Ever wonder how your favorite snacks and indulgences are made? At these 10 locations, you can go behind the scenes of some of the nation's most popular food companies and see what it takes to perfect their products. From Ben & Jerry's to Jelly Belly, we've sought out the best of the tours that pull back the curtain on the creation of your favorite treats. The best part? These tours all end with tasty samples.
by Zachary Laks
Jelly Belly Factory Tour
WHERE: Fairfield, CA
30-minute tour; free admission
Jelly Belly, the classic candy bean, has been a staple of the American candy store since 1869. Giving insight into the production of more than 50 flavors, the Jelly Belly Factory Tour offers sweet-seekers the chance to see how they pack so much flavor into those tiny morsels. Don the festive Jelly Belly hat they provide as you enter into the world where the magic happens. As you walk above the production plant, guides offer the opportunity to taste Jelly Bellys mid-production—the rare chance to taste the candy without its glossy finish. Having learned of the week-long process of the bean's creation, you'll end the tour with the best reward: up to three free samples.
Insider Tip: Look out for the new, first-ever beer flavored Jelly Beans called “Draft.” Perfect for Father's Day, these alcohol-free beans are a hot seller and available at the factory.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's San Francisco Guide
Hershey Chocolate World
WHERE: Hershey, PA
Day-long tour; free entrance, 4-D movie tickets $6.95-$7.95
The world's capital of chocolate delivers a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience to all of its many fans. Hershey's Chocolate World is filled with attractions, tours, restaurants, and of course, lots of unique chocolates. The Chocolate Tour is a custom built moving carriage that takes riders through a 10-minute simulation of the chocolate creation process. Also check out the brand-new 4-D movie theater, which features Hershey characters in an interactive story. Don't miss the year-round Trolley Adventure tour, a 60 minute old-fashioned trolley that goes through the historical town of Hershey.
Insider Tip: Less than a mile from Hershey's Chocolate World is the famed Hersheypark, featuring 12 roller coasters. The Skyrush, built in 2012, is a must for thrill-seekers with its first-of-its-kind seating raised well above the track.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Hershey Guide
Ben & Jerry’s
WHERE: Waterbury, VT
30-minute tour; $4/adult, $3/senior, kids 12 and under free
Ben & Jerry's pint-sized wonders have maintained their quality and uniquely playful flavors (Cherry Garcia, Banana Split) because of the company's commitment to the finest dairy products and an endearing creative spirit. The kitschy and quirky Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour brings you into one of its main processing plants through a guided tour that explains how the quirky flavors have carved a dedicated space in the freezers of America. Flavor enthusiasts will love visiting the “Flavor Graveyard”—the cheeky mock graveyard of all the retired flavors. Each tour ends with the chance to sample an ice cream in development; knowing the company's history of flavors, guests are always in store for something unique!
Insider Tip: About a half-hour drive from Underhill is the tiny town of Waterbury, Vermont. This small dot on the map is a national player in the craft brewing and local refined spirits culture. Be sure to check out the extensive beer list at Prohibition Pig and after finding your favorite brew, head down the street to the incredible Craft Beer Cellar to pick up a case (or two) to take home!
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Vermont Guide
Sam Adams Brewery
One-hour tour; free with suggested donations to local charities
The Sam Adams Brewery Tour in Boston is a must for connoisseurs of fine American-crafted beer. Tour guides known for their comedic flourishes guide guests step-by-step from barley to beer. Observe the various tanks, casks, and treatments the brews go through prior to reaching supermarkets and watering holes. The facility also serves as Sam Adams' testing department, offering guests the ability to try yet-to-be-perfected brews. With a sampling glass provided at no cost, sample up to three beers straight from the tap, many of which are exclusive to Boston.
Insider Tip: For some much-needed fresh air after the brewery visit, mosey down the road to Franklin Park Zoo to check out the giraffes, leopards, and gorillas.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Boston Guide
WHERE: Avery Island, LA
One-hour tour; $1/car entrance to the premises. Factory tour free, Jungle Garden Tour $8/person
Those seeking to raise the heat need look no further than the Tabasco Factory, home of the famous hot sauce. The Tabasco Factory Tour is a self-guided look into the plant's bottling operation with a video on the history of the sauce shown prior to seeing the process live. Seek out the store for its many unique offerings of spiced eats and treats. Favorites include the jalapeno ice cream, the new Sweet and Spicy East Asian style chili sauce, and Tabasco cola. Also try the Jungle Garden Tour, a self-guided driving tour through the grounds which are home to alligators, towering bamboo, and hundreds of egrets.
Insider Tip: Less than 20 minutes from the Tabasco Factory is the much-loved Rip Van Winkle Gardens, home to more than 20 acres of gardens. Peacocks roam free alongside the Joseph Jefferson Mansion, an architectural treasure.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Louisiana Guide
WHERE: Boulder, CO
One-hour tour; free admission
The tea leaves tell you to relax and enjoy the pleasant aromas emanating from the factory tour of Celestial Seasonings. At their only manufacturing facility in Boulder, the company welcomes enthusiasts for a spot of tea. The favorite among visitors is the famed Peppermint Room, where the strong mint scent overwhelms the olfactory. With complimentary tea while you wait for the tour, after the tour, and a few samples to bring home, Celestial Seasonings provides a pleasurable and awakening experience.
Insider Tip: Boulder's also known for its vibrant coffee culture with dozens of independent coffee roasters. Check out Method Roasters, The Unseen Bean, and Boxcar Coffee Roasters for an across-the-board caffeinated experience.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Boulder Guide
WHERE: Wahiawa, HI
Day-long tour; see website for pricing details
Seeking the freshest pineapple? Paradise awaits at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. A self-guided tour through Dole's eight exotic gardens offers an up-close view of rare fruits in their natural habitats. Smell the vibrantly colored flowers blossoming as you take in the stories of the company that has made pineapple one of America's favorite fruits. Then, hop on board the Pineapple Express as you travel the grounds on a charming 20-minute narrated train tour. The world's largest human maze offers the opportunity to get gleefully lost—and bug spray is a must!
Insider Tip: Though there's never a bad season to visit the Dole Plantation, November through March is the rainy season.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Honolulu and Oahu Guide
WHERE: Cabot, VT
45-minute tour; $2 admission; free for children under 12
After a brief video to begin the Cabot Creamery Tour, guests are brought right into where the action happens: the live production facility. As curds and whey separate, tour guides show each step of churning milk into cheese. The main reason to visit Cabot's Factory becomes clear when you are led into the incredible room of complimentary cheeses of every variety. Those in the know flock to the rare whey butter and aged reserve cheddar. Sampling becomes a sport at the Creamery, as the employees encourage you to indulge.
Insider Tip: An hour's drive from Cabot, the quaint town of Stowe, VT is worth a visit. With renowned ski and golf resorts and a small, but mighty restaurant offering, Stowe has been wooing vacationers to northern Vermont for decades.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Vermont Guide
Snyder’s of Hanover
WHERE: Hanover, PA
30-minute tour; free admission
Ascend the controlled-chaos of the Snyder's of Hanover factory as pretzels swirl down custom-built slides and boxes on conveyor belts whiz by below. State-of-the-art robotics rule the floor as the tasty pretzels are contorted into their signature shape. Reservations are required at least a day prior for this popular factory tour that features rare pretzel varieties such as buttermilk ranch, nacho cheese, and garlic and herb. Don't miss their outlet that serves warm pretzels, honey wheat sticks, and gluten-free varieties.
Insider Tip: While in Hanover bring the whole family to the classic Timeline Arcade. Timeline's great selection of vintage pinball machines along with their state-of-the-art interactive games offers something for everyone. Known for their well-kept machines and friendly staff, Timeline Arcade is worth a visit.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Pennsylvania Guide
World of Coca-Cola
WHERE: Atlanta, GA
Two-hour tour; $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $12 for youths
Coca-Cola is so entwined with American pop culture that it’s fitting the carbonated conglomerate offers such a grand and comprehensive factory experience. Enter the World of Coca-Cola, a long-standing staple of Atlanta whose expanded factory tour offers much more than your standard “behind-the-scenes” peek at production. This experience offers a self-guided tour of the “Bottle Works” room where you see the intricate bottling process, in addition to a visit to the vault, where the secrets of Coca-Cola's famous recipe are kept. Don't miss the 4-D movie experience, featuring the famous polar bear mascot. The essential part of the visit is tasting the 60-plus varieties of Coca-Cola from all across the globe, including flavors such as green tea and raspberry.
Insider Tip: Just steps from the World of Coca-Cola you'll find the monumental Georgia Aquarium. The world's largest aquarium hosts a Broadway-style show called Dolphin Tales with dolphins as the main characters. This new show plays up to four times a day and you must purchase your tickets in advance.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Atlanta Guide