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East Tawas and Tawas City, Michigan Parks, Trails, Restaurants, Attractions & More

Located along the sparkling blue waters of Tawas Bay and Lake Huron, East Tawas and Tawas City are charming communities on Tawas Bay. The area is a summertime destination for fun and relaxation, with a lengthy waterfront trail, a popular harbor, and beautiful swimming beaches.

Tawas Point State Park

Tawas Point State Park is a scenic recreation area on Tawas Point Peninsula, situated between Tawas Bay and Lake Huron. It has a large modern campground with 193 camping sites that offer electrical service and restrooms. A mini cabin is also available. For camping reservations, call (800)447-2757.

The park has sandy swimming beaches on Tawas Bay and Lake Huron, with a beach house not far from the Lake Huron beach. A playground is located near the day use parking area. Tawas Point Lighthouse is the state park's historic centerpiece, and the large white tower is visible from parts of the park.

Beach at the state park

Area Parks

East Tawas has several nice public parks:
  • East Tawas City Park has a sandy swimming beach on Tawas Bay that is a favorite with visitors during the summer. The park's campground has 174 modern campsites and a bath house with showers. The day use area has picnic tables, a picnic shelter, and wooden playscape. For camping reservation information, see the East Tawas City Park website.

  • Dewey Durant Memorial Park has baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and horseshoe pits. Two playrounds are located near the center of the park. A picnic shelter is on the northwest side of the park.

  • Robert Bolen Memorial Park is a nice park on the north side of East Tawas. It has two baseball fields, basketball courts, and horseshoe pits. A picnic shelter and playground are at the center of the park. A paved path connects parts of the park and the parking areas. East Tawas' city hall and community center are adjacent to the park.

  • Tom Dillon Park is a rectangular park between Smith Street and Wadsworth Street. A ball diamond, picnic shelter, and two playgrounds are at the park.

  • Harbor Park is adjacent to the East Tawas State Harbor. It has a large grassy area, next to Bay Street/ US-23.

Tawas City also has several public parks to enjoy:
  • Gateway Park welcomes visitors to Tawas City on the south side of town. The large park has several cartoon sculptures that are also playground equipment. Gateway Park is a great spot to relax, have a picnic, and enjoy the beautiful view of Tawas Bay. A boat launch and fishing spots are on the south side of the park.

  • City Park has a large swimming beach on Tawas Bay. The park's picnic shelters and picnic tables offer nice views of the bay. A sand volleyball court and fishing pier are also at the park.

  • Tawas City Sports Complex is on the east side of Tawas City, next to the middle school. Several soccer fields, ball diamonds, and basketball courts are at the complex.

  • Gordon Clute Memorial Park is located next to the Tawas City Library. The park has several cute wireframe sculptures of cartoon characters, such as Sponge Bob and Barney. A baseball diamond and basketball court are located nearby. The park is named for sculptor Gordon Clute, who created wireframe sculptures of Disney characters and other cartoon characters, many of which are at Gateway Park.

  • Veteran's Park has a canoe and kayak launch on the Tawas River, which can be used to access Tawas Bay.

Area Trails and Bike Routes

The Tawas Area Trail is a popular route for walking, jogging, and biking. The trail starts at Alabaster Road follows along US-23 through Tawas City and East Tawas to Tawas Beach Road. The trail includes paved segments and sidewalk. The route then uses the wide paved road shoulder along Tawas Beach Road to reach Tawas Point State Park. The Tawas Area Trail offers scenic views of Tawas Bay and Lake Huron. For parking, you can park at Gateway Park, Tawas City's City Park, East Tawas City Park, and Tawas Point State Park to access the trail.

Tawas area trail

Tawas Point State Park has a paved trail that connects to the paved shoulder along Tawas Beach Road and leads to the campground. The Sandy Hook Nature Trail at the park loops past Tawas Point Lighthouse, along the shoreline and then back to the day-use parking area. The nature trail can be used for hiking and cross-country skiing.

Robert Bolen Park has a paved path that circles around two baseball fields and then leads to a parking lot on the north side of the park.

East Tawas Bike Route leads from downtown to M-55. The bike route uses the paved shoulders along Nunn Road and State Street. Where there is no paved shoulder, you'll need to ride on the outside edge of the road. Be sure to stay alert and follow traffic laws when riding next to the road.

Tawas Beach Road Bike Route has a wide paved shoulder on the south side of the road. It goes from US-23 to Tawas Point State Park.

Boating and Kayaking

The sparkling waters of Tawas Bay and Lake Huron are great for boating, and there are boat launches in both cities. In East Tawas, the boat access site is north of the state harbor, near the Michigan State Police post. The launch has three boat ramps, with parking nearby. In Tawas City, Gateway Park has a boat launch with two ramps, near the mouth of the Tawas River and Tawas Bay. A large parking area is near the ramp area.

East Tawas State Harbor is located off Bay Street/US-23, near downtown East Tawas. The marina has 30 seasonal boat slips and 110 transient slips. The facility offers electricity (30 and 20 amp service), gasoline, diesel, pump-out service, showers, water, restrooms, and day-use dockage. A playground and picnic shelter are located near the entrance to the dock area. The marina is open May 20 to September 25. For reservations, call (989)362-2731.

Kayaks and canoes can be launched at Vetran's Park in Tawas City. The ramp provides access to the Tawas River, which can be used to reach Tawas Bay. A parking area is near the ramp area.


Tawas Bay is known for walleye, pike, perch, and smallmouth bass. You can fish near shore at the fishing pier at Tawas City's City Park and from the dock at East Tawas State Harbor. Near the mouth of the Tawas River, you can fish at Gateway Park.

A limestone reef was built on the nort side of Tawas Bay in 1987. The reef is 800 feet long by 25 feet wide. It provides a natural habitat for smaller bait fish, which helps attract larger predator fish. The fertile fishing area has made Tawas Bay a popular spot for fishing by boat.


Tawas Point Lighthouse is located at Tawas Point State Park. The lighthouse was built in 1876 and features a 68-foot-tall white tower. It guides ships in Lake Huron using a rotating, fourth-order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse offers tours on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.


More About the Tawas Area

In early February, the annual Perchville USA festival brings anglers to the area for fishing tournaments and fun. The event includes food, entertainment, polar bear swims, and much more. For details, visit the Perchville USA web page.

Over the second weekned of June, Tawas Point State Park hosts Tawas Point Celebration Days. The family-oriented event celebrates American heritage. It includes historical and educational displays, lighthouse tours, demonstrations of traditional crafts such as spinning, weaving, black-smithing, wood carving. and children's activities, fishing derby, guided hikes, traditional music, and period encampments with period dress.

The Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce hosts arts and crafts shows over Memorial Day weekend at Tawas City's City Park and over Labor Day weekend on Newman Street in East Tawas.

Located in a house built in 1903, the Iosco County Historical Museum features exhibits about the lumber industry, the fishing industry, railroads, Native Americans, and much more. The museum is at 405 West Bay Street/US-23 in East Tawas. For visiting hours and more information, visit the Iosco County Historical Museum website.

For shopping, East Tawas has several shops, such as Ben Franklin, Klenow's Market, Newman Street and Nordic Sports, in its downtown area that are within walking distance. Tawas City has a few stores along Lake Street/US-23, including Walmart, Neiman's Family Market, Liberty Building Mall, and Do It Best Hardware.

There are several restaurants, such as Burger King, Crystal Bay Restaurant, McDonald's and Subway, along Lake Street/US-23 in Tawas City. In East Tawas, Tim Horton's, KFC, and Big Boy are along Bay Street/US-23. There are also restaurants in downtown East Tawas, including Barnacle Bill's Bar, Dairy Queen, Hungry Howie's Pizza, and Mr. Jack'ss Sports Bar and Grill.

For lodging, there are a few motels and cabins in the area: Cabana Cove, Riptide Inn, Tawas Bay Resort, and Tawas Inn Resort.

View photos of East Tawas State Harbor, Tawas Point State Park, public parks, trails, bike routes, and more.

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