Ferry Across Lake Michigan

Dreading the drive through Chicago on 4th of July weekend, we decided to take the car ferry across Lake Michigan to attend our family’s summer picnic. We removed the big city from the equation because that trip is a wild card on any weekend and a holiday could make it double trouble. With no traffic, Chicago can be traversed in about 45 minutes. Our record in futility is 3+ hours from Gary Indiana to O’Hare Airport. That record was set on a previous 4th of July weekend and we were not looking forward to challenging it.
We took the early morning boat from Ludington Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin. We spent the previous night in town and were up and ready to go with plenty of time to spare. This particular trip had a lot of motorcycles boarding for the holiday weekend. A calm day on Lake Michigan made for a very pleasurable 3 hour ride. We were prepared to keep ourselves occupied with dominoes and cards. The time went fast, the trip was easy, and our co-passengers were nice. We were surprised to see a big family of Amish on the boat. They seemed to be having a good time, too.

We spent 2 days in Wisconsin and took the midnight boat back to Michigan. We were looking forward to enjoying a state room where we could nap for most of the trip. We both were so exhausted that we fell asleep before the boat left the dock and were awakened by the crew banging on doors to wake everybody up just before reaching the Michigan shore.

The S.S.Badger car ferry was more expensive than driving the distance. However, we didn’t have to pay tolls, we didn’t have to buy as much gas, and we didn’t get stuck in traffic. We did have 2 nice boat rides, we had a stress free driving experience, and we saved a night’s lodging in a hotel. For us, this trip was a win-win and well worth the fare in both directions.

Upon departing the Badger, we noticed that the boat is actually part of U.S. Highway 10–amusing, funny, and true! We will take the Badger again and look forward to another enjoyable experience on Lake Michigan.


Mike Venturini
Jonesville Michigan Bed and Breakfast Innkeeper
“Life is good in Jonesville”

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