Pez Visitor Center Factory Tour, Orange, Connecticut
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Made in the USA: 23 Must-See Factory Tours

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Pez Visitor Center Factory Tour, Orange, Connecticut
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Many tourists have gone on a brewery or distillery tour or been through the chocolate wonderland that is the Hershey's Chocolate Tour in Pennsylvania. But guitar factories, cigar makers, motorcycle plants, and other fascinating sites are also open to visitors. This survey of more than 30 tours — all free or less than $10 a person, unless otherwise noted — can add an educational element to your next vacation and may also offer free samples, along with fun memories. The COVID-19 pandemic changed many companies’ policies regarding tours. Check official websites for the most recent information before planning a visit.


Related: 74 Brands That Are Still Made in America

Harry & David's Factory Tour, Medford, Oregon
Harry & David/Yelp

Moose Munch and More at Harry & David's

Medford, Oregon
Folks who have wondered how that addictive sweet-salty Moose Munch snack is made can take a Harry & David tour. It offers a look at the mail-order company (dating back to the 1930s) and its treats, including baklava and truffles. The tours include a bakery treat and a chocolate.


Related: American Candymakers With Treats Almost Too Pretty to Eat

Martin Guitars Factory Tour, Nazareth, Pennsylvania
David S./Yelp

In Tune with Martin Guitars

Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Martin guitars have been played by Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, and Beck, among many others. Though Martin, which dates back to the 1830s, has a production plant in Mexico for its less-expensive models, its headquarters in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, is where it makes its top-of-the-line guitars and ukuleles. Fans of its legendary guitars can actually see them made there on factory tours five days a week.

UTZ
UTZ by JOHN LLOYD (CC BY)

Chips, No Dip at Utz Potato Chips and Snacks

Hanover, Pennsylvania
Visitors can experience the sights and smells of snack-making during a free tour of the Utz Potato Chips and Snacks factory. A self-guided tour of the 600,000-square-foot facility — the Utz Potato Chip Trip — takes an average of 30 to 45 minutes. A glass-enclosed observation gallery looks down on the entire production process, while an audio program and closed-circuit TV monitors help guide visitors through.

Summit Brewing Co. Factory Tour, St. Paul, Minnesota
Margie A./Yelp

Some Special Beer at Summit Brewing Co.

St. Paul, Minnesota
Summit Brewing Co., bills itself as the maker of "A More Meaningful Brew." Visitors can find out what that means when they "witness the miracle of brewing" and have a few samples from these Midwest pioneers who made their name with copper kettles instead of covered wagons. The tour includes a flight of four 7-ounce beers.


Related: 19 of the Oldest Breweries in America

Beecher's Handmade Cheese Factory Tour, New York City
Fawn G./Yelp

Say 'Cheese' at Beecher's Handmade Cheese

New York City
It might be crass to call this a factory tour, but Beecher's Handmade Cheese in New York City's Flatiron District (a sister to the famed flagship in Seattle's Pike Place Market) features a glass-walled cheese-making kitchen where visitors can watch centuries-old craftsmanship. Guests can also grab a sandwich in the café or have a glass of wine downstairs in the Cellar, where rows of Beecher's cheeses ripen to perfection.

Experimental Breeder Reactor-I Tour, Arco, Idaho
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For the Science-Minded at Experimental Breeder Reactor-I

Arco, Idaho
For those with an interest in science, nuclear energy, or electricity, a free tour of Idaho's pioneering Experimental Breeder Reactor-I explains how electricity is generated from nuclear energy. Located between Idaho Falls and Arco, the (EBR-I) Atomic Museum is a National Historic Landmark where usable electricity was first generated from nuclear energy in 1951.

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Tour, Shelburne, Vermont
Lisa M./Yelp

Snuggle Up at Vermont Teddy Bear

Shelburne, Vermont
Those with a soft spot for stuffed animals can tour the Vermont Teddy Bear factory and see how those well-dressed cuties are made. During the guided tour, which lasts about 30 minutes, visitors watch bears be crafted by hand and see the Bear Hospital, where "Dr. Nancy" does repairs.

Knigge Farm Factory Tour, Omro, Wisconsin
Knigge Farms/Yelp

Got Milk at Knigge Farm

Omro, Wisconsin
There's no shortage of milk at Knigge Farm, the first dairy farm in the country with robotic milkers. They also have 600 acres of alfalfa, corn, soybeans, oats, and wheat, along with 130 milk cows and 170 heifers, calves, and steers. A half-hour guided tour features a free-stall dairy barn where cows are milked robotically 24 hours a day. Guests can also feed the calves if it's mealtime.

Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour, Waterbury, Vermont
Ali G./Yelp

Frosty Goodness at Ben & Jerry's

Waterbury, Vermont
Who hasn't turned to a pint of Ben & Jerry's for comfort at some point? Fans can see where that sweet solace is made at the Ben & Jerry's factory tour and ice cream shop. The 30-minute tour takes visitors through the process — the production area is viewed from a glassed-in mezzanine — and ends on a decidedly sweet note, offering everyone the sample of the day. 


Note: Tours of Ben & Jerry's remain suspended and the gift shop is closed until mid-July 2022, according to the company's website. 

Wisconsin Wagon Co. Factory Tour, Janesville, Wisconsin
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Knock on Wood at Wisconsin Wagon Co.

Janesville, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Wagon Co. produces more than a dozen handmade wooden products such as the signature Janesville Coaster Wagon, along with serving trays and more. An hourlong tour takes visitors through the manufacturing process, which includes metalworking, woodworking, finishing, and assembly operations. Tours are for groups of 15 or more and require reservations.

Bates Nut Farm Factory Tour, Valley Center, California
Johnny N./Yelp

Go Nuts at Bates Nut Farm

Valley Center, California
Bates Nut Farm is a family farm established in 1921. Today the fourth- and fifth-generation families offer a glimpse into the business and a "Nuts For You" Tour for groups of 15 or more by reservation. It touches on the history of nut-growing in California and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the roasting, packaging, and storage facilities on site, along with seasonal snacks.

Jelly Belly, Fairfield, California
Kaylin B./Yelp

A Sweet Deal at Jelly Belly

Fairfield, California
Videos at Jelly Belly factory tours provide visitors a peek into the jelly-bean-making process, while a self-guided walk along an elevated, quarter-mile-long tour lane provides a bird's-eye view of the operation. There are also interactive exhibits and free samples.

Rapid City
Rapid City by Wayne Hsieh (CC BY-NC)

Sparkle On at Mount Rushmore Gold Factory

Rapid City, South Dakota
At the Mount Rushmore Gold Factory, free factory tours put the spotlight on skilled artisans who demonstrate the ancient process of lost-wax casting and show how diamonds are cast in molten gold. Diamond cutting is also demonstrated on the free tour. At the factory store, visitors can take advantage of factory-direct prices.

Queen Creek Olive Mill Factory Tour, Queen Creek, Arizona
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Olive Love at Queen Creek Olive Mill

Queen Creek, Arizona
Queen Creek Olive Mill is a thriving agri-tourism destination with 7,000 trees, a market, and an eatery. During the 45-minute Olive Oil 101 Tour, guests get to taste the oil created on site. They also learn about the qualities, standards, and health benefits of olive oil, as well as the 10-year history of the farm.

Stone Creek Coffee Factory Tour, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
B K./Yelp

A Cup of Joe at Stone Creek Coffee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Stone Creek Coffee features a free weekly tour of its 1880s factory on Sundays. The Milwaukee craft coffee roaster, founded in 1993, gives visitors an inside look at the craft, from the coffee-growing seasons to the art of specialized roasting, in its green storage area, roasting facility, cupping lab, and training center — along with free coffee.

Pez Visitor Center Factory Tour, Orange, Connecticut
Kim B./Yelp

Plastic Fantastic at the Pez Visitor Center

Orange, Connecticut
Tours of the Pez Visitor Center are self-guided and viewing windows offer a look at the production floor. Video monitors explain the process that produces the more than 3 billion Pez candies sold annually. That's just in the United States, and not to mention the quirky dispensers.

Kazoo Factory, Museum & Gift Shop, Eden, New York
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Carry a Tune at the Kazoo Factory, Museum & Gift Shop

Eden, New York
Kazoos and road trips go together — at least, kids used to think that was so. Take a nostalgic trip into the history of the musical instrument that seemingly everyone can play with a tour of the Kazoo Factory, Museum & Gift Shop of Eden. History, trivia, and manufacturing are explored in self-guided and hosted tours.

Kohler Factory Tour, Kohler, Wisconsin
Howard L./Yelp

Plumb Amazing at Kohler

Kohler, Wisconsin
Home handymen, plumbers, and interior designers alike will find something of interest at the Kohler factory tours at the plumbing supplier’s home. The tours last about three hours and are available weekdays. Visitors get a look at the production of china lavatories, bathtubs, and more. 

George's Furniture Factory Tour, Marietta, Pennsylvania
George's Furniture/Yelp

Furniture, By Hand at George's Furniture

Marietta, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's Lancaster County has a strong craft tradition that continues today with companies like George's Furniture, headquartered on a small farm outside the village of Maytown. In the woodshop, skilled artisans make solid hardwood furniture by hand to custom specifications. Items such as chairs, beds, tables, and cupboards are crafted out of walnut, cherry, oak, or hard maple.

Herbaria Factory Tour, St. Louis, Missouri
Herbaria/Yelp

Bath Time at All Natural Soap Handmade by Herbaria

St. Louis
All Natural Soap Handmade by Herbaria is a company marking its 20th anniversary this year. Visitors are invited to take the free, brief tour of the factory/store and hear all about both the botanical ingredients and the chemistry that go into soap-making. This destination is said to be "worth a trip for the smell alone!" Groups of 10 or more require advance notice.

Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield, Massachusetts
Jo I./Yelp

Let There Be Light at Yankee Candle Village

South Deerfield, Massachusetts
The Yankee Candle Village, the company's flagship location in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, is a bit more theme park/shopping center than factory. But amid special events, visitors can see 400,000 candles in more than 200 different scents and view candle-making in a recreated 1830s shop.

Hallmark Visitors Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Vanessa Z./Yelp

Hallmark Moments at the Hallmark Visitors Center

Kansas City, Missouri
The Hallmark Visitors Center offers a free look at the company's history, which spans more than 100 years, and a display featuring 40 years of ornaments. Visitors can also take a selfie with one of the Emmy Awards presented to the company for its "Hallmark Hall of Fame" productions. Reservations required.

Crayola Experience, Orlando, Florida
Dan G./Yelp

Color On at the Crayola Experience

Multiple locations
The Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania (there are also locations in Chandler, Arizona; Minneapolis; Orlando, Florida; and Plano, Texas) is a 65,000-square-foot destination designed to spark imagination and creativity by touching on color, chemistry, and technology. Admission is $28 for guests ages 3 and older, but families can expect to spend three to four hours exploring more than 25 attractions, which include the Crayon Factory, a live theater show that explains how crayons are made. Visitors can save $3 by booking online.


Discover more fun and affordable vacation destinations right here.