S.S. Badger - Lake Michigan Carferry

 

One of Ludington area’s main identifying features is the S.S. Badger car ferry. The 410’ Badger provides service from Manitowoc Wisconsin to Ludington Michigan, connecting the eastern and western segments of US 10 in both cities. On average, the S.S. Badger completes a trip across Lake Michigan in about four hours, covering 60 miles. The ferry saves about three and a half hours of travel time and the frustration of crowded highways compared to the 411 mile drive from Manitowoc to Ludington via Chicago Illinois. It is the only operating ferry of its kind in the world and is an icon of carferry heritage on the Great Lakes. The S.S. Badger entered service in 1953, designed specifically to handle the rough conditions that it would likely encounter during year 'round sailing on Lake Michigan.

 

When the demise of car ferries began, it seemed that the ship would only live in memory, never to be experienced by future generations. However, in 1991, an entrepreneur named Charles Conrad committed his own financial resources to reinvent the S.S. Badger to carry leisure passengers and their vehicles. Now the cruise takes passengers, autos, RVs, tour buses, and commercial trucks across Lake Michigan. The ship offers first class service to all its passengers at no extra charge. It is a true piece of living history that must be experienced to be appreciated. In 1996, the Badger’s propulsion system was designated a mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and in 1997 the ship itself was registered a historic site by both the Michigan Historical Commission and the Wisconsin Historical Commission.

 

Take a walk or simply lounge on the outside decks. The ship, which is the largest to ever sail Lake Michigan, also has several amenities available to its passengers. Experienced crew members are available throughout the trip to meet the needs of travelers. Once aboard the ship, passengers have a choice of entertainment options to choose from. Besides the ships spacious outdoor decks there are a vast number of attractions inside the ship. In the movie lounge, feature films play, while “Badger Bingo” and other interactive games give chances to win prizes and provide the family with the perfect chance to spend time together. If during your journey you become hungry, the ship can answer in several ways. A buffet-style dining room awaits if you’re in the mood for a meal, or, if you want a quick snack, a deli-style snack bar can be the perfect choice. For those travelling with children, the ships video arcade, KidsPort game room, and other organized activities offer plenty to do during the voyage.

 

For adults, the port side and upper deck bars offer full cocktail service. Both feature a full selection of beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The ships “Boatique” gift shop, has toys, gifts, clothing, and travel necessities on sale, along with authentic Badger memorabilia to remember your journey on board. If you wish for some quiet time, visit the onboard maritime historical display which is located in the ships designated “quiet room”. The ship has a limited number of staterooms on board for relaxing or sleeping, and the Badger is also pet-friendly.

 

Ludington, MI


Photo by ToddandBradReed.com

 

 

"The 410’ Badger provides service from Manitowoc Wisconsin to Ludington Michigan, connecting the eastern and western segments of US 10 in both cities."

 

 

 

"Once aboard the ship, passengers have a choice of entertainment options to choose from."

 

 

 

"It is a true piece of living history that must be experienced to be appreciated."