Thunderbird Lodge Grayling

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CLUB THUNDERBIRD LODGE AND SQUALL CABIN (Grayling, MI) on the Holy Waters of the Au Sable River- Sleeps 12 MAX, Pet friendly

Pets Welcome







BEDROOMS:  3 Bedrooms in Main Lodge and 2 bedrooms in second cabin
*RIVERFRONT (Au Sable River-Holy Waters)


In the middle of the Holy Waters stretch of the Au Sable River rests the Club Thunderbird property. Originally built in the 1920's as a private fishing club for Detroit's industrialists, the property includes a Main Lodge and the adjacent Squall Cabin. The half-mile drive through towering pines, oaks, and birches leads to one of the biggest whole log structures on the river. It's like taking a step back in time when you open the door to this classic lodge experience- huge porches, views of the river, and just steps to the dock.  After a day of incomparable fishing, kayaking (available to rent nearby), and tubing, followed by cocktail hour on the porch and dinner around the big oak table, fall asleep listening to the wind in the pines and tumbling river.

The 7 acre property is completely surrounded on both sides of the river by 250 acres of Trout Unlimited land that is yours to explore- no neighbors in sight!   Both the Lodge and the Cabin are solely yours to enjoy with your family and friends during your stay. 

At Thunderbird Lodge, envision yourself stepping out of the living room, facing the riverside, and stretching onto the side of the house you will find a screened in porch where summer night dreams of a forest are made. Four of the six bedrooms in the houses front the river, but in the Squall Cabin you can sleep in the summertime bed on the porch to feel enmeshed with nature- feet from the river and much better than a tent!

Club Thunderbird's serenity and beauty will surround you just take a deep breath and exhale...



Accessibility:This is a one level (a ranch-style home). The bathrooms and hallways are not up to official handicap standards and do not come equipped with special apparatus to help those in need. Please use caution. The short walkway down to the river has steep, uneven, concrete steps.

Acreage: 7 private acres surrounded by 250 acres of Trout Unlimited land.

(NO) Air Conditioning:  No, however there are fans and lots of shade surrounding the Lodge and adjacent Squall Cabin

ATV's/Snowmobiles: Approximately 13 miles to the LP9 snowmobile trail. The trail map will show you the locations of places to park your trailer. Please refer to the Crawford County snowmobile map. ATV's - PLEASE be respectful riding on the lawn and landscaping bushes and plants. 

Bathroom:     3 bathrooms, 2 in Main cabin, 1 in Squall cabin

Thunderbird Lodge:   1 bathroom with toilet & claw foot tub (no sink)
                                   1 bathroom with toilet & stand up shower (no sink)
                                      Sinks with mirrors are in each bedroom of main cabin

Squall Cabin:              1 bathroom with toilet, sink & stand up shower


Bedroom Configuration:  3 bedrooms in main cabin, 2 in squall cabin (porch has a queen size bed)

Main Cabin:     Bedrooms 1 - 2 all have 2 twin beds in each room with a sink and mirror.
                        Bedroom 3:  1 Double bed 
Squall Cabin:  Bedrooms 1 & 2- 2 twin beds in each room.
                        Porch - 1 Queen bed.

Boats:  NO (but there are places to rent canoes and Kayaks nearby)


Bugs: Yes, there are plenty of bugs in the wilderness.  If doors are left open at the cabin, even for short periods of time, then bugs/flies/mosquitos love to sneak in. We do not spray outside for bugs, as with the natural landscape, along comes bugs.  Depending on the level of rainfall, mosquitos can be plentiful. Bug spray is highly recommended. Still, the large screened in porch is a welcome reprieve.

Cable: Yes, there is Direct TV in the main cabin, Thunderbird Lodge only. Currently, there isn't a TV or Cable in Squall Cabin. 

Cell phone service: Verizon provides a solid signal (3-4 bars) for most, AT&T cell signals struggle (normally 0-1 bars).

* Forest Dunes Golf Club- 16 mins ( 10.5 miles)               
* Grayling Township- 12 mins (8 miles)             
* Hartwick Pines- 18 mins  (13 miles)

* Higgins Lake State Park/Beach- 28 mins (25 miles) 
* Mackinac City- 70 minutes- (90 miles)
* Traverse City- 1 hour & 18 mins (62 miles)
Dock Yes there is a platform along the water. 

Drinking Water:  Mineral-rich well water from underground springs.  Water filter jug provided for those who don't like the taste.

Drugs/Smoking/Fireworks:Freshwater does not permit illegal drugs of any kind on the property. Due to the location of the properties, smoking is strongly discouraged around the home and strictly prohibited in the home. Fireworks are prohibited at a Freshwater location for the safety of all persons in and around the property, even if it is legal in that city.

Fireplace: Yes, in Main Cabin (firewood provided)

Fire pit- Yes, newly constructed stone firepit. Wood is provided. Please verify that there are no fire hazards before starting fires outside in the pit. You can check on this site for restrictions.

Fishing:  The Au Sable River- and Club Thunderbird area in particular is known as the birthplace of Trout Unlimited. It is considered one of the best brown trout fisheries east of the Rocky Mountains.  Fly-fishing along the Au Sable is on every fisher's bucket list. This stretch of the Au Sable, The Holy Waters, is known as a prominent trout area. Fisher's bring your gear-it is catch and release, fly-fishing only. Dry flies only. Waders suggested.  Patience (and maybe some skill) will reward you with one of our flashing brooks, brown, or rainbow trout. (Must purchase a fishing license.)  

Grill:  Please bring your own charcoal, lighter fluid provided, or you may use the electric starter-DO NOT USE BOTH!

Grocery Store:  Family Fare and Save-A-Lot, both in Grayling

Internet: Yes, 2 WiFi hotspots. Hotspots can be intermittent, so internet may be slow at times.

Linens: Yes, we provide your linens and towels. Just like a hotel, the beds will be made for you upon arrival. If you are particular about the thread count of your sheets, just let me know, and I’ll make sure we leave a bed open for your sheets. We have just the basic sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and bath towels.

Parking: Plenty of parking for all your cars/trucks, including trailers. Plenty of room to pull around your trailer, so you don't need to back up!  We ask that guests do not bring campers or RV's.

Pets: 2 pets are welcome! Freshwater Vacation Rentals currently charges $75/per pet for your entire stay. Yes, we do accept dogs, yet we do ask that you please clean up after them both inside and outside the cabin. Plus, if you allow them on the furniture, we do ask that you please bring your own linens/blankets for them to sleep on.  Just let us know which bed you will be using with them, and we’ll make sure it is ready for your sheets when you arrive. Plus, if the pet hair starts to build, we do ask that you please run the vacuum. Generally, dogs love the water and places to explore. Pet food does tend to attract mice, so vigilance is needed.

Privacy:  Plentiful, secluded

Snowmobiles:  a person (resident and nonresident) that operates a snowmobile in Michigan is required to purchase a snowmobile trail permit. The trail permit enables snowmobilers to ride state-designated trails and thousands more miles of public roads and on public lands (where authorized). It is valid for one year, which begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30 of the following year. State-designated trails are open Dec. 1-March 31 and grooming occurs when there is enough snow on the ground. (Must have a snowmobile trail permit)

Space: Ranch style

Higgins Lake State Park has a beach- 30 mins away.  The river on the property is fast moving so not good for swimming.

Televisions: Small flat screen

Towels: Yes, we provide towels.  Please bring your own beach towels to take to the water.

Washer and dryer: Yes, detergent provided

Wood: Yes(provided)


Property/indoor Amenities
  • Acreage
  • Basic Paper Products (Paper Towel & TP)
  • Blankets
  • Board Games
  • Books
  • Box Fans
  • Cable- Satellite TV
  • Ceiling fans
  • DVD player
  • Fireplace-wood-burning
  • Firewood is Provided.
  • Linens & Towels included
  • Log Cabin
  • Oscillating Fans
  • Pets allowed
  • Washer & dryer
Kitchen Amenities
  • Blender
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Coffee maker
  • Cooking and Baking Pans
  • Dishwasher (plus Detergent)
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Soaps (Hand & Dish Soap)
  • Standard Kitchenware & Utensils
  • Stove
  • Toaster
Outdoor Amenities
  • Fire Pit
  • Firewood Provided for guests
  • Good Fishing
Special Features
  • Large Individual Rentals

Season Period Min.Stay Nightly Weekly
04/14/2023 - 12/31/2023 3 $349.00


Incredible stay at Thunderbird Lodge!
This is our second year at Thunderbird Lodge, and somehow it was even better the second time around. We come here for our annual siblings weekend and have the absolute best time. We grilled hamburgers, , took kayaks down the river with Carlisle’s (awesome company, got pizza from Stephen’s Bridge Party Store (also awesome), and watched the meteor shower from the dock (extra awesome!) We made memories we will never forget thanks to this incredible lodge! Highly recommend booking this spot! It’s magical to say the least.


Thank you for sharing such a phenomenal review Sam! We are so delighted to know that the lodge could provide an ideal backdrop for your annual siblings weekend, but the fact that this stay could even provide you with a meteor shower, and great interactions with the locals is pretty incredible! We can't wait to have you back! 
Aug 2023
Great getaway!
Our group enjoyed themselves again! Will rent again! Thanks


Thank you for taking the time to review your stay, Barry! I am so happy to know you and your group enjoyed another stay at Thunderbird for your yearly trip, and would love to keep having you back!  
May 2023
Amazing and Magical!
We couldn't have been happier with our stay at Thunderbird Lodge. It was like stepping back in time with all the history throughout. The calmness of the wind whispering through the pines and the trickle of the Au Sable took peace to another level. The home was extremely comfortable for all 8 guests, and we loved having space to sprawl out. The fireplace was wonderful for the chilly fall nights and early mornings. We couldn't recommend Thunderbird enough, and can't wait to return!


Hi Aubry! This is such a wonderful review of Thunderbird Lodge, that really just captures the feel and scenery in the most perfect way! It's great to know your group of 8 was able to have a comfortable stay, and we truly hope to have another chance to host you all again!
Sep 2022
5 stars
The Thunderbird Lodge is amazing. Nice, quiet, serene setting. The Lodge was very accommodating. We can't wait to go back next year!! 


Hi Suzanne! Thank you for taking the time to review your stay at Thunderbird! We love knowing that you were able to enjoy the setting of the home, and have a comfortable stay! We look forward to hosting you again! -Jessica FVR
Sep 2022
4 stars
We loved the Thunderbird Lodge! The lodge and the grounds were gorgeous. The kitchen was well stocked, the beds were comfortable, the river was beautiful, and the screened in porch was perfect. There was an issue with the plumbing; however it was handled quickly by Freshwater and in the only possible means that could try to handle the problem. Despite those issues, we had a great time and hope to return next year. We truly loved the history of the Thunderbird Lodge and it worked perfect for our family.


Thank you for sharing your review, Karen! We sincerely apologize for the maintenance issues you experienced during your stay. We do our best to make sure the cabin is in the best shape possible for guests, but with it being built in the 1920s, issues will occur every once in a while. We truly love knowing that you still found that stay to be comfortable and enjoyable for the family! We look forward to having you back in the future! 
Jul 2022
The river is like a part of the house
Being from New Orleans, our time on the Au Sable River in summer is like visiting another world. Nature provides calm and cool. It's as if the river is part of the house. All activities are centered on it. Whether we are in kayaks floating down the river, enjoying sunshine on the private dock or lounging on the massive screened porch, everyone is content. My daughters love sleeping in the comfortable bed on the smaller porch. So unique! Their own detached cabin lets the young adults spread out and sleep in. Most nights we all gather around the magnificent fireplace after dinner. We play board games and sink into the sofas and rocking chairs. Days of hiking, fishing and taking in Michigan's beauty make our comfortable beds super inviting. Everything you need for a satisfying vacation is there. It was wonderful to become part of the long tradition of this historic place with family and dear friends. As my children say, "heaven on earth!"
Mar 2022
A serene reminder of Michigan's history
Deep in the woods of the lower peninsula of Michigan, Thunderbird Lodge borders the blue ribbon trout fishing waters of the AuSable River. The log cabin has magnificent dining facilities, a fireplace, picture windows and a porch are replicas of history past. It's a reminder of the heritage of Michigan's hunting and fishing history. Plenty of room is available for family gatherings or large groups. Individual, well decorated, clean cabins dot the property. My husband and I were lucky to stay in the lodge for several days last June 2021. While sipping our drinks on the lower dock platform, with the serenity of the babbling river and the sun setting through the pines, we watched the canoes and kayakers float by. Listening to the run of the river while falling asleep under the clear starlit skies is a gift long remembered. Our days at Thunderbird went far too quickly, although, we anticipate a cherished return.
Mar 2022
Hidden Gem!
We stayed in a cabin here last year and had a wonderful time! It is so special- warm, welcoming, and clean. It provides a relaxing respite no matter what the weather. It's a charming, rustic, spacious cabin that is full of history and provides a well-stocked home away from home- canoeing, cozy reading, fishing, playing games and more! Screened-in large porch on the house is within feet of the river. I heartily recommend experiencing this hidden gem!

Whitney, this is the best review ever - thank you so much for taking the time to write it and for your recommendation.  It means a lot to us!  We so enjoyed you as our guests and hope that you will be coming back again.
Mar 2022

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