Three hours from New York City and two hours from Philadelphia, Hershey—a.k.a. "Chocolate Town, USA"—was founded in 1907 by chocolate tycoon Milton Hershey as a community for his employees. In addition, he built an amusement park for his workers, which evolved into Hersheypark, a major attraction with roller coasters and other rides. (See maps of Hershey.)
Guests can stay at one of three official Hersheypark resorts, which offer many complimentary family activities and perks that include discounted theme park tickets, early-access to the theme park, an extra 3.5 hours of admission to Hersheypark the night before your stay, and complimentary shuttle service to Hersheypark.
Other attractions include ZooAmerica, an 11-acre zoo and wildlife walk; Hershey Gardens, a 23-acre botanical garden; and Hershey's Chocolate World, a visitor center with shops, restaurants, and a chocolate factory-themed tour ride.
The Boardwalk at Hersheypark
In 2007, the 100th anniversary of Hersheypark, a major expansion included a new $21-million water park called The Boardwalk. Located near the Midway inside Hersheypark, the Boardwalk reprises the style of the classic seaside boardwalks of the Northeast. The water park received additional expansions in 2009 and 2013. There are now 15 water rides.
Admission to The Boardwalk is included with admission to Hersheypark. The water park is open only in the summer, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
- East Coast Waterworks, a seven-story waterplay structure with seven body waterslides, two tipping buckets, two crawl tunnels, and nearly 600 interactive water toys. Kids can pull ropes, tip cones, and cross bridges as they explore.
- Coastline Plunge, a waterslide tower featuring six different tube waterslides.
- Sandcastle Cove, a children's play area with a safe, zero-depth entry designed for little ones.
- Bayside Pier, a kiddie wave pool with an average depth of 18 inches.
- Waverider, a simulated surfing experience.
- The Shore, a 378,000 gallon wave pool with a zero-depth entry and a maximum depth of 6 feet.
- Intercoastal Waterway, a 1,360 ft. long lazy river with a uniform water depth of 30 inches.
- Shoreline Sprayground, a children's splash area with misters, bubblers, water jets, and fountain.
Cabanas, lockers and life jackets (for little ones) are available at extra cost. Note that towels are not provided to guests.
Tips for Visiting The Boardwalk
- Consider wearing bathing suits under your clothes so you don’t have to change when you get to the water park.
- Swimsuits with buckles, rivets, or zippers are not allowed in The Boardwalk.
- Bring flip flops to wear while you're at The Boardwalk.
- Like the rest of Hersheypark, The Boardwalk is least busy in the morning and evening.
- You can buy swim diapers at the gift shop but they are pricey. Pack an adequate supply before you leave home.
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher