With more than 20 locations across North America, Great Wolf Lodge’s template typically includes a lazy river. Credit: Photo courtesy Great Wolf Lounge

Swim with the Wolves

Dodge summer rain and sunburns with an indoor swimming, sliding and climbing adventure. The 700-room Great Wolf Lodge Maryland, which was expected to open in late June as the chain’s largest water park resort, brings an Aspen-like lodge spirit to its Perryville property (compared with the more rustic log-cabin look of its mid-Atlantic sister resort in Williamsburg, Virginia). 

Drop four stories before spinning down the Coyote Cannon waterslide, or race your family on the toboggan-style Mountain Edge Raceway. Otter Cave Waterworks, a tree house, includes toddler-friendly slides and toys, while the Hot Springs’ multiple alcoves are ideal for a warm soak. All are part of a 126,000-square-foot indoor water park that also offers raft rides designed for siblings and families to enjoy together. 

The 57,000-square-foot Great Wolf Adventure Park—a dry fun zone that feels like a cruise ship on land—is where you’ll find an arcade, duckpin bowling, mini golf and a ropes course, as well as the resort’s signature MagiQuest, a live-action journey through a fantasy forest that you navigate with a magic wand to become a “Master Magi.” 

Family-friendly suites, many with design elements inspired by the site’s Great Wolf Pack stories, come in a variety of styles and configurations. Some include cozy bunk-bed rooms with character theming. Many can be connected for large families or to form multigenerational abodes.

Visit the in-house Dunkin’ for morning fuel. Other fun eateries serve pizza, salads, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, ice cream and drinks, including adult beverages. Barnwood is good for a seafood-and-steak night with the kids. And don’t miss Story Time for a bedtime tale around the fireplace in the lobby.

Rates begin at $249 per night and include waterpark admission. 


Great Wolf Lodge, 1240 Chesapeake Overlook Parkway, Perryville; 888-983-9653, greatwolf.com/maryland

A Beuchet chair Credit: Photo courtesy Museum of Illusions Washington

Play with Perception

Opened in December, the Museum of Illusions Washington continues a concept first launched in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2015. As the 40th of its kind, the Washington, D.C., location is a playful place to test your perceptions while learning science, math and mind-bending tidbits. 

Hang upside down (seemingly) in a subway car, walk through the Vortex Tunnel (for those with a strong constitution) and discover what your head would look like on a platter. Illusionistic rooms challenge your sense of size and space, and “illusion experts” stationed throughout are happy to offer fun photo assists. A playroom with games and puzzles, and a museum shop selling take-home brain teasers round out the offerings.


The museum is located in CityCenterDC, an area that’s also home to cafes, restaurants and chic shops such as Chanel, Gucci and Ferragamo. Walk-ins are welcome, but to avoid a potential wait—and lines to get into each exhibit—buy tickets in advance and visit at off-peak times. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets: $23.95 for adults; $18.95 for ages 5-12; $21.95 for seniors (65+), military and students; free for children younger than 5.  

Museum of Illusions, 927 H St. NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-993-5992, moiwashington.com

Coastal-cool Hotel Bethany Beach’s pool Credit: Photo courtesy of Hotel Bethany Beach

Escape to the Beach

Located just blocks from Bethany’s boardwalk and shoreline, pet-friendly Hotel Bethany Beach completed a propertywide transformation in the spring of 2022. The hotel exudes a coastal vibe, combining sea blues, saffron and sand tones with weathered wood accents. The spacious lobby, good for a relaxing break from the sun, has wicker lounge chairs, a surfboard coffee table and handblown glass pendant lights that evoke beach glass.


The 100 upgraded guest rooms and suites include fresh furnishings, comfortable beds (either a king or two queens) and nautical bedside lamps designed with rope, plus a sofa or cozy lounge chair, microwave, mini refrigerator and Keurig coffee maker. Suite 401 features a beach shack-inspired kids sleeping area with surfboard and wave art, and a sunset wall mural.

Summer guests can enjoy locally sourced ice cream from Hopkins Farm Creamery (for sale in the hotel’s grab-and-go pantry); a complimentary round at nearby Nick’s Mini Golf; and 10% off at Mickey’s Family Crabhouse (either at the restaurant or via in-room dining during select hours). 

Other perks include complimentary breakfast and afternoon refreshments, an outdoor pool, a fitness center and board games. Delicious cookies are served upon arrival, along with a complimentary “orange smash” cocktail for adults, courtesy of Devils Backbone Brewing Co. 


Summer rates begin at $378 per night. See the hotel website for pet policies.

Hotel Bethany Beach, 39642 Jefferson Bridge Road, Bethany Beach, Delaware; 302-541-9200, hotelbethanyde.com

This story appears in the July/August issue of Bethesda Magazine.


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