Woodloch Pines: a Family-Friendly Resort
Note: Woodloch Pines Resort invited me and my family to spend a complimentary weekend there last month. Our room and meal plan were provided, however this post is not sponsored or compensated by them, and is my honest review and opinions. Good news for them: We had a great time!
We’ve been to a lot of so-called “family friendly” vacation destinations. Destinations that, honestly, weren’t really all that family friendly, or that only cater to one specific type of family. Hotels that don’t have single-room accommodations suitable for any family larger than four people, or where it required five separate phone calls to the front desk before the crib I requested on my reservation appeared. (One hotel memorably had a balcony railing wide enough for our toddler to fit through, and we spent the entire trip 100% NOT out on that terrifying balcony, despite paying more for the high floor with an ocean view.) And then there’s the never-ending search for a changing table or a high chair with a functioning buckle. Or where it’s clear that families are expected to stick with the hotel’s buffet and not bother the other guests by daring to take children to any of the nicer dining options. Or kids’ activities that are geared for one age group only, guaranteeing that at least one of our children were either left out completely or just totally bored. And also! Some families include teenagers! And grandparents! Canyouevenbelievethat.
Another mom and I had a conversation about this exact problem while our children explored the Enchanted Forest — a massive, three-story indoor playground — at Woodloch Pines in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains. Directly next to us on one side was a toddler-only section where a dad was playing with his just-barely-walking daughter, while a row of classic arcade and racing games behind us had claimed my husband’s attention. Next door, basketball tournament was taking place in the gymnasium. This place, we agreed, was the real deal, for families of all shapes, sizes and ages.
Need a changing table or high chair? They’re everywhere. You’ll never be told to leave your stroller outside. Literally everyone — guests and staff alike — is happy you brought your adorable, wonderful baby and would love to hold him for you. There are separate toddler and kids’ activity rooms and playgrounds, but no one is gonna give you the side eye if you’ve got one or two of each age and use them interchangeably. Your toddler will absolutely not fall off your room’s patio or balcony, so go ahead and enjoy the lake view and mountain scenery.
Got a mix of ages, or daredevils and more timid types? That’s cool too. We took our older two on the (indoor) bumper cars while our youngest stuck to the collection of motorized kiddie Jeeps. The same goes for go-karts — there’s a mini option for kids, while teens and adults can go for the full-size version (that kids can still ride on as passengers). There’s a small indoor splash playground and then a bigger version with a water slide. Everybody loved the daytime Halloween parade and trick-or-treating around the resort (I was SO MAD I forgot my own costume), while our 12-year-old was brave enough to give the after-dark haunted hayride a go. (It was pretty intense! He loved it though!) There’s an arcade, rock climbing, archery, trap shooting and all kinds of activities aimed at the too-big-for-the-playground set.
Got non-parents or grandparents? We didn’t personally, but saw a TON of large multi-generational groups who all seemed to be having a very good time. There’s bingo, shuffleboard, jewelry making, cooking/cocktail classes, trivia and bar games, etc. Indoor/outdoor pools and hot tubs. They even have an escape room! There’s nearby golf and a spa and all sorts of activities out on the lake. A shuttle will take you anywhere you need if you’re not up for walking. Comedy shows, DJs, and big Broadway style musicals — again, aimed at all ages, so you won’t feel like a weirdo if you bring your kids.
We stayed for two nights and were almost constantly moving from one activity or special event to another and we barely did about half of what was going on every day — we missed most of the evening activities simply because our kids were so tired and opted for an early bedtime each night. (NOTE THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT.)
One thing of note: While Woodloch bills itself online as “all inclusive,” it’s…not really, at least not the way most resorts use that phrase. There is a meal plan you can pay for, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner served at the main lodge at set times during the day. If you miss that time window, you’ll have to pay for food elsewhere on the resort. (And alcohol, while available, is NOT included in the plan.) We didn’t miss any meals, but occasionally wanted snacks or smoothies or coffee in between (and also beer and wine!) and we paid out of pocket for all of that. Prices were all pretty reasonable, though. The vast majority of activities are included, although there are also a few that cost extra. Again, not a lot extra, but be prepared that you might end up spending a little more there than just your room and meal plan.
It was our middle son’s birthday the weekend we visited; I told the front desk this and they arranged for a special birthday announcement at dinner (it blew his mind; “I’m famous!” he kept saying) and an entire birthday cake complete with candles for dessert. I upgraded his chair for with an assortment of balloons from the gift shop — and was pleasantly surprised that again, this extra expense was only a few bucks; they aren’t price-gouging you at every turn like a lot of resorts.
All in all, we had a lovely family weekend that managed to be both jam-packed and remarkably low-key. I did not hear a single “I’m borrrrred” the entire time, and only minimal mumbling about their lack of tablet/screen time. Thanks, Woodloch!
(My mom also reports that she and my dad went to Woodloch with their church senior group several years ago. Her review: LUV THAT HOT TUB.)
Photo source: Woodloch Resort
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- 5 Ways to Make Staying Home Feel Like a Vacation