) this restaurant was super fun and had a great mix of food, sure to please any pallet.

3 Favorite Outdoor Activities

North Breakwater Lighthouse | 420 N. Lakeshore Dr., 231-845-7417
My kids were so pumped about going into a lighthouse. Even my three-year-old could make the climb! The staff members are very friendly and inside the lighthouse is the sweetest little gift shop. Definitely worth seeing.

Stearns Park | 420 N. Lakeshore Dr., 231-845-6237
Paradise in a small town. The beach was very clean and very family-friendly. Not many amenities anywhere though, so be sure to pack lots of snacks and water while you enjoy Lake Michigan and this gorgeous beach.

Ludington Area Jaycees’ Mini Golf Course | 900 W. Ludington Ave., 231-843-4663
Right across from Stearns Park and North Breakwater Lighthouse is a great mini golf course. The course features landmarks from around Ludington. A great family activity and a great way to learn more about the history of the city!

Favorite Cultural Activity

Sandcastles Children’s Museum | 129 E. Ludington Ave., 231-233-9326
I could write an entire blog about how amazing this place was. I’m so glad we wandered in! The building is three stories, and every square inch of the building is decked out. The amount of love and detail that went into creating this fun space for children does not go unnoticed or unappreciated!

Kudos to Ludington and the owners for this gem. I tell everyone I meet about the amazing place we took our kids to while we were on vacation. From grocery stores, to construction and farming, Sandcastles reigns supreme when it comes to imaginative play.

Favorite Place for Sweet Treats

House of Flavors | 402 W. Ludington Ave., 231-845-5785
When we drove past this for the first time we saw the line was out the door, so we knew it had to be good! I’m happy to report that we were right. House of Flavors has a TON of really fun flavors like Mackinac Island Peanut Butter Fudge and Blue Moon . . . you really can’t go wrong. It’s got a great hometown ice cream parlor feeling!

Favorite Coffee Shop

Red Rooster Coffee | 207 S. James St.
I personally don’t drink coffee, but my husband cannot live without it. We found this really fun coffee shop that had some good batch brews. Their organic, Fair Trade coffee comes directly from Traverse City.

Favorite Date Night Spot

Table 14 | 130 W. Ludington Ave., 231-843-6555
Southern-inspired fun in a fun, easygoing restaurant. The price and service are great, and the atmosphere is awesome. The perfect little spot for a date night if you can sneak away for a bit! The scallops tasted so fresh!

Favorite Store

Glik’s | 109 E. Ludington Ave., 231-425-3719
The closest Glik’s in Michigan is an hour away from where I live, so I was very excited to see a location right in downtown Ludington. Glik’s has fun boutique and trendy options, and always has a great sale. There are a ton of cute boutiques to try out. From children’s options to fishing gear to Michigan-themed gifts, you can’t go wrong shopping off the strip!

Favorite Place For an Adult Beverage

Jamesport Brewing Company | 410 S. James St., 231-845-2522
This was one of our favorite places to go in Ludington! Jamesport has a delicious blueberry wheat craft brew. It was extremely refreshing for the hot summer day. They also have an outside beer garden with games for kids. A great way to keep the little ones busy while you enjoy yourself for a bit!

Bonus Tips to Ludington

  • If you’re renting, rent a house off of one of the downtown streets! We stayed at a really nice place that was just off of the main road, and we were able to walk everywhere. We loved it!
  • If you have a big party be sure to call ahead or make reservations. We ended up waiting 1.5 hours at one restaurant, which is NOT fun with little ones!
  • Take the drive to Pentwater while you’re in town! It’s only about 20 minutes away and definitely worth the drive. Another sweet Michigan city.
  • Before you book, check out what events are happening. We got lucky! Right down the street from where we were staying was an awesome all-weekend art fair.

Where’s your favorite Michigan vacation spot? Check out our previous vacation series location: Whitehall!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.