If you’re looking for a trip that both you and the kids will remember for days and years to come, and you live in the Northeast, consider a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania. With its Hershey theme park and chocolate-related activities, you can’t go wrong, particularly if you have a family of sweet tooths.
Here’s the low-down on where to stay, what to do and where to eat on your next family trip.
Where to Stay
Comfort Inn at the Park is just off Rte. 422 and only a few miles from Hershey Park. Rooms are casual but clean and cozy, with free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms with showers, as well as flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers. Some rooms have mini fridges and microwaves. Suites add a separate sitting area and pullout sofas. Breakfast is complimentary. There’s an indoor heated pool with a hot tub, and free outdoor parking. Word to the wise: book well in advance. Hotel rooms run scarce in the summertime.
What to Do
There are plenty of non-chocolaty activities in Hershey. There’s Antique Automobile Club of America, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, where vintage cars, buses and motorcycles are on display. At Indian Echo Caverns, explore 440 million year-old caverns always at 52 degrees. Hershey Gardens is right down the road from the Hotel Hershey. Originally founded by Milton S. Hershey as a formal 3-½ acre rose garden, Hershey Gardens fills 23 acres. Filled with magnificent themed gardens, colorful seasonal displays, more than 5,000 rose bushes, a children’s garden, and a seasonal Butterfly House – this botanical gem is relaxing and lovely.
For a dose of chocolate, head to Hershey’s Chocolate World. Take the free “Great American Chocolate Tour Ride,” an indoor ride that explains how chocolate bars are made. Then go into the tasting lab and learn how to be palateers, sampling chocolate by using all of your senses. Next up is the “Create Your Own Candy Bar” experience, where you will don aprons to customize your own chocolate bars, choosing its base flavor (milk, dark, or white) and fillings, and watch them being made in an automated assembly line.
Hersheypark is everyone’s raison d’etre for being in Hershey so make the most of our entire day there. There are roller coasters for all levels including Laff Trakk, the Sidewinder, Lightening Racer and Comet, water rides, an old-fashioned carousel and Ferris wheel and dozens of other rides. Spend a bit of time at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, an 11-acre right next to Hersheypark, featuring North American wildlife, including alligators, owls, and snapping turtles.
At The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue you will learn how Milton Hershey went from bankruptcy to brilliance, transforming chocolate from a luxury to an everyday treat in their extensive Museum Experience that features 10,000 square feet of exhibits. Then experience a hands-on “Chocolate Lab” class and sample warm drinking chocolate at the “Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting.”
Where to Eat
For a delicious lunch at Hotel Hershey, head to Trevi 5, a modern Italian restaurant on the hotel’s premises that was named after the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome. With sweeping views of Hershey Park and the Gardens, the menu offers healthy options, in addition to thin-crusted pizza and pasta dishes including Baked Lasagna, Capellini Pasta with Garlic Shrimp and Penne Bolognese.
Go for dinner at The Mill Restaurant. Located in a two-story mill that dates back to 1858, off of Old West Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, the renovated space features exposed timber beams and vintage lights, and the menu is all about seasonal, farm-to-table meals. The menu focuses on fresh, seasonal foods including seafood such as Atlantic Grilled Salmon, Seared Sea Scallops, Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna and Maryland Broiled Crab cakes.
Head to Fenicci’s Italian Restaurant of Hershey for an Italian feast. Owner Phil Guarno remains committed to using quality ingredients, many from his own garden located behind the restaurant; and he still offers some of the most treasured original recipes along with new, creative additions to please any palette. Revel in full plates of ravioli and authentic pizza.
Disclosure: Holly partnered with Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau on the logistics of this trip, but all opinions are her own.