Lake Michigan Ferries: Another Way Around The Lake

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If you are planning a trip that forces you to take the long route around Lake Michigan you should know that there is another way. You can go across Lake Michigan on a ferry, and you have two options for doing it.

Lake Express

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The Lake Express runs between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Muskegon, Michigan. Muskegon is just 40 miles west of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is the southern ferry.

The Lake Express is referred to as the “fast ferry” by people because of the higher speed of crossing as compared to the competition. It runs at up to 40 mph across the lake.

At 192 feet in length and 57 feet in width, the Lake Express is big but not huge. It can accommodate 46 cars and nearly 250 people with each trip. The Lake Express will hold your car but you also have a comfortable cabin to sit in while you enjoy the trip. You can even grab something to eat or catch a movie on the cruise.

The Lake Express runs from late April or early May through October and the trip takes about 2.5 hours, which will save you time and keep you out of the traffic rather than driving through Chicago.

S.S. Badger

The S.S. Badger runs between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. Manitowoc is 40 miles south of Green Bay, Wisconsin and Ludington is about 100 miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is the northern ferry.

The S.S. Badger is often referred to as the “slow ferry” by people because of the longer lake crossing time, but the S.S. Badger is bigger than the Lake Express and offers additional amenities. It crosses the lake at around 18 mph.

At 410 feet in length and 60 feet in width, the S.S. Badger is really big. It can hold 180 automobiles and over 600 passengers. It even holds RVs, trucks, or buses. The S.S. Badger has dining, a bar, arcade, entertainment, a kids’ playroom, and much more – most for free. It even has private state rooms available.

The S.S. Badger runs year-round and the trip takes about 4 hours. You may be on the boat for a little longer, but you’ll have fun getting there and will save a little money.

Choose Your Craft

If you are in a hurry and the extra amenities and slightly higher cost are not that big of a deal for you, go with the Lake Express. If it’s not summer or you are looking for a less expensive ship with a ton of things to do, hitch a ride on the S.S. Badger.

Either way you are sure to have a trip across Lake Michigan that you won’t soon forget.

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Lake Michigan Ferries: Another Way Around The Lake, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.