From Charlevoix, take a short drive or boat ride to many of Northern Michigan's best hot spots. Spend a few hours or a day on a winery or brewery tour, boutique shopping, and taking in gorgeous scenery.
Beaver Island is the largest island found in Lake Michigan measuring 13 miles long and 6 miles wide and is located 32 miles from Charlevoix. It offers a serene, relaxed life-style surrounded by scenic views and outdoor recreation. Presently, a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, lighthouse lovers and those looking to leave behind the fast pace of everday life, Beaver Island is also has an interesting history.
There are vague historical references to Beaver Island in the early 1600’s but the first specific reference was made by Father Francis Xavier de Charlevoix who explored the Great Lakes in the 1720’s. In 1847 James Jesse Strang brought his small band of Mormons to Beaver Island, and in 1849 the town of St. James was established. Strang had himself crowned King and was the only king ever crowned in the United States. He was an extremely intelligent man and was elected to Michigan State Legislature for two terms. Through taxation issues and demanding obedience’s to unjust laws, Strang was shot on June 16, 1856. He was removed from the Island and died in Wisconsin.
Beaver Island than became populated by Irish Immigrants. Their descendants still make up the marjority of the island population. In the 1900’s fishing was thriving and over a million pounds of fish were caught yearly. Although this depleted almost the whole fishing industry, many of the net sheds, boats, stores, company hoses, schools mills and farmsteads are still there.
Transportation to "The Island":
Beaver Island Boat Company- Take a ferry ride to Beaver Island right from Charlevoix's downtown marina. The ride is a little over 2 hours and during summer months there are multiple departures to and from Beaver Island.
For more information: Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce
Traverse City is a short hour drive along the Grand Traverse Bay from Charlevoix. Enjoy a day of festivals, shopping, wineries, museums, and food.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Outdoor lovers rejoice at miles of pristine sand dunes, hiking trails, forests and views of sparkling Lake Michigan found at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is about an hour and half from Charlevoix. Voted as the "Most Beautiful Place in America" by Good Morning America viewers, it is truly a special place.
The Ojibway legend of the Sleeping Bear Dunes is of a mother bear and her two cubs driven by forest fires from what is now Wisconsin and forced to swim across Lake Michigan. When the mother bear reached shore, she turned to discover that her cubs had vanished. The Great Spirit was so touched by her plight that he put her to sleep there, creating Sleeping Bear Dune, and marked the place where her cubs disappeared by creating the Manitou Islands.
Whether you enjoy a workout climbing up the dunes or would rather take in the views and history of the gorgeous scenery Sleeping Bear Dunes is not to be missed.