A note about traveling in a still present pandemic: Over the past few months, we have travelled to places in the Northeast that allow visitors from Connecticut, that have low COVID-19 cases, that have taken important precautions to keep staff and guests safe and healthy, and that offers plenty of outdoor family fun. So far, we’re 6 for 6!! (You can read about our adventures here). We were especially impressed by the staff at Woodloch, who were attentive, aware, and helpful in making sure everyone followed guidelines.
Our visit to Woodloch is easily one of our favorite adventures of 2020. We visited in 2012 and vowed to return when the kids were older and could better enjoy all of the amenities. We finally got our chance this past week and enjoyed a beautiful fall weekend in the Poconos. Established in 1958 by the Kiesendahl family, Woodloch Pines is a resort in the northwest section of the Poconos in Pennsylvania. The 350 acre property has grown over the years to now include a lakeside resort with 160 rooms and suites, times shares and private homes, a championship 18 hole golf course, a luxury spa, and a seemingly infinite amount of ways to have fun.
A visit to Woodloch focuses on family “togetherness”- most activities encourage families to work together, laugh together, and play together. There is a genuine sense of community that the staff brings to every meal, activity, and celebration. Members of the Kiesendahl family visit with guests at every meal (look out for the crazy patterned suits!). Every staff member we encountered greeted us with a warm welcome, an invitation to join in on the fun, and a sincere desire to be inclusive. We witnessed several, multi generational families vacationing together and overheard so many conversations that started with “Last year, when we did this..” or even better, “When I was your age and we played this game….”. It is clear that many, many families return to Woodloch every year to make memories, and we’re hoping to become one of those families.
Each day, the resort offers over 30 different activities, for every age, interest, and talent. Some activities are offered all year long, and some outdoor activities are seasonal (making it a good reason to return every few months for a visit!). We’ve included some of our fall favorites in the lists below.
Lodging at Woodloch:
Most guests will choose to stay at Woodloch Pines, the main resort, which includes three types of lodging. Greenbriar rooms are located in the Main Lodge, close to the Dining Room, North Lodge, Night Club, and gaming rooms. Springbrook and Mountain Laurel rooms and suites are a short walk from the Main Lodge and both buildings connect to the indoor and outdoor pool complexes. Timberline and Gateway rooms are smaller suites of rooms located across the lawn from the Main Lodge. While close to most of the amenities, these rooms do not have a lake view. We stayed in a one bedroom suite in Mountain Laurel and it was spacious, clean, had a great balcony overlooking the lake, and was conveniently located to many amenities. We highly recommend this option.
Classic: Timberline and Gateway rooms include a bedroom (with two queen beds) and living room (two single beds), divided by accordion door, and bathroom.
Edgewater: Springbrook and Mountain Laurel suites include one bedroom (with two queen beds), living room with pullout sofa, and outdoor balcony that faces the lake. Springbrook suites include two bathrooms, and Mountain Laurel suites include one bathroom, a full kitchen, and a washer/dryer.
Deluxe: Greenbriar and Mountain Laurel rooms include one room with two queen beds, a pullout sofa, bathroom, and outdoor balcony that faces the lake.
Other options for lodging include on campus houses (which feature 3-6 bedrooms, tri level houses just a quick shuttle ride away from the Main Lodge and are perfect for larger or multi family vacations) and Woodloch Springs Houses (a larger community of 2-5 bedroom homes, located two miles away from the Main Lodge on the Woodloch Springs golf course).
Dining at Woodloch:
The resort offers packages inclusive of two or three meals each day. The main dining room is located in the Main Lodge at Woodloch Pines. Lunch and dinner include three or four courses, and guests are welcome to sample everything, and ask for seconds (trust us- we took advantage of this generous policy!). Breakfast and dinner both begin with homemade pastries and breads, and there are several gluten free options. While the main course options change each night, Woodloch does offer traditional “staple” meals for children. Children are also welcome to order from the main menu.
We highly recommend including the meal plan in your stay. Families have their own, personal table and server for their entire stay. It was so nice not to worry about reservations, or being late for a meal, or, given the current pandemic in 2020, sharing a dining space with other people. There are usually 90-120 minute windows for each meal, and as long as guests arrive in that window, they are able to relax over a meal as long as they like.
If guests prefer not to sign up for the meal plan, other resort options include: Note: Due to local restrictions, some of these options are not available fall 2020.
Gigi’s Coffee House (right outside the Main Lodge) offers coffees, teas, smoothies, and grab and go salads, sandwiches, and baked goods.
The Country Store (at the Inn) offers a full deli for custom made sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and frozen desserts, along with a mini mart of snacks and sweets.
The Lake Grill (directly on the lake beach) offers grill favorites like burgers and hot dogs and chicken dishes. Open for lunch and afternoon snacks.
North Lodge (inside the Main Lodge) offers pub fare and drinks, and a unique “Cookie Bar”. Open for lunch through late night.
The Overlook Restaurant (at Woodloch Springs) offers small plates and full farm to table entrees, with beautiful views of the 18th hole. Open for dinner Tuesday- Sunday.
The Grille Room (at Woodloch Springs) offers a la carte options of steaks, salads, sandwiches, and great views of the course on the outdoor decks (indoor dining available as well). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Pool Bars (at both the indoor and outdoor pools at Woodloch Pines) offer snacks and drinks during peak summer months.
Download the app (found here). You’ll need it to register for most activities. It also includes maps, dining menus, and other helpful information. The daily schedule goes lives every day at 8:30am and guests may begin registering for activities at that time (no booking before the day of the activity). I highly recommend going on the app at 8:30am and making a plan for the day, especially for special events that only occur on that day.
Grab a paper copy of the daily schedule. Copies are available in the Main Lodge and also at each table at breakfast. In addition to the app, it’s helpful to have a paper copy for easy reference.
Unless we’ve listed additional fees below, all activities are included in your stay.
Many of the events can be competitive if guests want to earn the famous Woodloch medals. Some competitions are individual and some are group competitions. Staff will record scores and winners are announced each night via the daily show on the Woodloch television station, and at dinner (which is where guests can pick up their medals).
Bring multiple pairs of shoes. You’ll want sneakers for sports and hikes, flip flops for the pool and beach, and dressier shoes for formal, themed dinners.
Restrooms are conveniently located throughout the resort, including in the Main Lodge, North Lodge, by the indoor and outdoor pool complexes, and near the Athletic Fields.
The resort shuttle runs continuously from 8am- midnight and has several drop off/pick up locations throughout the resort. However, we parked at our lodge and walked everywhere. There are paved paths that are well lit at night, and it’s easy and safe to walk around the resort. Bring a stroller for the toddler set.
10 Things Kids Will Want to Do:
1. Climb, swing, and jump on one of three playgrounds. The newest, massive playground was installed in July 2020 and is located by the lake beach. There is also a smaller playground located near the cottage. The Woodloch Forest, an indoor jungle gym near the bumper car building, is also a great spot for climbing for the toddler set.
2. Get wet at the splash pads. The outdoor splash pad (open late May through early October) is located outside by the clover pool. The indoor “forest friends” splash zone is located between Mountain Laurel and Springbrook. Both are perfect for the five and under crowd.
3. Avoid crashing into cars at the bumper cars complex. Note: It is very loud inside the building. The resort also offers outside bumper boats near the archery range.
4. Drive a go kart! There is a special track designed specifically for the 48”-58” crowd. Younger children may ride with an adult on the Family (double) Karts.
5. Play a round of mini golf. The nine-hole course is located near the beach and playground.
6. Try your skills at a wide variety of lawn games. Guests are welcome to play volleyball, bocce, shuffleboard, and Bag-O (corn hole), at various lawns throughout the complex. Check with the Main Lodge for supplies.
7. Be creative in the arts and crafts studio located in the Main Lodge. There are daily activities and projects, and guests are welcome to grab and go and save projects for completion in their room.
8. Check out activities specifically designed for kids under age 10 at the Boomer’s Club. Daily activities rotate but often include jewelry making, pizza ping pong, and puzzles.
9. Visit with farm animals. Each week, a local farm brings “farm friends” like donkeys, goats, sheep, bunnies, and horses to visit with guests. Children can even ride a pony.
10. Decorate cupcakes at Cupcakes Wars. One of Woodloch’s most popular activities, guests have the opportunity to decorate cupcakes or rice krispie treats with a specific theme and mandated secret ingredients. The best part? Eating them after the competition, of course!
10 Things Teenagers Will Want to Do:
1. Go fishing. There is a separate fishing dock on the beach and the gift shop in the Main Lodge can provide guests with equipment and permits.
2. Fly through the sky on a zipline. The Eagle Eye Zip Line has a 600 foot run that sends guests soaring through the air, and a 40 foot partial free fall! **Note: this activity is not offered fall 2020, but is so popular, we wanted to still include it).
3. Check out BOTH game rooms and the “Bunker” (in the Main Lodge) and play a round of air hockey, video games, ping pong, pool, or pinball.
4. Climb the 40 foot rock wall. It’s a lot harder than it looks!
5. Work on your driving skills on the go karts. Whether teens can legally drive or not, the track is a great spot to test their agility.
6. Race around the resort searching for clues to complete the scavenger hunt.
7. Laugh, sing, and dance with late night DJs and dance parties at the Night Club.
8. Swim in the outdoor clover shaped pool or relax in the hot tub (located between Mountain Laurel and Springbrook). The nearby, indoor pool complex also includes a small water park with a slide.
9. Explore Lake Teddyuskung. Guests can take a canoe, kayak, row boat, or sailboat out on the lake.
10. Take aim at the archery range with a lesson from staff.
Bonus: Woodloch offers team activities like Escape Rooms, rifle range, and paintball range that teenagers will also enjoy. More info here. Note: Additional cost apply.
10 Things Adults Will Want to Do:
1. Play a round of golf. Woodloch Springs offers an 18 hole, par 72 course, spread over 600 acres. There are four sets of tees that accommodate all types of players, and the Springs also offers golf lessons, virtual golf, and golf simulators. Note: Separate charges apply.
2. Pamper yourself at The Lodge at Woodloch, one of the country’s top rated spas by Travel & Leisure. The spa offers everything from massages and facials to salon services at the Lotus Salon. The Lodge is also home to a pool, jacuzzis, and steam rooms. Separate charges apply.
3. Shop for mementos at either the Gift Shop (Main Lodge) and Country Store (The Inn at Woodloch). Both shops offer Woodloch apparel and gifts, as well as unique housewares and décor; children’s gifts, toys, and clothing; seasonal decorations, and snacks and drinks.
4. Go for a hike. The 350 acre resort includes a three mile round trip nature trail. There are also paved paths throughout the resort that include beautiful views of the lake and forest.
5. Test your knowledge at a trivia contest. Daily contests change themes, but Woodloch offers competitions in everything from “Name That Tune” to “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”.
6. Get a glimpse of the resort from the water. Fifteen-minute private boat tours of Lake Teddyuskung are offered most days. Guides also provide information about the history of Woodloch and the various properties of the resort.
7. Have a professional photographer take your family’s photo. Local photographers will capture informal family portraits on Monday and Wednesday (summer) and Saturday (fall-winter-spring) nights at dinner. Guests receive a link to download copies of the photos.
8. Place a bet on horse racing. One of the most popular activities at Woodloch, “horses” “race” in five unique races and guests can place $1 bets (or more!) on each race. In keeping with state gambling laws, all the winnings go right back to guests, so be sure to bring a little bit of luck with you.
9. Try trapshooting in the barn. Staff will instruct guests on how to safely handle guns and practice on targets.
10. Catch a show at the Night Club. Each night the resort features a different form of entertainment, from comics and talent shows to bands and magicians.
Bonus: There are several classes offered for adult each day, including Paint and Sip, Wine Tasting, Cooking Demonstrations, and art classes. Note: Additional fees may apply.
Just for the month of October: Don’t miss the Spooktacular Horror Walk and other themed activities, performances, and events. They were putting the final touches on the walk when we were there, and it promises to put everyone in the Halloween mood- check here for more information.
Disclaimer: My family was given a media rate to visit Woodloch. All opinions expressed are my own.