As York County, Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation’s largest snack manufacturers, factory tours are a “must do” of the region. Tours are family friendly and take you behind the scenes to learn the secrets behind creating the perfect pretzel or potato chip. Visitors get to sample their favorite snacks right off the assembly line or purchase a wide selection of tasty treats at great prices from the outlet stores. The tours are informative and each manufacturer shows you something different.
York and Hanover, PA are surprisingly close to the Washington DC area (just an hour north of Frederick, MD) and make an easy day trip or overnight getaway. Nestled in the scenic Pennsylvania's Dutch Country Roads Region, York County is also known for the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, the Susquehanna River, the Heritage Rail Trail, shopping, museums, historic sites, outdoor recreation and more.
Getting There: York County is located off I-83 and is also accessible from the DC area via US-15. Travel Distances: Washington, DC: 93 miles, Baltimore, MD: 54 miles, Gettysburg, PA: 31 miles, Harrisburg, PA: 22 miles.
York County is home to more than 20 factories and is known as the Factory Tour Capital of the World.
Snyder's of Hanover Factory Tours
Snyder’s of Hanover, the leader of the pretzel industry, offers a free guided factory tour of their manufacturing facility in Hanover, PA. Founded in 1909, producing Olde Tyme Pretzels, the company now manufactures a wide range of snacks and distributes them nationwide. On the tour, you'll see a variety of products being created and packaged. You’ll be amazed by the automation and the robotics are cool to watch! The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes and participants must be able to climb stairs. The tour ends at the factory outlet which has a huge selection of snacks to purchase.
Address: 1350 York Street Hanover, PA
Utz Quality Foods Factory Tours
Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, PA offers free self-guided factory tours with audio explanations of the chip manufacturing process. The company was founded in 1921 and today is the largest independent, privately held snack brand in the United States, producing over 3.3 million pounds of snacks per week. On the tour, you will see each step from the potatoes rolling off the trucks to the cleaning, slicing, and frying to the packaging process. Potato chip manufacturing is a very labor intensive process and with all the automation, it is still surprising how many laborers work on the floor. The tour is very informative and the process is fun to watch. The outlet store, located at Clearview Rd (less than a mile away) has an amazing selection including some great gift items and is well worth the visit.
Address: 900 High St Hanover, PA
Martin's Potato Chips Factory Tours
Martin’s Potato Chips offers free factory tours (complete with a hair net) which take you up close to see each step of the manufacturing process. You will see how potatoes are peeled, sliced, fried, cooled, salted and packaged. Although the factory is much smaller than Snyder's and Utz, the tour is more personal and you are just steps away from all of the action! The highlight of the tour is of course the free warm samples right off the production line. Martin’s Potato Chips were served on Air Force One during the Clinton and Bush administrations. The company was founded in 1941, has expanded its product line and is outgrowing its space. The factory is located on a farm off of U.S. 30 between Hanover and York, PA.
Address: 5847 Lincoln Highway West Thomasville, PA
Make Your Own Pretzel at York City Pretzel Company
What's better than a warm pretzel right out of the oven? Hand crafting it yourself! York City Pretzel Company is a craft pretzel bakery where you can make and eat your own pretzel. The bakery sells soft pretzels and soft pretzel nuggets, draft root beer, pink lemonade, beer mustard, root beer mustard and cheese dip made with local beer. Tours and twisting classes are by appointment only.
Address: 39 West Market Street York, PA