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“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 11 Attractions in Ludington
Type: Educational Sites, Ferries/ Boats, Public Transportation Systems, Outdoors
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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.
Big Rapids, Michigan
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“love the Badger!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

We have traveled several times on the Badger and have always enjoyed our trip. There is quite a bit to do during your trip such as bingo, movie theatre, gift shop, or just sit and take in the view. If it is warm enough it is wonderful out on one of the decks. The food is reasonably priced and the usual fare. (if you wait till you are close to your destination they mark any remaining food down)
The staff is always friendly and helpful. It is amazing how many cars, etc, that boat can hold, fun to watch! It is a little pricey but the convenience of not needing to drive through Chicago or the U.P. is worth it for us. You can just relax for a few hours!

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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349 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Thunder Bay
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Relaxing ferry trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

We did not really know what to expect, and were only told over the phone to be with the car at the dock by 8 am. When we arrived, we were first met by a guard with a sniffer dog. A bit unnerving, but I guess "security first". Then we were met by the Badger staff, who told us to leave our car right there on the dock, with the key in the ignition, and the drivers side window rolled down. We did, a little reluctant at first, but then we saw a number of young guys (in uniform) running from the ferry, jumping in a car and driving it inside the ferry. I guess the loading process goes a lot faster and more efficient that way.
The (4 hour) trip itself was beautiful! And we especially liked the opportunity to chat with fellow passengers, while we enjoyed the scenery.
Once the ferry was moored on the other side, the young guys came in action again, and in no time the cars were parked back on solid ground, and we were on our way again.
To sum up: A great experience!

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hayward, Wisconsin, United States
3 reviews 3 reviews
“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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 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
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 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.

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