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Experience Extraordinary

Are you wondering where to take your next tour?  Are you looking for a truly unique itinerary that will make your guests rave?  Then point your coach North and head to Thunder Bay Resort!

Nestled against the beautiful backdrop of Northern Michigan, Thunder Bay Resort is an all-season destination nationally recognized for its award-winning Elk Viewing, Carriage Ride, Gourmet Dinner & Wine Tasting Event where guests experience a real-life fairy tale as a horse-drawn carriage couriers them over the river and through the woods en route to  witness majestic Michigan elk and enjoy a delicious meal and wine tasting.  Additionally, the resort boasts convenient onsite dining at the Clubhouse Grill and a variety of deluxe lodging options perfect for groups of all sizes including Suites, Villas & Chalets.  Thunder Bay Resort is also known for its awesome special events like Wine tasting, craft retreats and holiday celebrations that make remarkable itinerary add-ons and can be tailored to make any old itinerary refreshing and new.

governors award for innovation

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Michigan's Governor Award for Innovation Recipient


Winning Tours: Northeast Michigan Travel Group Wins Governor Award for Innovation

Amy L. Payne

April 2009

elk viewing bus tours

Elk Viewing, Carriage Ride, Gourmet Dinner & Wine Tasting Event

Declared by USA Today as a "Top 10" Event, Thunder Bay Resort's Elk Viewing Dinner Ride is the best Northern Michigan has to offer!  The horse-drawn carriages take your group through the wooded resort, over a wooden bridge that crosses the Thunder Bay River as guides fill the ride with humor, interesting stories and facts about Northern Michigan and elk.  The ride continues into Anchor Creek Elk Preserve where guests will get an up-close look at majestic bull elk and the season's new calves.  Make sure to bring your camera for this trip!  Then it's on to the charming Elk Antler Log Cabin filled with antiques, trophy mounts and a massive split-stone fireplace.  Sit back and enjoy as culinary artist Jan Matthias prepares your hearty, 5-course dinner before your eyes on authentic, antique wood cook stoves.  As attentive serves see to all of your dining needs, guests will have the opportunity to sample up to 7 regional wines featured on the popular Sunrise Side Wine and Hops Trail.  As dinner draws to an end, owners, Jack and Jan Matthias, share a few fun Northern Michigan stories and demonstrate Jack's famous Elk Bugle!  Then, it is time to board the carriages one last time for the return trip.  This memorable even it available May through August as a Summer event while September through mid-October offers spectacular fall colors and the excitement of fall rut season!  Hear bulls bugle and see them spar for dominance in this truly amazing spectacle.  Finally, the cold air of Winter and early spring make the event exceptionally cozy as guests bundle up in wool blankets under light snowfall.

Experience Thunder Bay's Elk Viewing Carriage Ride, Gourmet Dinner and Wine Tasting as part of an interesting 3-day, 2-night itinerary showcasing Northern Michigan's most fascinating attractions including: wineries, the world's only freshwater national marine sanctuary, museums, lighthouses, shipwrecks, rich maritime history, dinner cruises, and more!

Looking for a quick trip to Northern Michigan?  Thunder Bay Resort also offers 2-Day, 1-Night itineraries or can add it's famous Elk Viewing Dinner Ride to any itineary can as a convenient and fun four-hour stopover!


USA Today
Midwest Living

"Even Bing Crosby and a full orchestra would have a hard time summing up the magical beauty of Thunder Bay Resort's elk ride."  -Midwest Living

Detroit Free Press
Group Tour Magazine

"In my job, people ask what's been my favorite trip? I always say Egypt. And I do mean it except... the horse-drawn sleigh that night at Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman, Michigan, when the snow gently fell, the horses' bells jingled and we sat under wool blankets as we glided through the woods to see elk... Well, I can't get it out of my mind."  -Ellen Creager | Detroit Free Press

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True North

"Sliding quietly through the woods, en route to a great meal at a truly unique location..."  -USA Today

wine bus tours

Wine Lover's Tours

Taste the unique flavor of Northeast Michigan as you experience up to 24 wines from 5 wineries featured on the Sunrise Side Wine and Hops Trail.  Whether your guests are true wine connoisseurs or merely enjoy the simple pleasures of life while relaxing with a glass of vino in hand, they’ll certainly enjoy the region’s distinct wines paired with fabulous foods, desserts & hors’doeuvres.  Guests will also have the chance to expand their wine knowledge as winery owners or witty sommelier, Tom Fischer, accompanies them throughout the tour, sharing years of extensive wine expertise, experience and, most importantly, fun!

When your guests aren’t wine tasting, amaze them with the many unique destinations embodied by Michigan’s Sunrise Side.  From astounding maritime history to guided lighthouse tours, the Sunrise Side’s rich history proves to be enlightening day trips that will make the most of your time spent.

Even more fun, guests will also have the opportunity to take part in Thunder Bay’s award-winning Elk View Dinner Ride!  Complete with elk viewing, a horse-drawn carriage ride, gourmet dinner and, of course, more wine tasting, Wine Lover’s Tours will leave your guests raving about their unique travels to the Sunrise Side!

Bus Tour Magazine

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This event was featured in Bus Tour Magazine!


New Wine Lover's Getaway at Thunder Bay Resort

Bus Tours Magazine

February 2013


Charming and spacious, Thunder Bay Resort's deluxe accommodations are perfect for 1, 2 and 3-night stays letting you explore everything offered by Michigan's Sunrise Side without missing out on any of the conveniences from home.  Also, over twice the size of standard hotel rooms, guests won't mind sharing their room during their Northern Michigan adventure!

Deluxe Suites >>>

Spacious Villas >>>

Private Chalets >>>


Before setting off on your Michigan adventure, make way for the Clubhouse Grill.  Fantastic food, delicious buffets and friendly service, Thunder Bay's onsite restaurant will be the perfect stop whether you're hitting the road or just getting off of it.

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Nearby Area Attractions

Northeast Michigan is becoming one of Michigan’s most promising travel destinations offering attractions unique to Michigan, the Midwest and even the world!  From elk viewing dinner rides to remarkable lighthouse and shipwreck tours; From rich maritime history and museums to regional wines and microbrews - the Sunrise Side offers something truly special for everyone.

Here is a list of just some of the wonderful attractions in Northeast Michigan.  For more information, click on any of the links provided below.

Receive Your Complimentary Group Tour Info Packet

  • Resort DVD's & Brochures
  • Info & Brochures about the Region's Best Attractions
  • Sample Itineraries
  • Upcoming FAM Dates
  • And More!

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Start Planning Your Trip Today

Contact any of Thunder Bay Resort's Group Tour representatives and begin organizing a memorable group tour like never before.

Melanie Libby

Director of Group Sales


Carrie Kuzewski

Event Coordinator and Group Sales


Susan Hatcher

Group Sales