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5 Best Ludington, Michigan, Campgrounds Near Lake Michigan

A stay at a Ludington, Michigan, campground in the summer is a perfect getaway. With access to Lake Michigan for swimming, dunes for hiking, and those fantastic sunsets, you’re in for a treat. The west coast of the mitten-shaped state hosts charming lake towns like Ludington. Let’s check out what Ludington is all about and the best campgrounds to stay at during your visit.

A Small Town that Doesn't Suck: Ludington, Michigan 4K

About Ludington, Michigan

Ludington is in mid-Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan. The quaint downtown offers restaurants, art galleries, and shops. You can also access a beach and fishing piers within walking distance of town. Ludington is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. From hiking trails to water sports, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. 

Growing up in Michigan, Ludington was a favorite weekend destination of mine. The town is well known for fishing as well and my Dad and I would frequently take our boat out salmon fishing. Here are a few of our favorite campsites.

5 Best Ludington, Michigan, Campgrounds

Ludington, Michigan, campgrounds are open from May to October. The exact opening and closing dates depend on the individual park. Here are the five best campgrounds in the area based on location and overall road trip rating.

RVs parked at a campsite.
Enjoy restaurants, art galleries, shops and more in Ludington, Michigan.

1. Buttersville Park Campground

Address: 991 S. Lakeshore Dr., Ludington, MI 49431

Amenities: RV sites have electricity only and a picnic table. The campground has water, flush toilets, and showers.

Why You’ll Love It: Location, location, location! Buttersville Park Campground sits on bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. It’s just south of downtown Ludington and is in a wooded setting with the great lake on one side and Pere Marquette Lake on the other. There are few better places to catch a sunset than here.

This has long been one of our favorite campgrounds in Michigan!

Morton Road Trip Rating: 10/10

2. Ludington State Park

Address: 8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431

Amenities: The state park has three wooded sections for RVs. There are 20 or 30 amp and 50 amp electricity-only RV sites. The campground has water stations, bathrooms, and a dump station. Many Ludington, Michigan, campgrounds can’t or don’t offer winter camping, but this one does. However, you probably won’t be able to use the restrooms or water on-site during winter.

Why You’ll Love It: Ludington State Park provides access to Lake Michigan in all its glory. It also has a mile of the Big Sable River running through it. There are numerous activities at the park, including fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, paddling, and biking. You’ll love that there’s so much to do here that you never need to leave the park.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9/10

Campground parking sign ludington MI
There are many amazing campgrounds to rest at while exploring Ludington.

3. Cartier Park Campground

Address: 1254 N. Lakeshore Dr., Ludington, MI 49431

Amenities: RV sites have full hookups with water, electricity, and sewer. The campground has bathrooms, showers, and a small boat launch. 

Why You’ll Love It: Cartier Park Campground has a paved path for walking and biking. It’s on Lincoln Lake and a short drive or bike ride to Lake Michigan. There’s plenty to do in the area around the park, including summer outdoor concerts and restaurants and shopping in downtown Ludington.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8/10

4. Mason County Campground

Address: 5906 W. Chauvez Rd., Ludington, MI 49431

Amenities: Mason County Campground has 56 RV sites. Some are only 30 amp or 50 amp electricity, and some are full hookups with water and sewer. Campsites also have a picnic table, fire ring, and charcoal grill. In addition, the campground has a bathroom, a disc golf course, and a dump station.

Why You’ll Love It: This Ludington, Michigan, campground is next to Hull Field, an airfield for radio-controlled model airplanes. It makes for good entertainment when people are out flying. You’ll also love that the Mason County Picnic Area is right across the street from Lake Michigan.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 7/10

Truck and travel camper parked in campsite by water.
Close to Lake Michigan, many campgrounds in Ludington offer beach access.

5. Whispering Surf Campground

Address: 7070 S. Lakeshore Dr., Pentwater, MI 49449

Amenities: There are some water and electricity-only RV sites and some with full hookups. The campground has a private beach, boat rentals, a dog park, mini-golf, bathrooms, and Wi-Fi. 

Why You’ll Love It: Whispering Surf Campground is south of Ludington Bass Lake. You can do any type of water sport while staying here, including boating, fishing, paddling, swimming, and more. In addition, you can soak up the sun with some beach time on the white sands of Lake Michigan across the street from the campground.  

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9/10

Pro Tip: Want more campground options for your time in Michigan? Check out these 9 Best Campgrounds in Upper Michigan State Parks.

6. Lake Michigan Rec Area Camping

Address: 6000 W Forest Trail Rd, Free Soil, MI 49411

Amenities: This is a national forest campground a bit further from town and without electricity or water this area is a more bare-bones experience. Water is available onsite but no dump station. Bathrooms with flush toilets are available making this a great tent camping location.

Why You’ll Love It: This campground gets you away from it all and offers plenty of beach access. If you want to experience nature and an undeveloped lake Michigan shoreline this is a wonderful spot.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 7/10

Best Time of Year to Visit Ludington Campgrounds

Summers on Lake Michigan are the best. Staying at Ludington, Michigan, campgrounds from June through September will provide you with the warmest weather and the most activities. Late September and early October is also a good time to visit, as the leaves change color. Ludington is very wooded, which makes it a perfect area for a fall color tour.

Lake Michigan Camping on Peninsula
Relax on the beach, or explore famous attractions while enjoying Ludington.

Things to Do in Ludington

Ludington is a hot spot for people of all ages, and there’s plenty to see and do. Check out these five attractions on your next visit. 

S.S. Badger

The S.S. Badger is a car ferry that goes from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It’s a great way to cut over to each state without going around Lake Michigan through Chicago or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And, yes, RVs can ride on the ferry. The ship is 410 feet long and carries up to 620 passengers and 180 vehicles.

The Last Coal Fired Steamship in the US (SS Badger) 🚢 60 miles across Lake Michigan

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a 112-foot lighthouse in Ludington State Park. The Great Lakes house many lighthouses, and each is unique. Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a beauty and well worth seeing. You can tour it and climb to the top for unforgettable panoramic views of Lake Michigan. 

If you’re staying at a Ludington, Michigan, campground, travel south about 40 miles to Mears, Michigan, and you’ll find Little Sable Point Lighthouse. However, the name is somewhat misleading as it’s about three feet taller than Big Sable Point Lighthouse. It sits on a lovely beach and is also worth a visit. You can also tour it and climb 130 steps to the top.

Big Sable Point & Little Sable Point Lighthouses

Ludington Pumped Storage Overview

Ludington is home to one of the largest “batteries” in the country. Its called the Ludington pumped storage facility and is a massive lake on top of a hill. Each night the lake gets filled by giant pumps from lake Michigan and each day it gets drained again. This tech marvel makes the power grid more efficient and takes advantage of excess nightly energy and low power costs.

You can visit the edge of this wonder while visiting Ludington and peer into this lesser-known engineering wonder. As an Electrical Engineer, I have always found this facility very impressive.

Amber Elk Ranch

Amber Elk Ranch is a fun place for all ages. It’s a 130-acre farm with bull elk. You can go on a wagon ride to see the cows, spikers, calves, and bull elk that live on the ranch. They raise elk for breeding, velvet, meat, and community education. Amber Elk Ranch provides public, private, and group tours with varying hours of operation depending on the season.

Amber Elk Ranch Tour

Did You Know: Michigan has stunning national parks waiting for you to explore! These are The Best National Parks In Michigan.

Historic White Pine Village

Historic White Pine Village is a portrayal of a late 19th century to early 20th century pioneer village. It has 30 historic exhibit buildings, including the original 1849 Mason County Courthouse. When you tour the village, you’ll also find a steam locomotive and a working sawmill. Interpreters will greet you along the way with historical facts and recreations of village life. The attraction is open May through October.


Port of Ludington Maritime Museum

The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum offers digital storytelling, artifacts, and interactive exhibits to help you understand the area’s maritime history. Once a U.S. Coast Guard Station, the museum overlooks Lake Michigan. The Mason County Historical Society operates it. They’ll give you a glimpse into the past and the importance of the lakes in the region. The museum is open from May to October.


Experience Lake Michigan Small Town Life in Ludington

We highly recommend staying at one of these Ludington, Michigan, campgrounds to experience small-town life. Lake Michigan is beautiful, restful, and draws you into relaxation. You’ll find that many people who visit the area do so annually to get away from city life and big crowds. There’s something in the air when you step foot in Ludington.

What would you do during a relaxing getaway in Ludington? Drop a comment below!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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