Consider a ferry trip across Lake Michigan as a relaxing alternative to fighting big city traffic.
LUDINGTON, Mich. -- Those seeking to avoid the stress of driving in heavy traffic through Gary, Ind., Chicago and Milwaukee should consider the Lake Michigan Carferry Service as a unique and relaxing alternative way to head for Wisconsin, Minnesota and points to the north and west.
The four-hour crossing offered aboard the 1952-vintage S.S. Badger, the last remaining passenger-carrying Great Lakes steamer, may also save travelers hundreds of miles of extra driving around Lake Michigan.
The 410-foot S.S. Badger, which crosses Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich. to Manitowoc, Wis., between mid-May and mid-October, can carry 620 passengers and 180 vehicles. It makes two daily round trips during the peak summer season and one during the spring and fall.
A view above
Once the Badger leaves the dock, the predominant view is of the vast expanse of Lake Michigan. But, weather-permitting, the nighttime crossing offers a rare opportunity for stargazing from the ship's bow without the interference of city lights.
The ferry is fully equipped with food and beverage service, a movie lounge, video arcade, maritime historical display, gift shop, lockers and a cellular pay phone. Staterooms are available at an extra charge of $32 each way. Vehicles, other than motorcycles, are loaded and unloaded by the ship's staff, and passengers don't have access to them during the cruise.
Reservations are recommended, and passengers and vehicles should arrive one hour before the scheduled departure time.
For more information, call toll-free (800) 841-4243 or e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The ship's Web site is www.ssbadger.com.
Summer departure times are at 8 a.m. and 7:55 p.m. eastern time from Ludington and 1:15 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. central time from Manitowoc, with a 20 percent discount for passengers and vehicles applying for the night departure from Manitowoc. During the spring and fall, departure times are 9 a.m. eastern time from Ludington and 2:30 p.m. central time from Manitowoc.
Summer adult passenger fares are $45 one way and $74 round trip ($42 and $68, respectively in spring and fall.) Cars, vans and pickup trucks are $49 one way and $98 round trip, not including passenger fares.