Scenic Route St. Ignace to Ludington

After our most amazing trip to Mackinac Island (read about it here, here, and here), our next destination was the West Michigan beach town of Ludington. Instead of taking the highway, I heard about the amazing sights to see on Michigan’s west coast. If you’re ever in the area, I highly suggest taking this route. While we couldn’t stop everywhere we wanted, we enjoyed everything we did see and would highly recommend it to anybody!

Get off the highway, take the scenic route, and soak it all in!

After our fun Star Line Ferry ride from Mackinac Island. (Read all about it here.), we were hungry and decided to grab lunch at Clyde’s Drive-In, a neat joint where you can order food from the convenience of your car. (And no, they didn’t roll in with roller skates, hah!)

Road to Ludington Michigan - Clydes Drivein

At the recommendation of others, we tried the Big C burger that was ginormous! We added the fry basket and it was enough for my husband and I. And honestly a little hard to eat without making a mess in the car. It’s filling enough for two. The kids shared the pizza burger and devoured it.

After stuffing our bellies with burgers, we crossed The Mighty Mac Bridge from St. Ignace into Mackinaw City. Again, if you haven’t crossed the bridge, it is well worth the $4 toll.

Mackinac Bridge

We wanted to take the scenic route and got off I-75. We then made our way west to M-119’s Tunnel of Trees. As the name suggests, we drove through a tunnel of trees the entire way for about 20 miles. The road is narrow and lacks a center line to guide cars. Lucky for us, there wasn’t a lot of other people on the road to rush us. We did get a little nervous every time we saw someone headed the opposite direction and usually veered to the right to give them space. This totally reminded me of our drive through Custer State Park which was scary and thrilling.

Road to Ludington Michigan - Tunnel of Trees

We passed by small charming towns like Good Hart and Harbor Springs. We used this guide from MyNorth to plan our Tunnel of Trees adventure.

We did, however, decide to make a pit stop at Pond Hill Farm for a much-needed stop and potty break to stretch our legs. And what an awesome place this was! They have a cafe, a brewery, homemade jams, and a tasting room on-site.

Road to Ludington Michigan - Pond Hill Farm Jam and Beer

The kids were able to play lawn games and run around on the playground. They also were able to say hi to the farm animals like sheep, goat, and ducks. We walked out with a growler of blueberry cider. Wish we had more!

Road to Ludington Michigan - Pond Hill Farm Playground

Road to Ludington Michigan - Petting Zoo

We continued through the Tunnel of Trees, then hit our next area – Petoskey. What a cute area! We didn’t have much time, so we just stopped at the scenic turnout at Sunset Park where we had magnificent views of the Little Traverse Bay.

Road to Ludington Michigan - Petoskey Sunset Park

But the real highlight was going down 50 or so steps where we met a little waterfall. The kids loved hopping from stone to stone over the little creek. A definite worthwhile stop!

Road to Ludington Michigan - Petoskey Sunset Park Waterfall

We hit the road again and traveled for about two hours until our next stop – Empire, Michigan. It was time to eat! At the suggestion of Jessie from Wandering Educators, I really had my heart set on this meatball sub she tried on her visit to Empire Village Inn. Unfortunately, they no longer made subs. Boo hoo hoo. Instead, we took our waitress’s advice and tried their pizzas and crazy sammies. We ordered a Hawaiian pizza with cinnamon on top and my husband ordered The Pre-Existing Condition, a sandwich concoction consisting of prime rib, mozzarella sticks, onion rings to name a few. Boy, were they yummy!

Road to Ludington Michigan - Empire Village Inn Pizza and Sandwich

After stuffing our bellies, we were ready for our next adventure – Arcadia Overlook or Inspiration Point as its called to some. I added this at the recommendation from a Facebook group as they mentioned she saw it on Instagram. I can definitely see why! We made it just in time before we lost light.  The views from the lot were beautiful, but we really wanted to get the full experience so we climbed the 100 or so steps to the top. Beautiful!

Road to Ludington Michigan - Inspiration Point Arcadia Steps

Road to Ludington Michigan - Inspiration Point Arcadia View

We hit the road and made it to Ludington just in time so catch the sun setting over the beach! What a way to end our day of travel!

Road to Ludington Michigan - Ludington Sunset Stearns Beach

Read the details of our visit to Ludington. We absolutely fell in love with this beach town!