Great Wolf Lodge is a destination in and of itself. Known for its massive water parks, their aim is to be a vacation destination that the whole family will enjoy. I recently stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for my son’s birthday, and wanted to share our experience.
There are about a dozen Great Wolf Lodges scattered across the United States, and my family and I stayed at the one closest to us in Williamsburg, Virginia. Set just off Route 64, it was an easy three hour drive from the Washington, D.C. area and is not far from Richmond, Virginia or Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Nearby attractions, in addition to the lodge itself, include Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown Settlement, Water Country USA, Busch Gardens, Yorktown, and York River State Park.
Great Wolf Lodge has a lot to offer. When you check in, you’ll be given a map of the hotel as well as a list of activities and where they will be happening. Everyone in your reservation will also receive a pair of wolf ears to wear during your stay!
Food options include a buffet, pizza, snack bar (in the pool area), ice cream shop, Dunkin Doughnuts, and a candy store. For adults, there’s the Loose Goose bar, and a bar in the pool area. The buffet’s food quality was good, but to cut down on costs I’d probably opt for the pizza restaurant next time. I found alcoholic beverages to be a bit expensive, although not unmanageable for a drink or two.
There’s a spa, gift shop, movie theatre, arcade, and a massive water park that is both indoor and outdoor.
Throughout the day there are scheduled activities included in the price of your stay which change seasonally. Since we visited during October, the theme of activities was “Howl-o-ween”. There was story time, trick or treating, family yoga, spooky walks, a scavenger hunt, and other family friendly events throughout the day.
The lodge also had an activity called MagiQuest where you purchase a wand for $17 in the gift store, and then can go around the lodge to activate various colored and move-able “magical” items.
Our room was the most “basic” that the lodge offers, which is a Family Suite with a balcony. Our room had enough space to sleep six, with two queen size beds and a sleeper sofa. A minifridge, microwave, and complimentary water, coffee, and candy were in the room.
To access the room, wristbands are given to you to be worn, which worked out well as we didn’t have to remember to bring a separate key to go to and from the room.
Our room was close to the main lobby, which we enjoyed as that is where a lot of the action and activities happen. I would definitely try to get a room close to the lobby again.
The main draw for many who stay at Great Wolf Lodge is their enormous water park. The water park comes in at 79,000 square feet and is both indoor and outdoor.
The water park has several slides (all of which I went down!), hots tubs (separate ones for kids and adults-only), a wave pool, lazy river, obstacle course, playground, and basketball area. Towels are complimentary.
There is also an outdoor pool that is open when the temperature is above 78 degrees, which it was when we visited in October. Unfortunately, I spent so long enjoying the indoor portion of the water park that I didn’t head to the outside part!
I really liked that the water park had something for kids of all ages, yet was also still enjoyable for the adults.
The pool also has a bar with alcoholic beverages, shop to purchase anything you may have forgotten, and a snack bar.
Prices, without discounts, typically start at $300 a night for the basic room, a Family Suite. I was able to get a slight discount through work which made our stay $250 for the night, and I’ve been told if you sign up for the Great Wolf Lodge newsletter they often offer nights for less than $150 a night.
Although the price may seem high, quite a bit is included in what you pay for: the room, access to the water park (for a one night stay you can use the water park all day for both days), complimentary snacks and wine during check in, and the activities throughout the day. I think if you take advantage of the water park and the activities offered, the price actually does match the value.
For a return visit…
For a return visit, I would stay in the same room, arrive a bit earlier in the day to take advantage of the water park, and bring my own alcohol to save a bit of money. I liked that my stay coincided with the “Howl-o-ween” themed activities so I would definitely try to go around a holiday again (Christmas would likely be a fun time of year to go). I feel like families with pre-teens (age 13) and younger would most enjoy Great Wolf Lodge.
Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? Would you want to go?
All views and opinions are my own. I was not compensated by Great Wolf Lodge for this review.