Big Sable Point Lighthouse on the Lake Michigan shore in Ludington State Park.

©Aubrie Pick/Lonely Planet

Ludington State Park

Gold Coast

The lakeside park is one of Michigan's largest and most popular playlots. Once inside, people simply pull over on the roadside and make a break for the beautiful stretches of beach. There’s also a top-notch trail system and the renovated Big Sable Point Lighthouse to hike to (or live in, as the volunteer lighthouse keeper). Tours of the 112ft fog-buster cost $5.

If you want to spend the night, tent and RV sites cost $17 to $37, cabins cost $52.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gold Coast attractions

1. Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area


Nordhouse Dunes, a 3450-acre plot within the Huron-Manistee National Forest, features perhaps the wildest stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. Dunes rise…