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FAQs

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No matter what option you choose to get to the island, we offer a free shuttle service to The Retreat. Coming by Ferry? We’ll meet you at the dock. Flying over? We’ll pick you up at either airport. Or, you can simply book a rental car from Duffy! Just let us know your time of arrival and we’ll be there or Duffy will have a car waiting for you wherever you choose.

Enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan and travel to Beaver Island with Beaver Island Boat Company. The trip to Beaver Island on either the Emerald Isle or the Beaver Islander is a relaxing two hours and ten minutes. You can check out their schedule online. Passenger tickets are purchased the day of departure at the Ferry office but if you’re bringing your car across, you’ll need to book far in advance.

Not bringing your car across? To park your car on the Charlevoix side, you’ll unload your luggage at the dock, then park your car a short drive away at the Charlevoix Airport for $5/ day. From there, a shuttle will bring you back to the Ferry. When you return, the shuttle will take you to your car and you can return for your luggage at the Ferry dock.

Increase your time on the island by taking a short 12 minute flight from Charlevoix to Beaver Island via Fresh Air Aviation or Island Airways. Flights leave multiple times throughout the day so you’ll be able to catch a flight at almost any time you choose. You can book directly or add a flight to your booking and we’ll take care of the rest.

Want to bring your own boat to the island? Great idea! St. James has two marinas where you can moor your floating transport. Call ahead to ensure a slip.

The easiest place in the world to rent a car is Beaver Island. No hassle, no waiting, no worries. Rental cars are limited on the island so be sure to book early. For the same price, you can rent a car directly from Duffy’s Car Rental or add it to your booking with us. Your rental will be waiting at the airport, ferry dock, or your tent when you arrive.

The answer is YES! You can fly into Traverse City and we’ll help you book a charter flight via Fresh Air Aviation to the island from there. The Charter is a flat rate and can include up to five people with the flight lasting 35 minutes.

The Safari Tents are designed to hold two adults very comfortably. Two cots can be added to the tents for children, but we only recommend a maximum of three adults per tent, which would require adding one cot to your reservation.

The platforms and tents are carefully engineered and designed to prevent bugs and mosquitoes from disrupting your stay. Applying practical behaviors such as zipping and unzipping your entrance regardless of how long you need to be in the tent ensures a complete seal without any concern. Additionally, we use Hogarth’s Pest Control to spray an all-natural, chemical free mosquito eliminator that reduces the population at The Retreat.

The layout of the campground was designed to allow for the greatest outdoor experience with as much privacy as we can offer. Tent Sites are actually more than 2X’s the requirement by law totaling over 2500 sq. ft. per site. Some sites may have up to 5000 sq. ft. of privacy. As we continue to grow and make adjustments, our goal is to increase the distance between sites to provide the ultimate outdoor, private experience.

The bath houses, facility and pavilion are all about a 2 minute walk at an average pace from the farthest site on the property.

Our goal at The Retreat is to provide a well-rounded incredible experience while being conscious of maintaining the beauty and natural gifts of the island. We are not certified green, but we work to design our processes and guest experiences with respect for the environment and in an attempt to keep the land and water free of contaminants.

WATER:

First, we encourage our guests to bring a water bottle instead of bringing or buying bottled water. This keeps waste off of the island and helps reduce emissions to transport unneeded trash. In support of this, we offer guests water that has been filtered by The Crown Berkey, a renowned water filtration system that removes chemicals, metals, pharmaceuticals, and plastics leaving pure drinking water for our guests.

BODY SOAPS:

Next we offer all-natural soaps for our guests. Every guest receives a personal travel size 4in1 bath bar from RedBudSuds; Shampoo, Conditioner, Body, and Shave. “Thoughtfully Clean,” RedBudSuds connects with our desire to “protect and connect this beautiful world.”

CLEANING SOAPS:

Our laundry soap is all-natural and supplied to us by Moon Works. The soap leaves clothes surprisingly fresh while protecting our water system. Additionally, we offer the option to line dry clothing to save energy if guests are willing to give it a try.

Kitchen soap is currently Seventh Generation All-Natural. We are still looking for a private maker of liquid soap but gladly use Seventh Generation to meet our current needs.

COMPOSTING:

For 2019, every tent was provided with a bucket lined with a composting bag for food waste. Guest waste was mostly surface composted. Our goal for 2020 is to be able to designate a composting area on the campground with a more rigorous procedure in place for composting and to use the compost to feed a guest garden.

LUMP CHARCOAL:

Providing guests with all-natural lump charcoal is a much greener and healthier option than standard charcoal briquettes. Lump charcoal is made from only wood, no additives or preservatives. Briquettes can contain several chemicals such as limestone, borax, sodium nitrate, sawdust, and lighter fluid, to name a few. By providing guests with lump charcoal free of charge, we eliminate waste from the island, prevent chemicals from briquettes being released into the air when burning, and provide guests with a healthier experience to BBQing.

ECO Wood Treatment:

The platforms for the deck are untreated pine, and the campground furniture is Douglas Fir, all stained/ sealed with ECO Wood Treatment. This is a non toxic wood stain, treatment, and turns all wood a high end aged look. No harmful substances to the environment, including air, water, soil, and plants/trees. It contains no solvents and no chemicals.  The natural weathering process results in high UV protection.  Eco Wood Treatment is safe to use around children and in playgrounds / play areas.

LINE DRYING:

New for 2020, every tent will have a retractable drying line for towels and clothing. This will reduce laundry for those willing to reuse bath and hand towels as well as provide guests with the option of line drying their laundry.

SOLAR:

We are currently in the process of preparing to have solar capability at four tents for 2020. We will not be able to confirm solar availability until much closer to the season. The solar will be able to power interior LED lighting and recharge cell phones, making your experience at The Retreat even better! We hope to have solar capability at all tents for the 2021 season.

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace provide an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Although Leave No Trace has its roots in backcountry settings, the Principles have been adapted so that they can be applied anywhere — from remote wilderness areas, to local parks and even in your own backyard. They also apply to almost every recreational activity. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts.

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Nope. There are not. The most dangerous nature or wild “thing” on the island is poison ivy. You can expect to see some pretty cool creatures, but none of them are harmful.

This is probably the 1st or 2nd question that people ask when coming to the island. YES! There is an amazing grocery store on the island! McDonough’s Market is a fully stocked, excellent shopping experience. They have absolutely everything you can imagine, including a fresh meat counter, deli, daily needs, over the counter medications, frozen goods…you name it! And, they have wine, beer, and spirits as well. We also have to mention the excellent customer service. As a matter of fact, the complimentary wine given with each reservation was carefully researched for us by the McDonoughs upon our request for a unique option for guests.

Not only is The Retreat ADA compliant, it was one of the first commitments we made in structuring our business model; ensure that all people, regardless of disability, can experience nature and the beauty of Beaver Island without constraint. One of the four bath houses is ADA compliant and Tent #25 has parking and a ramp allowing easy access to the tent. Inside the tent, we can accommodate guests with assist rails and a direct connection to electric. In addition, the laundry and kitchen are completely accessible.

For any guest that requires electric, we will supply direct electrical access or a connection to power. We have no additional fee or requirements, but do recommend that you request Tent #25 as it is the closest access to a direct electrical connection.

We are conscious of our clean water and unspoiled land which is why we include for our guests all-natural soaps; a 4-1 travel bar from Red Bud Suds and  laundry soap from Moon Works. Our dish soap and bathroom hand soaps are also all-natural. Of course, you may bring your own if you’d like, but why pack more when you can pack less?

Our minimum number of nights is two for either weekday or weekend nights for the entire season. We do not have blackout dates for any event or time frame during the season.

No problem! Beaver Island Retreat is a place where you can come to get-away and be comfortable doing nothing but “being.” We’ve had guests come and never leave their tent location, it’s so rejuvenating. We hope you take advantage of a slower pace and find time to unplug, relax, and recharge.

As parents ourselves, we are very kid friendly! It’s rewarding to have families visit and create lasting memories at The Retreat. We should mention, however, that although we have outdoor games such as bad mitten, corn hole, and giant jenga, we do not have a playground or a pool to keep the younger ones fully occupied. So, it’s important to come prepared with their potential needs and always monitor young children, limiting roaming on site for safety reasons.

Beaver Island has an enormous amount for families to enjoy. From nature walks, hikes, and beaches to the public playground, toy museum and shops, there are plenty of places to wear out those little ones before bringing them back to The Retreat.

Yes! We are approximately 4 miles south of town and the road is generally flat (with a couple of small hills here and there). Airports? We are approximately 2-2.5 miles from either airport. So, you could book bikes to be waiting for you at Beaver Island Boat Company or either airport and then ride to your tent! Check out the maps for a better idea:

Beaver Island Boat Company to Beaver Island Retreat
Fresh Air Aviation to Beaver Island Retreat
Island Airways to Beaver Island Retreat

Absolutely! Every single picture on our website was taken on site at Beaver Island Retreat or somewhere on the island. Even the pictures of food and people are authentic. The pictures of the stars over the tents were taken exactly as you see them, and we think it’s pretty incredible!

If you enjoy the outdoors and want to be crazy comfortable at the same time, then The Retreat is the right place for you! Glamorous Camping is a way to enjoy the outdoors without leaving behind the everyday amenities and comforts you’re accustomed to.

We have carefully selected and designed a luxury camping experience for guests with complete convenience and comfort in mind. Unlike traditional camping, you don’t need to pack and lug equipment to a campground. Other than personal items, we provide everything you need so that you can travel light and focus on how to capitalize on the island experience.

Most importantly, by providing guests with almost everything they need, we are able to more easily protect the natural setting and beauty of Beaver Island, supporting our greater desire to protect the environment and promote a Green experience. Leave No Trace. 

We are one of only two Glamorous Campgrounds located on an island in the continental United States. Beaver Island is considered to be one of the most remote locations in the country, making Beaver Island Retreat a unique experience by location. Getting here is part of the adventure!

Beaver Island Retreat’s location also makes it easy to get to Charlevoix by car from most major Midwest cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Springfield, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. Driving to Charlevoix where you’ll cross to the island as opposed to flying can cut carbon emissions by up to half and help protect the environment.

Finally, our amenities and inclusions significantly reduce the cost of your experience. We provide you with unlimited firewood, unlimited ice, and unlimited charcoal to name a few. There is no charge to use the kitchen or the laundry and all-natural soaps are included. When you add it all up, our thoughtful inclusions and location provide guests with an affordable, unique experience.

This is a great question! We can’t answer for you but we can encourage you to try it! Every single guest (except two) that stayed at Beaver Island Retreat our first year open were new to both the island and glamorous camping. Most people are a little nervous when they arrive because they just simply don’t know what to expect and are really concerned about being comfortable. As it turns out, every single visitor stated in one way or another that it was better than a hotel, better than a rental house, or the best vacation they had taken in years. This includes couples in their mid-twenties all the way up to our oldest guests in their 80’s. We have paid extremely close attention to the details in all guest areas to ensure it meets the needs of even the most particular traveler. The Retreat is designed to exceed expectations, although we admit that everyone is different and some may not enjoy it as much as others. What we can say is that guests state they were unexpectedly crazy comfortable! If you still have questions, let us know! We’re happy to help!

The pavilion is a common area and open to guests 24 hours/ day, with quiet hours from 10pm – 10am. The pavilion is a great place to hang out, play board or card games, enjoy a drink around the fire or watch the big game that you just can’t miss.

The guest facility is where you’ll find the kitchen and the laundry, open and available 24/7.

The guest kitchen includes almost everything that you would need or have in your own home, including a ginormous refrigerator, convection burners, microwave, small appliances, commercial ice maker, double stainless steel sink, baking dishes, cooking dishes, towels, organic soap, scrubbers, and cooking utensils. This is also where you can wash dishes and grab more place settings, etc. If guests don’t feel like using the propane burner or charcoal grill at the site, they can pop into the kitchen and whip something up to feed their gang

The guest laundry is where you find all the linens, towels, table clothes, and extras you need for your stay as well as a washer and dryer with all-natural soaps included. We don’t offer linen service, but you are welcome to change and replenish your tent from the guest laundry as you need.

A bath houses is a private, individual 8’X10’ full bathroom. The Retreat boasts four with one being ADA compliant. Located on the North end of the Facility, the bathhouses are all equipped with a rainfall shower head, hand-held sprayers, custom vanity with waterfall faucet, rustic lighting, and a full size, flushing toilet. The bath houses are exclusive to Beaver Island Retreat, designed specifically to elevate your vacation experience to glamorous. The bath houses are less than a two minute walk from the farthest tent.

As we continue to grow, our focus is on expanding and improving guest experiences. For 2020, we are hoping to have super cool additions that continue to improve the guest experience. We are working on the planning and preparation but please note that the following may or may not be able to be available for the season

SOLAR POWERED TENTS

We are currently planning to have four tents powered by solar for the 2020 season. The batteries would provide enough to power a laptop, interior LED lighting, and recharge cell phones making your glamorous camping experience even better! For guests needing power for medical equipment, we would still require reservations in the accessible tent.

GUEST GARDEN

We are currently planning to have a small guest garden with limited fresh vegetables and herbs available for guests. The plan includes raised vegetable beds with lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Another bed will grow herbs such as cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, and oregano. Guests can pick as they want, however, due to the season, may not be available during all guests’ stay.

SELF-REPLENISHING

We are currently in the process of designing an open shelter where guests can replenish their firewood and charcoal needs 24/7. No more waiting or having to ask for replenishment.

RETRACTABLE CLOTHING LINES

We’re very excited and can confirm that every tent will have it’s own retractable clothing line for drying towels or laundry.

BAR EXPANSION

In the pavilion, the bar will be expanded to have running water as well as an array of equipment to mix your favorite drinks. We do not provide alcohol.

We don’t like policies or procedures because we want you to experience the island in the absolute most positive, relaxed atmosphere. But, our insurance agent and lawyer tell us that we have to. So, here we go…

A new reservation requires a 50% deposit which is fully refundable for any reason up to 14 days before arrival. You may change the reservation date, within the same season and depending on availability, up to 14 days before arrival without penalty.

All reservations can be changed to different dates as long as accommodations are available.  Date changes can only be made within the same year.

Fires are probably the biggest danger to Beaver Island due to thick forests, winds and deep roots covered in sandy soil that can allow underground fires that spread. Beaver Island Retreat uses fire bowls on four inches of gravel to dramatically reduce the chance of fire. Each tent comes with a fire extinguisher as well. Even with precautions in place, however, we do have policies that are common-sensical and easy to follow. Click here for more information.

It is glamorous camping and we want you to feel great when you leave! So, we have a simple checkout policy in place that we think you’ll like. You can read more here.

Can’t find the answers you’re looking for?

If you still have questions or concerns, we would love to hear from you! You can reach us via phone, email, or text.