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Tawas Vacation Travel Guide 2023: East Tawas & Tawas City Beaches, Best Things to DO

tawas point lighthouse in tawas mi

Discover Tawas MI

One of Michigan’s best kept secrets is Tawas MI, a Lake Huron beach town big on fun all year-round.

Located on Michigan’s Sunrise Side, it’s the towns of East Tawas and the city of Tawas City, MI that make up the Tawas area. It’s a beautiful area, featuring a stunning landscape of sparkling blue, warm bay waters with clean, well-manicured public beaches hugging the Lake Huron shoreline.

Tawas has been called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” and with good reason.

The long, sandy Tawas Point juts out into Lake Huron waters, with miles of beach on either side. This is a big draw for vacationers from all over seeking pure Michigan beach town fun.

If you’re looking for the perfect Michigan beach vacation spot combing sparkling bay waters and big-time small-town charm, look no further than the Tawas area.

The best part? This cool little resort town is less than three hours from metro Detroit.

Read on to learn more about the Tawas area and start planning your Tawas getaway now.

tawas bay in tawas city mi

About Tawas City and East Tawas

The stunningly turquoise Tawas Bay is not only the focal point of the Tawas area, it’s also huge draw for vacationers and water lovers who want to splash and play in the surf.

The Tawas area is a favorite with visitors from around the country who love the resort-town feel of this popular beach vacation spot. The area’s central location on Tawas Bay makes it a popular spot for boating and fishing: the large downtown harbor and wide pier are jam-packed all summer long – and part of the fall, too.

The nautical feel seeps into the whole town. You’ll find references to it in the downtown shops and restaurants along Newman Street (the main street) just steps away from the East Tawas dock.

Farther down the shoreline along Tawas Point, just before the Tawas Point State Park, you’ll find not one but two marina’s: Tawas Bay Yacht Club and Jerry’s Marina.

Scenic Tawas Bay is a hotspot for outdoors lovers: sailing, paddleboarding, kiteboarding, swimming – just about any water sport you can imagine – goes on all summer long.

Hiking and biking are big here, too: the Tawas Bay Pedestrian and Bike Path follows the shoreline from Tawas City to Au Gres, more than 16 miles.

tawas city michigan

The Tawas, MI area is known for…

Known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest for its azure blue of Lake Huron’s Tawas Bay: a picturesque, shallow bay perfect for water sports of all types including swimming, sailing, paddle boarding, windsurfing and boating

Fun and friendly downtown East Tawas, featuring a homemade chocolate shop, an old-fashioned five-and-dime, restaurants, shops and more

East Tawas State Harbor: a designated Michigan Clean Marina that features a fishing pier, playground and park, picnic tables and many other amenities

Tawas Point State Park, home of the still-operating Tawas Point Lighthouse and home to many species of birds making it a perfect destination for bird-watchers. Almost 300 species of birds have been identified in the area, including the rare Kirtland Warbler

The Iosco County Historical museum, a tiny gem of a museum celebrating the areas rich native American heritage with unique and interesting exhibits

The Corsair Trail Network, one of the largest groomed trails in Michigan for hiking and cross country skiing is just west of the area.

picnic pavilion in tawas city mi

Tawas, MI Weather

The weather in the Tawas area is typical northern Michigan: cold and snowy in the winter and delightfully warm in the summer.

Expect temperatures to range from 70 F to 80 F during the day from June-September. During the summer months, mornings and evenings may be cooler; typically lower 70 – 60 F.

Best Beaches in the Tawas, MI Area

East Tawas City Beach

Beach, ADA Accessible with WATER WHEELS Beach Wheelchair, Swimming, Pavilion, Children’s Play Equipment, Picnic Area with Grills, Gazebo, Restrooms

Tawas City Shoreline Park

Beach, Swimming, ADA-accessible sidewalk that runs across the length of the park, Off-street Parking, Indoor Restrooms, Benches/Seating Area, Picnic Tables, Electric Car Charging Station, Picnic Shelter/Pavilion, Barbecue Grills, Concession Stand, Pier Fishing, Shoreline Trail/Bike Path, Playscape Equipment

Tawas Point State Park

Beach, ADA-Accessible, Swimming, State Park Facility, Camping, Bike Trails, Dog-Friendly Beach Area, Restrooms, Concessions, Picnic Tables, Lighthouse

20 best lake huron beaches

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in the Tawas Area

Mobi-Chair at East Tawas City Park

The Tawas area is truly a gem of beach accessibility on Lake Huron, and East Tawas City Park plays a large role. Not only does accessibility lead to beach…it leads INTO the water.

Thanks to the efforts of former Tawas resident James Murtha, the city was able to purchase a MOBI-Chair, a floating beach wheelchair. In addition, accompanying access matting to lay across the sand was purchased to facilitate ease of use. The chair is located at the park office and is available to users free of charge.

dog friendly beaches

Dog-Friendly Beaches in the Tawas, MI Area

Tawas Point State Park

A pet-friendly section of shoreline is available on Tawas Bay between the campground and the lighthouse. This pet-friendly area is enclosed by fencing and is the only shoreline-area in the park where pets are allowed. All pet waste must be properly disposed of in trash receptacles

downtown tawas

A Best Michigan Beach Town

Newman Street is East Tawas’s main street and teems with old-fashioned beach-town charm. The scent of homemade candy and fudge wafts out of shops along the main thoroughfare crowded with tourists.

Grab and ice cream cone and head down to the harbor for a stroll along the pier. Be sure to make your way into the local retailers: an eclectic mix of higher-end sportswear and home decor retailers compete for foot traffic with the always popular local five-and-dime, Mooney’s Ben Franklin.

Don’t miss these five dowtown East Tawas spots:

  • Ben Franklin
  • Brew Krew Kitchen and Bath
  • Local Basket Case
  • Village Chocolatier
  • Windjammer Gifts & Clothing

Where to Stay in Tawas

Michigan Beach Vacation Rentals

Beach cabin rentals and Lake Huron beach home rentals are abundant throughout the area. Options for private Michigan beach vacation rentals range from large, sumptuous lakefront homes to smaller, family-friendly beach cabins on or near Lake Huron. Many private Tawas-area beach rentals are listed on sites such as:

  • Airbnb
  • Rentalbug
  • VRBO

Camping in the Tawas, MI area

There are many beautiful campgrounds in and around the Tawas, MI area. Proximity to Lake Huron and smaller inland lakes and rivers add to the allure for campers.

Tawas MI

Things to do in Tawas, MI

Stroll the The East Tawas Harbor is a favorite among boaters for its close proximity to beautiful beaches and very short walk to town – features a pier for both fishing and viewing, as well as a little market and kite shop.

Gateway Park in Tawas City features picnic pavilions, a concession stand and beach volleyball and make Tawas City Park an ideal summer destination.

Explore Tawas Point State Park – This lovely state park not only has an ADA-accessible beach, it also has an ADA-accessible playground, picnic shelter and cabins for overnight stays.

Tawas Point Lighthouse at the end of Tawas Point offers spectacular views of sunrises over Lake Huron and sunsets over Tawas Bay. Swaths of sugar-sand beach sets off the shallow crystal clear waters of the bay.

14 michigan lighthouses that you can spend the night in

Gateway Pier in Tawas is a 300-foot lighted and ADA-accessible fishing pier join a covered benches, children’s play equipment and a picnic shelter to make this park a perfect fishing or Lake Huron-gazing destination.

Picnic at Tawas City Shoreline Park – In addition to the ADA accessible sidewalk that runs across the length of the park overlooking pristine blue waters of Tawas Bay, this park also has an ADA-accessible swing at the play structure. This beautiful park setting also has a Picnic Shelter and Pavilion, Barbecue Grills, Concession Stand and much more.

Attend a Street Fair – The Tawas area knows how to do summer right: from June through September, there is an event almost every week. And why not? With the beautiful Tawas Bay as a backdrop, you’re bound to have a great time! Community band concerts; dancin’ in the street with live music; sidewalk sales and farmer’s markets teeming with just-picked treats: these are just some of the exciting events you’ll find in Tawas!

Perchville USA – This winter festival features family fun activities including a parade, chili cook-off, polar bear swims, family tent for the kids, hospitality tent for the adults, great food.

winter in tawas