Marine News from the Great Lakes

Tawas City & East Tawas, Michigan

Discover “The Tawases” on Lake Huron

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2018

With boating season fast approaching, consider motoring across the water on your craft to the glistening shoreline of Lake Huron, where you’ll see picturesque scenery everywhere! If you are looking for a new place to enjoy beauty, hospitality, and pure Michigan fun, look no further than the beautiful Tawas Bay area. This quaint, yet bustling, summer community is home to many popular summer festivals, beautiful sandy beaches, a protected bay, lodging and campgrounds, and local shops and restaurants intent on serving up a healthy portion of relaxation and fun.

Boaters and visitors to the Tawases will find a safe — and breathtakingly beautiful — harbor at the East Tawas State Dock. The first-class marina is located on Tawas Bay and draws boaters from across the state. Amenities include a boat launch, toilet/shower building, dock office, playground/park, water, electricity, gasoline, diesel, and pumpout services. There’s also a swimming beach just south of the dock.

In 2017, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources began the first phase of a complete harbor reconstruction. This enhancement includes a greater variety of slip sizes, features that are compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, and improvements to the pump-out and fuel systems. In addition, due to the new pier’s proximity to shore, connection to the downtown area — which is popular with boaters — has been improved. New electric pedestals are equipped with sensors that can detect stray electrical current leakage in the water from vessels, to help prevent electric shock drowning (ESD), which is the result of someone coming into contact with electrical currents in the water. As a result of these improvements, if a boat is leaking current, the system is designed to trip the breaker, ultimately stopping the leak into the surrounding water.

“The expansion better connects the boater to modern amenities, safety features, and the local community, and responds to current trends in Great Lakes boating,” said Chuck Allen, supervisor for East Tawas State Harbor. “We are excited for boaters to come and experience the changes for themselves.” Interested visitors can contact the Marina at (989) 362-2731, (989) 362-5041, or via radio channel 9.

Even with these improvements, the East Tawas State Dock is more than just a marina – it has become a gathering point for local festivals and events. It is within easy walking distance to the historical museum, weekly concerts in the park, the Family Theater, or the popular Ben Franklin store. Its convenient and scenic location, at the foot of the Newman Street Shopping District in East Tawas, is a natural draw for boaters and visitors. There’s 500 feet of dock for visitors to walk along, grab an ice cream, and enjoy the scenery on one of many park benches!

Located in Iosco County, East Tawas represents a total area of 1,891 miles of which only 549 square miles of it is land and the remaining 1,342 square mile of it (70.96%) is WATER. Here, the water resources comprise more than 40 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 260 miles of rivers and streams, and nearly 12,000 acres of lakes and ponds. The area boasts over 13 boat launches in the surrounding area as well as two additional marinas besides the state dock: Jerry’s Marina and the Tawas Bay Condominium Marina.

No matter the water craft of choice, this friendly community offers a hundred ways to have a great vacation for the entire family. The open waters of Lake Huron and the clear blue bay offer opportunities to fish for trout, northern pike, yellow perch, walleye, and small mouth bass. If you are a paddler, bring the canoe or kayak to experience the Lake Huron Blue Waterway or the famous and amazing Au Sable River. Looking to try something new? Rental facilities are available for wave runners, pontoons, canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks!

Tawas Point is also Michigan’s premier kite boarding destination with world-class conditions. Consistent winds, clear, warm water, and abundant sandy beaches make it a kite boarding nirvana. Conditions range from shallows for lessons, speed slicks, down winder and waves. For more information on lessons and rentals, check out Motor City Kite and Surf at or Great Lakes Kiteboarding at

Bay Sail of Bay City is proud to partner with the community and Heritage Coast Sailing & Rowing so visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the bay on a traditional sailing vessel and experience the beauty and splendor of a Tall Ship. The Schooner Appledore V will be sailing into Tawas Bay for a port visit and will be available for educational and pleasure sails from May 14–July 8, 2018. Step into another world when you step on board; hear the waves on the hull as you slice through beautiful Tawas Bay. Referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Tawas Bay has been considered one of the finest sailing areas in the country due to the steady winds and protected waters.

In addition to their Science under Sail programs, there are plenty of opportunities to sail for fun. There will be Stargazer and Moonlight sails, Art on the Bay, Day Sails as well as opportunities to plan your own group cruise. For more information, tickets or reservations, visit

In an effort to recreate our historic link to the Great Lakes as a key to our economic history, a small group founded Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing, a nonprofit organization, in 2011. Their mission is to encourage community boatbuilding, preserve classic regional boat designs, and encourage sailing, rowing, and the use of the water.

David Wentworth, HCS&R chair, said, “We built our first Heritage 23 boat in 2011 and now have a fleet of three in the water for public rowing use.” The latest exercise trend is rowing, which offers incredible workouts in a short amount of time. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is not quite as “gentle” as the nursery rhyme suggests. If you are interested in the origin of the Mackinaw boats and their activities, consider becoming involved, as they are actively looking for interested persons to join in their building, sailing, and rowing programs. To become a part of these exciting projects, visit

While the water activities available are reason enough to check out the Tawas Bay area, consider planning a visit around one of the many family events and festivals that the area hosts. The calendar is full starting with the Tawas Bird Migration, Breeze on the Bay Kite Festival, SummerFest, Tawas Bay Waterfront Fine Arts Festival, Uncork’d&Untap’d Wine Festival, and Blues By the Bay — just to name a few. To request your 2018 Visitors Guide with a complete list of events, visit

So, pack your boat or load up the vehicle, and bring your family and friends to experience the Tawases. Don’t forget the dog, if you have one — we are a pet friendly community!

This article first appeared in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.




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