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Must See & Do In Ludington

SS Badger

The S.S. Badger offers the largest cross-lake passenger service on the Great Lakes and an authentic steamship experience. She is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan, measuring 410' and weighing in at 6650 tons displaced, and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the huge inland sea for more than 60 years.

The S.S. Badger sails daily between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan from mid-May through mid-October. The relaxing four-hour, 60-mile cruise takes passengers, autos, RVs, tour buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and commercial trucks across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. While aboard the ship you can enjoy many amenities including: Outside deck areas, deli-style snack bar, buffet-style dining area, private staterooms, upper deck lounge, aft end lounge, video arcade, children's playroom, gift shop/ship's store, free quiet room/museum, two free TV lounges, free movie lounge!

The S.S. Badger, known as the Queen of the Great Lakes, is a national treasure, offering a cruise experience that links us to an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure. Blending tradition with innovation, the Badger affords a rare opportunity to take a step back into the past and take a journey that's as important as the destination.

S.S. Badger Historical Awards & Destinations

  • 1996: The Badger's propulsion system designated a mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

  • 1997: The Badger officially named a Registered Michigan Historic Site by the Michigan Historical Commission

  • 1997: The Badger officially named a Registered Wisconsin Historic Site by the Wisconsin Historical Commission

  • 1997: Lake Michigan Carferry designated a Michigan Centennial Business by the Historical Society of Michigan

  • 2002: The Badger is named Ship of the Year by the Steamship Historical Society of America

  • 2009 The Badger is placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior

Fun Badger Facts:

  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 410 feet, 6 inches
    • Width: 59 feet, 6 inches
    • Height: 106 feet, 9 inches (7 stories)
    • Weight: 6650 tons displaced


  • Amenities: Outside deck areas, deli-style snack bar, buffet-style dining area, private staterooms, upper deck lounge, aft end lounge, video arcade, children's playroom, gift shop/ship's store, free quiet room/museum, two free TV lounges, free movie lounge!

  • Staterooms: 40

  • Propellers: Two cast steel, 4-blade propellers, 13' 10'' in diameter and weighing 13,800 pounds each

  • Anchors: Two Stockless anchors weighing 7,000 pounds each

  • Engines: Two Skinner Unaflow four-cylinder steam engines rated 3,500 horsepower at 125 RPM (total 7,000 horsepower). The Badger's propulsion system burns domestic fuel, and is designated as a mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

  • Boilers: Four Foster-Wheeler "D - type" coal-burning

  • Average speed: 18 miles per hour (15.6 knots)

  • Number of crew members on each trip: 50-60

  • Capacity: 600 passengers, 180 automobiles, tour buses, RVs, motorcycles, and commercial trucks

  • Number of crossings per season: Approx. 450

  • Years in service: Built and launched in 1952; began daily service on March 21, 1953

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