Destination Guide: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Growing up in Virginia, just a mere state away from Pennsylvania, you would think that as a kid, I would have gone to Hershey. You would be wrong. It wasn’t until I became a food blogger, a full grown adult with a child of my own, that I made my way to the Sweetest Place on Earth.
For those of you still unaware, Hershey is the home to well…everything chocolate. The streets are lined with charming buildings and streetlamps in the shape of Hershey Kisses. The air smells of cocoa, and every time you turn around, someone there is handing you a sample of something delicious.
Earlier this summer, Rust and I took Seven to Hershey for a quick 3 day getaway, the perfect length of time (in my opinion) to experience everything Chocolate Town has to offer. Luckily for you, you don’t have to wait until next summer to get a taste of it for yourself. Throughout September, Hersheypark is open every weekend, and then again on select weekends in October, November and December. (I’ll list those for you later in the post with some links to help you plan your visit.) For those interested, the dates in October are SO FUN – Hersheypark in the Dark is such a fun experience for kids and adults alike!
Now, as I mentioned, we spent three days and two nights in Hershey, exploring the town as well as all of the Hershey themed experiences. A weekend visit is a great amount of time if you need a day or two away, and I can’t think of anywhere, well…sweeter than Hershey. So, to make it even easier on you, I’ve made a little play by play of what we think is the best way to get the most out of a quick trip to Hershey.
Arrive in the late afternoon or evening, depending on when you can get there. Check in to your hotel (we highly recommend the Hershey Lodge or the Hotel Hershey). Try dinner at Harvest, located in The Hotel Hershey, for a true, fine dining experience. The Lobster Mac & Cheese, Cowboy Steak, and yes, Fried Chicken are sure bets. The cocktail menu is pretty fantastic as well. Other options for dinner at The Hotel Hershey are delicious, too – The Circular, Trevi 5, or the Iberian Lounge will hit the spot no matter what your mood.
Head out early to the park to play! There is no shortage of fun, and the rollercoasters are AMAZING. There is more than one wooden coaster, if nostalgia is something you crave, or, for the true fan of fun, check out Fahrenheit, Great Bear, Sidewinder, Skyview, Stormrunner, and the Sooper Dooper Looper! All of these are great coasters, and wow, do they make your tummy drop! Also, stay tuned – in 2020, there’s a NEW coaster coming – Candymonium! It’s slated to be the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in Hershey!
If coasters aren’t your thing, no worries! There are plenty of other rides, from Tea Cups to Twin Turnpike, to swings of all kinds, Skyview, Reese’s Cupfusion, and so much more. If you have little ones in tow, worry not – there are plenty of gentle (but exciting!) rides for the kiddos as well.
You could easily spend all day in the park, but our guess is, you’ll be tired after 7-8 hours…so once you are, we know exactly what you need to do.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
Stroll right on in to Chocolate World, and try to decide which way to go first!
The Chocolate Tour
How about something for free? (Yes, really!) The Chocolate Tour is a fun little ride that takes you through the world of chocolate, and is a great way to settle down a bit from all of those coasters at the park! It’s a quick ride, but just enough, and the kids really love the animations…we think you will, too.
The 4D Chocolate Mystery
We all loved this 4D movie adventure…it’s very interactive and the staff does an excellent job of including your kids. Prepare to laugh, jump, and of course, eat chocolate in this fun little activity.
Create Your Own Candy Bar
We have done this at least 4 times now, and I never get tired of it. Neither does Seven! I’m not sure who got the biggest kick out of it this time – Rust or Sev – because they both were giddy from the get-go. From creating your own special candy bar, filled with YOUR choices, to watching it come down the assembly line, to designing the special box, it’s a true one of a kind experience you get to EAT later!
Still hungry? There are plenty of options at the Hershey Lodge. Consider the Hershey Grill, The Forebay, The Bears’ Den, or Fire & Grain. We really enjoyed The Bears’ Den, because after a long day it was nice to be casual and just have some great, easy food. If you are feeling ravenous, though, I do love the Grill and its contemporary (yet not fussy) menu.
I know, good things must come to an end…but not quite yet! Depending on how long of a trek you need to make, you should at least make time for these fun stops in town.
Hershey Trolley Works
I love the trolley tour, as you get to learn so much about the town, and the life of Milton Hershey. The ride starts at Chocolate World, so it’s easy to get to and a great way to spend a bit of your morning.
The Hershey Story Museum
Located downtown, the Hershey Story Museum is a fun and informative interactive museum. Also be sure to do the hot chocolate tasting downstairs before you leave – it’s the tastiest part of the whole experience! (And who can say no to 6 kinds of hot cocoa??)