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Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan and a popular tourist and vacation destination. Beaver Island lies approximately 32 miles from the city of Charlevoix on the mainland and can only be reached by air or boat. The island has two airports, one public and one private. Beaver Island is also the name of an unincorporated community comprising the settled areas of the island.

Beaver Island (zip: 49782) is 13 miles long, 3 to 6 miles wide, and is mostly flat and sandy with large forested tracts. According to 2010 U.S. census data, the island has 55.773 square miles (144.45 km²) of land, and a year-round population of 657. The more densely settled portion (365 residents), comprising only 6 percent of Beaver's total land area, lies within St. James Township on the northern end. Peaine Township, with 292 inhabitants and taking up the remaining 94 percent of the island, contains sizable parcels of state-owned land and is mostly undeveloped.

Beaver Island has several small to moderately sized lakes including Lake Geneserath in the southeast (best for fishing), Greenes Lake and Fox Lake in the central portion, and Font Lake, Egg Lake, Round Lake, and Barneys Lake in the north. There are only two named streams: Jordan River, draining into Sand Bay on the east side of the island, and Iron Ore Creek draining into Iron Ore Bay on the south side. The municipal dock is located on the NE side of the island in the St. James harbor. Showers and toilets are available, as well as transient moorings for boaters.

Many cell phones work well. Others offer little or low levels of service. AT&T and Verizon have invested in antennas serving Beaver Island.

Beaver Island Facts

  • Central Michigan University owns and operates a research facility on the island.
  • Beaver Head Light is a well preserved lighthouse on the southern tip of the island.
  • Wireless internet service is free at the library.
  • There are two rustic campgrounds on the island open April thru November with no reservations.
  • Beaver Island also has a golf course!
  • A page of other relevant facts (FAQs!)

See the Ecotour Photo Gallery gathered by locals and guests.