Hershey’s Chocolate World: An Easy Weekend Trip from Washington D.C.


We drove to Hershey, Pennsylvania for a quick trip to visit Hershey’s Chocolate World and we had fun! A 2 1/2 hour drive from Washington, D.C., Hershey, Pennsylvania was just far away to be a fun trip and close enough that we didn’t drive each other completely bonkers in the car.

As we entered Hershey’s Chocolate World, it felt like stepping into Willy Wonka’s factory, just no Gene Wilder. Everywhere you turned, there were bright lights, displays of chocolate creations and so much chocolate, even my eyes became wide. Hold onto your kids tightly because the excitement might turn them into mini chocolate tornadoes.

They’ll want to explore everything at once, so get ready for a dash from one chocolate-themed attraction to another. Our family talked ahead of time about the order of our day and how we would be purchasing chocolate to eat or any other souvenirs at the end to avoid packing them around all day.    

Kid-Friendly Areas and Activities

Enjoying free chocolate factory ride.

Hershey’s Chocolate World knows how to kids entertained and by the looks on their faces, adults seemed pretty happy too. Entry to Heshey’s Chocolate World is free and there’s a fun free ride where you’ll ride in a sparky Kiss car ride to learn about the chocolate-making process. My kids loved the singing cows so much that we went on the ride twice!

Because we made the trip on short notice, we opted to bundle the attractions and events to pack in the fun that day. 

One of the attractions we enjoyed was The Great Candy Expedition.

The paid attractions are HERSHEY’S Great Candy Expedition, Create Your Own Candy Bar, HERSHEY’S Unwrapped, and Hershey Trolley Works. We did all four and each had a favorite. My kid’s both were thrilled to wear a hairnet if it meant creating their own candy bar, complete with mix-ins, and designing their own label.

My spouse and I enjoyed breathing regular air outside of the chocolate factory and learning more about Milton S. Hershey on the Trolley Tour.

The trolley ride took us around Hershey, PA and had great, informative presenters.

*Tip: If you’re thinking about doing any of the attraction bundles, the price online is $5 cheaper per person. 

Dining Options: Fueling the Chocolate Monsters

Since we were at Hershey’s Chocolate World all day, we knew we’d want to eat food besides chocolate. We grabbed lunch in the Food Hall in the main building and found something everyone could enjoy.  There are tacos, BBQ, macaroni and cheese along with burgers & fries and veggies. If you’re brave enough to venture into a sit-down meal, Hersheypark Place Restaurant offers a family-friendly menu, but be ready for chocolate-themed food. 

Where to Stay for Sweet Dreams 

If you want to go full chocolate and stay in the Hershey experience, consider staying at one of the chocolate-themed resorts like The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge. We stayed at a more budget-friendly hotel, still on Chocolate Ave. in Hershey. Our lodgings walls were plastered with chocolate art and we were surprised/delighted/not sure about the chocolate scent being piped in through the stairwell. If you’re not looking to stay in Hershey, there are plenty of accommodations a little farther away in Harrisburg. Since this is only 2 1/2 hours away from Washington, D.C., it could be a long day trip if that’s all that time allows or if staying overnight isn’t in the budget. 

Visiting Hershey’s Chocolate World with kids was a whirlwind adventure that left us with a mix of exhaustion, a sugar high, and less cash in my wallet. My advice- embrace the sticky fingers, set a budget for souvenirs, and brush your teeth well that night! 

This trip we didn’t attempt Hershey Park, the amusement park, but maybe next time!