The Lighthouse visitors see today is the second built on the point. Due to accretion, (the opposite of erosion) Tawas Point keeps growing. The first lighthouse was built on Tawas Point in 1853, near the present State Park entrance. The point quickly grew and by the 1870s the lighthouse was more than a mile inland. Increased shipping traffic in Tawas Bay due to the growing logging and fishing industries meant a more effective lighthouse was needed. The new lighthouse, built in 1876, marked the entry to Tawas Bay and warned mariners away from the shallow waters of Tawas Point.
Today, the lighthouse is once again more than a mile from the tip of the point. So, in 2016, the Coast Guard turned off the light in the tower and placed a modern light on a pole at the end of Tawas Point. The original 4th order Fresnel lens remains in the tower for visitors to see.
Guests to the lighthouse can go on a guided tour with a volunteer lighthouse keeper through the museum and are welcome to climb the 85 stairs up the tower for a breathtaking view of Tawas Bay and Lake Huron.
Visitors to Tawas Point Lighthouse can also enjoy the Lighthouse Museum Store and a walk down Tawas Point or the Sandy Hook Nature Trail.
The Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park are developing a series of virtual tours during the summer 2020 closure.
The Tawas Point Lighthouse allows visitors to explore a lighthouse that was an active aid to navigation until 2016.
Visitors have the chance to climb the 85 steps to the top of the lighthouse and get a panoramic view of Tawas Point and Tawas Bay.
The museum portion of the lighthouse shows artifacts from different time periods of its use. Lightkeepers, and later, the U.S. Coast Guard and their families lived in these quarters until 1922.
In 1859, the May Queen, a schooner bound for Milwaukee, sunk at Tawas Point during a storm. This and other wrecks are sometimes visible from shore or the top of the lighthouse, when weather conditions are optimal.