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“Makes History Fun!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry

S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry
701 Maritime Drive, Ludington, MI 49431
1-800-841-4243
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Ranked #7 of 17 attractions in Ludington
Type: Public Transportation Systems, Ferries/ Boats, Educational Sites
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Attraction Details
Owner description: The S.S. Badger is the largest car ferry to ever sail Lake Michigan and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the inland sea for more than fifty years. The ferry takes passengers, autos, RVs, tour buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and commercial trucks across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin from mid-May through mid-October.
Pelican Lake, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Makes History Fun!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2012

If you haven't sailed on the S.S. Badger, you are missing a trip back in time, but with a modern twist. We loved being on "Da Badger". There is plenty of entertainment on board, what with Badger Bingo, TV, a movie lounge, shopping in the "Boatique", enjoying a perfect cocktail, or a yummy meal. If you like to take it easy, there is a quiet room, the option of a stateroom, or just lounging on the deck watching the lake and sky. In this world of busy-busy and hurry-hurry, taking the Badger is much more relaxing than fighting traffic and hearing "are we there yet?" The staff could not be nicer and do everything they can to ensure smooth sailing. The most fun parts of the trip are hearing the giant whistle blow and watching the old gal being maneuvered into port while you wave to all the people who have gathered to on shore to welcome her home. The Badger is truly beloved by many. Get on board this Big Ship, and have More Fun! (FYI, I have lung issues and did not notice any smoke or dirt blowing on me while on deck.)

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Howell, MI
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“A bucket list item”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

S.S. Badger is big enough to take semis and cars plus people. We get a stateroom which has 2 small beds and a bathroom. Always clean. You can walk around the boat and feels like you are on a real adventure.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“A fun experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

I am giving it 4 stars for the unique adventure and the time it saved us for our trip. We took it from Michigan to Wisconsin and back again during the day both ways. Also, the lake was calm so we have a very easy uneventful trip. We did not get a stateroom and I didn't see what they looked like so I can't help there. They do serve food on the boat but we brought our own drinks and snacks in our bag so I can't say anything about the food.

The pros:
- relaxing and they do get the cars on and off quickly. It was amazing in that regard how quickly they can get through the process! They say to be there an hour ahead of time but I really don't think you have to unless you want a lounge chair up front. If I did it again, I would get there 1/2 hour early probably to waste less time sitting around.

- lots of areas on the boat so you didn't feel like it was very crowded.

- If you are traveling with kids, they show family friendly movies, play bingo and have a number of things to do during the trip plus the exploring of the boat.

- the water is absolutely beautiful - especially when you can't see Michigan or Wisconsin - it reminds you how truly beautiful Lake Michigan is and how wonderfully blue the water is


the cons -
- it is expensive but so would a flight and a rental car is how we rationalized it.
- there are areas on the boat that I thought smelled (but there were other areas that didn't so you just have to find a spot that you like)
- there are not super comfortable seats onboard but again, there are plenty of options from lounge chairs (hard to get so get there early if you want these), to booths, to airline like chairs by the TV's, to plastic chairs so you just have to find something or walk around
- the wifi onboard cannot run videos so be careful before purchasing and ask if what you are going to work on is able to be done at the connection speed they have - they will be honest with you and tell you if it won't work

Overall, it was fun and we had a very good experience. I would recommend trying it and we would do it again!

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“First timer....”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

Great experience. Never would imagine that many automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, etc....would be able to fit on the carferry. Didn't feel like a 4 hour trip!

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marion, Ohio
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“just watched”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2012

We were on the pier when the ferry began its arrival. We hurried to watch from the park. What and incredible site, this very large ship approaching, slowing and backing to the pier for its passengers to unload. It would have been a 5 star rating had we been on the ferry.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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