Things to do in Hershey-Harrisburg PA - Travel Addicts

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Fun Things to Do in Hershey-Harrisburg for All Ages

From visiting vineyards to exploring the fun at Herskey Park, there are so many great things to do in the Hershey-Harrisburg area in Pennsylvania

One way we get the most out of our travels is through long weekend getaways. Living on the East Coast, there are dozens of destinations within a few hours of our home. For my birthday, we spent a long weekend exploring all the fun things to do in Hershey, PA. This is far more than the capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a chocolate factory–it’s a region that is transforming from large scale manufacturing to small scale entrepreneurship, while providing fun activities for all ages.

Just 90 minutes from our house, Hershey-Harrisburg made the perfect weekend getaway for my birthday. In the past, we only thought about Hershey as home to the chocolate factory and an amusement park, but there is so much more available. Here are a few of our favorites—

Things to do in Hershey

Visiting Nissley Vineyards is a fun way to spend an afternoon[/caption]

Hershey-Harrisburg Wine Country

We’re generally skeptical of self-proclaimed wine regions. However, during our two days of visiting the vineyards in the Hershey-Harrisburg Wine Country, we were extremely impressed with the quality of the wines and the vineyards. Pennsylvania wines have historically had the reputation of being very sweet and lacking dimension, but we found something quite different. Vineyards like Nissley Vineyards and the Vineyard at Hershey are producing sophisticated, complex wines, including many dry wines. For me, this was the highlight of our weekend getaway and one of the most fun things to do in Hershey.

Take a spin on the roller coaster at Hershey Park

Hershey Park is fun for everyone

Hershey Park

No visit to Hershey would be complete without a visit to Hershey Park. This compact amusement park boasts over 65 rides, including 11 high-thrills roller coasters. Hershey is what amusement parks used to be like before the mega-corporate parks took hold. While we didn’t go on this trip (too cold), we have visited Hershey Park previously and had a great time.

Visiting Hershey's Chocolate World is one of the chocolate-iest things to do in Hershey PA

Hershey’s Chocolate World is popular for very good, sweet reasons

Hershey’s Chocolate World

It is not possible to visit the Hershey’s chocolate factory, so the company created an experience center called Chocolate World. As experience centers go, Chocolate World is fabulous! There is a small ride, a build-your-own-candy-bar activity and a 4D theater experience.

Basic admission to Chocolate World is free, but extra activities have a nominal charge. Naturally, it comes complete with a massive gift shop, carrying all things chocolate. This is a great way to spend time in Hershey, particularly if the weather is bad.

A Segway tour of the grounds of the Hershey Hotel is a really fun things to do in Hershey, Pennsylvania

The Segway tour of the Hershey Hotel grounds is a great way to spend a few hours

The Hotel Hershey and Spa

The Hotel Hershey is one of the great older hotels in America. Opened in 1933 by Milton S. Hershey, this property has defined luxury. We stayed at the hotel in 2010 and had an amazing experience. Additionally, the Spa at the Hotel Hershey is known for its unique chocolate treatments.

We’ve tried several times to get into the spa, but it’s always fully booked. However, on this trip, we toured the Hotel Hershey property on Segways. This is a novel way to learn about the hotel complex, while having a lot of fun. We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to ride the Segways off-road.

Animals roaming at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park near Hershey-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Animals roaming at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park

One afternoon, we went to the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, which is a private zoo. Since 1965, over 200,000 visitors a summer enjoy seeing the animals from topless school buses. As the animals come right up to the buses, visitors feed the animals crackers. With over 700 animals from six continents on over 200 acres, this park is large.

The animals seemed very well cared for and had lots of room roam, although we felt a little sad for the lions out in the Pennsylvania cold. For kids, this should be at the top of the list of things to do in Hershey-Harrisburg, but we enjoyed it, too, and took lots of photographs.

Brie appetizer

Amazing brie appetizer at Char’s

Fine Dining in Hershey

Having lived in New York for many years, we have pretty high expectations for dining but were delighted with the restaurants we tried. The Sturges Speakeasy in Harrisburg looks like many other bars all over the city, but serves amazing pub food made from scratch. The Harvest restaurant at the Hotel Hershey serves traditional American favorites like fish and chips, burgers, soups and sandwiches – all using locally sourced ingredients.

In fine dining, we tried Char’s at Tracy Mansion, with a duet of lamb and filet mignon. Fenicci’s Italian restaurant in Hershey, with its charismatic owner Phil, serves up amazing home-style Italian cuisine (hint – try the meatballs!). In Harrisburg, Home 231 delivers a farm fresh brunch with locally sourced ingredients (try the donut dessert as an appetizer).

Grounds of the Vineyard at Hershey

Grounds of the Vineyard at Hershey

We were the guests of the Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. All opinions of excellent wine and tasty food are our own.

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What do you think about Fun Things to Do in Hershey-Harrisburg for All Ages?

  1. Ayngelina December 4, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Wow so much more to that area than I had expected.

  2. Sebastian @ Off-The-Path.com December 4, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    I would do the Segway Tour for sure. Love them!

  3. Camels & Chocolate December 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    I guess given my blog name, it’s no surprise I’ve always wanted to go to PA for the chocolate attractions! I do love me some Hershey.

  4. Alex December 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Sign me up for the chocolate spa treatments! Sounds amazing!

  5. Jim Cheney (@UncoveringPA) March 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I’ve been surprised myself how much there is to do in the Hershey/Harrisburg area. I had no idea when I moved here.

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