Ludington State Park is one of the largest and most-visited state parks in Michigan. I had a chance to chat with Jim Gallie, the park director, about what makes the park’s beaches so special.
Q: How many visit the beach in the summer?
A: The park sees over 800,000 visitors a year. Most of them come here to enjoy our beaches.
Q: What demographic do you cater to most and why?
A: Most of our visitors are families who come camping here. We also get a lot of day-use traffic; we offer a lot of activities including a variety of interpretative programs, which draw in a diverse crowd.
Q: What recreational equipment do you offer your visitors?
A: There are boat rentals available at the beach on Hamlin Lake. Hamlin Lake is connected to Lake Michigan by about a mile of river, and guests can go tubing down the river. Our playground equipment is older but we’re hoping to upgrade it soon. We also just finished installing two volleyball nets on the Lake Michigan beach, which is something new for us this year.
Q: Are your visitors mostly local?
A: We get a good mix of both locals and out-of-towners. The locals like to come here because, with seven miles of beach on Lake Michigan, there is a lot of room to spread out.
Q: What makes this beach the best in the state?
A: Our seven miles of pristine beach bring people back year after year. A lot of our park guests have been coming here every year for 20 or 30 years. Just today I talked to some people who have been camping here annually since 1950! We’re not just a destination, we’re part of people’s lives.