• 800-513-6424
Back to listing

Port of Ludington Maritime Museum

Visit Website
217 S. Lakeshore Drive
Ludington, MI 49431
United States
Regions: Northern Michigan
(231) 843-4808
(map loads here)
view map
The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum brings history to life with digital storytelling, authentic images and artifacts, and engaging interactive exhibits that entertain, enlighten, and inspire!
Expand All
Rebecca Berringer
Executive Director
The Port of Ludington Maritime Museum brings history to life with digital storytelling, authentic images and artifacts, and engaging interactive exhibits that entertain, enlighten, and inspire a deeper appreciation for the region’s maritime history. Located in Ludington’s former Coast Guard Station, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this family-friendly, three-story museum overlooks Lake Michigan, Ludington’s iconic North Pier Light, and the historic car ferry, the S.S. Badger. The museum is operated by the Mason County Historical Society, which also operates the nearby Historic White Pine Village.

Within the Museum

The museum tells the story of Ludington’s rich maritime history and heritage with three floors of exhibits that cover lighthouses, shipwrecks, the Coast Guard, the Ludington car ferries, the lumber industry, and much more. The museum features the two original Fresnel lighthouse lenses from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse and the Ludington North Breakwater light. Visitors can look into the recreation of the captain’s cabin of Captain Wallace Van Dyke, who was the captain of the historic Ludington car ferry, the Pere Marquette 22, and see a hologram of an actor portraying Captain Van Dyke talking about his life growing up on the Lakes and becoming a captain. One of the museum’s premier exhibits is the fully interactive pilothouse simulator, where you can experience driving the car ferry Pere Marquette 22 into the Ludington harbor as it would have looked in the late 1920s.

SS Badger Exhibit

The third floor of the museum features an exhibit dedicated specifically to the S.S. Badger. Though several exhibits in the museum tell the full story of Ludington’s car ferry industry, the Badger itself continues to be an important historical and cultural icon of Ludington’s maritime heritage. The exhibit explores the history of the Badger from its time as one of the railroad car ferries, through the present day.

The Armistice Day Storm of 1940

The museum’s newest exhibit, which just opened in 2021, is on the historic Armistice Day Storm of 1940.

On Armistice Day, November 11, 1940, three storm fronts collided over the Midwest, creating a massive storm which wreaked havoc throughout the upper Midwest area, and then struck Lake Michigan. The storm sped north along Lake Michigan, damaging dozens of vessels, and causing its worst destruction between Big and Little Sable Points; grounding the car ferry City of Flint 32 on the beach at Ludington, and sinking three large freighters. The Armistice Day Storm, as it became known, took the lives of 154 people, including 64 sailors on Lake Michigan.

This highly immersive exhibit will take you back in time to experience the dramatic events of the storm. When you enter the exhibit, 1940s parade music plays as you learn about the many Armistice Day celebrations that were taking place that morning, and visitors are introduced to the various vessels and topics that the exhibit follows throughout the storm. As you progress through the exhibit, the lighting changes to reflect the sudden and drastic change in weather as you learn the dramatic story of the storm and its many impacts. The end of the exhibit explores the shipwrecks of the vessels that sank in the storm, and includes a mockup of a small submarine where visitors can sit and see underwater video of the shipwrecks.

Hours (April - November)

Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Combo tickets available - includes Historic White Pine Village

Extended hours can be arraigned at time of booking.

Group Tour Reservations:

Discounted Rates

Bus Driver & Tour Guide - free

Discounted rates for combined tours at Port of Ludington Maritime Museum & Historic White Pine Village

For more information contact Rebecca Berringer 231-843-4808 x103

Area Attractions:


  • Holland - Home of the Tulip Festival_________90 minutes

  • Traverse City - Home of the Cherry Festival____ 90 minutes

  • Mackinaw - Home of the Lilac Festival________2 1/2 hours

Mason County Cultural Trail System

  • Agricultural Trail

  • Barn Quilt Trail

  • Lumber Heritage Trail

  • Music Heritage Trail

  • Sculpture Trail

  • Maritime Heritage Trail

Dining in Ludington

Lodging in Ludington

Translate »