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The Only Great Wolf Lodge Packing List You Need and 15 Important Tips

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 for Families | What to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge

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)

Great Wolf Lodge Tips - Paw Pass Review | Great Wolf Lodge Hacks | Great Wolf Lodge Packing Lists

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
  • strawberries
  • juice boxes
  • cookies
  • chips and dip
  • water bottles
  • cereal and milk
  • bagels and cream cheese
  • extra coffee and a filter (or instant coffee, sugar and coffee mate)
Great Wolf Lodge Tips Secrets | What to bring to great wolf lodge | Great Wolf Lodge Hacks | Packing List for Great Wolf Lodge |

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!

What to Bring to Great Wolf Lodge | Great Wolf Lodge Packing List | Great Wolf Lodge Tips | Great Wolf Lodge Hacks
The themed rooms at Great Wolf Lodge have enough room to have a meal at the table, or room for the kids to play

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!

Great Wolf Lodge Tips | Great Wolf Kid Options at the Creation Station at Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Kid Options at the Creation Station at Great Wolf Lodge. My boys picked the dragon and had a great time stuffing him (although the machine is very loud).

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.


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.

Great Wolf Lodge Tips and What to Bring To Great Wolf Lodge | Great Wolf Lodge hacks | #greatwolflodge #waterpark #familytravel | Great Wolf Lodge Packing list

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!

Great Wold Lodge Halloween Costumes

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 Take to Great Wolf Lodge | What to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge | Great Wolf Lodge Tips
There are so many things to do at Great Wolf Lodge and without an action plan it can feel stressful to fit it all in. One of my best Great Wolf Lodge tips is to manage your expectations and do not worry about doing EVERYTHING on your first visit!

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)
  • Goggles
  • 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
  • Sunglasses
  • 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!

Northern Lights Arcade at Great Wolf Lodge are busy in the evenings | Great Wolf Lodge Tips
Northern Lights Arcade at Great Wolf Lodge are busy in the evenings. If you do not want to be overrun with kids, pop into the arcade while the pool is busy in the morning!

Great Wolf Lodge Frequently Asked Questions

Does Great Wolf Lodge Provide Towels?

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!

Does Great Wolf Lodge supply Life Jackets?

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.

Can you bring your own food to Great Wolf Lodge?

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.

What to Bring to Great Wolf Lodge
What to Bring to Great Wolf Lodge Packing list

the Ultimate List of Great Wolf Lodge Tips for Families | Great Wolf Lodge Packing List | What to pack for Great Wolf Lodge | Great Wolf Lodge Packing Tips | … Our Ultimate List of Great Wolf Lodge Tips and Tricks for Families on your next Family Vacation | What to Pack for Great Wolf Lodge | Great Wolf Lodge Packing List | Great Wolf Lodge hacks

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  1. Katie Pape says:

    Hi, we just returned from Lagrange Ga a 3 night stay and this was a very helpful list. We premade tacos for 2 meals, sausage and eggs for bfast. It was awesome to not eat out every meal. 1 thing not on the list is a mini dish soap/ sponge to wash the cutting board and bowls we traveled with. Also we loved having the water shoes.

    A couple tips we learned:
    1) they offer “pack pics” for a total price of $16.50ish, everyone in your group is included for that price. Get this to capture all of your families rides and special site location pictures. We missed 2 days of riding ride picts because no one knew where to go to buy the picts- for us it was at build a bear. It’s 1 price for the full trip. Definitely worth it! I would check at the front desk as you’re checking in to see if you can sign up there.

    2) Check before you go to see if your room includes a microwave, ours said it did, and did not have one in the room. All we did was call and they brought one to our room.

    3) We ended up going with a suite on the first floor, which we were a little hesitant about, and thought it might be a little noisy there. However, it was a total win because we didn’t have to wait in line at the elevators in the morning or the evening. We had a front and a back door with porch.

    Not sure what others think but we have a 4 yr old and would only go for max 2 nights the next time. Awesome and exhausting place.

    Thank you again for the list!!!

  2. Momof5 says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips/advice! Going a second time and want to make sure, I’m prepared as much as possible. Love the food ideas and having a separate pool bags. 👌

  3. Brani says:

    Amazingly valuable tips.
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Florian says:

    Thanks for sharing this tips.very useful! I wonder how much changes with COVID.


    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!

  6. Phyllis says:

    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.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    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 😘


      @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!

    • Robyn says:

      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!

  8. Ashley Schultz says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this detailed information!!

  9. Turtle says:

    Love your tips, thank you! I’m taking my husband and our 3 yr old son for their first times (grand mound) tomorrow! I packed TONS of snacks since we’re all snackers, but also some prepackaged microwaveable Annie’s Mac n cheese cups and large Cambell’s chowder cups for easy dinners in the room ( I had no idea how much “easy cooking” options there are until shopping for this trip, but there are MANY that could work!)

  10. Myra Long says:

    Taking our grandkids. Can’t wait!

  11. Heather Allen says:

    If you want to bring your own dinner, tacos is a great idea and was a hit when we went. Pre-cook the meat and bring all the toppings that the family enjoys. There’s a microwave to heat up the taco shells and meat. It was a great money saver — and time saver as I find eating at the buffet takes a while.

  12. Bridgett says:

    I’m getting ready to take a trip with 7 kiddos (10, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4 and 3) and I’m bringing my insta pot so I can make some meals in the room. We also plan on doing pizza one night!


      @Bridgett, Great Idea!! I’m prepping for our trip now! Late November at the Poconos locations. I was thinking about bringing the griddler for pancakes and the toaster over for english muffin pizzas and foil breakfast. what do you think??

  13. Joey Dominguez says:

    Question can I bring my game console?

    • you CAN bring it, but some hotels have programming that you cannot change the HTMI inputs. I did not try at GWL but have run into that in other hotels before when trying to connect my Apple TV

  14. Sarah Woodworth says:

    We just booked our trip. I got the pup pass for our toddler and The wolf pass for our older 2 children. I know we can’t access the water park until 1:00 pm, but could the kids do the other things before then with the passes? For example magiquest and the ropes course?

    • You probably do not get wristbands until 1pm and that is what would keep you out of the pool.
      You would need to go into the gift shop to activate Magiquest and I am NOT sure if they will want to see your wristband in there.
      If you called the location you are going to I am sure they would be able to tell you!
      Have a great trip and let me know what you find out!

  15. Lilliana says:

    Don’t need much food. A lot of the time, we skipped lunch and some times dinner, but most of it is good (I am bringing sun glasses).

  16. Sabrina says:

    Woah That is some really good tips Thank you for sharing with me

    Now im excited to go to to great wolf lodge this weekend

  17. […] Be sure to check out this ultimate list of Great Wolf Lodge tips for families! […]

  18. Francesca says:

    We haven’t done Great Wolf Lodge yet. Honestly, those giant water parks/resorts stress me out. Perhaps your extensive list will help eliminate some of that stress!

    • Lindsay says:

      Francesca – Great Wolf Lodge is actually very manageable. if you check out our tip on “pick your vantage point” you can see wherever your kids are!

  19. Bryanna says:

    Great tips for visiting a waterpark! I loved the idea of bringing snacks (kids get hungry playing in the water!), the sharpie (brilliant!), and not trying to do everything but instead just enjoying your time.

  20. Lillie says:

    From everything I’ve been reading, Great Wolf Lodge seems like THE PLACE to go once our kids are a little older!

  21. Christine says:

    Great tips! So glad I read this before my upcoming trip!!

  22. Rachael says:

    Great info!