Photos and article by Laura Niemiec
Where can you go for a hike, kayak an inland lake, float down a river, bike ride to a lighthouse, watch the sunset over Lake Michigan, and get ice cream before crawling into your tent (or camper) for the night? The answer is at Ludington State Park (LSP). About a 3 hour drive north from northwest Indiana, LSP is a gem of a park that is at the top of my list for a quick weekend getaway or even a day trip. After many years of saying, “It would be so great to camp here” I was finally able to snag a cancelled reservation and enjoy LSP to the fullest.
We arrived early so we were not able to set up camp right away but we checked in and made our way to Hamlin Lake to pass the time. At the lake we rented kayaks, changed into our swimsuits and we were out on the water on a beautiful sunny day in no time. A short paddle puts you at a small island just offshore. Here we docked and swam, enjoying the warm water and the vistas. From there, we paddled over to Lost Lake, a smaller inland lake just behind the Beechwood Campground where we would soon set up camp.
After an early dinner at the campsite, we biked towards the park entrance and watched as the sun sank lower over Lake Michigan before peddling down the 1.8 mile trail to the Big Sable Lighthouse. The sky was still aglow with the last rays of daylight and the dunes surrounding the lighthouse were scattered with photographers hoping the skies stayed clear so they could capture a once in a lifetime shot of the comet Neowise. As the sky darkened, we started a fire in the pit next to the lighthouse with wood we had thrown in our backpacks from camp and enjoyed the breeze coming off the lake as the stars began to appear overhead. I don’t know about you, but a bonfire on the beach was a bucket list item. Another campfire was started back at camp after our return to end the adventure filled day with the ever traditional campfire s’mores.
The next day was full of sunshine, more bike rides, hiking, swimming – this time in Lake Michigan, and another kayak around Lost Lake. This is the epitome of summer on the Great Lakes. It was a weekend of liberation from the intensity of the past few months and a reset button for the soul. If you ever get the chance to spend some time at Ludington State Park, I highly recommend that you do. It will take you back to simpler times and is an excellent place to make great memories with family and friends alike.
Author side note: At the time of this article, masks are required when you are unable to be 6-feet apart or in any of the facilities at the park. Social distancing was practiced by my group and seemed to be observed by everyone at the park.
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