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Tawas Bay Michigan

Tawas Bay, Michigan

Click to Visit the Tawas Bay WebcamThe Tawas area is located in Northeast Michigan on the shores of Lake Huron on what is called the "Sunrise Side" of the State. The twin cities of Tawas City and East Tawas and the Township of Baldwin share the coastline of Tawas Bay.

MoonriseTawas Bay is situated in such a way as to offer photo opportunities not only  for spectacular sunrises, but also for brilliant sunsets. Tawas Bay is also an ideal place to watch the moon rise over the water. The evening city lights of Tawas and East Tawas provide even more photo opportunities.

Summers in the area are extremely active thanks to the abundance of beaches, public parks, fishing, boating, sailing, swimming and sightseeing opportunities. The Bay offers some of the finest sailing around. Brisk summer winds fill the sails but the shelter of the Bay means the waves don't get very large. AppledoreHowever, if your tastes run toward higher surf, you can head out around Tawas Point into Lake Huron for some action. Over the past several years, the Schooner Appledore has visited and provided cruises around the Bay. If you are so inclined, you can participate in the experience by hoisting sails and taking a turn at the wheel. If you prefer a less strenuous sail, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

During the summers of 2001, 2003 and 2006, a number of Tall Ships visited the Great Lakes to participate in the Tall Ships Challenge and the Bay City Tall Ships Festival. After leaving the Port of Bay City in 2001, some of the ships assembled off Tawas Point to begin another leg of the race. The participating ships included the Highlander Sea, True North, the Norfolk Rebel and the Pride of Baltimore II. The Schooner Appledore was the host ship for the stay in Bay City.

Tawas LightTawas Point State Park is a 200+ acre park located a the tip of Tawas Point. The park offers several miles of swimming beaches in the cooler waters of Lake Huron or in the warmer waters of Tawas Bay. The Tawas Point Lighthouse is still operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and is located in the park boundaries. The lighthouse was moved to its present location in the 1800's because the Point had grown past its original location.

Tawas PointSince the move, the Point has continued its growth so that it now extends over a mile beyond the Lighthouse. Tawas Point and the State Park (which is also a bird sanctuary) is the gathering place for birders in the fall and spring since it provides an ideal spot to observe annual bird migrations. The Point is also home to the Tawas Bay Yacht Club and Jerry's Marina and a modern Coast Guard Station.

Tuttle MarshAnother popular spot for bird watching is nearby Tuttle Marsh. This project was a cooperative effort by Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Forest Service and provides significant nesting areas for waterfowl of all types. The marsh encompasses some 5,000 acres and provides hundreds of acres of flooded wetlands. Other wildlife such as deer and bear use the marsh as a source for food and cover.  Tuttle Marsh Road, along the dike provides a number of observation areas for viewing wildlife.

East TawasThe City of East Tawas offers a number of interesting activities. If shopping is your thing, many unusual shops line the downtown area. East Tawas is a real town so you will find local restaurants and bars, a grocery store, a shoe store, several barber shops and beauty parlors, a car dealer, banks and law firms, along with the usual tourist traps. In the summer, the main street is closed to traffic on several weekends for arts and crafts shows and sidewalk sales.

The Tawases are fortunate to have miles of bike paths, including a 10+ mile path extending from the south end of Alabaster Township along the shore of Tawas Bay through East Tawas and on through Baldwin Township to the State Park on Tawas Point. The paths are used extensively by bikers, walkers, joggers and rollerbladers.

If you are a history buff, the Iosco County Historical Museum provides a history of Iosco County from the lumbering days to the present. If you like plays, the Tawas Bay Players provide entertaining small town performances. Numerous golf courses lie within a 30 minute drive of the Tawases, including Redhawk, Tawas Creek, Lakewood Shores, Huron Breeze, and Wicker Hills. The Iosco Sportsmen's Club offers an opportunity to participate in target shooting with rifles and pistols, trap and archery. Boaters can tie up at the East Tawas State Dock at the foot of Newman Street right in downtown East Tawas.

Port GypsumJust down the Bay from Tawas City, the docks of National Gypsum at Port Gypsum and (until recently) the United States Gypsum dock at Alabaster provide the opportunity to see the big lake freighters moving in and out of the Bay. The U.S. Gypsum dock is now out of commission due to the collapse of several of the towers used to carry gypsum out to the freighters. Currently, it appears doubtful that this facility will be repaired since all of the shore facilities for loading have been removed.

Lumbermens MonumentJust west of Tawas Bay lies the Huron National Forest with hundreds of thousands of acres public land. Hunting, hiking, stream fishing and river fishing on the AuSable River are popular activities in the forest. Much of the Huron National Forest consists of Red Pine planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps to help re-establish forests following the lumbering era. Lumbering activities are currently being carried out to thin some of the Red Pine and some clearcuts are also being made to encourage growth of Jack Pine as part of a habitat program for the Kirtland's Warbler. The Huron National Forest is the home of the Lumbermen's Monument, erected to commemorate the men who harvested the Pines that helped build America. The Forest also provides ample proof that active management of forestland can provide wood products, recreational opportunities and diverse wildlife habitat at the same time. The Forest may be different than it was when Columbus arrived in America, but it certainly wasn't "destroyed" as some would have you believe.

CorsairWinter in the Tawas Area is mostly fun if you enjoy snow. Things are much quieter with many residents (snowbirds) heading to warmer climates for a few months. For those who stay and for those who visit, winter can be a very enjoyable time. The Huron National Forest is transformed into a winter wonderland. Miles of ski trails at Corsair are groomed for the cross-country ski buffs and ungroomed trails are available along the AuSable on the Highbanks Trail. Huron Hockey RinkSnowmobilers can also enjoy miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Sightseers can head to the Lumbermen's Monument for a different view of the monument and spectacular views of the AuSable River. Back in the Tawases, winter brings the annual Perchville Festival with entertainment on the ice including a demolition derby, Polar Bear swimmers, a fishing contest and other fun things. Tawas Bay Ice Arena, a local volunteer organization, opens its covered, refrigerated skating facility to the public on weekends and provides figure skating and hockey programs for local kids from December to March.