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10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

Most kids know a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge is super fun.  It’s almost a rite of passage for childhood these days!  And no matter where you live in the US, you’ll probably be able to find a location somewhat close by. If not, it’s worth a trek for a few nights stay.  Families love the massive indoor waterpark, complete with a giant bucket that periodically dumps on thrill-seekers below.  But if you’ve never been to this fun resort before, be sure to check out the secrets of the Great Wolf Lodge so you’re in the know before you go.  And then keep reading as I’m sharing the top 10 tips to ensure you have the perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation!

10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation


Right now, we all know to expect different things pretty much wherever we go.  In Minnesota, there are new mandates coming out all the time.  So I wanted to share a couple extra notes in this post in case you visit in 2020 (or if the virus lasts longer).  The Great Wolf Lodge team is doing lots of extra cleaning and other precautions laid out in their Paw Pledge Health & Safety Program.  Hours are limited for some of the activities right now too.  The staff does a good job of keeping people spaced out as well.  Overall, I’m extremely impressed with how well they are handling everything.  But if you have any specific questions, definitely reach out to the resort directly as they are happy to help!

10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

Beyond the waterpark aspect, you’ll discover a variety of fun things to do during your stay as well.  There are tons of activities for kids, many of them FREE!  But you can also purchase a Pup Pass, Paw Pass, or Wolf Pass for even more fun too.  (Are you wondering if the Great Wolf Lodge Paw Pass is worth it?  <— Click that link to find out!)

Today, I’m sharing a variety of tips to help you stay on budget and have the best Great Wolf Lodge vacation (or staycation) possible.

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark - 10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

1) Take Advantage Of Early And Late Waterpark Access

One great thing about a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge is the fact that you can arrive early and grab your wristbands to enjoy extra waterpark hours.  Then, on the day of check-out, you can stay and play until closing!  NO extra fees involved!

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark - 10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

2)  Avoid Crowds By Getting To The Waterpark Early

Nobody can swim from open to close….at least nobody I know.  So if you’d rather avoid the crowds, hit up the waterpark as soon as they open.  While others may be crawling out of bed or eating breakfast, you can grab some extra water fun in a less crowded environment.  ***TIP:  Hit up the waterslides and surfing first as those are the main attractions that end up with wait times later on in the day.

Did You Know Great Wolf Lodge Day Passes Are Now Available!? - Our visit to Great Wolf Lodge Resort & Water Park

3)  Take A Break From The Water And Hit Up The Activities

I think the waterpark is the best part of our stay but the entire family needs to de-prune and rest up a bit throughout the day.  Plus, drying off allows us to hit up the free activities offered throughout the Great Wolf Lodge.  There’s arts and crafts, dance parties, story time, and more.  Typically, at check in, you’ll get an itinerary so you know what’s happening as well as when and where.  Right now, they have gone paperless so all that info can be found on the Great Wolf Lodge app.

Did You Know Great Wolf Lodge Day Passes Are Now Available!? - Our visit to Great Wolf Lodge Resort & Water Park

4)  Purchase A Pup, Paw, Or Wolf Pass

If you’re planning to splurge on some of the Great Wolf Lodge attractions, and there are some great ones, invest in a pass.  Geared for a variety of different age groups, these passes allow you to save up to 50%.   Many locations have a wonderful variety of options including:  MagiQuest, Ropes Course, Rock Wall Climbing, Mining For Gems, Bowling, Creating A Stuffed Friend, and MORE!  Check out what it’s like at the Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington.

Did You Know Great Wolf Lodge Day Passes Are Now Available!? - Our visit to Great Wolf Lodge Resort & Water Park

5)  MagiQuest Is A Must

The first time I heard about MagiQuest, I seriously thought it was probably going to be over-rated.  Turns out, I WAS WRONG!  My kids, ages 5-15, LOVE MagiQuest!  Grab them a wand and turn them loose to conquer the challenges.  ***Be sure to purchase the game at the beginning of your stay as the kids can play as much as they want until check-out!

Visit The Great Wolf Lodge Water Park In Bloomington, MN

6)  Order Food OR Bring Your Own!

A great thing that I love about the Great Wolf Lodge is that they make it easy to stay on budget.  Being a family of 7, we sometimes choose to pack our own food to save money.  Other times, we have enough in the budget to splurge on eating out.  Great Wolf Lodge makes sure families with all budgets are covered as they have mini refrigerators and microwaves in each room.  So bring as much or as little food as you’d like!

Visit The Great Wolf Lodge Water Park In Bloomington, MN

7)  Go With Friends

Traveling with friends always makes for more fun, right?  Well, a visit to the Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect place to visit with your best friends.  Everyone has their own suites for some downtime but there’s plenty of activities, food, and fun to have together as well.  And the best part is, if you plan a couple months in advance, you get even bigger discounts.  Also keep an eye on local deal sites as I’ve seen specials pop up for our local Great Wolf Lodge often.

Great Wolf Lodge Room - 10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

8)  Splurge On A Bigger Suite

First off, I love that all Great Wolf Lodge accommodations are much bigger than the typical hotel room.  They are all geared to comfortably hold a small family.  BUT, they also offer rooms with adorable ‘kids cabin bunking’ as well as multi-room suites.  These options give you even more space and privacy so adults can enjoy some quieter time after a long day at the water park.

***Check out a video tour of our 3 room suite this time!

9)  Dress For Summer

I love that when I visit Great Wolf Lodge, no matter what time of year, it’s like summer camp.  Being a resort, you never have to step foot outside the front doors so you’re always in a temperature controlled environment.  So pack along some summer shorts, swimsuit coverups, and flip flops as the laid back, relaxed environment welcomes you.  

Great Wolf Lodge

10)  Plan Ahead But Be Flexible

As with any vacation, you want to make the most of your time away.  So do some research, plan ahead, make lists of what you want to do.  But once you arrive, feel free to go on the fly and just enjoy yourself in the moment too.  The whole point of the getaway is to have fun!  So start planning today for your perfect Great Wolf Lodge vacation!  

10 Tips For A Perfect Great Wolf Lodge Vacation

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Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

This is my daughter’s FAVORITE place ever! We haven’t been to Disneyland but I think GWL would still win! We’ve gone in two different states and love them both! If you plan ahead, you can get some great deals! We’re going back tomorrow on our vacation!!!

Lauryn R

Sunday 13th of June 2021

This looks like such a fun place to take the family! I know my kids would absolutely love the indoor waterpark! The theme is really cool too.

Judith Bayer

Wednesday 16th of December 2020

My brother and sister in law took their children and grandchildren to a GWL in Georgia and had a blast. I'd like to treat my children and grandchildren to a weekend away when the health climate improves a bit. Not sure if I'll take them all at once perhaps one family at a time.

Christine K

Wednesday 26th of August 2020

We went to the GWL in Sandusky, OH and it was such a fun time!

Nancy Lee Epps

Friday 7th of August 2020

Me and my husband has beeb wanting to take the kids here, but it's soo expensive. It looks soo fun and my kids love water parks. This looks soo incredible.


Friday 7th of August 2020

Be sure to watch their site for specials. Also, our local deals/coupon site will have them featured from time to time where prices are less than half!