Ludington is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 8,357. It is the county seat of Mason County6.
Ludington is a harbor located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Many people come to Ludington in the summer for recreation, including boating and swimming on Lake Michigan, Hamlin Lake, and other smaller inland lakes, as well as hunting, fishing, and camping. Nearby are Ludington State Park, Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, and Manistee National Forest. It's also the home port of the SS Badger, with daily service in the summer across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Watching the Badger come in to port in the evening from the end of the north breakwall is a favorite local pastime. In summer, the city hosts quite a few large events. Examples are one of the largest Gus Macker basketball tournaments (with 25,500 spectators), the Lakestride Half Marathon in June, and the Art Fair on the Fourth of July. As a result of its many attractions (based on AAA's 2005 TripTik® requests), Ludington is the fifth-most-popular tourist city in Michigan, behind Mackinaw City, Traverse City, Muskegon, and Sault Ste. Marie.
Ludington is home to four radio stations and one newspaper. The original radio station was WKLA. In the 1970s, WKLA-FM and WKZC-FM were added. In 1999, WMOM-FM signed on the air. The Ludington Daily News has been serving the Ludington Area for decades as a daily publication.
Ludington's downtown retail is focused on the city's tourism and includes clothing stores, art galleries, and jewelry stores. Unique local businesses include Fort Daul and Maude's Garage. Maude's Garage (formerly Maude's Gallery) is located in a converted 1930s auto repair shop. Fort Daul, a gift shop, has operated for several decades on the corner of Ludington Ave. and James St. Exterior is fashioned after a wooden fort and includes several murals of early American scenes on its façade.
Now, Fort Daul has been downsized to a smaller location on James Street, and is now called Daul's Twisted Arrow. Ludington's history is preserved and documented in a series of murals done by the Ludington Mural Society ("Town of Murals").
Several local restaurants are located in the downtown area of Ludington. A particular favorite of both residents and tourists alike is ice cream specialist House of Flavors located on Ludington Ave. The Old Hamlin, on Ludington Ave., has been family owned and operated by a Greek family since the early 1940s. It has its own bakery where homemade pies and breads are made. Across the street is Luciano's, an Italian Ristorante, which was opened in 1998 and is located next to Fort Daul. A couple of blocks south on a site overlooking the Ludington Municipal Marina, is P.M. Steamers. The restaurant was named after the steam-driven Pere Marquette Car Ferries that once traversed the Great Lakes. The Jamesport Brewing Co. opened in 2000 in what was previously an abandoned storefront of the Jamesport Building on James St. Although it is not in the downtown area, Scotty's is yet another of Ludington's local dining establishments. Chuckwagon is the local favorite pizza place on Lakeshore Drive.