Beaver Island – Lake Michigan

Beaver Island
St James Harbor, Beaver Island, at sunset with the Beaver Island Harbor Light and CMU Biological Station at the point of Gull Harbor Natural Area.

Expect a little Irish on this 58-square-mile (150-square-kilometer) island, the largest island in Lake Michigan. Céad Míle Fáilte, Gaelic for “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes” appears on the Beaver Island Boat Company tickets and above the door of the Stony Acre Grill. This island reminds me of Ireland more than any Great Lakes Basin Island I’ve visited, and history shows the Irish felt very at home here, too.

While you can expect to find motel lodging, restaurants, a full grocery store plus two convenience stores, gas stations, a hardware and building store, a spa, car and bike rentals in St. James Township on the island, rustic camping is also available, April through November, at the north-end 12-site St. James Township Campground and the island’s eastside 22-site Bill Wagner Peaine Township Campground (

Scattered across the island are seven lakes—Font Lake, Barney’s Lake, Round Lake, Egg Lake, Fox Lake, Greene’s Lake, and Lake Geneserath—and more than a few ponds (some count Miller’s Marsh as an eighth lake).