Just thinking about a trip to Center Parcs makes me giddy. It’s so much fun for all ages, not just for kids. But thinking about what to pack for Center Parcs, especially if it’s your first visit, can be totally overwhelming. (Been there, done that.) Luckily, you have this post with literally everything we take with us!
I’m 100% convinced that Center Parcs is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets for families.
(and no, they’re not paying me to say all this, we’ve paid out of pocket for all of our stays.)
What is Center Parcs?
Center Parcs basically a perfect holiday spot: they have accommodation for up to 12 people, a giant waterpark with kiddie pools and slides (included in your stay!), relaxing nature all around you, restaurants and a grocery store on-site, activities for everyone, bikes to rent, playgrounds galore, and dozens of locations to choose from in multiple countries.
Seriously, it’s like an oasis and a perfect spot for a staycation or a vacay.
In fact, I was recently at one alone with my three kids while my husband did the Nijmegen march in the Netherlands, so it’s also a great place for those of you who are solo parenting and still want to travel and go somewhere but want something a little more stress-free.
NOTE: there’s no free childcare included (like at a kinder hotel), but there are tons of things for kids of all ages to do (some have a fee)….and the awesome free water park, of course!
I hope you’ll find this post helpful if you’re planning a trip to Center Parcs soon.
If you’re wondering how to organize your lists, I like to create notes on my phone (I have an iPhone and just use the “notes” app), and check them off as I pack/gather the items.
Then, the list lives on my phone for our next trip.
What to Take to Center Parcs (Your Packing List)
These Center Parcs packing lists are good whether you’re going for a week or just a quick weekend, and it may sound like a lot of stuff, but keep in mind that Center Parcs is pretty bare-bones when it comes to the extra stuff (more on that below).
I’m not sharing clothes/toiletries since that will be season dependent, so this is just all the extra stuff.
For Your Cottage
Before you start your packing list for Center Parcs, double-check your accommodation.
If you have a VIP cottage, extra things like linen and towels will be provided. If you don’t have things like sheets and towels provided you can pay extra to have them included and/or have the beds made. (I personally like doing this, because I don’t want that much extra work on a vacay…but if you’re in this for a budget trip then definitely BYOS (bring your own stuff).
- A wagon
- to take all the things from our vehicle to the cottage. GAME CHANGER!
- See it on amazon.de here
- a fan or two (if going during the summer months)
- hand towels (for bathroom)
- extra trash bags
- paper towels
- toilet paper
- Ziploc bags/Tupperware for leftovers
- hand soap for each bathroom and kitchen sink
- dishwasher pods
- This clothesline does not need clothespins; we love it
- See it on amazon.de here.
Laundry detergent sheets
- super handy instead of finding a washing machine
- we use these; can also get them from DM in Germany
- towels (optional; check your accommodation amenities)
- bed sheets (optional; check your accommodation amenities)
PRO TIP: If you forget something, don’t worry. Each Center Parcs has a grocery store on-site, and it’s actually not that pricey. I expected to see things marked way up, but it was pretty reasonable. So if you forget the TP, no worries: you can pick some extra rolls up when you get there.
Traveling with a baby? We’ve seen safety gates provided by stairs, high chairs, and cribs available in each place we’ve stayed.
For Food and Cooking
A note before the list begins: there are plenty of places to eat when you take a trip to Center Parcs, but it can get pricey very quickly. So if you’re looking to save some bucks, you can do that by bringing most things with you from home. (It’s actually a variation of this list…I just pare it down a bit.)
Also, as I mentioned above, there is a grocery store at Center Parcs, and I’ve been pleasantly impressed with the variety of items they have. I’m talking produce, frozen foods, meats, cheese, bread, milk, eggs…all the things, so don’t fret if you forget something!
Obviously, this list needs to be personalized for your family, but here’s our exact list of all the extra food I like to bring. Don’t forget that your kids will still want snacks!
With that said…here’s our Center Parcs packing list for all things food and cooking.
- A good knife
- electric cooler
- for the drive to/from Center Parcs
- see it on amazon.de here
- coffee filters
- wine/bottle opener
- plastic/paper bowls, plates, and/or cups
- If you have little kids; the dishes provided are very much not kid-friendly at Center Parcs
- slow cooker
- water jug for the fridge (if you like cold water)
- ice cube trays + small container to hold ice
- bacon/sausage (can cook at home and just heat up)
- deli meats
- string cheese
- peanut butter
- olive oil/butter
- salt and pepper
We like to take some prepared dinners—a little extra work ahead of time helps tremendously once you get there! Here are a few things you can make ahead of time and pack for a Center Parcs trip:
Taco meat (Make a big batch of taco meat and then you can make: tacos, taco salad, quesadillas, nachos, etc.)
- Don’t forget the taco shells, tortillas, tortilla chips, lettuce, etc.
- Plus your favorite toppings (onion, tomato, olives, salsa, cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc.)
- Pasta night (make the sauce ahead of time, or…)
- jar(s) of sauce
- ground beef/meatballs
Chili (either bring all the ingredients to dump in a slow cooker or make it ahead of time, freeze it, then dump it in the slow cooker. Extra/different meals to make with chili: chili spaghetti, frito pie, etc.)
- shredded cheese
For Aqua Mundo
This is the water park at Center Parcs, and we quickly learned that if you plan on spending some quality time here, you’ll need to pack a bag just for Aqua Mundo.
- Water bag (nothing crazy; just a large bag—like from IKEA—to keep everything all in)
dry bag (in case you go to Aqua Mundo on your last day and don’t have time to dry your suits!)
- see it on amazon.de here
quick-dry towels for everyone
- We have 100x200cm for the adults and 70x140cm for the kids
- see ’em on amazon.de here
- there are free floaties for kids available as soon as you walk into the pool area, but if you have certain ones you like, you can bring ’em
- mentioned this above, but you’ll be thankful you brought it so you can dry all the swimsuits!
- see it on amazon.de here
All the Extras
These are all optional! You can rent bikes there, or bring your own if you have the space.
- bike locks
- a backpack when going to/from places
- Reusable shopping bag
Tell Me About Your Center Parcs Trip!
Whew! I know that sounds like a lot, but if you’re looking to save some money and a little stress when you’re there, this is the Center Parcs packing list for you.
I’d love to hear about your trip—which Center Parcs are you going to or have you been to? Tell me all about it!