Everyone wants to indulge their sweet tooth every now and then — especially on vacation. Vacation calories don’t count, right? Luckily, the U.S. is dotted with delicious foodie travel destinations that will satisfy even the sweetest of cravings. From coast to coast, discover the cities and towns best known for their confectionary creations and tasty delights. Each of these six sweet escapes feature some of the best desserts, ranging from chocolatiers to unique local treats that your taste buds will remember for years to come. Pick your favorite sweet escape, then book your next vacation with RCI to make your sugary dreams come true.
Just 30 minutes southwest of Nashville is Franklin, home to the most bakeries per capita in all of Tennessee. Featured in Southern Living Magazine and on Food Network’s “Best of Baker’s Show,” Merridee’s Breadbasket in Historic Downtown Franklin serves up cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and cream cheese bear claws made the old fashioned way. Other notable sweet spots include Five Daughters Bakery and Ivey Cake. If you still have room for more, check out the award-winning Triple Crown Bakery featuring cookies, cakes, and even a special Valentine’s Day menu.
2. Salt Lake City, Utah
You may not realize it, but one of the country’s most formidable candy capitals is Salt Lake City. In fact, The Hershey Company once named the city the “Sweet Tooth Capital of the World.” Just 45 minutes from Park City, Salt Lake City abounds in candy shops, chocolatiers, and confectioners. Hatch Family Chocolates easily rises to the top of must-visit shops with their premium chocolates and hand-dipped ice cream. Condie’s Candies is another local favorite that’s famous for their creamy pecan rolls, nut clusters, and hand-dipped candies. Be sure to stop by Tulie Bakery for a decadent cup of frothy hot chocolate to wash it all down.
3. Hershey, Pennsylvania
Known as the “Sweetest Place on Earth,” the town of Hershey is more than just the birthplace of The Hershey Company, it’s a storied attraction all its own. Visitors to the fabled town can stroll through the lush Hershey Gardens, take in a round of golf at the Hershey Country Club, or learn about the town’s founder, Milton S. Hershey, at the Hershey Story Museum. For a more thrilling experience, check out the family-friendly roller coasters and water slides at Hershey Park. Of course, chocolate fanatics can still find plenty of delightful Hershey’s Kisses, crispy Hershey’s Krackel Bars, and tasty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all over town. And if you visit Hershey in February, the town celebrates Valentine’s Day all month long with Chocolate-Covered February, a celebration of love and chocolate with events, festivals, and special menus.
4. San Francisco, California
The City by the Bay hits the sweet spot with centuries-old chocolate purveyors and confectionaries. No trip to San Francisco is complete without a stop at the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop where all visitors are treated to a free chocolate sample. Open since 1852, Ghirardelli is the oldest, continuously operating chocolate factory in the United States. San Francisco is also home to the Guittard Chocolate Company, a 150-year-old family-run business still operated by the Guittard family. For another unique sweet bite, make your way to Chinatown and create your very own fortune cookie at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.
5. New Bern, North Carolina
The first state capital of North Carolina and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, New Bern is rich in colonial history, southern hospitality, and foodie treats. As a waterfront destination, New Bern offers a coastal getaway with stirring outdoor activities, notable museums and exhibits, and attractive dining options. Visit the actual site where Pepsi-Cola was invented in 1893 in historic downtown New Bern. Afterwards, take in a day of shopping in the charming downtown corridor. Just 35 minutes south from New Bern is Croatan National Forest. Pack a delicious lunch and picnic in the 160,000-acre park. Afterwards, stop by the Bear City Fudge & Ice Cream Shop for hand-crafted fudge and gooey pralines. Polish it all off with a cocktail at Prohibition Drinks and Desserts.
6. Orlando, Florida
Many theme park aficionados rate some Orlando sweet treats as stand-out attractions all their own. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park is home to Aloha Isle and the much revered DOLE Whip. The creamy frozen treat blended in vanilla, pineapple, or swirled flavors is a classic with a devoted following known the world-over. If it’s something crunchy you crave, the Spanish-style Dulce de Leche Churros at Universal’s Islands of Adventures is a must. The sweet delight packs rich caramel in a flaky, warm churro topped with caramel and coconut flakes.
NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.