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“Beautiful, natural, remote island in Lake Michigan”
Review of Beaver Island

Beaver Island
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Attraction details
Owner description: This historical site of 19th-century Mormon followers is now a quiet, quaint attraction.
Reviewed 23 November 2011

Every summer I spend on Beaver Island. It is kind of like going "back in time" as things are a bit slower on Beaver Island. Everybody is friendly, waving at each other, and people will help you if you are stopped on the road. Lots of natural areas to visit - bogs, lakes, beaches, hiking trails, sunsets. Different things happening in the summer like Museum Week, Art in the Harbor (artisans), Baroque.

4  Thank NancyPeterson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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72 - 76 of 77 reviews

Reviewed 12 September 2011

We've been visiting Charlevoix, Michigan for many years. It's a lovely, relaxing place to enjoy outdoor fun. This summer, we took our first trip to nearby Beaver Island. I highly recommend it for people looking for a real getaway vacation. It's not overrun with anything except trees. It's a ferry or plane ride away from Charlevoix. And it is beautiful!

1  Thank BreakingNews58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2011

Beaver Island and Charlevoix Michigan will help you slow down and smell the flowers. Thank you for the wonderful relaxing vacation. We took the Beaver Island Boat Co. ferry across the lake and jumped a Fresh Air flight back to Charlevoix, both are excelent companies to patronize.
Beaver Island is a great place to relax and refresh for a weeks vacation. Everyone says hi and/or offers a friendly wave, a lost gesture in most American cities. This was wonderful, from the singing loons to the peacful and clean beaches, Beaver Island offers rugged wooded forests and a breath of fresh air.
Thanks to all!

2  Thank swflfisher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2011

Beaver Island is 32 miles out in the middle of Lake Michigan, a two hour ferry ride from Charlevoix. It is 6.5 miles wide and 13 miles long. There is forest, meadow, beach, rivers, several inland lakes, parks, and "city life." If you want lots of shopping, high end meals, upscale lodging, and lots of attractions to visit, this place is not for you. If you want relaxation, quiet, smaller crowds, outdoor pursuits, basic bar food (in general), a few tourist shops, basic lodging, and a chance to see "island life" as it is, this place is for you.

The ferry ride out to Beaver Island is pretty relaxing. You can choose from outside seating (benches), semi-indoor seating (booths) or indoor seating (full chairs that recline!) and booths. I was surprised there was no food for sale at a concession stand, but there are vending machines. Most people brought food with them in a cooler. Bathrooms were clean. Enjoyable ride. Of course, they give you a little information as you pull out of Charlevoix, but you can't hear it from the noise of the boat motors and people. You can take your car, bike, luggage-check the rates online.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the island. We were surprised at how relaxing it was. The people on the island are just so laid back and friendly. Everyone waves as you pass them and I do mean everyone.If you need a ride anywhere, just wave them down and they will stop and give you a ride. Some of the restaurants and the motels will come get you at the ferry or airport if you request a ride. You can rent cars on the island for around $50 a day, but ours extended our time with the car for almost an additional day for the same rate. The cars are older-the roads on the island are all gravel, gravel and dirt, or just dirt. Lots of two tracks, also. Just a few roads are paved.

We took the 3 hour tour offered by the Beaver Island Boat Company. It was excellent. They take you all over the island, from one end to the other, and give a historical and ecological account of the island. We stopped at the Beaver Island Lighthouse, where you can climb to the top for wonderful views. About 50 steps up, so not too bad! You also stop at Iron Ore Bay, and I found this to be my favorite beach on the island. Came back the next day and explored some more. Just beautiful. Donegal Bay Beach was nice, too, but was quite busy with locals and tourists alike. The beach located in town is nice for families and young children. It provides a playground, a few picnic tables, the sand is clean and soft and the swimming excellent.

We checked out the Gull Preserve and the moment we turned that corner by the sign, there were 4 gulls sitting on top of the sign, like they were there to advertise for the place. :) There are 4 large rocks below the sign and each one had a gull one it. We also checked out another nature preserve on the island, but didn't stay long when the mosquitoes started biting.

We visited all 3 museums that are available-Marine, Antique Toy and Mormon Print Shop and BI Historical Museum (the last two are in the same building.) All are very small and were very informative places. Be sure and talk to Mary at the Toy Museum if you can get her away from any child in the place-LOL. She is great.

There are 7 restaurants on the island, at least what we found. Only one offers upscale dining-the Lodge Restaurant (formally known as Nina's) at Beaver Island Lodge. It has awesome food and service, and the views are wonderful. The rest are either bar/restaurants, or bakery/deli's/ fast food type places. One little hidden place is out near the airport (Welke), is the Paradise Bay Coffee Shop. Really good quiche! They are open til 3 I believe. Good place for breakfast if you have a car.

Several inland lakes to choose from. There are canoes sitting at just about all of them, so take a paddle out if you can. Not sure if they are all privately owned, but we saw several with paddles sitting under the canoes/row boats, so I think you can borrow them! All are no wake lakes and small or no motor lakes, also. Very peaceful. Watch for snakes! There are lots of snakes on the island, especially in or near the inland lakes, also several water snakes in/near Lake Michigan. None are poisonous.

My friend took the kayak tour over to Garden Island. You take a walk onto the island for about 30 minutes, in a meadow full of wildflowers and get a historical bit on that island, also. The paddling over to it was smooth and easy on the day they went. Great weather the whole time we were there.

There are a few scattered gift shops on the island, mostly selling jewelry, T-shirts, etc. A couple are artist workshops/galleries.

The community center is a wonderful addition to the island and it provides a great place for locals and tourists to hang out together. We enjoyed talking to several local people here, including workers at the place. Everyone was so nice and friendly. They offer some food items, snacks, water. They have several tables to sit at, where you can plug in your computer. Upstairs there is a pool table, large screen TV, several more tables, and 4 computers. They also have a great theater in the back where they show movies, plays, etc. Check out the list of activities at the front desk, and they can give you lots of info about the island too.

Would have loved to take a bi-plane ride but the cost factor was too much. That would have been awesome though. The pilot is located at Welkes Airport but he is not there all the time!

Overall, we would go back in a heartbeat. Very relaxing, fun, simple, no pressure. As they say, they are on island time. :0

11  Thank tymetraveler222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2008

This labor day weekend I spent under the stars camping on Beaver Island. There are so many more when you are 30 miles out into Lake Michigan. What a treat it was. The most surprising thing, for what most of Northern Michigan would be one of the busiest weekends of the year, this island seemed empty. I stayed at the Memorial Campground about 8 miles out of town and was the only one there for one day and there was one other camp the other day. I pitched my tent on site 17 right on the beach and went to exploring the island in my Chevy Tracker (rented from Beaver Island Marine for $50/day really nice people I might add). I ate at Nina's restaurant for dinner one night and the food was wonderful as was the service. The place was completely reserved so I ate at the bar and they were very friendly. The other night I ate at the Bar in town and they had a fantastic burger and huge ice cream sundae. The grocery store had everything I needed and didn't seem but slightly higher priced on most items. Corona was $9 for a 6 pack. Gas was $5.49/gallon but the tracker I rented went all over the island for two days and I used all of 6 gallons or so.

Most of my days were spent at what I thought was the best beach on the island, Iron Ore Bay. There is a stream that is ice cold running out into the Lake and it was just beautiful. The best sunset would have to be the beach walk from Indian Point out to McCauley Point. Boy do I wish that I would have not left my camera in the car for that one!

All in all, I can't believe that it wasn't packed as it was just that relaxing of a weekend.

I also might add that the folks at Welke Airport (where I flew myself into) were fantastic.

Most places take Visa and Mastercard, however minimums in the $10-$15 range aren't uncommon. There is a sole ATM on the island but it didn't like my card and has a $3.00 fee, so bring cash with you.

This is a must visit although I have to say that I hope my review doesn't pack it for next labor day weekend as the peacefulness was marvelous!

9  Thank superdrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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