When you first pull I to town there is a cute welcoming sign with chocolate candy bar characters, misleading you to think the rest of the town is decorated much like the sign. There are light poles that have what resemble Hershey Kisses on the top. Again misleading because these two things are about the only things that give any indication that you are in Hershey, PA. If you choose not to stay at the Hershey hotel and pay a small fortune to do so, then you will most likely be driving 10-20 minutes in and out of town to stay at another hotel. We stayed at a Holiday Inn in a neighboring community and had everyone in our dance studio's credit card information stolen and used fraudulently the same day as we checked in. Most of the families ended up getting their rooms for the week for free because of the disaster of not being able to use their stolen credit cards on vacation. Activites are very limited to the outlet mall, Hershey amusement park, Hershey museum, and Hershey store.
We had to spend a week in Hershey, PA for a dance competition. Hind sight is always 20/20. This particular dance competition held their nationals in Hershey each year because it was much cheaper than other more known cities like Myrtle Beach, Chicago, Wisconsin Dells, Sandusky, Las Vegas, etc. The week seemed to last an eternity. When my daughter was not competing we found the area quite boring and unable to fill our time with worthwhile activities. The surrounding communities don't offer any other options either. Most of the communities are Amish or Mennonite. They offer beautiful countryside scenery but that is about all.
Herhsey Amusement Park:
We did spend one day in the Hershey amusement park. This particular park had it's own theme and didn't have anything to do with the Hershey brand. Other than it's location you will not find anything about this park to do with Hershey. We did have fun in the park but it really wasn't anything special. The rides in the park seemed comparable to those of other parks we had visited. No rides stood out as top thrill rides like ones Sandusky, OH, Six Flags, or Disney World. I didn't feel that even when searching for activities in our free time that we wanted to visit the park again.
Desperate to do something one afternoon we purchased tickets to the museum. I will shorten this section and say when leaving my husband made the comment, "I can't believe we just paid that much money to go in there." My kids thought it was overly boring. I would not suggest this activity to anyone. You will be fine skipping this one.
Okay so who doesn't love chocolate? The store will take several hours if you really want to check everything out. There is a small coaster like ride that you can enjoy. It takes you through a factory like story line of chocolate. The backery has all kinds of goodies to try. They will be pricey but taste amazing. You can design your own candy bar wrapper for a small fee. We did this and still have them to this day in a special tin they gove you. The store itself will have everything imaginable that Hershey brand makes. There are flavors of Twizzlers you have never heard of. Expect to walk away spending a small fortune in the store.
The town has limited food options. They were so limited we ate lunch several times from the same diner and dinner multiple times at the Red Robin. I am pretty sure we haven't eaten at a Red Robin since. This trip was in 2015.
I would tell someone wanting to visit Hershey, plan for a day maybe two. You will not need anything over two days. Visit the park and the store then move onto your next destination. We had a much better time in Washington, DC before and New York City, NY after Hershey. But frankly if you never make it here in your lifetime, you really didn't miss much.