“What is the weather REALLY like in Northern Michigan?”

I get this question quite a bit from people who don’t understand the appeal of moving farther north in a state that many people think is “cold” to begin with.  I guess it’s just what you are used to.  Someone from Texas may think 60 is cold and need a jacket.  While here in Michigan we are walking around in short sleeves.

So to begin to tell you what the weather is like in the Tawas Bay area we have to first consider what region it is now.  Now there is a long standing debate in our beautiful state of where exactly “Up North” begins.  The answer is subjective.  We all agree that the Upper Peninsula is hardcore “Up North”.  We Michiganders all have our imaginary line whether it is the Mackinac Bridge, Midland, the Zilwaukee bridge, the 45th parallel, etc.  You can look at 10 maps and see 10 different ways the regions are divided.  For all intents and purposes though, Tawas Bay is considered part of the Northern Lower Peninsula.  Specifically the Northeast Region. The Northwest regions gets heavier snow and wind from the lake.  As we are on the east coast and protected in the bay, our snowfall amounts are not much heavier than they are back in Southeast Michigan.

The following information is purely my observations and research over the last few years.  This is how I look at the months and their temperatures.

cold:  Below 40 (heavy coats- bundle up!)

cool:   40-60  (mid weight jacket, dress in layers)

warm: 60-75 (bring a sweater just in case)

hot:   Above 75 (short sleeves, sun screen, when the sun is high jump in the lake)


January- cold

February- cold

March- cold

April- cool/warm  (put out deck furniture and take mustang out of storage at the end of the month)

May- warm


July- warm/hot

August- hot

September- warm/hot

October- warm/cool      (put away outside stuff and store car at the end of the month)


December- cool/cold

I don’t mind living somewhere where we only use most of our outdoor stuff half of the year.  There are other things to do in the cooler months and the anticipation of spring makes the flowers smell that much sweeter! I have always loved the fact that just when I get tired of one season, the next is right around the corner.

“Why live in a beach town if the water is so cold?”

This question usually comes from my Southern state friends.  Sure, boating and swimming are great, but there is something inherently peaceful about being so close to the water.  While I DO love to swim and be in the water, I also love just sitting on a bench watching the sunrise/sunset over the water. And if fishing is your thing, you can fish year round in Tawas Bay. Besides, our Great Lakes are salt and shark free!

As for swimming, we do enjoy plenty of beach days.  The average water temps in Tawas Bay near the shore in the summer are in the low 70s.  Too cold for some, but refreshing for others.  It is much colder outside of the bay when you go straight out into Lake Huron!  We usually wait until close to the end of June to venture into the water. The best months for swimming though are August and September when the water temp is at its peak!

All in all, the weather in Northern Michigan is not much different than anywhere else in the state, it fluctuates like crazy! We get 6 inches of snow one day, and then the next it is 52 degrees!  It’s all part of the charm of our beautiful mitten state and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

2 thoughts on ““What is the weather REALLY like in Northern Michigan?”

    1. Not well I’m afraid. We think today may be the day. I am praying for a peaceful transition for her. Thank you for asking.


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