Day 363 of the pandemic. Day 181 of virtual school, while I work from home. Day 58 of this cold winter when darkness comes before 5:30 p.m.
With an almost audible thud, my family hit the proverbial COVID and winter walls simultaneously.
It was time to escape … anywhere but home.
Enter an opportunity for us to stay and play at Woodloch Resort in Pennsylvania’s Poconos and review our experience.
The stars had aligned. It was just what we needed. But naturally, my husband and I were nervous because of COVID: “Will it be safe? Will the risk-reward be worth it?”
After a weekend spent at Woodloch, our resounding answer is YES!
Our getaway was jam-packed with winter adventures and the kind of fun my family hadn’t experienced in a long, long time. Health concerns quickly dissipated once we experienced firsthand the many precautions the resort had taken, including intensive cleaning, health screens, and mask-wearing at all times indoors.
Read on to learn more about our super fun, COVID-safe getaway, and then book your family’s stay at Woodloch!
Woodloch is sharing the love with 15% off your stay — a special offer just for Macaroni Kid readers!
The No. 1 family resort in America... run by family
Located on 1,500 acres in the beautiful mountain lake setting of Pennsylvania’s Poconos, Woodloch Resort is a four seasons resort founded in 1958 by the Kiesendahl family. Consistently named Best Family Resort by USA Today and in the top 1% of TripAdvisor reviews, Woodloch is all about bringing people together to have fun and make memories. The Kiesendahl family continues to run the resort today, and several were there during our stay, frequently chatting with us. We could feel their love for Woodloch shining through, and their genuine desire for us to enjoy our time there. It was really special!
More activities than you can do in one weekend
The extensive activities, programming, and entertainment are the crown jewels of the Woodloch Resort experience. Our family stayed Friday to Sunday, and we barely scratched the surface. Everything is a short walk or shuttle ride from your room. Once you park your car, you never need to move it again! Plus, the vast majority of activities at Woodloch are included in the price of your stay — no additional price to pay. Here’s a quick recap of some of our favorite activities:
Snow tubing by the lake
These aren’t the typical snow tubing runs you see at a ski place. Rather, Woodloch’s tubing is on a beautifully sculpted, curving hill, set against the backdrop of the snow-covered, frozen Lake Teedyuskung. It makes you feel like you are in someone’s gorgeous backyard. Both the kids and grown-ups squealed with delight as we slid down the hill over and over! Both of my kids were nervous at first, but once they took the plunge they were all in! If you have toddlers, they are welcome to sit on a grownup’s lap.
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Indoor pool and waterpark
My daughter Macy, 10, is a fish, so this was the very first thing we hit up. It was right around dusk and again, the view was incredible. Huge glass windows overlook the lake so that even though you’re inside (heated to a balmy 84 degrees!), you’re still experiencing the area’s natural beauty. That was a big plus for me and my husband, as we enjoyed a Happy Hour beer while the kids played in the water. And play they did! Aside from the pool, there’s a big splash pad area for little ones and a corkscrew slide for older kids. Seeing my kids grin from ear-to-ear, I knew this weekend away was just what the doctor ordered.
Woodloch forest indoor playground
My son Remy, 6, on the other hand, would spend every waking hour jumping, climbing, and sliding if he could. During the pandemic’s warmer months, we visited outdoor playgrounds, but we had not felt comfortable going to any indoor play places. Imagine Remy’s delight when he saw Woodloch Resort's huge, forest-themed playground! There was a tall tree to climb inside, several slides, rope bridges, and even a gigantic knight’s helmet to climb into. We visited here five times (yes, five!) during our stay. Remy just couldn’t get enough. And though Macy might tell you she is too old for playgrounds, she was right there alongside him every time!
“Through the Decades” live band
Until this show, I didn’t realize how much I had missed live music. With the lights down and dancing the night away with my daughter, it suddenly felt like things were normal again. This show was my absolute favorite part of the trip. The live band was incredible! They played top cover songs from every decade, starting in the ‘60s up to today. We knew every song and felt comfortable on the dance floor, with the nightclub at 50% capacity. True story: My son passed out on my husband’s lap amidst all the noise. Proof he had an awesome day at Woodloch!
And so much more …
Like I said, my family barely covered all of Woodloch Resort's activities. In addition to those above, we also tried out the bumper cars, played in the arcade, went ice skating, chilled at the outdoor fire pit, walked along the lake, and drove Go-Karts! I really wish we would have tried one of the Kids Club crafts or organized games, like Family Feud or Winter Olympics, but we just didn’t have the time. You know what that means … we’ll be back!
Yummy eats: All-inclusive dining option
I was so excited to learn that Woodloch has an all-inclusive dining plan, since you mostly can only find these in tropical destinations. Our plan included breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you can also opt for two meals per day, or no plan at all. Alcohol was not included, but it was not overpriced so my husband and I were able to enjoy a drink with dinner.
Everyone in our family agreed the best meal was breakfast. Macy’s absolute favorite food in the world is crumb cake, so she was delighted when our waiter brought out a huge slice of this homemade deliciousness. We had no idea, but Woodloch is famous for their crumb cake! They also sell their bakery items to-go, so we even got to take a piece of Woodloch home with us.
Lunch and dinner included a handful of menu choices each, and always offered the standard kid meals like chicken tenders and mac ‘n cheese. All dinners include soup and salad, entree, family-style sides, bread, and dessert. We tried everything from potstickers to cauliflower soup, fried shrimp to beef tenderloin, pizza to quesadillas. Let’s just say we did NOT leave Woodloch hungry!
Spacious accommodations designed with families in mind
We stayed in the Edgewater Suites, which includes one bedroom with two queen beds, a living area with a pull-out couch and dining area, and a private patio/balcony overlooking the lake. Best of all, there is a fully supplied kitchen and washer/dryer. That washer/dryer was super handy for us, as we had a certain son who got carsick on the way there! Most importantly, the suite was immaculately clean. Not one speck of dust or dirt to be found. We are pretty picky about this stuff, and we were totally impressed with the level of clean, especially in these COVID times.
|Look at that view!|
It’s the little things!
Much like life, it’s the little things that stick with you after a family getaway. Aside from all the amazing family memories we made, here are a few things that stood out to us as making Woodloch an exemplary resort:
- The resort owners and our waiter (shout out to Chris!) chatted with us at each meal and genuinely got to know us over the weekend.
- We sat at the same table for every meal. Might sound boring, but it had the effect of making us feel at home in the dining room. We even sat in the same seats each time, just like home!
- The resort owners wore suits adorned with popular characters, like Trolls, Pokemon, and Super Mario. My kids thought this was a hoot!
- Every single time we went down the snow tubing hill, the attendant yelled out with enthusiasm, “Have fun!” or “Enjoy!” He seemed to be having just as much fun as we were.
- The shuttle drivers, mostly older gentlemen, were grandparent-like and gave our kids cute Woodloch stickers to wear.
Tips for your stay
Here are my tips for your family’s stay at Woodloch:
- Download Woodloch’s brand new app, created in response to the pandemic. It allows you to easily schedule all activities for the day so that at any given time, an activity isn’t over capacity.
- If going in the winter, get a room in the Mountain Laurel building. This is the building we were in and it is connected to the indoor pool, so you do not have to go outside after swimming. There are locker room areas to change in, but with 20-degree weather, we found it awesome to be able to just walk back to our room down the hallway.
- Another winter tip: Bring snow boots and plan to wear them most of the time. Other than flip-flops for the indoor pool, we stayed in our snow boots at all other times. Paths are cleared, but it is still snowy and cold.
- Check out Gigi’s Coffee House for your morning pick-me-up. Each room has a coffee maker, but we’re so glad we discovered Gigi’s! The coffee was delicious and it is an adorable little shop right on the property. You can also get free coffee in the main lobby at any time.
- Not into all-inclusive? Try a vacation rental with a fully stocked kitchen at Woodloch Springs and bring your own food!
Save big on your family’s Woodloch getaway
As part of my family’s review of Woodloch Resort, we are able to offer all Macaroni Kid readers 15% off any stay booked through October 2021! Just use promo code MacCert at Woodloch check out.
I’ll leave you with a quick story. At our last breakfast, my husband looked out the window and said, “Wow, check that out!” In the distance, there were several deer making their way across the frozen lake. In the foreground, a man was cross-country skiing across the lake. It was so picturesque and nothing like we’d seen before. As I looked around the table at the smiling faces of my family, my heart was warmed and I was so thankful for our much-needed weekend away from home at Woodloch Resort.
Amie Morville is the chief operating officer of CertifiKID. Her family received a complimentary stay at Woodloch for the purposes of this review.