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“We love the Badger” 5 of 5 stars
Review of S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry

S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry
701 Maritime Drive, Ludington, MI 49431
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Ranked #6 of 21 things to do in Ludington
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Hayward, Wisconsin, United States
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“We love the Badger”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

Sailing aboard the Badger is truly a unique experience and although it's a little pricey, it's really fun. The staff is extremely friendly. When they load and unload the vehicles, it's something to watch. The trip across to Ludington was very late because of the semis, they take a LONG time to load and unload. That was the only downfall. When we sailed in September, we experienced extremely rough seas for the first time on the Badger. It was hard to stand up the boat was rocking so much and it was way too windy to even be on deck. We got a stateroom which was ok, not the most modern. Get your wi-fi access cards early, they run out quickly and they really need to upgrade that whole system. All in all though the Badger is a cool ship and I hope the EPA doesn't do her in. We have sailed on the Badger many many times and it's always fun. No matter how much it costs, it's better than driving thru Chicago.

Visited September 2013
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362 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A great alternative to driving around Lake Michigan!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

We spent the night in Ludington, MI before our morning crossing to Manitowoc, WI. There are valets who drive your car aboard, and you can leave your luggage and everything you don't want to carry on inside your car. The boat is fun to explore and there is a movie room (kid friendly movies), a TV lounge and a cafeteria-type place where they have family activities such as bingo and face painting, all making the 4 hour trip go by quickly. We would also recommend the ship museum in Manitowoc, with tours on a submarine there.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auburn, California
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great way to travel!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

I've been taking the SS Badger across Lake Michigan twice a year for many years now. The staff is always helpful, pleasant and downright fun. Unlike the other cross-lake ferry the Badger rarely cancels due to bad weather. This is because it was originally built as a train car ferry and can handle rough crossing far better than other ships. She's also chock full of history - even has a small museum on board. There's also a movie room (they usually show one or two per crossing), a "quiet room", a gift shop, two television viewing areas, two options for food and a main lounge where you can enjoy Badger Bingo (don't knock it until you've tried it). So this ship has a LOT more going for it beyond being far better than driving through/around Chicago if you need to get across the lake.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iola, Wisconsin, United States
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
366 helpful votes 366 helpful votes
“I'll do it again.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

We returned to Wisconsin on a beautiful sunny day. The ferry ride was a lot of fun and the four hours went fast. We sat on the main deck on the stern. Great open air ride. One word of advice, do not sit on the downwind side of the ship or you will get smoked out.

Visited September 2013
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Pelican Lake, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Happy 60th Anniversary, Badger!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

The Badger is celebrating her 60th anniversary of sailing Lake Michigan, and we couldn't be happier. My family has been sailing on Badger since my parents took their honeymoon cruise on her 60 years ago. My husband and I sailed just the two of us this time. Todd Hansen kept us so entertained during Badger Bingo that we pulled into Ludington without having even walked the deck once. Todd is truly a treasure. This time we ate from the snack bar and the food was delicious. My turkey sandwich was very fresh and served on excellent bread. There was also a sketch artist/photographer/musician on board named Bill Richards who was just wonderful. I hope he sails on Badger again next year. The ship is kept very clean and all of the crew members are outstanding. When you first get on board, try to get a spot aft to see the huge wind tower parts being loaded. Do the same when docking to note how smoothly the captain pulls into port. There will be plenty of people waving from shore as Badger arrives, so be sure to wave back! This Big Ship (410' 6") is truly More Fun. FYI, my husband and I drove back to Wisconsin from Ludington so as to stop in Milwaukee. Never again! Bucking traffic, paying exorbitant tolls in Illinois, constant road construction--forget it. Get on board the Badger, relax, and have a good time.

Visited September 2013
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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