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How Long Is The Ferry Ride From Milwaukee To Michigan


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Carmelle Marriott



Are you planning a trip from Milwaukee to Michigan and wondering how long the ferry ride will be? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the duration of the ferry ride, the scenic views you can expect, and the amenities available on board.


Located along the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a vibrant city known for its rich history, bustling art scene, and stunning natural beauty. On the other side, Michigan offers a variety of attractions, including charming coastal towns, picturesque beaches, and serene lakeside views. Taking a ferry from Milwaukee to Michigan is not only a convenient transportation option but also a chance to soak in the beauty of the Great Lakes region.


Whether you are planning a day trip, a weekend getaway, or a longer vacation, understanding the ferry options and the duration of the ride is crucial for effective trip planning. So, let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about the ferry ride from Milwaukee to Michigan!


Understanding the Route from Milwaukee to Michigan

The route from Milwaukee to Michigan primarily involves crossing Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The ferry ride offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of this vast body of water and enjoy stunning views along the way.


There are several ferry services available that operate between Milwaukee and various destinations in Michigan, such as Muskegon and Ludington. These ferries provide a convenient and scenic mode of transportation for both passengers and their vehicles.


Before embarking on your journey, it’s essential to plan your route and determine the specific ferry service that suits your needs. Consider factors such as departure and arrival ports, availability of amenities on board, and the duration of the ferry ride.


It’s important to note that the routes and schedules may vary depending on the ferry service and the time of year. Some ferries operate seasonally, while others have year-round service. Therefore, it’s always recommended to check the official website or contact the ferry company for the most up-to-date information.


Once you have a clear understanding of the route and ferry service, you can proceed with your travel arrangements and get ready for a memorable journey across Lake Michigan.


Now, let’s move on to the next section where we will explore the different ferry options available for your trip from Milwaukee to Michigan.


Ferry Options Available

When it comes to ferry options from Milwaukee to Michigan, there are a few reliable and popular choices to consider. Let’s take a closer look at the ferry services available for your journey.


1. Lake Express: Lake Express is a high-speed ferry service that operates between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Muskegon, Michigan. It offers a quick and efficient way to travel across Lake Michigan, with a crossing time of approximately 2.5 hours. The Lake Express ferry can accommodate both passengers and vehicles, making it convenient for those looking to bring their cars along.


2. SS Badger: The SS Badger is a historic passenger and vehicle ferry that travels between Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Ludington, Michigan. This iconic ferry provides a unique and nostalgic experience, with a crossing time of around 4 hours. Onboard, you’ll find a range of amenities, including comfortable seating areas, restaurants, and even a movie theater to keep you entertained during the journey.


These ferry options offer different departure and arrival ports, allowing you to choose the most convenient route for your trip to Michigan. Whether you prefer the speed and efficiency of Lake Express or the charm and history of the SS Badger, both options promise an enjoyable and memorable crossing experience.


Remember to check the ferry schedules and availability before your trip, as they may vary depending on the season and the day of the week. It’s also advisable to make advance reservations, especially during peak travel times, to secure your spot on the ferry and avoid any last-minute hassles.


Now that we know the available ferry options, let’s delve into the next section where we will explore the duration of the ferry ride from Milwaukee to Michigan.


Duration of the Ferry Ride

The duration of the ferry ride from Milwaukee to Michigan can vary depending on the specific route and ferry service you choose. Let’s take a closer look at the approximate durations for each ferry option.


1. Lake Express: The high-speed Lake Express ferry offers the quickest crossing time between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Michigan. The journey typically takes around 2.5 hours, allowing you to reach your destination swiftly and efficiently. With its modern design and powerful engines, the Lake Express offers a smooth and comfortable ride across Lake Michigan.


2. SS Badger: If you decide to travel on the historic SS Badger ferry from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to Ludington, Michigan, the crossing time will be longer but also more scenic and nostalgic. The journey on the SS Badger takes approximately 4 hours, giving you ample time to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the lake. The SS Badger provides a unique experience that harks back to the golden age of ferry travel.


It’s important to keep in mind that these durations are approximate and can be affected by various factors such as weather conditions and the speed of the ferry. Additionally, it’s recommended to arrive at the ferry terminal well in advance, especially during busy travel periods, to ensure a smooth boarding process.


During the ferry ride, make sure to take advantage of the onboard amenities and services to enhance your journey. Whether it’s grabbing a bite to eat, enjoying the views from the observation deck, or simply relaxing in comfortable seating areas, the ferry ride offers a pleasant and scenic way to travel from Milwaukee to Michigan.


Now that we have explored the duration of the ferry ride, let’s move on to the next section where we will uncover the scenic views you can expect during the journey.


Scenic Views during the Journey

The ferry ride from Milwaukee to Michigan offers an opportunity to witness some truly breathtaking and picturesque views along the way. As you sail across Lake Michigan, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas that highlight the natural beauty of the Great Lakes region.


1. Lake Michigan’s Majesty: One of the main highlights of the journey is the vastness of Lake Michigan itself. As you sail across its expansive waters, you’ll be surrounded by the deep blue hues of the lake, creating a sense of tranquility and serenity. The sheer size of Lake Michigan is awe-inspiring, and it’s an incredible sight to behold as you make your way towards Michigan.


2. Coastal Scenery: As the ferry approaches the shores of Michigan, you’ll be treated to picturesque coastal views. From sandy beaches to rugged cliffs, the Michigan coastline offers a diverse and stunning landscape. Keep your eyes peeled for lighthouses dotting the shoreline, charming beach towns, and vibrant harbors that add to the beauty of the journey.


3. Sunsets on the Water: If you’re lucky, your ferry ride may coincide with a breathtaking sunset over Lake Michigan. As the sun starts to descend, painting the sky with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple, the reflection on the water creates an unforgettable scene. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture this magical moment.


4. Wildlife Encounters: Keep a lookout for wildlife during your journey. Lake Michigan is home to various species of birds and aquatic animals. You might spot seagulls soaring through the air or even catch a glimpse of a playful group of dolphins swimming alongside the ferry. These encounters with nature add an exciting element to the trip and make it all the more memorable.


Remember to find a comfortable spot on the ferry to fully immerse yourself in the scenic views. Whether you prefer to relax on the deck, sit by a window, or explore the various vantage points on board, be sure to take in the beauty of your surroundings during the ferry ride from Milwaukee to Michigan.


Now that we have marveled at the scenic views, let’s uncover the amenities and services available on board the ferry.


Amenities and Services on Board

During your ferry ride from Milwaukee to Michigan, you can expect a range of amenities and services to enhance your travel experience. Let’s explore the offerings available on board these ferry services.


1. Comfortable Seating Areas: Both the Lake Express and SS Badger provide comfortable seating areas where you can relax and enjoy the journey. Whether you prefer a cozy reclining seat or a spacious lounge area, you’ll find ample seating options to suit your preferences.

2. Dining Options: Feeling hungry during the journey? No worries! Onboard dining options are available on most ferry services. From casual cafes serving snacks and light meals to full-service restaurants offering a variety of delicious dishes, you’ll have plenty of choices to satisfy your cravings.

3. Outdoor Decks: Take advantage of the outdoor decks to soak in the fresh air and enjoy the panoramic views of Lake Michigan. The outdoor areas provide a great vantage point to capture stunning photos or simply bask in the beauty of nature.

4. Onboard Entertainment: To make your journey even more enjoyable, some ferries offer onboard entertainment options. From onboard movies and live performances to interactive activities for children, there’s something for everyone to stay entertained during the crossing.

5. Shops and Boutiques: If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, you’ll find shops and boutiques onboard where you can browse through a selection of souvenirs, clothing, and other merchandise. These onboard stores offer a unique shopping experience during your ferry ride.

6. Pet-Friendly Facilities: If you’re traveling with your furry friend, some ferries provide pet-friendly amenities and designated areas to ensure the comfort and well-being of your pets during the journey. Be sure to check with the ferry service for their specific pet policies and requirements.

It’s important to note that the availability of amenities and services may vary depending on the ferry service and the specific vessel you are traveling on. Therefore, it’s advisable to check the ferry company’s website or contact their customer service to confirm the offerings available on your selected ferry.

Now that we know what amenities and services to expect, let’s move on to the next section where we will discuss some important tips for planning your trip from Milwaukee to Michigan.


Planning Your Trip

When planning your trip from Milwaukee to Michigan, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here are some essential tips to help you plan your trip:


1. Research Ferry Schedules: Begin by researching the ferry schedules of the available services. Check their websites or contact their customer service to find out the departure and arrival times that align with your travel plans. Take note of any seasonal variations or schedule changes, particularly if you’re planning your trip during peak travel seasons.


2. Make Reservations in Advance: To secure your spot on the ferry and avoid any disappointments, it’s recommended to make reservations in advance. This is especially important during busy travel periods when ferries can fill up quickly. By booking ahead of time, you can ensure a smooth boarding process and have peace of mind knowing that your spot is secured.


3. Check Vehicle Requirements: If you plan to bring your vehicle on the ferry, check the specific requirements of the ferry service. Ensure that your vehicle meets the size and weight restrictions, and inquire about any additional costs or procedures for transporting your vehicle.


4. Pack Essentials: It’s always wise to pack essentials for your journey. This may include a valid ID or passport (if traveling internationally), travel documents, comfortable clothing, and any necessary medications. Additionally, consider bringing items to keep you entertained during the crossing, such as books, electronic devices, or travel games.


5. Arrive Early: Arriving at the ferry terminal early is crucial, especially during peak travel times. Give yourself ample time to check-in, go through security procedures, and board the ferry. Arriving early also allows you to explore the amenities available at the terminal and grab any last-minute items you may need for the journey.


6. Check Weather Conditions: Keep an eye on the weather forecast before your trip. Lake Michigan can experience changing weather conditions, and it’s important to be prepared for any possible changes. Dress accordingly and be aware of any potential rough water conditions that may affect the ferry ride.


By following these planning tips, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable trip from Milwaukee to Michigan. Remember to stay informed, make necessary reservations, and pack accordingly to make the most of your ferry experience.


Now, let’s proceed to the final section and wrap up our comprehensive guide.



Traveling from Milwaukee to Michigan by ferry provides a convenient and scenic way to explore the beauty of the Great Lakes region. Whether you choose the high-speed Lake Express or the historic SS Badger, you’ll have an enjoyable and memorable journey across Lake Michigan.


Understanding the route, duration, and available amenities on board are key factors in planning your trip. Researching the ferry options, making reservations in advance, and arriving early at the terminal will ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.


During the ferry ride, be prepared to be amazed by the breathtaking scenery. From the vastness of Lake Michigan to the coastal views and the possibility of witnessing a majestic sunset, there will be plenty of opportunities to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.


Onboard, take advantage of the amenities and services available, such as comfortable seating, dining options, outdoor decks, and onboard entertainment. Whether you’re traveling alone, with family, or with your pets, these amenities will enhance your journey and make it more enjoyable.


As you plan your trip, consider packing essentials, checking vehicle requirements, and keeping an eye on the weather conditions. By staying informed and prepared, you’ll be able to make the most of your ferry ride and create unforgettable memories along the way.


Whether you’re visiting Michigan for a weekend getaway, a family vacation, or exploring new horizons, the ferry ride from Milwaukee offers a unique and memorable experience. So, grab your tickets, embark on the ferry, and get ready to embark on an adventure across the beautiful Lake Michigan.


Safe travels!