Family travel does not have to be expensive -- and factory tours fit the bill perfectly. Your family will enjoy these educational glimpses into the inner workings of companies and how products are made. In addition, since there are hundreds of tours available throughout the United States, one is sure to easily fit into your upcoming family travel or weekend getaway plans. For this article, the staff of the Family Travel Network has selected some of the best factory tours available, paying particular attention to those that would be of most interest to the family market.
Factory and company tours vary in length, interactivity, and age requirements. Please note the age limitations in each entry. We've tried to primarily include only those tours that can be visited by families with children of all ages. If you're looking for more great ideas for daytrips or stops on upcoming vacations, make sure to consult the following books and sites. These resources offer extensive additional listings of factory tours, and are sure to provide more great ideas:
Watch It Made In the U.S.A.: A Visitor's Guide to the Companies That Make Your Favorite Product, by Bruce Brumberg and Karen Axelrod. This great book lists almost 250 different factory tours and companies visits you can take throughout the United States. The book also provides information on other nearby attractions, so you can turn your trip into a great weekend getaway.
Great Family Vacations series of books by Candyce H. Stapen. This series of books provides excellent information on family-related attractions and activities in specific cities and locations throughout North America. Each individual book concentrates on a particular region of the United States: the Northeast, South, Midwest & Rocky Mountain Region, and West. Some of the city-related listings also include company and factory tours of interest to families.
The Family Adventure Guide series published by Globe Pequot includes books covering specific states throughout the U.S. Each book is written by a different author, and covers family-friendly activities in individual states such as Southern California, Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia and Texas. Some factory tours are listed in these books.
Taking the Kids: To Northern California, Taking the Kids: To Southern California and Taking the Kids: To the Pacific Northwest by Eileen Ogintz. These kids' guides tell all about the best places to go and things to see in their region. Written from a kid's point of view, they're perfect to give to children as part of the trip planning and preparation process. Several factory tours are included in these books.