Opposite the large beach on the shore of Tawas Bay, part of 183-acre Tawas Point State Park (686 Tawas Beach Rd., East Tawas, 989/362-5041, daily, state park vehicle permit required), the white Victorian-style 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse is undoubtedly the park’s most-photographed feature and a favorite among lovers of these classic lights. One of the state’s most well-maintained lighthouses, it is often open to the public for self-guided tours.
Not far away, bird-watchers gather at the day-use area and nature trail. A checklist of birds spotted in the park lists more than 250, with 31 species of warblers and 17 species of waterfowl.
In summer, swimmers favor this park for its white sand and warm, shallow waters. Anglers and hikers appreciate Tawas Point, too. Here, you’ll also find a playground, a picnic area, public restrooms, a spacious campground, and gorgeous sunsets.
From Tawas Point State Park, history buffs can take a self-guided 68-mile driving tour amid key historical, natural, and cultural features west of the park, including the site of a 1984 forest fire, a 1,000-acre marsh that nurtures deer and other wildlife, the 1917 Foote Dam, a former Air Force base, and the Lumbermen’s Monument, a bronze statue erected in 1931 on the high scenic banks of the Au Sable River. Dedicated to the pioneer spirit and efforts of Michigan lumbermen, the monument isn’t far from a visitors center, whose exhibits relate to Michigan’s logging era. For more information, pick up brochures at the park office.