Largest Cross-Lake Ferry on the Great Lakes, S.S. Badger Resumes Overnight Sailing
It's something that hasn't happened in nearly three years, the largest cross-ferry on the Great Lakes is about to resume overnight sailings on Lake Michigan and we are here for it!
If you've lived in the West Michigan area long enough you've heard of the S.S. Badger, the car ferry that's been running from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin for over 70 years. Now you can experience the voyage in a totally different light-- at night!
It goes without saying but if you fear open bodies of water, the dark, or both, then this voyage is probably not for you.
However if you love setting sail on Lake Michigan and you love stargazing like I do, this is a dream come true! Here's what you need to know:
How Much Does it Cost?
It's important to note that passenger fares are separate from vehicle fares. So if you plus your car are crossing you'll have to pay for both.
The ferry can carry everything from passengers to cars, bicycles, motorcycles, RVs, campers, sprinter vans, and more! Passenger fares for adults start at $85 one-way during the summer, with kids age 5 and up starting at $41 one-way.
Regular vehicles like cars and pick-up trucks can run about $167 during the summer months. The SS Badger also has special pricing for a "mini-cruise" if you just want a quick getaway for a weekend in Wisconsin! Free parking is offered on both the Wisconsin and Michigan sides of the ferry.
How Long is the Season?
This year the full season for the S.S. Badger runs from May 18th-October 9th, 2023. Fares increase for the busy summer months during the time period of June 9th- September 4th.
How Often Does it Run?
The S.S. Badger makes daily trips departing Ludington at 9:00 a.m. and arriving in Manitowoc at noon Central Time. The ferry then departs Wisconsin at 2:00 p.m. CST and arrives back in Ludington at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Starting July 6th through August 6th the S.S. Badger will start running "doubles" where it will once again depart Ludington at 8:45 p.m. EST and will arrive in Manitowoc just before midnight Central Time, before turning around and arriving back in Ludington around 6:30 a.m.
The trip lasts about 4 hours, so that's 4 hour of good quality stargazing while you're aboard the S.S. Badger. Can you even imagine what the night sky looks like from the middle of Lake Michigan?!
I'll let you know when I find out. This unique experience needs to be on every Michiganders bucketlist!