Family-friendly dining in Ludington, Michigan

As you may remember, our latest Pure Michigan getaway to Ludington was one to remember. One in which I declared Ludington one of my favorite Lake Michigan beach towns. Ever. (Read all about it here.) One of the reasons we fell in love with Ludington was that there were so many places to eat — many of which were family-friendly. Here are some of the places that we tried ourselves and would recommend in a heartbeat!

Places to EAT

House of Flavors Restaurant, 402 W. Ludington Ave.

Are you surprised I started with an ice cream place? The restaurant/ice cream parlor has a 1950s diner feel with its black and white tile, jukeboxes, and disco ball. While they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner our mission was to try their ice cream! Producing over 25 million gallons of ice cream, they are Michigan’s largest ice cream manufacturer. When we entered we noticed the line, but thankfully it moved fast. I’ve heard their Blue Moon flavor is popular, but let me tell you – you can’t go wrong with any flavor. This is the real deal people! We tried Amaretto Cherry, Birthday Cake, Raspberry Chip Cheesecake, and Superman. I loved the Amaretto Cherry! A definite must stop in Ludington. We loved it so much, we couldn’t resist coming here twice.

Tip: The single scoops are huge! Even the junior size scoops are still large.

Brenda’s Harbor Cafe, 316 S. James St.

We needed a filling breakfast for a day of exploring, and Brenda’s Harbor Cafe fit the bill.  We appreciated the fact that locals were dining here, and we felt welcome here as well. The breakfast portions were huge and hit the spot. It was the perfect breakfast to get us going. Family Friendly Ludington - Brendas Harbor Cafe

Chef John’s European Bakery & Cafe, 110 W. Filer Street

A few locals raved about the food here especially the soups. But we were on a time crunch and didn’t have time to dine here. Instead, I grabbed a few muffins, a cinnamon roll, and ordered their breakfast sandwich – scrambled egg whites with prosciutto, dill havarti, and spicy mustard.

Family Friendly Ludington - Chef John Baked Goods

We’re not talking McD’s breakfast sandwiches here; these were huge and packed with so much flavor. So delicious! Next time we visit, we’ll definitely have to dine here. At the very least, I recommend stopping by and leaving with a few baked goods.

Biercamp Market, 222 W. Ludington Ave.

We were hungry but needed something rather quick. Since we were in downtown Ludington, we took a quick stroll to Biercamp Market.  If you want to grab and go this is a great grocery store that has an awesome deli with huge sandwiches! If you can all decide on one type of sandwich you can ask for the largest one and then split it between you all. We couldn’t resist grabbing a bag of Great Lakes chips made in Traverse City.  It’s your one stop shop for beer, wine, and coffee.

Tip: Grab your sandwiches and head to the beach for your picnic.

The Q Smokehouse, 225 S. James St.

Family Friendly Ludington - Qs Smokehouse Wall

We were a hungry bunch and thought BBQ would be ideal and cost-effective way to feed the family. Boy, were we right!  We ended up choosing the “4 x 4 platter”  for $35. A half chicken, 1/2 lbpork, 1/3 lb brisket, 1/3 slab ribs with 4 small sides (I highly recommend the sweet potato if they have it.) It was the perfect size for our family of 5.

Family Friendly Ludington - Qs Smokehouse BBQ

Family Friendly Ludington - Qs Smokehouse BBQ Sides

Everything was heavenly from the fall-off-the-bone ribs to the cheesy mac and cheese sides. It’s comfort food at it’s best! Well, our type of comfort food.

Tip: Try to visit earlier, rather than later. Note they are open until they sell out of their food. 

Bortell’s Fisheries, 5528 S Lakeshore Dr.

Family Friendly Ludington - Bortells Fisheries Exterior

When we travel, we love discovering off the beaten path places that locals recommend. Bortell’s was one of those places. Located south of downtown (close to the Historic White Pine Village), lies this small family-owned fish shack. You pick your desired fish and a few minutes later they will fry it to perfection.

Family Friendly Ludington - Bortells Food

What a treat! This may have been our favorite fish fry place that we’ve been to.

Tip: Take your food to Summit Park located a few feet away. You can dine on one of the picnic tables overlooking Lake Michigan. When you’re all done, have the kids run around at the pirate-themed park.

Family Friendly Ludington - Summit Park Playground

Cops N Doughnuts, 103 E. Dowland St.

Family Friendly Ludington - Cops n Doughnuts Donuts

What do you get when retired cops try to save local, historic bakeries? Started in Clare, Michigan, Cops N Doughnuts is a fun twist on regular doughnut shops. Now they’re buying up historic bakeries throughout Michigan and turning them into gourmet doughnut shops! hard part was choosing what to leave with. Located just a minute away from the S.S. Badger, my grand plan was to bring these donuts aboard and munch during our voyage. Unfortunately, no food is allowed onboard the S.S. Badger, so we scarfed down a couple donuts before we boarded. No pretty pictures, sorry. But believe me everything looked and tasted delectable.

Family Friendly Ludington - Cops n Doughnuts Donuts

Tip: Don’t forget to take a mug shot.

Jamesport Brewing Co., 410 S James St.

We just had to try a brewpub in Ludington, so we thought why not Ludington’s first brewpub – Jamesport Brewing Co? We heard they had a great deck off the back, but we were happy dining in our little alcove indoors. We munched on nachos while we waited for our food to arrive. Quite honestly, we weren’t that impressed with the nachos (needed more cheese), and we let our waitress know. We had no idea the waitress would remove the nachos from our bill. Now that’s customer service!

The rest of our dinner was perfect. The kids love mac n cheese and lobster so choosing the lobster mac n cheese was a no-brainer.  It was absolutely delicious and was devoured in minutes. I wish that I ordered my own serving.   My husband and I shared the fish n chips. It was fried perfectly without being too greasy. (Can you tell my mouth is watering as I type this?)

Family Friendly Ludington - Jamesport Brewing Co. We were at a brewpub so we couldn’t resist trying a flight of their beer. I tend to like beer with a tinge of sweetness so I opted for peach, blueberry, and strawberry.

I know I’ve mentioned only a few places to eat in Ludington, but hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas for your and your the family.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Ludington?

Family-friendly dining in Ludington, Michigan