Hershey, PA RV Show is undoubtedly the largest RV show in the United States. With all the big names in the RV industry, all makes and models are found at this venue. Hosted at the GIANT center in Hershey, PA, there is also a large number of vendors that cater to the RV and camping community – from RV park memberships to what kind of dog bed will fit into your trailer.
The Hershey PA RV Show encompassed 943,000 square feet and in 2018 hosted over 65,000+ attendees.
This sounds rather daunting, but don’t be discouraged. The show runs all week, so if you need to go back, you have plenty of opportunity to do so. The show runs for a week in mid September.
Head to the HERSHEY RV SHOW website for more information on next years dates and times.
Obviously, the crowds are bigger during the weekend, so we decided to attend on Thursday to not only beat the rush, but also secure our RV ahead of everyone else.
We knew exactly what we wanted (Airstream), but we still wanted to browse and check out the competition.
Airstream is represented here by Colonial Airstream of New Jersey. They recently relocated to a bigger location with a brand-new showroom, which is absolutely stunning. If you’d like a virtual tour, head to our Instagram account and check out the saved stories called AIRSTREAM NJ.
We arrived at the Hershey PA RV Show before their opening time at 9:00 a.m. and there was already a significant line formed in front of the entrance. Just like most venues nowadays, they have medal detector gates and check your belongings for any potential weapons or hazardous items like knives etc., which are prohibited.
The venue is large, so I recommend that you bring lots of water, comfortable shoes, and a head covering. It was still blistering hot during mid-September in Hershey and I was glad we did wear hats.
There are food vendors inside the park for fast food dining – think the regular fair food like hot-dogs, burgers, pizza etc.
We went straight to Airstream that had a nice, corner space set up with all their models to walk through and sample. I wanted the 25 FT Airstream, because of the bed setup, but we settled on the Flying Cloud 20FB because this model has the best kitchen set up of all the models (yes, even the most fancy and upscale Airstream Classic 33 doesn’t have as nice of a kitchen space as ours :P)
Patrick, the sales guy, walked us through everything and really took care of us during the financing process, which can be a headache.
With our paperwork and future silver home on wheels secured, signed and sold, we did the whole park tour of all the RV types – from giant 500K+ bus models to the tiniest one person trailers.
We also went inside and bought all the RV memberships (as I imagine everyone does who is new to the RV world like we were). Of all the ones we bought (Good Sam, Passport America, KOA and Thousand Trails), we use Thousand Trails the most and then occasionally KOA.
For our reasoning and choice of TT membership, head here to walk you through all the pros and cons of owning TT and if it makes sense for you financially, click here.
A year and some odd months later, I can tell you we are still incredibly happy with our Airstream.
Besides the Hershey RV show, we did drive around the beautiful Amish Pennsylvania Dutch country. We didn’t do anything in Hershey, PA other than the show – the rides were already shut down and the tour of the chocolate factory is definitely something you do if you have kids. The tour is set up in a “faux” chocolate factory as a ride and at the end you can “design” your own chocolate bar (for a price, of course).
If you have ever been to Europe and wanted to tour a factory, you know it’s going to be the real deal where they actually produce whatever you want to see being produced (from chocolate to cheese to crystal to beer). This is not the case here, and spending $60 dollars on a kid’s ride, fake cows that sing while you are going through the “factory” and one chocolate bar just didn’t appeal to us.
We also didn’t go see any of the “Amish” homesteads, because like Dana rightly pointed out, it’s more of a Disney Amish experience these days. You pay them a fee to tour their farm and for that fee you do the chores for them (like milking their cows or picking their eggs).
There are better ways to sample Amish life – like actually buying produce from their produce stands. We tried two of their cafés and bakeries, which were OK.
There is also a giant flea market in the area that is partially set up like a giant traditional flea market of people selling their “vintage” items and the other half is fresh produce, bakery items and meat and dairy stalls in an indoor market area. The prices were too high in my opinion for the quality, but we did try the traditional bakery items like their famous Shoofly pie, which is a molasses pie.
The word molasses evokes sweetness of which there was very little and left me rather disappointed. I am a fan of Hungarian baking, meaning everything is baked with sugar and then covered in sugar on top of it. I am a sweet sweets kinda gal 😀
Hershey, PA is a beautiful area to drive around and take in all the history and rural beauty with its rolling hills and traditional farmsteads, where seeing an Amish family on a horse buggy is not unusual or strange.