Once upon a time, King James Strang ruled over this 60-square-mile island located a far-flung 32 miles into Lake Michigan from Charlevoix. The monarch was actually a renegade Mormon who brought his followers to the secluded island in the mid-19th century so that he could rule as he pleased, polygamy and all. Remnants of Strang’s kingdom—the old Mormon print shop is now a museum—add color to an island that is packed with adventure.

Two lighthouses, one at each end of the island, make for outstanding day trips. Miles of dirt roads mean fab mountain biking. Charter a boat to take you around the island or to explore the coves and deserted beaches of the nearby smaller islands of the Beaver Archipelago. Sign on for guided kayak and fishing trips, lounge on miles of near-deserted beaches. Even play a round of golf.

Getting to Beaver Island is part of the fun. The 32-mile flight over Lake Michigan from Charlevoix is less than a half hour (ISLAND AIRWAYS, 800-524-6895; FRESH AIR AVIATION, 888-359-7448; BEAVERISLAND.ORG). The ferry the Emerald Isle takes two hours (888-446-4095, BEAVER ISLAND BOAT COMPANY), but the payoff for the extra time is freshwater spray on your face. Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce (231-448-2505).

Looking for a place to stay? Read about The Brothers’ Place. And get an inside look at a kayak adventure through the Bear Island Archipelago.

More Links to Fun in Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Torch Lake and the Chain of Lakes Region!

  • The Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids & Torch Lake Vacation Directory: Listings to lodging, galleries, restaurants and more along with an interactive map.
  • Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids & Torch Lake Digital Vacation Guide: Browse gorgeous articles connecting you to hikes, festivals, boat rentals, galleries and, of course, the Ironton Ferry and click to hundreds of websites.
  • The Complete Restaurant Guide for Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids & Torch Lake: Just type in any location you’d like to check out and discover a wonderful array of restaurants to try.
  • Video: Charlevoix: Sights & Sounds of the Venetian Festival
  • Plot your day in Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids & Torch Lake Region using this Interactive Map: Choose an activity in “I’d like to find” and choose a town for “in a town near.” Then click away!
  • Check out all the music, festivals, arts and events of all kinds happening in Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Torch Lake and more: Just pop in the name of the town you’d like to play in and choose amongst hundreds of things to do!
  • Rent a cottage in Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids & Torch Lake: There are hundreds of cottages to rent in Northern Michigan. Type the town you’re interested in into the Search box and plan your getaway Up North!

Photo(s) by Photo Courtesy Elly Johnson