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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 – and we mean 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 one person to your car and you can return for passengers and 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. Simplify your planning by adding a flight to your booking and we’ll take care of the rest. Or, you can book directly.
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 so be sure to book early. You can rent a car directly from Duffy’s Car Rental or add it to your booking with us and we’ll make sure you’re covered. There isn’t an additional charge to add it to your reservation with us, we’re just happy to make it easy for you. 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. Our Safari Tent with mini-glamping tent offers additional accommodation for up to two adults or three children and is highly recommended for ages 5 and up. Under special circumstances, one cot can be added to the tent making maximum occupancy three adults or two adults and one child per tent.
The platforms and tents are carefully engineered and designed to prevent bugs and mosquitoes from disrupting your stay. The tent is completely sealed and bug/ mosquito free. Applying practical behaviors such as closing the tent flap at 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 well over 2500 sq. ft. per site. Most sites have up to 5000 sq. ft. of privacy. As we’ve continued to grow and make adjustments, we have been able 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. Most tents are less than a 1 minute walk. Once on site, guests immediately recognize the distance to the shared bath houses are not a problem or concern. The bath houses are completely private, individual houses so once you close the door, it’s all yours!
The pavilion is a common area and open to guests 24 hours/ day, with quiet hours from 10pm – 8am. The pavilion is a great place to hang out, play board or card games, and enjoy a drink around the fire.
The pavilion is also where guests will find a fully equipped bar for mixing drinks. We don’t provide alcohol or mixers but we do provide you with the equipment to mix or make your favorite drink.
The guest facility is where you’ll find the fully equipped kitchen and the laundry, open and available 24/7, at no additional cost.
The guest kitchen includes almost everything that you would need or have in your own home, including a ginormous refrigerator, convection burners, counter top oven, microwave, small appliances, commercial ice maker, double stainless steel sink, baking dishes, cooking dishes, towels, organic soap, scrubbers, and cooking utensils. We provide you with over 35 spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and professional knives. 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 extra linens, blankets, pillows, towels, table clothes, and other items you might like for your stay as well as a washer and dryer with all-natural soaps by Moon Works 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 tastefully designed and equipped with a rainfall shower head, 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.
Queen Log Bed
Solar Power Powered Bed Side Lamps
10’ Memory Foam Mattress
Down Alternative Comforter w/ Duvet
King Size Quilted Blanket
Custom Designed Douglas Fir Chairs w/ Cushions
Broom w/ Dustpan
Luxury Bath Towels (1 per guest)
Beach Towels (1 per guest) Mini-Spa Package
Mini-First Aid Kit
Bamboo Toothbrushes (1 per guest)
4 in 1 RedBudSuds Travel Bar (1 per guest)
Custom Designed Douglas Fir Loveseat with Cushions
Picnic Table with Moveable Benches and Checkered Cloth
Charcoal Barrel Grill with Thermometer
Charcoal Bucket (unlimited lump charcoal included)
Propane Burner (unlimited propane included)
Large Cooler (unlimited ice included)
Cast Iron Frying Pan
Stainless Steel Pot
Enamel Dinnerware (Plate, Bowl, Cup)
Bottle/ Wine Opener
Stainless Wine Glasses
Stainless Steel Coffee/ Water Carafe
Retractable Clothing Line
Collapsible Carrying Bucket
Telescoping Campfire Forks
Fire Bowl on 4” of Gravel
Firewood (unlimited for your stay)
Live-edge Hand Built Bar
Commercial Ice Maker
Custom Designed Douglas Fir Bar Height Furniture
Custom Family Size Dining Tables
Charging Stations including cords for most cell phones
Fully Stocked Bar/ Equipment (alcohol/ mixers not included)
Cards/ Board Games
Dart Board with Professional Darts
Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Full Size Refrigerator (no freezer)
Crown Berkey Water Filtration System
Custom Designed Prep Table w/ Stainless Steel Top
Secondary Prep Table w/ Stainless Steel Top
Countertop Convection Oven
Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Cast Iron melting pots
Cast Iron Woks
Array of Stainless Steel frying pans and pots
Commercial Coffee Maker
– Coffee, Tea, 6 types of sweeteners
Electric Water Pot
35 Various Spices
Double Stainless Steel Sink
Stainless Steel Scrubbers
All-Natural Dish Soap
An Array of Gadgets
Moon Works All-Natural Laundry Soap
Bath Towel Exchange
Beach Towel Exchange
Comforter/ Blanket Exchange
Sleeping Bag Exchange
Mini-Library with Various Books
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 for a health condition, we can supply direct electrical access or a connection to power. We have no additional fee or requirements. Simply make your request for an electrical connection in the notes at checkout and we are happy to accommodate your need. Please note that availability is limited for our portable generators and is filled based on order of request and in order of booking date.
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 for each guest and laundry soap from Moon Works. Our dish soap and bathroom hand soaps are also all-natural. And, we only clean with all natural soaps to limit guest exposure to harmful chemicals. 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.
Yes! Beaver Island has a beautiful, modern medical facility. The BI Rural Health Center is a located on the South end of St. James and is staffed year round by a resident Doctor and two Nurse Practitioners. Beaver Island also has a staff of exceptionally well-trained emergency personal.
As parents ourselves, we love kids! However, The Retreat is designed as an adult experience. We have some games to entertain children, but The Retreat is not designed to occupy and engage younger ones. We do not have a playground or a pool to keep the little ones busy or wear them out. So, if you are able to secure one of our limited number of sites that allows children, 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 younger ones.
Yes, but you probably want to be an avid bike rider if you do. With only one paved road and the rest gravel/ aggregate, please also note the appropriate bike is needed to traverse the island. 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
Before deciding to traverse the island with bikes, please consider the terrain, your experience, and the weather.
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 and pavilion 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, more commonly referred to as “Glamping,” 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 experience in the heart of nature 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 so much, 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 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 lump 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! Almost all of our guests are new to glamorous camping and our return guest percentage is higher than the hospitality industry average indicating a choice well made! Most people are a little nervous when they arrive because they just simply don’t know what to expect and are concerned about being comfortable. Most guests express the experience 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!
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.
First, we encourage our guests to bring a reusable 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.
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.”
Our laundry soap is all-natural and supplied to us by Moon Works. The soap leaves clothes surprisingly fresh while protecting our water system as well as Lake Michigan. 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.
Our bathrooms are cleaned with Seventh Generation All-Natural cleaning supplies to prevent exposure to chemicals and irritants. Additionally, we use peroxide to disinfect public areas and ensure the safety of guests.
Every tent is provided with a bucket lined with a composting bag for food waste. In 2020, we were able to designate a composting area in a private area of the property with a more rigorous procedure in place for composting, with the goal to use the compost to feed a guest garden.
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.
Every tent will has a retractable drying line for towels and clothing. This reduces laundry for those willing to reuse bath and hand towels as well as provides guests with the option of line drying their laundry.
All tents at Beaver Island Retreat have solar capability. The solar allows power for interior LED lighting and and guests can recharge cell phone at their tents, making the experience at The Retreat even better!
COMPOSTABLE KITCHEN LOOFAHS:
Our kitchen is equipped with all natural cleaning supplies, including the addition of compostable kitchen loofahs. Our commitment to the island, the property, and our guests is to take as many steps possible to reduce waste and feed the land we love. Compostable loofahs is one more step in that direction!
Our compost bags are compostable! Need we say more?
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
Absolutely! We love dogs and hope you decide to bring yours so we can make a new furry friend. You can add up to two dogs per reservation but if you have more, contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your pet needs.
Your pet will be treated to a glamorous camping experience of their own! We provide an orthopedic pet bed for each pet, stainless steel water and food bowls on a pet mat, doggie mess bags, and a surprise treat bag so they’ll feel just as special as you staying at The Retreat.
Please see our Policy Page for a more information on your pet’s experience at The Retreat. Please note that pets cannot be left unattended in or outside of the tent at anytime during your stay.
New in 2023, we’ll be adding 3 tents to our lineup, ready by July 1st!
Also new, we will be building our second cedar picnic pavilion, separate from the large main pavilion. This second picnic pavilion will be located close to the newly added three tent sites. These separate structures are little something away from the facility where guests can gather with friends and family. By using standing dead or downed cedars, we were able to give new life to what would have otherwise been wasted.
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…
We thought we would have deleted this page by now…
But no. We can’t. And, for that reason we want everyone to book with confidence during these unusual times! Please see below for our updated policies regarding Covid-19.
Owners Note: Even with vaccinations and boosters and all the precautions, it seems we are still in the throws of the pandemic. At The Retreat, guest safety is a priority. We have implemented multiple operational procedures to ensure that all guests enjoy their vacation without worry of exposure, and we kindly ask that guests also respect the safety of others on site by following instructions on posted signs throughout public areas.
We know you’re ready to plan your Beaver Island Glamorous Camping experience and at Beaver Island Retreat, you can be sure we’ve got you covered. Rest assured that your deposit is 100% refundable up to the day of arrival for any COVID19 related situation.
Cancellations due to COVID19
Full refunds minus credit card fees will be given for all reservations that are cancelled if you are ill due to Covid19 and cannot travel. If the Governor issues an order, if the Health Department enacts restrictions, or if you or your travel partner(s) become ill, to name a few, we will refund 100% of the deposit regardless of when your reservation was made – up to the day of arrival. This policy only extends to those who are included in the reservation.
Please keep in mind, Beaver Island Retreat, LLC may have to regretfully cancel your reservation due to COVID19, including all the same reasons listed above or unforeseen circumstances. In this case, you are still 100% covered minus credit card fees. If a cancellation occurs, your deposit will be fully refunded within 21-30 days.
Cancellations not due to COVID19 will be subject to our standard policy
We do have to keep our usual cancellation policy in place. As much as we wish we could always be this flexible, it’s probably not the best idea. So, cancellations for other reasons will fall under our Standard Policy.
Full Standard Policy: Your 25% deposit is fully refundable minus credit card fees for any reason up to 30 days before arrival. There is a 21-30 day waiting period for refunds to appear in your account. You may also change the reservation date, within the same season and depending on availability, up to 21 days before arrival without penalty. If a cancellation or rescheduling is not received 21 days before arrival, your 25% deposit will not be refunded.
All reservations can be changed to different dates as long as accommodations are available and at least 21 days prior to the originally scheduled arrival. 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.
We reserve the right to extinguish a fire at anytime during your stay if safety is a concern for you, the property, or others.
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.
Pets at Beaver Island Retreat
We love your furry family member and are so glad that you’ve brought them along! In order for your camping experience to be positive for all guests at the Retreat, please note the following:
- Well-behaved pets are free to run on the campground as long as they do not interfere with other guests or pets
- We provide water/food bowls, pet mat, and doggie baggies for their business, all of which are all replenished as needed
- Pets are permitted in tents and expected to sleep inside the tent with the family on the pet bed that we provide with your stay
- Pets are never to be left unattended in the tent. If you leave your pet unattended in the tent and damage occurs, pet owners will be responsible for the full replacement value of the damaged items and agree to this when making a reservation that include a pet. Pets are never to be left unattended on the campground and should travel with their owners during excursions on the island
- Pets that have altercations with other pets or campers will be required to be leashed for the remainder of their stay
- Pets must be leashed within the town limits of St. James
We suggest that your pet be leashed during the night if they leave the tent for business. This is to protect your pet from running off to that interesting sound in the woods or sustaining potential injury by other animals on the island.
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.