The time has arrived for our Michigan vacation to begin! We decided to take the S.S. Badger Carferry from Manitowoc to Ludington since we never had before and it looked like fun! Since we were only sailing one-way, it cost us $201, including our two bikes. There is a two-sided historical marker here, as the Badger is a national historic landmark too.
We arrived early to see the ferry’s arrival from Ludington and put our vehicle in the loading zone. There was an air of excitement among the passengers while we waited to board, as many of us were sailing for the first time.
Upon boarding, we got our picture taken by a ship wheel as a memento of our experience.
After leaving port, we set about exploring the passenger areas of the ship. See map and amenities here. Our view from the port, or left side of the ship. You can see the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the Cobia sub from here. We even saw a tour going on there, like we did a few years ago.
Also, enjoy the video of our 4-hour journey across the lake. There is something for everyone here.
Lets explore the ship, there are many areas to see on board. Upon boarding lunch was being served at the Upper Deck Café, lots of dining space just beyond the stairway in the Cabana Room. If you want to eat, be sure to get your food before 4 PM Michigan time as they have to get things put away before reaching port.
Adjacent to a TV lounge is a rack of Michigan and Wisconsin publications to help you plan activities on the other side. Also the latest issue of Crossings, the official annual magazine of the S.S. Badger.
Just up ahead is the main lounge where a rousing game of Badger Bingo was taking place. It’s free to participate and there are prizes. We opted out to explore the ship instead. We also met Issac, an expert juggler who also assisted with the bingo game. Great job Issac!
In the lounge the man is looking at a screen showing where the Badger is located on Lake Michigan. Other ship locations are visible too. Remember to change your watch after crossing the state line.
Here you can also get some food a la carte at the Badger Galley.
The ship also has two bars where you can get a drink, this is the Port Side Bar in the galley dining room.
Topside near the bow (front) of the ship is a large sun deck plus plenty of room to sit on either side of the ship if you want to be outside. You can see the bridge (Pilot House) right above you here.
Inside the ship there is much more to see and do.
A video arcade for the game players.
A movie theater, it was playing a kid’s movie at the time.
You can get a souvenir at the Badger Boatique, from apparel to knick knacks and toys. You can order some items online too if you don’t get anything during the trip.
Explore the ship museum/quiet room to learn about the ferry and other great lakes history.
After exploring the ship we went back out to the upper deck. At 5:20 Ludington was becoming visible! You can see sand dunes and a distant light station. We could see another light house from here distantly, another passenger informed us it was the Big Sable Point Light in Ludington. It is 8 miles from downtown.
At 6:17 PM we went by Ludington’s North Breakwater Light at Stearns Park. Plenty of people waved at us as went by.
Plenty of people at the opposite light station too warmly greeting the ship’s arrival.
People even waved from the yards of their homes, sitting in lawn chairs.
The ship turned as it prepared to dock. Most people were in the aft of the ship watching the process, it was fascinating! We docked by 6:30.
The big trucks came out first, we saw one full of red apples! Another truck had green apples.
At the same time, the Badger food supplies were being re-stocked by a truck from below, very creative!
We saw a two-sided historical marker at the ticket office.
It was time to go to Manistee where we were spending the night. We recommend this ride for anyone wishing to cross Lake Michigan. It’s true, “Big Ship, More Fun!”™ Welcome to Michigan!