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5 Helpful Tips For Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel

I think oftentimes, people think having more kids means you can’t do fun things; especially when they are little. I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can!

We’ve taken babies as young as 4 weeks to a waterpark hotel and done cruises and Disney World (and Disneyland) as young as 6 weeks. While it may take a bit more planning and prep work, we have still had an absolute blast traveling with our kids.

With the addition of Ruby last year, we now have six kiddos and have a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge coming soon. The kids haven’t stopped talking about it since they found out around Christmas time and I’m so looking forward to getting away from the farm for a couple days.

Vacation time and dairy farming don’t typically go hand in hand so this is definitely a treat and I’m excited to help me get our little Ruby prepared.

Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel (With Stephen Joseph Gear Review)
baby with suitcase - Tips For Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel (Stephen Joseph Review)

Why You Should Still Travel With Babies And Toddlers

As I mentioned, traveling with smaller children tends to be a little more work but seeing the joy on their faces is so worth it. Plus, having the photos, stories, and memories from these family vacations means the world to me.

Our kids love it when we sit around and talk about past trips we’ve taken. It’s something they bring up often and never get tired of chatting about. (If you’re also traveling with elementary school-aged kids, be sure to check out these 15 screen-free travel must-haves for kids.)

Kids suitcase - Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel (With Stephen Joseph Gear Review)

5 Best Tips for Taking Toddlers to a Waterpark Hotel (Like Great Wolf Lodge)

Without further ado, here are my best, most helpful tips for traveling with your toddler to a waterpark hotel.

1. Take Breaks

If traveling by car, I suggest you plan stops for every 60-90 minutes unless the little one is sleeping. Then the rule of ‘never wake a sleeping baby applies.’ We have been known to take snacks for our older kids incase a little one sleeps through a normal mealtime. As long as the toddler sleeps, we keep driving!

When you’re ready to get out and stretch your legs, we’ve found that rest areas tend to have lawns and space to stretch and run, and some even have playgrounds.

Occasionally we reach that 90-minute mark and the toddler is still awake AND happy. If that’s the case, we keep driving!

2. Pack Snacks

Nobody likes to be around a hangry toddler (or adult). Pack snacks for the entire family!

Grab your cooler or a bento box, make a list, and plan to succeed as you tackle prepping for a long ride.  We’ve got a huge list of affordable meal and snack ideas for your next road trip to help you plan.

3. Bring Your Stroller Wagon or a Regular Stroller if You Don’t Have a Wagon

Whether going to a water park hotel or another destination, my stroller wagon is a must-have for hauling kiddos and gear.

mom and baby - Gladly Family Anthem4 All-Terrain Wagon Stroller Review

If you don’t own a stroller wagon, you can get by with a regular stroller IF it has a large storage basket, however a wagon is still best.

4. Give Kids Their Own Gear

As I was preparing for our upcoming trip, I considered just sharing my suitcase with Ruby. But the more I contemplated this, the more I realized it wasn’t going to work.

She will need quite a bit of stuff for a waterpark hotel stay including:

  • 1 outfit per day + 2 spares (for emergencies/blowouts)
  • 3 pairs of pajamas
  • Zipazee-Zip Sleep Sack
  • 3-4 swimsuits (this is a preference to have extras but I prefer to have a dry suit for her since the walk to and from the waterpark is fairly long — and chilly when wet)
  • diapers + wipes
  • swim diapers
  • shoes
  • socks
  • robe and/or hooded towel – I love this hooded towel from Stephen Joseph. The bright colors are really fun and make it easy to spot. Having something to wrap the little kiddos in for those long chilly hallway walks between our room and the waterpark is a must for me.
  • baby food
  • sippy cup (a spill-proof straw cup is ideal so they can drink easier in the car seat without having to tip the cup and crane their necks)
  • bib – this silicone bib is perfect for packing as it folds and rolls nice and small and can be washed clean in a sink. It’s a definite travel or diaper bag must-have!
  • toys
  • blanket
  • doll
Tips For Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel (With Stephen Joseph Gear Review)

NOTE: Most waterpark hotels will have complimentary lifejackets available but I highly suggest you check personally with the hotel you’re going to. If they don’t provide them, definitely bring your own.

Taking everything into account, it only made sense for Ruby to have her own suitcase and duffel bag and I love the ones from Stephen Joseph. They are cute and kid-friendly.

Sized just right for young kids, both their suitcase and duffle bag help me keep Ruby’s things organized and easy to find.

suitcase with packing cubes - Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel (With Stephen Joseph Gear Review)

Pro Tip: I find using packing cubes or ziplock baggies and putting outfits together makes it much easier during the trip! Everything I need for the day can be found in one pouch or bag.

5. Bring Along Entertainment

Keeping a kiddo entertained when we have downtime in the hotel room can sometimes be a challenge. While we aren’t opposed to some TV time (for the older kids), we really try to limit it for the entire family.

So, I like to grab some toys and activities to help keep the kids busy.

baby girl - Tips For Taking A Toddler To A Waterpark Hotel (Stephen Joseph Review)

For Ruby, I’m packing this great little wooden block set. These brightly painted wooden blocks are eye-catching, well-made, and perfect for building up and knocking down play. Blocks are a classic that never get old and the older kids even love to sit with her and play with these too.

Another toy I’m bringing is one from Stephen Joseph’s Tiny Dancers friend lines.

Along with these, additional items I like to have are: fidget toys, balloons (perfect to blow up and play with and then just toss), a deck of cards, and some drawing/coloring options.

I hope my tips help you to have your best trip ever to the water park!

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Saturday 11th of March 2023

I also like their Sip and Snack Bottles in the Butterfly design.

Asha Gregory

Saturday 11th of March 2023

I’d also love the all over print backpack in sloth for our little girl!

Jamie M

Saturday 11th of March 2023

Looks like so much for for the family. I'll bet naps were no issue. My daughter would love this.

Candie Luster

Saturday 11th of March 2023

I really like their classic backpacks. Thank you

Annmarie Weeks

Wednesday 8th of March 2023

I love the Shark & Gator Magnetic Dress Up Doll set!