11 Great Wolf Lodge Resorts That Lead the Pack

With more pools, slides, and splash pads than any other resort collection in America, these Great Wolf locations are the best of the best.
Family at Great Wolf Lodge (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)
Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts

Great Wolf Lodge is the leader of the pack when it comes to indoor water park resorts in the U.S. and Canada. With the largest resort collection in North America (there are now more than 20 Great Wolf Lodge locations), the rustic-themed Great Wolf resorts can claim more pools, slides, lazy rivers, tipping buckets, and splash grounds than any other brand on the continent.

And there’s a lot more to do at a Great Wolf Lodge than just splash around, too. Here’s an overview of what you can expect during a stay, as well as the resort chain’s top Great Wolf Lodge locations for indoor waterpark fun.

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Things to Do at Great Wolf Lodge Locations

MagiQuest is one of many things to do at Great Wolf Lodge (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)
MagiQuest is one of many things to do at Great Wolf Lodge (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)

Most families come to Great Wolf for the indoor waterpark. Waterpark admission is included with the regular room rate for guests at all Great Wolf Lodge locations, and you can enjoy the waterpark as soon as you check in and through park closing the day you check out. At minimum, you get two days of waterpark fun for just one night’s stay.

But these resorts are more than just their water parks. There are many other attractions, too. MagiQuest is their exclusive live-action adventure game where kids wield wands and cast spells on objects throughout the resort. “I’m going Questing!” was a phrase our daughter often used while acquiring runes, gold pieces, and experience points on her way to become a Master Magi.

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Other lodge attractions include climbing walls and ropes courses, indoor bowling and mini golf, Scooops Kids Spa for ice cream-themed manicures and pedicures, and kids activities such as morning yoga, story time, and character meet and greets.

Great Wolf Lodge Rooms and Suites

Themed Wolf Den Suite with Bunk Beds (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Kids get a kick out of Great Wolf Lodge’s themed Wolf Den suites with bunk beds (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

With their themed KidKamp and KidCabin suites, Great Wolf resorts might be the originators of the family glamping resorts trend. These kid-themed hotel rooms offer a tent or log-cabin themed sleeping area complete with bunk beds for the little ones. And all rooms at Great Wolf Lodge locations around the U.S. and Canada offer a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker perfect for families who need to pack food and snacks for the kiddos.

Food and Dining at Great Wolf Lodge Locations

Loose Moose is one of many dining options at Great Wolf Lodge locations (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)
Loose Moose is one of many dining options at Great Wolf Lodge locations (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)

After a day of play, everyone’s sure to work up an appetite. Every lodge offers multiple dining options from all-you-care-to-eat buffets to poolside snacks. Parents may appreciate the full-service bar for a cold drink in the 84-degree water park, or perhaps the Wine-Down service delivering wine and culinary treats to your room once the kids are in bed.

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Other on-site restaurants at select resorts include Lodge Wood Fired Grill steakhouse and Barnwood, offering a locally sourced season menu in a rustic setting. There’s also Hungry as a Wolf Pizza, Buckets Incredible Craveables, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shops all located within the lodge as well.

Seasonal Activities at Great Wolf Lodge Resorts

Great Wolf Lodge Lobby during Snowland Event (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Great Wolf Lodge lobbies are completely transformed at special times of the year (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

Each season is celebrated at all of the Great Wolf Lodge locations. Spring-a-Palooza comes at the beginning of the year, Summer Camp-In from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Howl-O-Ween with a trick-or-treat trail winding throughout the resort for spooky season, and (our family’s favorite) Snowland from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.

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During the Snowland “Howl-iday” celebration, every lodge glistens with snow, twinkling lights, and decorative trees for a winter wonderland display.  From top to bottom, the hotels shout Christmas, and the centerpiece of each lobby is a life-sized Gingerbread House that would please even Hansel and Gretel.

The Best Great Wolf Lodge Resorts

All Great Wolf Lodge resorts come through with spectacular indoor water parks, but the best Great Wolf Lodge locations go above and beyond the ordinary with especially kid-friendly dining choices, special room types, and even ropes courses and adventure parks for when you want to dry out after a day of splish-splash fun.

1. Great Wolf Lodge Southern California

Garden Grove, California

Exterior view of Great Wolf Lodge's Southern California location (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)
Great Wolf Lodge’s Southern California location is just four miles from Disneyland (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)

Located just four miles from Disneyland in Anaheim, Great Wolf Lodge Southern California – Garden Grove is a fantastic Southern California option for families looking to add a little water park fun to their visit to the Mouse. Plus, with Disneyland ticket and transportation packages to/from the theme parks, this Great Wolf Lodge location near Anaheim makes that trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth” a little more affordable.

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The centerpiece here is the extensive 84-degree indoor water park with six-story Howlin’ Tornado, Wolf Tail trap door slide, dual body surfing Wolf Rider Wipeout, and more. In addition to the water park attractions, there are plenty of other family fun activities, such as MagiQuest, Ten Paw Bowling, mini golf, and Scooops Kids Spa.

On the dinning front, the Lodge Wood Fire Grill restaurant is so much more than burgers and chicken fingers—try roasted Brussel sprouts, steak, and lava cake. After dinner and a soak in the pool, you’ll have no trouble falling asleep and resting up for another full day of waterpark fun (or continuing on to Disneyland).

2. Great Wolf Lodge Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Diamondback Drop water slide at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
The Diamondback Drop water slide is part of an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

Opened in October 2019 and located within the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community’s Talking Stick Entertainment District, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona has an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park with slides and water features for every age, coupled with a 27,000-square-foot Great Wolf Adventure Park with family-friendly attractions such as a ropes course, miniature golf, and family bowling.

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The Arizona resort’s water park has a first-of-its-kind slide called Diamondback Drop, a four-person high-speed raft ride filled with serpentine curves and high-bank thrills, where riders drop into an overlapping 360-degree coil before plunging into the belly of the snake. When the kids are done with the water, they can play MagiQuest, mini golf, bowl, or watch the Northwoods Friends Show, an innovative animated projection show using three-dimensional projection mapping technology.

Highlights of the dining options at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona include Barnwood, featuring a locally inspired seasonal menu and craft cocktails in a rustic-themed setting.

3. Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

Colorado Spring, Colorado

Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs is located about 30 minutes from Pikes Peak (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

Situated across I-25 from the Air Force Academy and 30 minutes from Pikes Peak, Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs features incredible views of the Rocky Mountains. It’s easy to combine a mountain and water vacation here. The 65,000-square-foot indoor water park has signature slides attractions including the five-story Howlin’ Tornado funnel slide, Slap Tail Pond wave pool, and the multi-level Fort Mackenzie interactive tree house with tipping water bucket.

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Out of the water, families can test their mettle on the Rustic Ridge climbing wall, Howlers Peak ropes course, or conquer a dragon on a MagiQuest. All dining options are kid-friendly, including the Loose Moose Family Kitchen and the Barnwood farm-to-fork dining experience.

4. Great Wolf Lodge Georgia

LaGrange, Georgia

Great Wolf Lodge Georgia (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Great Wolf Lodge Georgia’s enormous indoor water park spans nearly 100,000 square feet. (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

Located in LaGrange, Great Wolf Lodge Georgia opened in 2018 with a massive indoor water park that’s nearly 100,000 square feet. and packed with high-speed water slides, a relaxing lazy river, huge wave pool, multiple zero entry pools, kids water play areas, and the required tipping bucket. There’s also a large outdoor resort pool with plenty of family-friendly water attractions, as well as the adults-only Northwoods oasis with a relaxing private hot tub. 

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Other attractions include the popular MagiQuest game, an adventure park with ropes course and climbing wall, bowling, mini golf, and Northern Lights Arcade. Little kids will love the Build-a-Bear Workshop, Yoga Tails, arts and crafts, and bedtime stories in the lobby in their pajamas.

5. Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Cottages at Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls is the resort brand’s only Canadian location (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

Just 10 minutes from Niagara Falls near the Niagara Whirlpool region of the river, the only Canadian location of Great Wolf Lodge is an 84-degree oasis amid the long Canadian winters. The 100,000-square-foot indoor water park hosts the Niagara Rapids Run aqua coaster, raft slides, splash grounds, a wave pool, and lazy river. 

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Outside of the pool, kids can play MagiQuest, mini golf, bowling, and adopt a Great Wolf Character friend. The lodge’s lobby hosts plenty of activities, too, such as the Forest Friends Show, story time, Cub Club crafts, and evenings with the Great Wolf Kids.

In addition to the standard family and themed suites, the lodge offers private Timber Wolf Cottages. These two-story, two- and three-bedroom cottages sleep up to 10 guests, and are perfect for multi-generational trips and family retreats. 

6. Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains

Scotrun, Pennsylvania

Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)
Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos is just two hours from New York City and Philadelphia (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)

The Great Wolf Lodge Poconos indoor water park, two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, features one of the most extreme water slides in the country: the Double Barrel Drop. This raft ride drops you into a vortex, spins you around, and then drops you again, all with flashing LED lighting effects. Serious fun.

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On dry land, families will find classic games like giant Jenga and checkers outside around the fire pit at the Raccoon Lagoon Play Park. There’s also multiple MagiQuest games, a ropes course, mini golf, and indoor bowling at this Great Wolf Lodge location.

7. Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky

Sandusky, Ohio

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
There’s plenty to do both in and around Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

Just five miles from Ohio’s roller coaster mecca of Cedar Point, Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky isn’t just a great place to stay and cool off after a day of roller coaster theme park fun. It’s also smack dab inside one of best family vacation spots in the US. Kids love getting drenched by the 1,000-gallon dump bucket this resort’s Fort Mackenzie splash ground, sliding down every tube and body slide, floating in the lazy river, swimming in the outdoor pool, and even soaking in the hot tub.

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The Scooops Kids Spa is open for manicures, and hearty dinners are always served at Gitchigoomie Grill. In the evening, kids can slay dragons with MagiQuest before donning their jammies for a bedtime story with Wiley Wolf.

8. Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City

Traverse City, Michigan

Morning yoga in lobby (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Kids can enjoy morning yoga in lobby at many Great Wolf Lodge locations (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

The vacation region of northern Michigan’s lower peninsula fits perfectly with Great Wolf Lodge’s woodsy theme. The Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City location is an easy drive to scenic tourist areas of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Grand Traverse Bay, and the Leelanau Peninsula. Under the roof is an 80,000 square foot water park with slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and plenty of climbing and splashing activities. After the kids towel off, they can don their capes on a MagiQuest, bowl some strikes, and sink some putts.

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In the lodge’s lobby, children will enjoy the Great Clock Tower Show, morning yoga, pajama parties, and evening story time. Camp Critter Bar & Grill offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet to fuel everyone up for water park fun, as well as a lunch and dinner menu with burgers, chicken, ribs, steak, salmon, and pasta.

9. Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Virginia

Water Park at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg (Photo: Dave Parfitt)
Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg is close to both Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg (Photo: Dave Parfitt)

Conveniently located near Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg features a six-story Howlin’ Tornado water slide, Wolf Rider Wipeout body surfing simulator, wave pool, lazy river, and Fort Mackenzie interactive treehouse (with obligatory dump bucket). 

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There’s also plenty of dry land activities, including MagiQuest, a ropes course, bowling, a 4D theater, Northern Lights Arcade, and Build-A-Bear Workshop at this Great Wolf Lodge location. Little kids will enjoy the Clock Tower Show, story time, and PJ parties. And when the family’s ready to tuck into a meal, Loose Moose Bar & Grill offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast and dinner buffet.

10. Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Water Park at Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)
Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells is the location that started them all (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge)

The lodge that started them all, Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells opened in the southern Wisconsin water park mecca in 1997 and pioneered the all-under-one-roof family recreational resort concept. At more than 20 years old, it’s still going strong with a 76,000-square-foot indoor water park made up of slides, pools, splash grounds, and lazy rivers. Dry land attractions feature multiple versions of MagiQuest, PJ parties, a clock tower animatronics show, and craft giveaways. 

11. Great Wolf Lodge Northern California

Manteca, California

Exterior view of Great Wolf Lodge's Northern California location (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)
Exterior view of Great Wolf Lodge’s Northern California location (Photo: Great Wolf Lodge Resorts)

Located in Manteca, California, the Bay Area’s Great Wolf Lodge Northern California indoor water park is approximately 90 minutes from San Francisco and an hour from Sacramento. The 500-room lodge features a 95,000-square-foot indoor water park with all the requisite water slides, raft rides, pools, and splash grounds, not to mention a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket. There’s a large outdoor pool complex for sun worshippers.

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Beyond the water, families can play together in the Great Wolf Adventure Park that includes a multi-level ropes course, miniature golf, Ten Paw bowling alley, and arcade. Great Wolf Lodge updated the MagiQuest live-action adventure game with a new story where kids use their interactive wand to complete a quest. And younger kids enjoy the Northwoods Friends Show animated storytelling experience in the lobby.

Families won’t go hungry at Great Wolf Lodge Northern California, either, as there are nine different dining options including the resort’s full-service elevated dining experience, Barnwood. There’s also a Dunkin’ Donuts for the morning coffee run, and an ice cream parlor called the Wood’s End Creamery for the end of the day.

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Dave Parfitt is a freelance travel writer interested in illuminating transformative family travel, multi-generational travel, inclusive and accessible travel, under-the-radar destinations, and immersive, authentic experiences. Dave's work has appeared in Lonely Planet, AAA, Fox News Travel, US News & World Report, TravelAge West, USA Today, and Family Circle, to name a few. An academic with a PhD in neuroscience, Dave also works as an educational developer at a four-year college in Western New York when not in a theme park, national park, or on a cruise or road trip with his family.

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