by Lissa Poirot
Just outside of Houston, and a quick drive from George Bush Intercontinental Airport awaits the Woodlands, a 28,000-acre forest preserve featuring a family-friendly resort, shopping, golf and waterscape. The Woodlands offers more than 1,500 guestrooms in resort and boutique properties, with premier accommodations in the Woodlands Resort, where the main feature for children (or at least according to the crowds of weekend families packing the area) is the Forest Oasis Waterscape. The resort completed a $75-million renovation in 2014, renovating all guestrooms and adding new rooms and suites.
Market Street’s Main Street-style shopping and entertainment district gives families a city vibe when relaxing at the resort needs an extra boost (doubtful). The Woodlands also provides 180 miles of hike and bike trails, kayaking adventures along the Woodlands Waterway, 116 forested parks, the 200-acre Lake Woodlands, annual festivals, and an array of budget-friendly activities.
You’ll be hard-pressed to leave the Woodlands, which is truly a destination resort for family vacations.
Our Editor Loves
- Water slides and lazy river
- Nightly themed buffet dinners
- Kids and family programs
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Families can select from Fairway Pines, overlooking the Forest Oasis Waterscape; Forest Lake Rooms, about five minutes from the waterscape; or Executive Suites, overlooking the Panther Trail Golf Course. All rooms include coffee makers and free, basic Wi-Fi.
The guestrooms are closest to the Waterscape, which does limit room options to a double bed room that accommodates up to four.
For more room, select the suites, which feature a king-sized bed, as well as a separate living area with fold-out couch. The suites also provide a kitchen with mini-fridge and microwave, so you can enjoy some meals at "home."
Great team of people. It was my 3rd conference there and it was consistently professional and friendly.
Why I need 200 characters to explain this, I don’t understand lol....
I really don’t have any more words for this review so maybe you can change the guidelines for the number of characters needed
The Resort was very welcoming. Food was delicious every single time. Staff was acknowledging and very friendly. I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting a quiet getaway and be trated like family.
Forest Oasis Waterscape
The resort's pool is actually more like a water park with water slides, swimming pools, a lazy river and fountains, as well as kid activities such as free face painting, balloon animals and crafts. (Most resorts charge extra for this unavoidable fun, leaving mom and dad reaching for their wallets when they least expect it.) The waterscape also features poolside dining at Cool Water Cafe.
Offering programs for kids daily, the Woodlands provide plenty to entertain kids and adults alike. Live music is offered poolside, with dance contests and limbo opportunities. S'mores at the fire pit, dive in movies, face painting by Muffie the Clown, Magical Balloons, treasure hunts, ping pong, giant checkers and chess and other activities will make it difficult to just sit back and relax -- you'll want to take part in all of the fun.
The Woodlands features 21 tennis courts, basketball, volleyball, billiards, and, of course, golf on two championship, 19-hole courses. Water basketball and volleyball can be enjoyed at the waterscape. Bicycles can be rented to enjoy the 180 miles of trails, and kayaks can be rented to explore the Woodlands Waterway.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Located at the Woodlands Town Center, outdoor performances are held at this pavilion, including big-name concert performances like Sting, Chicago, Jonas Brothers and the Houston Symphony and the Houston Ballet. In November, the Woodland's Annual Children's Festival brings award-winning performers and entertainers for two days of kids-focused fun that includes music, theater, arts and crafts, puppetry, face painting, games and more.
The Woodlands feature 116 parks, including Rob Fleming Aquatic Center with a lazy river and two-story flume slide; Windvale Park's butterfly garden and jogging path; Bear Branch Park's playground; and Town Green Park and its children's literary labyrinth.
The Woodlands Dining Room
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the main building of the resort, including nightly themed buffets, such as its Mexican buffet complete with fajitas, chips and toppings, rice and beans, as well as burgers, pizzas and can't-miss desserts (literally, they are at the entrance and the kids won't be able to miss the pastries and cakes!). A la carte menus are also provided, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Breakfast begins at 6 a.m., and room service is provided until 11 p.m.
Robard's is a high-end steakhouse located adjacent to the golf course's 18th hole. Guests can enjoy cuts of beef from Texas ranches, and sample wines from the restaurant's private wine collection.
Located near the links above the golf pro shop, grab a casual bite for lunch or dinner at The Bistro.
Cool Water Cafe
Located adjacent to the Forest Oasis, the cafe offers poolside dining for lunch or dinner. Kids menus include burgers, grilled cheese, turkey cheese rollups, chicken tenders and hot dogs, while the regular menu includes sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, nachos, salads, chips and guacamole, and smoothies.
The Lobby Bar
Located in the lobby of the resort, pop in for a quick appetizer or a drink at this intimate bar that also features pool tables and shuffleboard. Open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort features a number of annual festivals, including its Red, Hot & Blue Festival and Fireworks Extravaganza celebrating Independence Day. In the winter, the annual Lighting of the Doves Festival kicks off the holiday season.
Basic Wi-Fi is complimentary is all of the guestrooms and suites.
The Art of Smart Timing
Texas in the summer can be stifling hot and humid, making the Waterscape especially crowded. The best time to visit the resort is in the spring and fall, where temperatures are, well, more temperate, and the crowds are fewer during the week.
The Woodlands is just 25 minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and 30 minutes from Houston.
An easy drive, rent a car at the airport to get to the resort, or schedule shuttle service (at a fee)
For Mom and Dad
Body nurturing packages, facials, nail services, scrubs, massages and skin treatments are provided at the Woodlands' Spa. Its fitness center features cardio and weights, and guests can enjoy the saunas, whirlpools and steam rooms. Guests must be 16 and older. The Fitness Center is open 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, and 6:30 a.m. through 7 p.m. on weekends.
Two 19-hole golf courses provide a place for older kids and their parents to hit the links lined with pines and oaks on gently rolling fairways.