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Live Out Your Willy Wonka Fantasies at These 10 Candy-Factory Tours

PHOTO: Jonathon P. James

From chocolate to jelly beans—yep, even Pez—appease your sweet tooth and travel to the mothership.

Going to the source is best—and that includes candy. Across the U.S. are dozens of hard-candy, chocolate-bar and jelly-bean makers inviting you to witness their creation in a factory tour. From Jelly Belly beans in California to Hershey kisses in Pennsylvania—and plenty of boutique companies in-between—here’s where to go for some domestic treats. Could this be the sweet start of an epic road trip? We think so.

INSIDER TIPTastings and samples follow most tours, and don’t forget to drop by the retail store for amazing bargains.

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Jelly Belly Candy Company

WHERE: Fairfield, California

Biting into a jelly bean and tasting buttered popcorn or strawberry cheesecake never gets old, right? Learn more about this flavor fusion via a free self-guided tour, offered daily at Jelly Belly’s California factory. Don’t leave without visiting the shop for “belly flops,” misshapen jelly beans for a ridiculously reduced price that are just as delicious.

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The Hershey Company

WHERE: Hershey, Pennsylvania

Central Pennsylvania’s most indulgent tourist attraction is Hershey Park—cue chocolate body wraps in the spa, aaah—but if biting into a chocolate bar is more your speed, get thee to the factory tour, which includes a product sample. Tours are totally free, and last just a half hour during operating hours (posted here). Tack on a tasting experience for $10.95, led by a guide and featuring a flavor wheel.

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Long Grove Confectionery Co.

WHERE: Long Grove, Illinois

Trek northwest of Chicago to this quaint little ‘burb and your sweet tooth won’t be disappointed. Tour the factory—producing Myrtles (just like “turtles”), peppermint creams, chocolate-covered pretzels, and English toffee since 1975—daily except for Sunday and holidays and receive a chocolate sample, too.

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Hammond's Candies

WHERE: Denver, Colorado

In 1920, this candy company was born in the Mile-High City. Candies produced here have a vintage twist, such as ribbon candy, peppermint pillows, and hand-pulled lollipops. Put on a paper hat and tour the factory for free, then score some sugary treats in the gift shop.

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Pez Candy

WHERE: Orange, Connecticut

For $5, you can take a self-guided tour of PEZ Candy’s 4,000-square-foot factory, featuring such—pardon the pun—eye candy as a PEZ motorcycle, factory store (hello, discounts!), and the world’s largest PEZ dispenser. In business since 1927—did you know Pez started in Vienna before relocating to the Northeast?—there’s a fair amount of company history folded into the tour, too. Admission includes a $2 store discount.

 

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Raaka Chocolate

WHERE: Brooklyn, New York

This bean-to-bar chocolate maker hosts “tasting tours” at its factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays. You need to book in advance, but it’s worth the wait. Want a more immersive experience? Sign up for the two-hour chocolate-making class on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings after production closes down.

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Theo Chocolate

WHERE: Seattle, Washington

One of the first in America’s artisan-chocolate, bean-to-bar movement (Theo was founded in 2006), this producer’s Fremont factory is open to visitors for one-hour weekday tours. Because the products are Fair Trade, topics of sustainability—and its impact on cacao farmers—are covered in-depth. Tastings follow (yum!)—and don’t forget to shop in the factory store.

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Kimmie Candy

WHERE: Reno, Nevada

If you’ve had Sunbursts and ChocoRocks, then you know Kimmie Candy, founded 17 years ago in Sacramento, California. Free tours of the factory at its now-headquarters in Reno are offered on weekdays, by appointment only. Learn what else this company makes, including chocolate-covered almonds and espresso beans, and some certified-organic products, too.

 

Candy-Factory-Tours-Sweet-Candy
PHOTO: Sweet Candy Company
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Sweet Candy Company

WHERE: Salt Lake City, Utah

Fans of history and nostalgia: This is your place. Sweet Candy Company, founded in 1892, makes saltwater taffy and fruit sours, along with more “modern” treats like cinnamon bears coated with milk chocolate and chocolate-covered fruit sticks. Free tours are offered on weekdays, where you’ll get to try some samples.

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Spangler

WHERE: Bryan, Ohio

Steeped in history, Spangler started making candy—Dum Dums, Smarties, and Circus Peanuts, to name just three—in 1906. Hop on a trolley and tour the store, the assembly line, and the museum at company headquarters.