East Tawas State Harbor

10 Things To Do In Tawas Michigan – Fun Across the Bay

On summer evenings, we can see the blinking lights of the Tawas, Michigan, from our beach. It’s a day’s sail from Caseville but a several-hour drive from the Upper Thumb.  The bay is clear due to the currents coming in from Lake Huron, and the little town nestled near the harbor is a charming mix of a tourist town and art colony.

Feature Image – Tawas State Harbor, Summer 2019 Photos taken by Tyler Leipprandt in cooperation with the MI DNR. Credit goes to Tyler Leipprandt and Michigan Sky Media LLC.

East Tawas – Major Habor with Small-Town Charm

East Tawas Harbor – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

East Tawas might be a small Michigan harbor town located on Tawas Bay, but that doesn’t stop this fascinating area from being known as a four-season destination. East Tawas is an exceptional port of call and vacation spot if you’re a passionate boater. The town is filled with charming restaurants, small artisan shops, lively pubs, and even a movie theater within walking distance of the harbor. The Tawas Point State Park, with its iconic lighthouse, is also not far away, so there’s a virtually endless list of things you can do while vacationing at or touring East Tawas.

Boating and Sailing in Tawas

Tawas Point Light – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

East Tawas is located on Tawas Bay and is known as a prime cursing destination for sailing in Lake Huron. It has a safe and beautiful harbor, making it the perfect fit for just about every float plan if you are near Saginaw Bay. The East Tawas State Dock is a 140-slip marina that attracts boaters from all over the Great Lakes area. It has state-of-the-art features such as a comfortable dock office, new shower facilities, a boat launch, and a park with a playground. The facility has gone through a multi-million dollar renovation, so expect new looks if you have not been there in a while. There are also many boat rentals in East Tawas where you can motor a small boat or sail out on the bay.

Tawas Bay Marina: Tawas Bay Marina is a great place to dock your boat if you plan to explore the bay. The marina has a variety of amenities, including a fuel dock, a laundry facility, and a restaurant.

Tawas Bay Boat Rentals

Tawas Michigan Boat Rentals

Tawas, MI Boat Rentals: Tawas Bay is a great place to go boating, and several boat rental companies are in the area. You can rent a pontoon boat, a kayak, or a canoe and explore the bay at your own pace. Jerry’s Marina is a great place to inquire about renting a jet ski for the day or a pontoon boat for a family cruise in Tawas Bay.

Visit the Beaches in the Tawas Mi

Tawas Point State Park – Courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

You have a long list of options regarding the beaches at East Tawas. East Tawas offers public swimming beaches that are fitted with amenities, including picnic areas and playgrounds. City Park in East Tawas Mi. has camping areas that are situated on the beach. The neighboring Tawas Point State Park offers miles of sandy beaches. Beaches are along the cooler waters of Lake Huron or the warmer waters of Tawas Bay. Tawas Point is called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest”. With its iconic lighthouse standing guard on the point.

Enjoy the Local Food in Tawas

While the food at your hotel, camp or on deck may be perfect, you can find a fine selection of cuisine within walking distance of the harbor or a short drive. Treat yourself to the fantastic locally caught walleye or great homemade fudge and candy. Some of the notables in town include G’s Pizzeria & Deli, Craving, Northwoods Steakhouse, and Tawas Point Grille.

Bayside Restaurant & Lounge: This restaurant is located in the Tawas Bay Resort and offers a variety of American cuisine, including steaks, seafood, and pasta. It also has a full bar and a large outdoor deck with views of the bay.

Topsiders: Enjoy casual fine dining on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron all year round! Indulge in fresh seafood delicacies, such as fish and chips, lobster rolls, and crab cakes, and explore our extensive selection of beers on tap. We offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making us the perfect spot for any meal.

The Lazy Toaster: This restaurant is a popular breakfast and lunch spot. It serves up classic breakfast dishes like pancakes and waffles and more creative options like the “Lazy Toaster” sandwich, which is made with grilled ham, cheese, and eggs on a toasted bagel.

Go Fishing & Boating

Tawas Bay is a fishing spot situated at the confluence of the Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay waters. It’s known as the feeding ground for much of the fishery in Lake Huron. The waters of northeast Lake Huron are cool, while the waters of southwest Saginaw Bay are warm. As a result, many species are thriving here; walleye pike, yellow perch, and salmon are what the charter boat captains go for. If you’re after the elusive bass, you can try the Huron National Forest.

The Tawas Mi Area Movie Theater

Tawas Family Theater – The Tawas Family Movie Theater is a small, independent movie theater that shows a variety of films. It’s a great place to see a movie without the crowds.

Tawas Family Theatre is a locally owned movie theater in a cozy, quaint space in downtown East Tawas. The theater offers two screens to offer moviegoers a choice of current releases. In addition, they have a wide variety of concessions, including freshly popped popcorn, cold soft drinks, Monthly Slush Puppies Flavors, Nutty Bavarian Fresh Roasted Nuts, and a popular assortment of candy. Their prices are extremely affordable. A family can enjoy a night at the movies, including concessions, without breaking the bank.

Places to Stay In East Tawas – Michigans Sunrise Coast

Tawas Bay Beach Resort: Tawas Bay Beach Resort is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a beach vacation. The resort has a private beach, a swimming pool, and a playground.

Check out the Tawas Point State Park if you are thinking about cabin rentals in East Tawas Michigan. The park offers yurts and cabins. The park is located on a large sand point that juts out into the bay and offers an exciting place for swimming on the protected side in Tawas Bay or the exciting Lake Huron side where you can often see sailboarding in the surf. It’s also the home of the Tawas Point Lighthouse.

Go Cross Country Skiing in Tawas Michigan

When the snow flies, it’s time to rethink your activity. Among all the Tawas City things to do, this one is strictly for when the snow is flying. The town is active during the winter; cross-country skiing is a high-impact option and draws enthusiasts from around the region. You can choose from major trail systems in the Tawas area- the groomed Corsair Ski Trails and the un-groomed Highbanks Trails.

Corsair Trail System

The Corsair Trail System is situated in the beautiful Silver Valley, surrounded by the 120,000-acre Huron National Forest. The Corsair system is considered one of Michigan’s largest groomed trail networks. Iosco County has 94 miles of trails for snowmobiling that are spruced and ready for action in wintertime.

Final Thoughts On Things To Do In Tawas Michigan

There are numerous activities in the Tawas Mi. Area. Shopping, hiking in the Huron National Forest, or checking out the nightlife in town. One pro traveler hint would be to pick up a Tawas Visitor Guide available at many local stores and gift shops. Possibilities are endless, and your adventure in upper Saginaw Bay promises to be memorable.

Tawas Michigan Reading


Michael Hardy

Mike Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. It started in 2009 as a fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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