One thing I love to do is to is mini getaways with our family. 1-3 nights (max) is about all my little ones can handle right now, and Hershey Park was the perfect spot. I was gifted park tickets for my family, so we decided to make an overnight out of it, and boy did we have a blast. This was our first getaway since COVID restrictions were lifted (minus masks on public transportation) and it really felt great to have some normalcy in our lives.
We didn’t have the best of luck with the weather, but we made the most of our two days in The Sweetest Place on Earth. We stayed at Hotel Hershey for the outdoor pool, with splash area since my kids are 5, 4, and 1 – there’s also watersides for the older ones. Luckily for us there is also an indoor poor since our timing with the storm cut our outside time short, but we laughed at our bad luck and just moved our fun indoors. We had dinner at Harvest, the farm-to-table restaurant one site at the hotel, the food was really good and if you know us, we are suckers for dessert – so order the campfire s’mores!
The next day we did breakfast at the hotel and hit the park at 10am, which is an hour earlier than when it opens and a perk for guests of any of the hotels. Not every ride is open for the early hour, but many are and it was so wonderful to be able to bounce from ride to ride before the park filled up. The park is a lot larger than I expected and the little kids rides are spread out in each section, which means you do a lot of walking. If you have older kids, The Boardwalk waterpark is right in the center of the park and looked like a lot of fun. I would recommend giving this section it’s own day unless you are ok with walking around in a wet bathing suit (that’s not for me).
We ended our day with making our own chocolate bars, a walk through Zoo America, which is also accessible from the park, and then ice cream at Miltons! We were in our car by 5pm (just in time for the next storm) and home by 7:30pm with a tired troop, which in parenting world means a successful day.
Here are my top 10 tips for planning your trip to Hershey Park:
1 – If you stay at one of the hotels, you can have “preview hours” the night before that do not count towards your park ticket.
2 – If you stay at one of the hotels you also have private early access to the park by 1 hour for hotel guests only.
3 – The hotels offer shuttle services to and from the park so if Mom & Dad would like to have some cocktails you have a safe driver.
4 – Hershey’s Chocolate World, which has a free tour ride, and where you can make your own chocolate bar as well as other paid attractions is located right outside of the park. I would do these on your first day early, then go back to the hotel for lunch + pool time before utilizing your “park preview” hours at night.
5 – Make dinner reservations in advance so you are sure to get the time you want
6 – Both Zoo America and The Boardwalk waterpark are located within Hershey Park, which means your park ticket allows you access to them for free.
7 – Hershey Park allows re-entry the same day, so if you need to take a break from the park, you can go back later on.
8 – Milton’s Ice Cream Parlor + The Chocolatier are located within the gift shop by the park exit – both are a must!
9 – The park is hilly, so wear comfortable shoes and bring a stroller, even if your kiddo is a little older they do a lot of walking and mine all needed breaks at one point.
10 – We only stayed for one night, but there’s a lot more to explore, if you have older kids, I would definitely do 2-3 nights and use one day for The Boardwalk alone so you aren’t crowding everything into the same day.