Made in the USA: 33 Must-See Factory Tours

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Many people 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 provide free samples, along with fun memories.

Related: 75 Brands That Are Still Made in America

Leanna S./yelp.com

Frosty Goodness at Ben & Jerry's

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 in Waterbury, Vermont. 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.

In Tune
Courtesy of martinguitar.com

In Tune with Martin Guitars

Martin guitars have been played by Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, and Beck, among many others. While Martin, which dates back to the 1830s, does have 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.

Jeanne W./yelp.com

Chips, No Dip at Utz Potato Chips and Snacks

Visitors can experience the sights and smells of snack-making during a free tour of the Utz Potato Chips and Snacks factory in Hanover, Pennsylvania. 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.

Andrew D./yelp.com

Moose Munch and More at Harry & David's

Folks who have wondered how that addictive sweet-salty Moose Munch snack is made can take a Harry & David tour in Medford, Oregon. 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.

Courtesy of toyotageorgetown.com

Drive Time at Toyota Kentucky

Visitors can get a glimpse of how a car is made on a free, hourlong tour of Toyota Kentucky in Georgetown. It's America's first and the world's largest Toyota manufacturing facility, cranking out some 2,000 vehicles each day. Visitors see a 1988 Camry, the first ever made in the United States, before enjoying the guided, tram-driven tour around the plant.

Related: The Cheapest New Cars and Trucks of 2019

Leader of the Pack
Courtesy of harley-davidson.com

Leader of the Pack with Harley-Davidson

Fans of Harley-Davidson motorcycles can get a look at how the classic cycles are made at two U.S. factories. At facilities in York, Pennsylvania, and Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, free tours give a limited view of the assembly line and designated fabrication areas, along with further displays on manufacturing and assembly. Visitors can also sit on current production models. For true devotees, a Steel Toe Tour ($38) offers more behind-the-scenes details, plus a souvenir safety vest and commemorative pin.


Some Special Beer at Summit Brewing Co.

Summit Brewing Co. in St. Paul, Minnesota, 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

Courtesy of wikimedia.org

Say 'Cheese' at Beecher's Handmade Cheese

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.

Related: 15 Alluring Cheese Shops Offering Free Samples


For the Science-Minded at Experimental Breeder Reactor-I

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.


Got Milk at Knigge Farm

They certainly have milk at Knigge Farm in Omro, Wisconsin, 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.


Snuggle Up at Vermont Teddy Bear

Those with a soft spot for stuffed animals can tour the Vermont Teddy Bear factory in Burlington 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.

Courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Knock on Wood at Wisconsin Wagon Co.

The Wisconsin Wagon Co. in Janesville 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.

Peter A./yelp.com

Go Nuts at Bates Nut Farm

Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center, California, 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.

Courtesy of Cheapism
Jelly Belly in Fairfield, California
Miya T./yelp.com

A Sweet Deal at Jelly Belly

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

Tida T./yelp.com

Get Stuck at Mrs. Grossman's

At the Mrs. Grossman's factory tour in Petaluma, California, visitors start with a quick video before hitting the factory floor, where they see thousands of stickers printed, die-cut, and perforated. Sticker history and sticker facts are shared as the tour visits six workstations, with free stickers at each stop. At the company store, visitors are invited to create a project.

Wheel In
Courtesy of trekbikes.com

Wheel In to Trek Bicycle

Cycling fanatics can find out what goes into the construction of their favorite machines at Trek Bicycle in Waterloo, Wisconsin. On Wednesdays, the company offers 1-hour, wheelchair-accessible tours for visitors 4 years old and up. Visitors will learn about the history of Trek and get to see the company’s design studio and the Race Team Shop, where Trek bike team members’ rides are built and inspected.


Sparkle On at Mount Rushmore Gold Factory

At the Mount Rushmore Gold Factory in Rapid City, South Dakota, 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 Tour
Queen Creek Olive Mill/facebook.com

Olive Love at Queen Creek Olive Mill

Queen Creek Olive Mill in Arizona 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.

B K./yelp.com

A Cup of Joe at Stone Creek Coffee

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.

Related: From Mocha to Java: The Secret History of How Coffee Took Over the World


Plastic Fantastic at the Pez Visitors Center

Tours of the Pez Visitors Center in Orange, Connecticut, 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.

Sara C./yelp.com

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

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 in New York. History, trivia, and manufacturing are explored in self-guided and hosted tours.

Plumb Amazing
Courtesy of us.kohler.com

Plumb Amazing at Kohler

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

Courtesy of Cheapism

Furniture, By Hand at George's Furniture

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.


Light Up at Cigar Factory New Orleans

Cigar Factory New Orleans has been described as "a cigar factory, smoke shop, and hangout space with a cigar museum and rollers doing on-site demos." Seems to cover all the cigar-related bases, right? In the famed French Quarter since 1999, this is a place to step back in time accompanied by Latin sounds and aromatic scents.

Related: 20 Cheap or Free Things to Do in New Orleans


Tour With a Twist at Snyder's of Hanover

Snyder's of Hanover in Pennsylvania offers a free tour of its pretzel bakery that touches on the company's history as it explores the fast-paced manufacturing facility. The guided walking tour includes the raw-materials warehouse, finished-goods warehouse (expect robotics), and a state-of-the-art packing room. Visitors even get to see the oven room, which will likely inspire hunger. Luckily, the tour ends at the factory store with free bags of pretzels.


Chocolates? Yes, Please at Lake Champlain Chocolates

Lake Champlain Chocolates creates fresh, all-natural chocolates in Burlington, Vermont. Visitors are invited to see how it's done with a free, 30-minute, through-the-window tour that includes free samples. There are also free weekend tastings and demonstrations throughout the year.

Courtesy of facebook.com

On the Waterfront at Regal Marine Industries

Paul and Carol Kuck founded Regal Marine Industries in 1969. Today, Regal boats are known for their state-of-the-art craftsmanship. Visitors can take a free tour of the factory in Orlando, Florida, and get an up-close look at how each of the company's designs is made.


Bath Time at All Natural Soap Handmade by Herbaria

St. Louis is home to All Natural Soap Handmade by Herbaria, a company marking its 17th anniversary this year. Visitors are invited to take the free "backstage 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!"

Jesse R./yelp.com

Let There Be Light at Yankee Candle Village

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 re-created 1830s shop.

Sarah S./yelp.com

Hallmark Moments at the Hallmark Visitors Center

The Hallmark Visitors Center in Kansas City, Missouri, offers a free look at the company's history, which spans more than 100 years, and a display featuring 40 years of ornaments. Writers, illustrators, designers, photographers, and sculptors behind popular products regularly participate in the Hallmark Live exhibit. Visitors can also take a selfie with one of the Emmy Awards presented to the company for its "Hallmark Hall of Fame" productions.

Roei A./yelp.com

Color On at the Crayola Experience

The Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania (there are also locations in Chandler, Arizona; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Plano, Texas; and Orlando, Florida.) is a 65,000-square-foot destination designed to spark imagination and creativity by touching on color, chemistry, and technology. Although admission is $22, 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.

Major Keys
Courtesy of media.steinway.com

Major Keys at Steinway & Sons

Steinway's grand pianos have been handmade in New York since 1853 — after German cabinetmaker Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg built his first piano in his kitchen in 1836, then nearly 500 pianos more in the next decade so he could move his family to the United States. Steinway & Sons, founded in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street, makes pianos in Astoria, Queens, on the street that bears its (changed) family name. For $20 a pop, visitors can take tours of the Steinway factory on Tuesdays and Thursdays from September through the end of June.