Ludington, Michigan is a cute town on the western coast of Michigan. With Lake Michigan on it’s doorstep and a beautiful state park, there is a lot to do.
But how accessible is it? Let’s talk.
Like a lot of western Michigan, there are not a lot of chain hotels. The hotel space closest to the downtown and beach areas are locally owned and operated. Great for shopping local. Harder to figure out if they are accessible. Most seem to be a motel model, with doors opening directly to the outside and likely no elevator. If you need something in the first floor for access, make sure you call and talk to the staff.
We camp at the state park. We know how to make our pop up fit our daughter’s needs best and everyone likes toasted marshmallows! The bathrooms have the standard wheelchair accessible stalls as well as a family restroom/shower. The newer showers in Cedar campground are completely flat between the shower and dressing area. In Pines campground, there is a small lip, about an inch high. ￼
Downtown Ludington has a few locally owned places while the town in general has some pizza places, a Thai restaurant and a few chain restaurants. Our favorites are House of Flavors and The Weiner Wagon.
House of flavors is a couple of blocks from the beach and is attached to their ice cream factory. The food is filling but basic. As someone with a dairy and gluten allergy, I didn’t have a lot of choices. They were happy to help me find something but didn’t have any gluten free bread for a sandwich. I ended up with an iceberg lettuce salad, grilled chicken and salsa. Not my best meal, but not the worst either. My big kids loved their grilled cheese sandwiches, but the real reason you go to house of flavors is the ice cream.
They make it in a factory attached to the restaurant. They do have a dairy free sorbet flavor of the day, but it was lemon and I preferred to save my sugar consumption for marshmallows. For those who are curious, the kids ice cream defeated them. Maybe they’ll have better luck next year.
The Weiner Wagon is a food truck that parks all over Ludington and part of the fun is stumbling across it. In full disclosure, I did not eat there. Hot dogs are on my “do not consider food” list but there was a taco truck parked next door. Score! They offer kid friendly basics and more adventurous options as well. I believe the special of the day had Mexican street corn on it.
Bike riding: Ludington State Park has beautiful paved trails for walking, riding or wheeling. They connect the three campgrounds to Lake Michigan, Lake Hamlin and the water trail.
Lake Hamlin beach is accessible by bike, walking or car. There are bathrooms, changing rooms and a concession stand. While there are not sand mats that would allow a wheelchair on the sand, they do have a sand wheelchair. You can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and paddle boards to explore the calm lake. If you have never tried water sports, it’s a great place to learn.
Lake Hamlin also has an accessible playground. The wheelchair accessible playground equipment was wonderful for my daughter, who likes to use the handrails like parallel bars.
We spent time at two beaches. One is in the state park and the other was Stearns Beach. Both had sand mats onto the sand but only Stearns Beach went to the water.
Both had restroom facilities and concession. The state park beach has dog friendly area.
Kite flying isn’t really a measurable activity but it’s unique to the area. The stiff breeze coming off Lake Michigan begs for a lazy day watching a kite. And, for those with kiddos who can’t do other beach activities, kites are perfect. They are bright, move around and can be modified for different abilities. Paisley tends to drop the string so we attached a dog leash to the handle. She felt she was a big kid and we didn’t have to chase a kite down the beach.
We like to take a day trip down to Silver Lake to sand sled. We rent the sand sleds from Silver Lake Sand Box. They have kid, adult and stand up boards. Helmets and wax are included in the rental. You can access the sand dune by parking at the state park or along the street if it is a busy day. As of July 2019, the stairs that are mentioned on the website have been consumed by the dune. It’s still handy for climbing but no stairs are visible. Just the top railing. The sand sleds are heavy so be judicious when renting. Climbing up the sand dune with them is hard and your kids will get tired fast. Rent fewer then you have people so you have some extra hands to help carry.
Other things to bring on the dune:
- Water. And more water. As much as you can carry. It’s heavy but you are going to need it.
- Sunscreen. Sand reflects. You don’t want to look like a lobster.
- Sunglasses. Sand reflects.
- A picnic blanket or sunshade. You’ll want to stay awhile and there are no trees where you can sled.
Is the sand dune accessible for a wheelchair? Not at all. Matthew carries Paisley and it’s a lot of work. We also bring a g-tube feed and a place for her to sit. She likes to play in the sand while the big kids climb up and down the dune. Happy Sledding!
Ludington does have a hospital. Thankfully, we have never had to use it, but it comforts us that it is there. We carry medicine, albuterol, and extra feeding supplies but we all know things can go wrong. Knowing where the closest medical facility is valuable.
If your summer is in need of a midwestern beach, check out Ludington and share your adventure!