Are you looking for a comprehensive Great Wolf Lodge packing list? Are you overwhelmed at the thought of your family vacation and cant even begin to think about what to bring to Great Wolf Lodge?
This Great Wolf Lodge packing list post and list of Great Wolf Lodge tips will help you prepare for your first or your next visit! It includes an extensive list of what to pack for Great Wolf Lodge so you know what to bring (including food to bring to Great Wolf Lodge), what to leave at home, and what to expect on your visit!
Family travel can be exhausting, so do not feel discouraged if you are overwhelmed with the list of what to pack for Great Wolf Lodge. I hope really soon to add a quick printable to this post to make it even easier to tick off all the boxes!
If you are still planning your trip, CLICK HERE for discounted rates! Use Promo Code: MOREFUNA to Save 30% off your stay!
Great Wolf Lodge Tips
Below you will find my best Great Wolf Lodge tips (and hear about mistakes that rookies make). Following these tips should ensure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible!
1. Great Wolf Lodge Tip #1 Grab a Luggage Cart from the Lobby
Great Wolf Lodge has airport-style luggage carts at the main entrance. Take advantage of them on arrival, especially if you have packed in your own food! I have seen these carts loaded up with coolers, flats of water, and a Costco bag of snacks, on top of luggage! Save a few trips to the car and grab one of these before you unload! (If you are looking for great snack ideas keep reading they are farther below!)
2. Bring Extra Coffee
If your mornings tend to start with more than one cup of coffee, consider bringing your own coffee and a small basket filter. The line ups for Starbucks in the lobby was always lengthy in the mornings.
And besides, I am a Mama that needs coffee before even finding my glasses in the morning. There is a small 4 cup coffee maker in the room or a single-serve style cup and you can brew in your room (they do supply the prepackaged in a filter coffee).
If you are anything like me and a real coffee snob, you might even bring your own Nespresso from home (Yes I take mine everywhere and never regret it)
3. Consider the Great Wolf Lodge Paw Pass
Great Wolf Lodge Pup Passes, Wolf Passes, and Paw Passes are available to purchase. they offer up to 30% savings compared to purchasing activities by themselves.
The MagiQuest game is very popular (as is the ShadowQuest game for those who have already completed the MagiQuest) but it does require you purchase a wand and the game itself. The PAW PASS and the WOLF PASS offer the wand and a game in addition to arcade credits, a Great Wolf Kid at the Creation Station, and more!
If the passes are not in your budget, discuss the options with your kids ahead of time and plan where you will and will not be spending your money. When expectations are clear, meltdowns can be much easily avoided!
Read more: Is the Great Wolf Lodge Paw Pass Worth it?
Read Great Wolf Lodge Reviews on Trip Advisor
4. Pack in your own Snacks, Food, and Beverages
At the Grand Mound WA location, there is not a lot around the facility itself within walking distance: A gas station and a burger restaurant. There are lots of on-site restaurant options for mealtimes, but we have a pack of grazers in our group. If your family is like ours and plans to stay on site for the bulk of your time, you are going to want to bring in some snacks. Here is my list of popular (and packable snacks).
Food to Bring to Great Wolf Lodge:
- veggie tray
- watermelon (a cut up watermelon will fit in the fridge)
- crackers and cheese
- juice boxes
- chips and dip
- water bottles
- cereal and milk
- bagels and cream cheese
- extra coffee and a filter (or instant coffee, sugar and coffee mate)
5. Pack your SHARPIE!
On my list of what to pack for Great Wolf Lodge, I have a sharpie. I always do”¦the kids have all sorts of goodies from wands, to arcade cards. Know who is whose and avoid the argument. Bring your sharpie. Trust me on this. I wrote our kid’s room number on their waterpark wristband, so we could easily be located if our child could not find us for some reason.
6. Important Great Wolf Lodge Tip DO NOT TRY AND DO EVERYTHING!
One of my best Great Wolf Lodge Tips is to NOT DO EVERYTHING!
There is a LOT to do in a Great Wolf Lodge weekend, and if it is your first trip, do not feel pressured to do EVERYTHING the resort has to offer! It is a waterpark, after all, focus on the water park on your first trip and perhaps skip the arcade, or the spa, or MagiQuest (if you can convince your kids that is!).
If you are visiting during one of the seasonal festivities of Howl-O-Ween or Snowland you will have even more fun activities so keep a key eye on the calendar they give you when you check-in!
Related: I am sure you will be taking lots of photos, so check out these traveling with family quotes for Instagram captions!
7. MagiQuest is BUSY in the EVENINGS
As you would imagine, after swimming all day and having dinner, most of the kids in the resort are now out of the water park and in the hotel.
We found them mostly between the arcade and the MagiQuest game.
Expect to line up to check your missions or to defect your foes. If you do your MagiQuest activities in the mornings, they are much less busy.
8. Check the GUIDE for FREE activities
The next tip for Great Wolf Lodge is to check out the guide that is given to you at check-in. With all of the excitement and commotion of arriving, it is easy to slip it into your bag and forget it. But I suggest that one of the first things you do is take a few minutes to read it!
Included in your stay are your waterpark pass and various other activities that go on throughout the day. Pop online before you visit and print out the timetable of what is happening while you are there, so you are a bit prepared.
There is a lot going on from storytime, to dance parties, to kid’s yoga! When you decide what is important to you, schedule your time around these activities. The pool is going to be less busy at dinnertime and storytime and after dinner, everyone is roaming around in the hallways playing MagiQuest. If you want to get the most out of your stay, try and get into the pool for the non-peak times if you have avid swimmers!
9. Bring your own Towel or Two
Pool towels are to remain at the pool. Our littles were chilly when they left the pool, and now I know why parents brought their own pool towels. So you can wrap up the kids, and head back to your room, warmly. I would bring one next time for sure.
Some people say not to bother, but for our family, it was nice to have one. These kid’s hooded towels are also a great alternative to a towel. I always size up when I buy these for kids so they can get years of use out of them!
10. Choose your Vantage Point
Depending on the age of your children, it may also depend on where you choose to sit or set up your home base. I am a bit of a helicopter Mom, and I like my 5-year-old to be able to see me and be easy to find, not that I let wander too far.
We spent 98% of our time in the little people area. With 3 kids 5 and under, this was the perfect little spot for us. If you are arriving at night, pop into the area, and figure out where is best.
11. Get to the pool at opening if you want a table
If you are planning on spending the day in the waterpark or at least want a table to enjoy some snacks, Send ONE parent in the am, to grab a spot. People DO line up before the doors open. So if you want a table, and they are limited, best to jump on the bandwagon. You can also rent a cabana if you want to be guaranteed a good spot, but the vantage point may not be ideal for your family.
LOOKING FOR A GREAT RATE?
USE CODE: MOREFUNA when you book your stay.
12. Stay in the Water Park for Dinner
Dinnertime and later seems to be when the waterpark is the least busy. With parents who have had their children there since 9am, many have packed up so consider a pizza at the Hungry as a Wolf Pizza shop. Starting at just $14.99 for a large pizza, it is a great way to have a snack at the Waterpark and continue to enjoy the less busy part of the day.
13. Top Great Wolf Lodge Packing Tips: Pack your swimming bag separate from your suitcase.
My top Great Wolf Lodge packing list tip is that on the day you check-in, you are able to access the facilities at 1 pm. But your room may not be ready until 4 pm. If your swimming bag is handy, you can change and enjoy the pool before your room is ready! On the day you leave, do the same thing. Checkout is at 11, but you can use the pool and facilities until the end of the day! They also offer an option to purchase late checkout.
We use these wet bags to keep our swim stuff from getting everything else wet.
If you have babies and toddlers, bring swim diapers, they are required in the water park!
14. Check for Deals at Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge often has deals so keep an eye out! If you are still planning your trip, THIS LINK will offer you 30% off your stay!
15. Great Wolf Lodge Prices Vary
If you are trying to save money on your family’s visit consider booking in shoulder season. Stay away from school holidays and try and go midweek. That will give you the best deal. Check rates here for the times you are looking to book!
16. October Howl-o-ween Extras
If you are attending in October, plan for Howl-o-ween! We have been lucky to attend for Howl-o-ween and it is a lot of fun! Pack a costume and a treat bag for the kids as there is nightly trick-o-treating!
What to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge
Below you will find my list of what to bring to Great Wolf Lodge. It includes clothes, accessories and food!
Packing List for Great Wolf Lodge
Here is my extensive packing list for Great Wolf Lodge with everything from clothes, food, and of course bathing suits. We love rolling suitcases and use packing cubes (one for each kid, to keep all the clothes organized)
- 2 bathing suits each (no one wants to put on a wet bathing suit)
- Bathing suit cover-up or kids hooded towels (also consider the robes I mentioned above)
- Swim diapers for babies and toddlers
- Flip flops (for walking to and from the pool)
- Cutting board, knife, cutlery and bowls (for food)
- Running shoes (for the ropes course close-toed shoes are required)
- Waterproof camera
- Travel coffee mug (for evening adult beverages)
- Pajamas and slippers
- Costumes (October Howl-o-ween time)
- Closed toed shoes (required for ropes course)
- Portable Speaker (for your room)
Leave at Home:
- Life Jackets – they have the puddle jumper style and life jackets for all ages
- Nice clothes (GWL is a very casual place. You will be dining in a bathing suit cover up and kids will have having breakfast in Pjs)
Food to Bring To Great Wolf Lodge
Depending on how much you bring, you are going to want to make sure you have a cooler to pack it all in!
- Fresh fruit (watermelon, strawberries, other munch type food)
- Veggie tray
- Chips and dip
- Crackers and cheese
- Cereal and milk
- Bagels and cream cheese (note that there is NOT a toaster in the room)
- Juice boxes
- Water bottles
- Adult beverages
- Extra coffee or instant coffee (don’t forget sugar and coffee mate), there is a Starbucks (but the lineup is HUGE)
Dinner Ideas to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge
If you are looking for some dinner ideas that pack well for Great Wolf Lodge here are some ideas
- Tacos: Precook your meat at home and place in a container. Bring soft or hard tacos and your favorite toppings. Heat the meat in the room and serve! Our typical toppings are meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa. (You can bring some nacho chips and use up the rest of the salso with chips the next day)
- Instant Pot / Crock Pot Meals – If your family is big on crock pot and instant pot cooking, consider that for your room. Pack all the ingredients and you have your meal! Dont forget the plates/bowls and utensils!
- Microwavable soups and pastas are and easy way to provide a warm meals for kids! These Annie’s Mac and Cheese are a quick fix for kids who do not want to slow down for long!
We opted to have Pizza one night for dinner and the buffet the second night. The pizzas are similarly priced to a pizza at a pizza joint and will not break the bank. If you pack in your own dinner, I would love to hear your ideas!
Also, research nearby restaurants and you can always pop out of the lodge for dinner or lunch. We opted to stay on-site and enjoy the experience without having to go anywhere.
Have you booked your trip yet?
I suggest you read these Trip Advisor Reviews and then BOOK HERE and use MOREFUNA for 30% off!
Great Wolf Lodge Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, pool towels are provided, BUT they need to stay in the pool area. Bring yourself a robe, hooded towel or some kind of cover up to walk back to your room in!
Yes, there are a limited number of life jackets and puddle jumper-style floatation devices that are on the pool deck. They are first come first served. I have always seen plenty on the racks, but you may want to bring your own if you want to be sure.
Yes you can bring as much food s you want into Great Wolf Lodge. The cooking facilities are limited, so bring microwave-friendly meals!
You can get more info and read more about our experience at Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, Here.
Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.
Friday 27th of January 2023
Amazingly valuable tips. Thank you for sharing :)
Sunday 6th of March 2022
Thanks for sharing this tips.very useful! I wonder how much changes with COVID.
Friday 11th of March 2022
I am sure mostly short term changes, best to check with the actual resort you plan to visit as each state has different rules.
Friday 15th of October 2021
Great Ideas ladies!!! Thank you all!! I'm prepping for our first trip now! Late November at the Poconos location. I was thinking about bringing the griddler for pancakes & grilled cheese and the toaster over for English muffin pizzas, quesadillas, and foil breakfast. what do you think?? The taco is an excellent idea. I was also thinking about spaghetti! Prep the pasta, meat & sauce the night before (separate bags). Soo many ideas to save money!
Friday 15th of October 2021
All sound like great ideas to me! It sounds like you have it well organized!
Thursday 14th of October 2021
The first time we went to GWL we brought a charcuterie board and veggie tray for dinner. We bring tea, coffee, and hot cocoa and an electric water kettle, microwave popcorn, cereal, fruit and milk…oatmeal for on the day we are leaving. We usually do a full day of in house dining but for the dinner we arrive and the morning of departure we save money by planning ahead and bringing that food.
Tuesday 5th of October 2021
Hi! I would also like to add that you left out one of the locations; San Francisco / Manteca CA Otherwise, I would recommend bringing throwaway sunglasses, because even when you aren’t outside, it can get pretty bright in the waterpark, and the ropes course is outdoor. You will definitely need slippers, especially the kiddos, because at story time and all the other amazing evening activities, you’ll want to wear slippers, because you would be the only one wearing real shoes 😂. That listed a lot of snacks, and you probably won’t have room for it all, but you do need more things like mac n cheese or other filling foods that can substitute for a dinner or a lunch. You said this was extensive, but it’s actually very short! If you are bringing an infant, you will need swim diapers, that is a park rule. You need closed toed shoes for the ropes course, but you will also want flip flops. If you are going at any time during the month of October, you need to bring your Halloween costume and your candy bucket (not required), because they do trick or treating! You want goggles for the pools, because the water is very chlorinated and it adds to the experience. You might also want to bring your own blanket. After a long, exhausting day, the last thing you want when you finally get into bed is a super thin, crusty comforter. Same with a pillow, but the pillows there are normally pretty fluffy and good. You need comfortable socks, because you’re in for a good workout. You might also want sweats, just for lounging around in the evening, not being super active, or just hanging out. This was very much implied, but you will need casual clothes that you can move around in very easily, and that are comfortable. If you have a good “beach hat” you want to bring, just do it. It will add to you having a lot of fun, especially as an adult, and it isn’t super likely to get lost. Do whatever makes you happy! It will probably be most efficient and nice to pack this all in a suitcase and a mini backpack. The suitcase for all your stuff for the room, and the mini backpack to carry around the lodge. Also consider a cooler bag for all your refrigerated snacks! Something I do, that is very nice, is bring a speaker. I have a Bose II Color Soundlink. It is portable, pretty small, and Bluetooths to my phone for some nice music in the room! Thanks for giving some of the information! Hope people read this too! P.S.- you need a lesson in grammar 😘
Friday 15th of October 2021
@Elizabeth, Girl!! Thank you soo much!! I'll be visiting GWL Poconos for the very first time in Nov with my 10 yr daughter & her best friend. This was helpful!
Wednesday 13th of October 2021
@Elizabeth, Love all your extra tips - which are very helpful. Could have done less with the snide remarks ("your list is short", "you need a lesson in grammar"). It's not necessary.
The two lists combined are spot on!