Great Wolf Lodge Tips to Know Before You Go

Great Wolf Lodge is a chain of resorts that include an indoor water park with slides and kid-centered activities. It is very family-friendly and your room price includes water park admission to the slides and pools on their property. Each resort has a similar layout and look, yet a slight variance in the type of slides at the water park. We were blown away at the number of activities, family fun, and room accommodations this hotel had to offer. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, here are some Great Wolf Lodge tips to know before you visit.

We tried our first one out in Traverse City Michigan and loved the experience and the quality. When we drove out of Florida on a Southeast road trip, our family visited The Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte, North Carolina. Again, it was a hit! Our last one was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Great Wolf recently bought out another resort with an indoor water park and rebranded it. Our kids really enjoyed this one because they were both finally able to reach the height restrictions and ride by themselves.

Great wolf NC kids

General Great Wolf Lodge Tips

1. Book Early

One of the biggest tips I can give you is to plan in advance. They often have deals and promo codes if you book early. I’m talking about 50% off kind of deals! You can easily get a room for around $200-250. They also run plenty of 20-30% off promotions as well. To check out their rates, click here.

2. Take advantage of your time there

Another one of my tips on enjoying Great Wolf Lodge with your family is to make the most of your time and arrive early. Check-in is usually around 3-4pm, however, you can use their water park the minute you arrive! This one of the bonuses of Great Wolf Lodge… you can use their water slides, pools, arcade, bowling alleys, and more early in the morning until you check out the next day. This is a huge benefit!

We always try to arrive in the morning and take our swimsuits in a bag, so that we change at the hotel, even though check in is in the afternoon. Once you arrive, you simply tell the hotel staff that you are here early. They will hold your luggage for you and give you a bracelet to allow access into the water areas.

Of the 3 Great Wolf Lodge resorts we have visited, two had a wave pool (Charlotte and Minneapolis). The one in North Carolina was quite large. Our kids enjoyed bouncing around in the waves for a good chunk of time.

They all have kiddie play structure and kid slides, multiple pools and activities, chairs and tables and a variety of slides. Only the one in Michigan had a hot tub (which the adults loved).

Our kids really enjoyed the racing slides and the circular family tube ride. They rode the water slides over and over again. Two of the resorts we visited had a lazy river (my personal favorite). They enjoyed lounging around in the lazy river and letting the current take them around.

They climbed the kid water play structure about 10 times and waited under the giant bucket that dumped water on them over and over again.

In Minneapolis, there was a Flow Rider wave simulator. Although my daughter was too light to really stay on, my son enjoyed trying to stay on and learned a trick or two.

3. Enjoy the room too

Of the three times we have stayed at Great Wolf Lodge, we have upgraded to a Wolf Den room (it is maybe $30 more). It is a family room with one queen bed, a sofa (usually) and a set of themed bunk beds called the Wolf Den. It is essentially a little room within your hotel room. They kids love the privacy and the fact that there is a TV in there, so they have a cool space all to themselves. There is also a mini refrigerator included, and a small table and chairs. The room has ample space for luggage and some even have views/balconies to the outside.

Other Fun Activities at Great Wolf Lodge

Some resorts offer other activities that are not included in your admission and require an extra fee. The one in Minneapolis had a ropes course, which we were very tempted to do, but the kids did not want to leave the pool area. Other examples include an arcade, mini-golf, kid areas for arts and crafts, a bowling alley, and MagiQuest (an indoor scavenger hunt adventure). There are passes that you can get to combine many activities at a discounted price. It is known as Great Wolf Lodge Paw Pass. We have never bought it because we have only stayed in the Great Wolf Lodge for one night at a time and we prefer to maximize the pool time. Plus, I am a budget traveler and don’t like to spend extra money.

I feel like if this resort would become all-inclusive, then I would take advantage of all the other activities that are offered. All-inclusive resorts for families are great because you don’t have to think about any extra expenses. Maybe one day Great Wolf Lodge will turn in this direction.

Overall, it is a wonderful place for a family vacation or just a weekend of fun! I highly recommend staying at a Great Wolf Lodge in the future. I hope you found this post – Great Wolf Lodge Tips helpful in planning your Great Wolf vacation in the future.

Great Wolf Kids

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to DQ Family Travel. I send monthly emails about my latest posts which include places we have visited and travel tips. Pin this for later.

Best Hotels for Kids

I emphatically place Great Wolf Lodge as one of the best hotels for kids. Check out my two other favorite family hotels:


Although we did pay for each of our stays at the Great Wolf Lodge, we often get hotel stays for free due to hotel rewards credit cards. If you are looking for how to stay at some great hotels for free, check out – How to Get Free Hotel Stays or download my e-book How to Start Travel Hacking.

Travel Hacking E-Book

This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission from any sale of a product linked to this post. DQ Family Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. Your price does not change when you click on these links, but it does provide me with a small commission.

Buy Motrin
Buy Arava Online
Buy Ibuprofen Online

Liked this post?

Consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I share recent posts, family travel tips, and much more.


Click Here

6 thoughts on “Great Wolf Lodge Tips to Know Before You Go”

  1. These parks are all indoor? That is SO cool! I’ve heard of Great Wolf Lodge… I think we have one here in Texas, but I’ve never been. It looks like such a great time.

  2. I think there is a Great Wolf Lodge near me, but I have never been to one before! Being in California I imagine it would be best to go when it’s cold outside. I love water parks way more than the beach though! lol

  3. My son still begs me to go to Great Wolf Lodge. I know it’s a cool place, and now you convinced me after your 3 times stayed there. There’s one in Grapevine, near Dallas. I have to look for their specials.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top