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Visitors

Welcome to East Tawas!

We’re a quaint hamlet on Lake Huron on the Sunrise Coast where we’ll show you the time of your life… and where you can take a day and make it a lifetime.

It’s Pure Michigan!

The East Tawas Harbor of Refuge lies nestled on Tawas Bay in northeast Michigan along US-23, the Huron Shores Heritage Route. And here’s a piece of trivia for you… Tawas Bay lies SOUTH of East Tawas, not east!

Here you’ll discover a bay shoreline of sandy beaches where the warm waters of northern Saginaw Bay meet the cool waters of this Great Lake; and where stunning sunrises and spectacular sunsets and galaxies of stars will mesmerize you. Here in East Tawas you just can’t help but stop to smell the lake’s crisp air, listen to Huron’s lapping waves, and live the good life.

Cruise to East Tawas… just a tank full of gas from metro Detroit, less than a couple of hours from Midland and the Tri-Cities, just a morning’s drive from Michigan’s west coast.

East Tawas… so very close… yet a world away.
East Tawas… where fun won’t cost you a fortune.

Here you can roll back time. Take a break from your crazed, scheduled life. Turn off your cell phones. Take time to make memories here in East Tawas.

We’re a pedestrian-friendly town with wide sidewalks for strolling and carriages, and our streets are broad for biking and rollerblading. Our parks, pier, and streets are ADA accessible, along with the municipal buildings and the East Tawas Community Center.

Come experience the charm of our downtown. Share a cone from a vintage ice cream shop with your kids. Tempt yourself with a bite into one of a dozen flavors of home-smoked jerky from a century-old family market. Treat your taste buds to a confection from an old-fashioned candy store. Savor a bit of Tawas Bay fudge, the creamiest this side of the bridge. Grab a bite at a streetside café or restaurant. Take a seat on a comfy bench and check out the lively street scene.

Want to stay wired? There are plenty of high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots throughout our town to keep you connected - from the State Dock, to coffee shops and restaurants, to hotels and lakeside cabins, to the public library and Community Center.

Shop our tree-lined downtown along Newman Street where eclectic, one-of-a-kind, family-owned specialty stores and boutiques will entice you to fill up your shopping bags with treasures and the perfect gift.

Culturally, East Tawas serves up plenty of arts and entertainment.

Kick up your heels to live music at Tuesday Night Live, a weekly street dance on Newman Street all summer long. Or lay down a blanket at the bayside gazebo at East Tawas City Park and hear the Community Band playing classic tunes Monday evenings. Catch ‘em in the act as the Tawas Bay Players perform live theater all year round at the Tawas Bay Players Playhouse. Or enjoy the latest flicks at the local double-screen cinema theater.

Community galleries and stores offer a variety of art, ceramics, paintings, fine photography, hand-crafted jewelry, wooden creations and maritime treasures to delight and excite the most discerning tastes.

Arts and crafts shows packed with treasurers fill our streets and parks during the high season. Line up the family to watch one of our parades complete with floats, bands, horses, fire trucks and all the small-town charm you come to expect in East Tawas. You might catch a string of beads or some hometown goodies.

If festivals are your kind of fun, East Tawas has one to suit most everyone’s interest. From our infamous February festival, Perchville USA, which started in 1950, to the Tawas Point Birding Festival in May when literally thousands upon thousands of migratory birds stop over to rest and feed along our shores. Birders from around the world come to spot their “life” bird, perhaps the Kirkland Warbler, the piping plover or the trumpeter swan. And watching an eagle soar over the bay will simply take your breath away!

Breeze on Tawas Bay kite festival with its high-soaring kites and flying colorful creations will have you ooo-ing and ahhh-ing. And you’ll remember what simple fun it is to go fly a kite!

Summerfest in July brings a classic vintage car show and cruise to town topped off with a Saturday night street dance. Add to the festivities the Kiwanis 5-mile Walk/Run and the kids’ bike and pet parade. Canine acrobatics and contests will wow you at “Paws in the Park” in Harbor Park.

And the annual Tawas Uncork’d & Untap’d festival will have you stomping grapes just like Lucy and Ethel. You’ll sip some of Michigan’s finest wines and brews, and taste some scrumptious local cuisine, and the bay is your backdrop!

Party down at a three-day jam fest when Blues by the Bay takes center stage at Harbor Park. Some of the finest musicians and singers from around the entire country will get you up and dancing.

For a complete list of events, please visit the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce.

A visit to the Iosco County Historical Museum will allow you to discover the rich history of Ottawas on Tawas Bay. Learn about the first people, the Chippewa Indians, who settled this region more than 500 years ago. Explore the history of Iosco County (meaning “water of light” when Tawas Bay produced enough ice to fill and ship 100 railroad cars a day. Get to know the railroad and lumber barons who helped build and expand East Tawas and bolster its economy. Recall the glory days of wooden schooners sailing the Great Lakes.

Take a stroll along the half-mile-long pier at the East Tawas State Dock that curves gently into the bay. Feast your eyes on the magnicifent power boats and sailboats that line the pier. Throw out a fishing line and see what’s biting. Sail with a late 1800’s schooner, the wooden-masted Appledore IV. Or catch a sunset cruise to Charity Island on Saginaw Bay where you can explore old Native American archeological sites, watch eagles nesting, walk among exotic plants and flowers, and tour the old lighthouse circa 1857.

Or just sit on the dock on the bay and watch the varieties of birds that grace Tawas Bay.

And don’t forget Fido. Between the dock and DNRE bathhouse, there’s a stretch of beach that’s dog-friendly. As a matter of fact, the downtown area has gone to the dogs too! Many merchants welcome Fido inside and offer water bowls at storefronts. Durant Park, one of the City’s five parks, even has a small pond where your pooch can take a quick swim off-leash.

For the wild side in you… kayak or canoe the bay. Go kiteboarding off Tawas Point. Kiteboarders rave it’s one of THE hottest spots in the entire country to test your skills against winds and waves.

Or you can jet ski across the water to the mouth of the Tawas River. Paddle upstream to a sweet spot at Bridge Street where you’ll discover an ADA-accessible platform. Hook some fish at the river’s bend. Take a spin in a power boat or hoist the main sail for some top-flight sailing.

Of course Tawas Bay is just perfect for splish-splashing with your kids or building the sand-castle of your dreams!

Bike or hike or rollerblade more than 10 miles of bike paths that meander through woods and forests, all along Tawas Bay on the trail to Tawas Point and its 1877 lighthouse.

Take a breather, and then climb all 87 steps to the top of the lighthouse where you can check out the ever-changing sandy crescent hook. From this eye-in-the-sky you can also spot one of several shipwrecks from the late 1800’s just off-shore. And on a clear day you’ll see Port Austin’s lighthouse at the tip of the Thumb, more than 30 miles away! From the top of the lighthouse you can also see both Big and Little Charity Islands pop through the horizon.

Often called the Cape Cod of the Midwest, Tawas Point State Park offers some of best camping spots anywhere. Hike Sandy Hook trail where you’ll catch a glimpse of fox, deer, and woodland critters plus thousands of birds throughout the year. Here you can sign up for the Tawas Point Keepers program and actually stay in the historic lighthouse!

And here’s a fun fact…Getting to the lighthouse from East Tawas will take you east, south, west AND then north… all four directions!

Still want more to do?

East Tawas has five distinct city parks packed with softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, a fishing pond, picnic tables and benches. The little ones will delight climbing all over playscapes like the wooden Peace Train or the Mackinac Bridge. Pavilions with kitchens and rest rooms can be rented for corporate parties, graduations and reunions. All you need to bring are the burgers and buns.

Boaters, canoeists and kayakers will find easy and convenient lake access to both Lake Huron and an inland jewel, Tawas Lake. The DNRE launch to Lake Huron sits next to the Michigan State Police post on US-23, near the State Dock. And to get on Tawas Lake, you’ll find a state-owned launch located on Rainbow Drive, as well as several other access points located along the lake.

The East Tawas Community Center provides recreational fun to both residents and visitors alike year round. A full-size, air conditioned gymnasium offers basketball, volleyball, and an elevated walking track. Occasionally private individuals have arranged to have table tennis, yoga, pilates and other events available as well.

The Community Center is available to rent for your private function. With a full-service kitchen and banquet seating for 400 in the 7,800-square-foot facility, it’s fast becoming a premier choice for weddings, holiday parties, banquets and conferences.

In East Tawas you’ll find the ONLY full-service, four-season resort with conference facilities, restaurant, lounge and Tiki beach bar along the Sunrise Coast in northeast Michigan. You can also find vintage charm and first-class hospitality at a variety of mom & pop cottages and cabins, family-owned motels and a quaint Bed and Breakfast that line the shore.

Just outside the City, there’s a first-class hospital and medical facilities where you’ll be treated as a person, not a number.

Another asset is the City’s public library in the heart of downtown. With free internet access and a friendly staff, you’ll get the information you’re looking for.

Here in the heart of Northeast Michigan’s vacation wonderland, East Tawas serves up four-season fun.

Springtime brings the most impressive birding migration, an explosion of wildflowers and newborn critters.

Summer finds us swimming, sailing, fishing, horseback riding, or hiking/biking one of the countless roads and trails.

Autumn reveals a cacophony of color as the trees and forests burst with crimsons and golds and oranges. Apple cider and the perfect fall picnic. Fall brings athletes from around the country to East Tawas to compete in the Triathlon: swim the Bay, bike to Lumberman’s Monument, and run the streets of East Tawas.

Winter means ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and the granddaddy of winter festivals on the ice, Perchville USA with the annual Chilly Cookoff.
All this accessible in just 2 ½ square miles!

And there’s so much more to explore…

A bike ride or a short drive from East Tawas will take to the Scenic Byway that runs along the mighty Au Sable River where you’ll learn of our lumbering history at Lumberman’s Monument and do some of the best fly-fishing around. Take a cruise on the Au Sable River Queen, an old-fashion paddleboat.

Hike magnificent forests and wander through marshes and wetlands. You can take your ORV or mountain bike on endless dirt roads and trails. You can discover dozens of inland lakes and small creeks and streams.

Or you can simply throw out a blanket on the river bank, on the sandy shore, or in a meadow, close your eyes and breathe in all the beauty and glory that is East Tawas and Iosco County here on the Sunrise Coast.


 

 

 

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