Tawas Point State Park
For a delightfully uncomplicated getaway, visit Tawas Point State Park on Michigan’s Sunrise Coast. This beautiful state park in East Tawas, Michigan, features almost 200 modern campsites that are large, level, and grass covered to offer a nice camping experience. The campground is open year round and has modern restrooms, a picnic area and shelter, a playground, a pet-friendly area, electrical service, and a sanitation station. There are also two (2) Camper Cabins onsite that offer beds, heat, a refrigerator, microwave, fire pit, large grill, and a picnic table. Tawas Point State Park, located off of US-23, contains 183 acres and is situated on the end of a sand spit that forms Tawas Bay. Surrounded by Tawas Bay on the west and Lake Huron on the east, it is commonly referred to as “The Cape Cod of the Midwest.” The water in the Bay is shallow and warm, making it a delightful swimming spot in the summer. Hiking along the 2-mile stretch of white sugar-sand beach within the park offers amazing views across Tawas Bay. There are low dunes with patches of dune grass along the lakeshore that give you that beachy feeling you’re looking for. Advanced reservations are recommended since this state park fills up quickly in the summer months. A Recreation Passport is required to enter the park.
Tawas Point Lighthouse
A large draw to the state park is the historical Tawas Point Lighthouse, located within the park. In operation since 1876, the lighthouse serves as the only example of a true Victorian-era style station built on the Great Lakes, and it’s still in use. Visitors can ascend the 85 stairs to the top for spectacular views of Ottawa Point and Tawas Bay and stunning sunrises over Lake Huron and sunsets over Tawas Bay. Inside the lighthouse there is a museum area that showcases artifacts from the different time periods when the lighthouse was in use. At night the illuminated lighthouse is a stunning sight to behold with Lake Huron stretching out endlessly behind it.
On Tawas Point visitors are treated to many special events, including the Tawas Point Celebration Days. This celebration of American heritage is a great family-oriented event that features lighthouse tours, historical reenactments, educational displays, demonstrations of historical crafts such as spinning, weaving, black-smithing, and wood carving, children’s activities, a fishing derby, guided hikes, traditional music and dress, and more. Tawas Point Celebration Days usually takes place the second weekend of June and is sponsored by the Friends of Tawas Point State Park.
Things to Do In and Around Tawas Point State Park
There is so much to do in and around Tawas Point State Park! Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts love this part of the Sunrise Coast for many reasons. Fishing and ice fishing are popular sports in Tawas Bay thanks to a limestone reef that was constructed in 1987. This 800’ x 25’ reef can be found along the northern side of the Bay and it provides a natural habitat for smaller bait fish, which in turn attracts larger predatory fish. Since the construction of the reef, fishermen claim greater success in catching walleye, pike, perch, and small-mouth bass. Hook, Line, and Sinker, a free, weekly DNR-sponsored fishing class, is offered during the summer at Tawas Point State Park. Click here for more information.
Birdwatching is also a favorite pastime within the park. Tawas Point has been a beacon for hundreds of migratory birds for years, so birders from around the world make Tawas Point their primary destination for birdwatching every spring. Tawas Point is known to have high concentrations of migrating warblers during May. Over 200 species were recorded during the weekend-long Tawas Point Birding Festival in 2014! This Michigan Audubon Signature Event is the “biggest little birding festival in the Midwest!” Check it out!
Other activities include biking the picturesque 10-mile trail that winds along the Lake Huron shoreline, hiking the 2-mile Sandy Hook Hiking Trail at the end of the point, visiting the Lumberman’s Monument in Oscoda to learn about the area’s fascinating lumbering past, boating on warm Tawas Bay, and so much more.
The city’s center of activity is in Harbor Park at the intersection of US-23 and Newman Street in East Tawas. Here you can catch the “Breezes by the Bay” kite festival, shop for souvenirs at the Ben Franklin store, see a movie, or eat at a great family restaurant. Harbor Park is also home to local arts & crafts shows, other community events, a wine and cheese shop, a kite shop, a play structure for kids, and much more. If something is happening in East Tawas, it’s most likely in Harbor Park.
Between hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, stepping back in time, and relaxing in a laid-back Midwestern town, Tawas Point State Park is the perfect destination for your next camping trip. This may very well become your family’s favorite new getaway.