Visit Hershey & Harrisburg is the official non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) leading economic growth through destination sales, consumer marketing, public relations, and tourism development for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
The organization, accredited by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) since 2010, is committed to actively marketing the tourism assets in the Hershey & Harrisburg Region to business and leisure travelers both domestic & international.
The bureau also leads regional sales efforts to attract meeting & event organizers, sporting event producers, and group tour leaders. For more information go to VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org or call 877-727-8573.
Dauphin County is marketed as "The Hershey & Harrisburg Region" by the region's DMO because the area is most widely recognized as the home to Pennsylvania's Capital City of Harrisburg and the town of Hershey, named for the American confectioner and philanthropist Milton Snavely Hershey who founded his now-famous Hershey Chocolate Company here in 1894.
Dauphin County was created from a portion of Lancaster County during a meeting of the Pennsylvania legislature in Philadelphia on March 4, 1785.
The new county was named "Dauphin" for the 3-year-old Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France to honor the child's parents King Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette for their support in the American War for Independence from Great Britain.
Louis Joseph, who had suffered from fragile health conditions most of his young life, died of tuberculosis on June 4, 1789 at the age of seven and a half.
The term "Dauphin" was the title given to the eldest son of a king of France, or the heir apparent to the French crown from 1350-1830, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The word is French for dolphin, tracing back to the depiction of the animal on the coat of arms for the Dauphin of France, which originated with Guigues IV, Count of Vienne who was the first to use the title.
The population in Dauphin County is 273,000 according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, yet the tourism bureau estimates the area hosts approximately 10 million visitors annually.
According to tourism officials, the region records an average of 5 million room-nights sold each year in the 80 hotels located in Dauphin County (2016 report). That equates to a 20-1 ratio of visitors to residents annually.
The county is considered part of the Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 558 square miles, of which 525 square miles is land and 33 square miles is water.
The county is bound to its western border by the Susquehanna River, the longest river on the East Coast of the U.S. that drains through the Chesapeake Bay into the North Atlantic Ocean. With its watershed, it is the 16th-largest river in the U.S. and the longest river in the early 21st-century continental U.S. without commercial boat traffic.
Dauphin County in south eastern quadrant of PA is conveniently located in proximity to major domestic and international markets. Forty percent (40%) of the U.S. population and more than sixty percent (60%) of Canada’s population live within a 500-mile radius of the Hershey & Harrisburg Region.
The following major metro markets are within a one-day drive of Dauphin County:
The region is also in close proximity to other Top Travel Destinations in Pennsylvania:
An extensive inter-modal transportation system of highways, railroads, ports and airports easily moves people and goods to & from our area.
In 1894, Milton Hershey founded his now-famous Hershey Chocolate Company in a small farming community known as Derry Church, located within Derry Township only 14 miles east of Harrisburg.
Milton grew up in the area and recognized the dairy lands would provide the high grade of milk required for his milk chocolate recipe. Once mass production began in 1905, the cornfields surrounding the original six-acre factory transformed into the model industrial town that Milton Hershey envisioned.
In 1906, the U.S. Postal Service opened a branch and designated the mailing address for the area as "Hershey" because the chocolate company brand name was now more widely recognized than Derry Church.
Sweet Family Fun is the Hershey Harrisburg Region's most salient theme, with one of the nation's best theme parks anchoring the experience. Hersheypark®'s coasters paint the Hershey skyline, and from there, families fan out around the region to the many interactive museums, family-friendly festivals and exhibits, sports events and campgrounds.
Harrisburg is the county seat for Dauphin County and PA's tenth largest city.
This is also the site of a grand State Capitol Complex deemed a "Palace of Art" and which President Teddy Roosevelt referenced as "the handsomest building I ever saw" during his speech at the building's dedication on October 4, 1906.
Urban Eclectic is a vibe that continues to trend for couples and young singles looking for a place bursting with new restaurants and collaborative arts initiatives that stand alongside old favorites that remain cornerstones of the city experience. From farm-to table to small plates and Sunday brunch; from fine steakhouse dining to wine bars to whiskey bars, a visit here is always capped with great food and atmosphere.
The Susquehanna River, lush Vineyards and renowned Appalachian Trail create a Great Outdoors setting fit for any adventure. Each season plays host to events and activities that allow visitors to relax and recharge in the fresh outdoor air.