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Camping at Oscoda/Tawas KOA and Expoloring the Area

By May 31, 2018Adventures

For Memorial Day weekend, we decided to kickoff the 2018 camping season and head north east to one of Michigan’s Great Lakes, Lake Huron. It was our first time traveling to visit this lake and we made reservations with adjoining campsites next to Ian (my brother in law), Jamie (my sister in law) and our three nephews. The Oscoda/Tawas KOA campground fortunately still had availability when we booked in early May.

Tawas City was founded in 1854 as the first city located on the shores of Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay north of Bay City. Tawas Bay offered protection along with forest lands, Lake Huron and wildlife that inspired the founding of the city. The area also offered resources supporting a lumber industry which even today large freighters escape severe storms utilizing Tawas Bay as harbor of refuge.

The Oscoda/KOA is located past East Tawas and is a lovely campground. It is a mainly wooded campground and our campsite was surrounded by trees, grassy areas and peaceful nature. We had full hookup amenities, a fire pit and picnic table at our site.

The staff was super friendly upon our arrival Saturday and welcomed us. Like many KOA campgrounds, a member of the staff loaded up the 4 bundles of firewood we purchased for $20 and lead us to our campsite.

The campground offers a great camp store with cute souvenirs and supplies you may have left behind. There are quaint cabin rentals that would be fun to checkout sometime.

You may rent bikes from the store and there is even a train parents and younger kids can ride on through the campground. On Sunday night, vistors rode on a fire engine around the campground as well with sirens blazing. There is also nice albeit smaller pool, a playground area with things like a jump pillow and a jump shot for the kids to enjoy.

There is also an arcade if your kids want to play inside and is certainly something to enjoy if the weather takes a bad turn. And for dog-parents like us, there is a dog park for the furkids to play.

After the 3 1/2 hour drive and setting up camp, we decided to hang out at the campsite for the late afternoon/evening and just relax.

We did not have the perfect trees to hang our hammock but we made it work.

I was excited to find a spot to display our camp sign that I purchased at an art fair the end of last season.

We grilled dinner and enjoyed eating dinner with Ian, Jamie and the gang.

Soon it was time for the first campfire and my favoirte, s’mores.

There is a lot to do and see in this area and I was excited to go adventuring after breakfast the next day. We headed to the Tawas shoreline to check out a quaint little art fair we passed on our drive in. I was excited to see such an event in the area during our stay. It was quite scenic along the shores of Lake Huron and gave this art fair an unusual charm.

The art fair showcased over 130 juried artisans.

We strolled through the grounds and admired the artisan items.

I met Taylor from My Captured Journey , an artisan with the prettiest jewelry I previously saw online and the creations were even nicer in person. The funny thing was when speaking with Taylor, I found out that she had read the blog and knew of me too. How cool is that. I hope to feature her in an upcoming Limited Edition box too so stay tuned for that.

I found some treasures as I always do but I really enjoyed the beauty of the area the most. The pink flowers on the trees were gorgeous.

And Lake Huron is breathtaking. Michigan is known for it’s Great Lakes and I have been a huge fan of Lake Michigan for years. However after visiting Lake Huron, I have to say I love it as well.

Did you know that the beautiful Au Sable River meets Lake Huron in this area and offers a lot of canoeing or kayaking options. I wonder if Gucci & Tucker could handle a canoe?

Next, we headed to downtown East Tawas to checkout the shops. The downtown main street is a side street from the shoreline which I found interesting. The town has the up north but still small town feel which was quite refreshing.

There were a couple really cute furniture shops featuring beach inspired pieces. I found the perfect table and chair set for my lake house. Oh wait, I don’t yet own a lake house. If only, I had a place to store it, I would have been convincing Garrin to load the furniture in the truck. Maybe on the next trip.

I found a pretty scarf and a comfy much needed pair of Corkys flip flops at a local boutique that I did take home. I also stopped at the local Tea House and enjoyed a strawberry slush. Garrin also found a waffle ice cream cone to his liking before we headed out.

We took a short drive and headed to Tawas Point State Park. This state park features 183 acres at the end of Tawas Bay. I found out my cousin, Angi, was proposed to in this park. There is a campground on the grounds along the bay where you can swim as well. The park is known as a notable bird watching area and is home to the Tawas Point Lighthouse; “the sole representative of a true Victorian-era style station on the Great Lakes.”

We all had pictures taken in front of the scenic lighthouse. There is another lighthouse called Sturgeon Point that we will have to see next trip.

Even Gucci and Tucker posed for a photo.

The weather was turning and a storm was on its way. I took a brief tour of the gift shop and found a cute great lakes hat as a souvenir and then we hurried back to the truck just before the rain fell.

For this trip, we opted to stay another night and not depart until Tuesday. This allowed us to adventure on Memorial day and enjoy the campground during the Holiday.

We drove about half an hour away the next morning to take a hike and visit Iargo Springs in Oscoda.

A series of springs from the banks of the Au Sable River form small waterfalls and are the prime scenery.

I always enjoy learning history of the area and discovered the springs were used as a drinking water source since pre-settlement times when the loggers created dams. A storm destroyed these dams in 1981 and they were re-created ten years later.

There are a couple wooden boardwalks to view the river after you descend the 300 steps to the springs.

The wooden slots spacing was too large for the dogs to safely walk so we carried Gucci & Tucker for this adventure. We discovered, the steps also appear to magically multiply when climbing up carrying a dog.

Before our trip, my research informed that Oscoda beach was previously rated the second best beach in Michigan so it was on my list to check out. It was quite a sight with beautiful blue, almost turquoise, water.

We enjoyed the scenery on the boardwalk and posed for some photos once again.

Back at the campground, the Holiday crowds had vacated and it was super quiet and peaceful. I think we will try to extend our stays into the week more often as this is the way to camp.

Lake Huron is a beauty and I loved being up north without the crowds. We will definitely visit this way again.

Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.