If you're like me, you want to have some fun this summer but you don't want to spend a gazillion dollars, here's an inexpensive day trip you can make from New Jersey.

Sure, eating potato chips, cheese curls, and tortilla chips is fun -- but what about seeing them get made?

Point your family truckster to Chester County, PA, for a tour of the Herr's snack food factory.

I did this just a few weeks ago and it's pretty cool -- not to mention, you get to eat chips that are right off of the manufacturing line before they get bagged. More on that in a moment.

Herr's Factory in Nottingham, PA - Photo: Google Maps
Herr's Factory in Nottingham, PA - Photo: Google Maps

Cheap day out

A family of four can tour the inner workings of Herr's for about $25 and you can easily spend a couple of hours inside.

The walking tour of the factory starts with a short movie and then a guide will take you into various buildings where all of your favorite snack foods are made -- pretzels, tortilla chips, and, of course, potato chips... more potato chips than you have ever seen at one time!

Pictures aren't allowed, so I can't give you an inside look, but you'll see the entire process from dough to processing to cooking to flavoring to bagging to boxing to shipping.

Herr's in Nottingham PA - Photo: Google Maps
Herr's in Nottingham PA - Photo: Google Maps

And as the tour ends, your guide will bring you a tray of freshly-made, hot potato chips right off of the line. They don't get any fresher than that.

At the end of your tour, of course, there's a gift shop. But this one is a little different.

Herr's sells the normal fare of t-shirts, hats, etc., but they also sell their snack foods.

They have an entire "oops" wall where chips that aren't good enough for a supermarket shelf are sold at half-price (these are snacks that are typically either under or over-seasoned) -- and they also sell everything they make, including things that you can't easily find in your local convenience store, like fire-roasted sweet corn chips, ghost pepper potato chips, Carolina Reaper-flavored chips, Buffalo blue cheese-flavored cheese curls, and more.

Chips - Photo: Chris Coleman
Chips - Photo: Chris Coleman
  • CHIP TIP #1: The ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper chips are very spicy but not over-the-top insane. If you can stomach some spice, give these a try.

If you're looking for an inexpensive day out (assuming you don't spend a ton of money buying chips and cheese curls), check out the Herr's Factory Tour.

What you need to know

  • Tours are given Monday through Wednesday from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
  • It's $8 for adults, $4 for kids 4 to 17, and those three and under are free.
  • You need to book your trip in advance by calling (800) 284-7488 or online.

Where to go

  • 271 Old Baltimore Pike
    Nottingham, PA 19362
Herr's Factory Tour - Photo: Google Maps / TSM Illustration
Herr's Factory Tour - Photo: Google Maps / TSM Illustration

Depending on traffic, the Herr's factory is about

  • 2 hours from Atlantic City
  • About 2 1/2 from Toms River
  • A little more than 90 minutes from Trenton

Overall, this is a great day out. Your kids will be happy because they got to see a waterfall of potato chips and you'll be happy because you didn't have to take out a second mortgage to have fun.

  • CHIP TIP #2: Depending on how your GPS routes you, you may go through Delaware and Maryland to get there. If so, those states have restaurant chains that you can't find in New Jersey. Try one!

And once you have conquered the world of snacks, check out these other inexpensive day trips!

17 Amazing Summer Day Trips That Aren't Too Far From New Jersey

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