I’d never been to Woodloch Resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania until two weeks ago when I spent the weekend there with two of my daughters. It was just the three of us, and while there were lots of other small families staying at the resort, this is definitely a place you want to visit with your entire family…plus your entire extended family…and anyone else you can bring along. The more, the better.
Since I’d never been to Woodloch, I really had no idea what to expect. I honestly thought it was a place to go for snow tubing in the winter and lakeside activities in the summer, but it’s so much more. You (and especially your kids) will be busy from the moment you wake up until you decide to turn in for the day. Look for go-karts, movies, magicians, contests, scavenger hunts, ziplines, bumper cars, pony rides…
However, before you go, there are definitely a few things you should know to ensure you have the most fun you can have at Woodloch Resort:
It’s an All-Inclusive (Mostly). When I think of an “all-inclusive” I think of the Caribbean, but Woodloch is an all-inclusive too. Well, it’s mostly all-inclusive. All of the sit-down meals are included, but you pay extra for beer, wine and fancy drinks for the kids. You also pay for snacks like nachos at the bar in the North Lodge, which hosts a lot of big group activities, like Bingo and Family Feud.
There is a Dress Code for Meals. Each morning, there’s a new four-page activity schedule for the day. Look at the top of the first page for the dress for the evening. It’s mostly smart casual (i.e., no hats or sleeveless shirts), but Saturday is Theme Night, which means collared shirts are required in the dining room. Jackets are optional.
You Have an Assigned Table. In the winter, just one dining room is open and you’ll have an assigned table where you’ll eat all of your meals during your stay. In the summer, you’ll still go to the same dining room and table each day, but several dining rooms are open to accommodate guests staying around the lake at The Lodge at Woodloch.
Bring a Pen to Breakfast. When you arrive for breakfast, pick up the activity schedule for the day at the front desk. The schedule includes morning, afternoon, late-afternoon and evening activities. Each block starts at roughly the same time. Breakfast is a great time to review the schedule for the day and jot down what you and your kids want to do during each time block.
Go to WoodlochEdge.com Before You Arrive. WoodlochEdge.com is kind of like a cheat site. I hate to call it that but you absolutely want to go there a few days before your visit. On this site, you’ll get the scoop on lots of the larger family games (those that require at least 10 players), like Cupcake Wars and Scavenger Hunt, including how the games work, how you’ll be judged and what to bring with you for extra points.
Consider the Edgewater Suites. I love staying in a suite when traveling with my kids. It’s nice to have the extra space to spread out. We stayed in an Edgewater Suite in the Springbrook building at Woodloch. Every suite has two queen beds in a bedroom and a pull-out couch. Even better, the suites are a very short walk to the dining hall and the indoor pool, as well as nearly all of the activities at the resort. They also all face the lake.
You’ll Need to Get Friendly with Other Families. Not that you’re going to be unfriendly with other families, but given a lot of the family games require at least 10 players, you’ll want to quickly get to know other families to join up as teams. If you can, look for other families with kids ages eight and higher. Kids any younger than eight won’t be able to participate very well in some of the games.
There are Character Appearances Every Night. The characters come out every night in the dining room, including a very slim Cookie Monster. They don’t look quite like what you might see at Disney on Ice or Sesame Place, but I don’t think the little ones can tell the difference. Many staff members dress up as characters of their choice, pose for pictures and even parade around the dining room.
There’s Almost Too Much to Do. Aside from the large family contests and games, like Family Feud and Name that Tune, which take place every afternoon, there are a lot of activities you can do at your leisure. Look for archery, go-karts, bumper cars and an arts and crafts room for kids. And that’s in addition to seasonal activities, like a snow tube run in the winter and kayaking in the summer. Also, nightly Bingo.
I’m definitely going back to Woodloch and when I do I’m bringing my entire extended family. Whether you go as a small family or as part of a large group, you’ll have a great time, though you may want to build in time for a nap or to relax unless you really do want to do it all. Have fun (and good luck). 🙂
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Woodloch Resort during my stay. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.