When most people think of Hershey, Pennsylvania, they think of theme parks (yes, Hershey Park!) and delicious chocolate.
While there is a whole lot more to Hershey than just chocolate, there are also a lot of caves near Hershey, PA that make for a fun and memorable experience.
The caves near Hershey, Pennsylvania are filled with natural wonders such as stalactites, stalagmites, and other fantastic geological formations that have been forming for millions of years.
Visitors can go on guided tours through the caves, learning about the geology and history of the caves.
Whether you’re looking to explore a one of the cool caves on your own or take one of the awesome cave tours available, here you’ll find all the amazing caves and caverns near Hershey including how far they are and what there is to do at each.
These caves are all open to the general public and tour groups and are one of the best things to do in nature.
So grab your jacket (most of the caves are cold…they are underground afterall!) and let’s have a look.
#1 Echo Dell – Indian Echo Caverns
Distance from Hershey: 10 minutes
The history of Echo Dell Indian Echo Caverns and the Susquehannock Indians the cave is named after, is quite fascinating. Not to mention, the beautiful scenery of the Swatara Creek from the cave entrance. In fact, it’s so beautiful here they even have a wedding chapel.
Just a few minutes from Hershey in Dauphin County, the caverns are said to be the previous home of a Pennsylvania hermit, William Wilson, who due to circumstances you’ll learn about, lived in the cave.
The Indian Echo Caverns were closed during the Great Depression and finally re-opened under a new owner in 1942.
I highly recommend the Tour of Indian Echo Caverns. If you’re looking for an amazing picture, the most popular spot is Crystal Lake which is a 6-foot deep small lake inside. The Pipe Organ formation is also another beautiful and interesting spot.
At the gem mill junction, kids (and adults!) can enjoy the gem mill experience where you can search for various gemstones.
The caverns are open daily with extended hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There is a large parking lot with lots of space.
What to do:
- Tour the caverns
- Gem mill mini
- Picnic area
- Spacious playground
- Free petting zoo at Discovery Barnyard
- Gift shop
- Visitor center
Local tip: Make sure to visit Hershey Gardens, the 23-acre botanical gardens just 10-minutes up the road.
#2 Crystal Cave
Distance from Hershey: 60 minutes
Located in Central Pennsylvania, Crystal Cave is one of the area’s beautiful and unique limestone caverns near Hershey.
The cave is one of the oldest in the state and is rich in history, having been discovered in 1871 by local farmers. With its many natural formations, including stalactites and stalagmites, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
As a visitor to Crystal Cave, you can expect to explore more than two miles of passages that wind through a subterranean world of extraordinary beauty.
Here you can see:
- Crystalline gypsum
- Delicate stalactites
- A grand chamber known as the “Fairyland”
The cave features many dazzling and intricate geological features, such as impressive columns and an underground river. In addition, several fossilized animal bones have been found in the depths of the cave, indicating that the caverns may have once been home to wildlife.
The Historic Crystal Cave is the first show cave in Pennsylvania
One unique aspect of Crystal Cave is that it offers both guided and self-guided tours. During the guided tour, visitors will learn more about the history and geology of the cave, as well as admire its stunning formations.
The self-guided tour gives visitors the freedom to explore on their own and take their time appreciating all that the cave has to offer.
If you love caves, this is a great place to go. And the best part is, there is more fun things to do there including:
- Crystal shop where you can pan for gems
- Mini golf
- Picnic area (so make sure to bring one!)
- Nature trail
- Ice cream shop
The kids love the gem mining area as they get to hunt for gems of their own.
For those looking for a truly unique adventure, Crystal Cave is an ideal place to explore and enjoy.
#3 Woodward Cave
Distance from Hershey: 75 minutes
Woodward Cave in Centre County is one of the largest caverns in Pennsylvania. The cave is very long at 300-feet and it has a 40-foot high ceiling.
An experienced tour guide walks you through this easy to walk tour that is about 50-minutes long.
Did You Know?
Woodward Cave is the 3rd largest hibernating site for bats in the entire state.
The cave has 5 large rooms that you will visit on the tour:
- The Ballroom: where actually dances are held
- The Square Room: where you will see Helictites, cave coral and more
- Hanging Forest: where you’ll see the most stalactites
- The Hall of Statuses: a 200-foot long room with one of the largest stalagmites in the area
- The Upper Room: this is where you’ll finish the tour and the ceiling rises to 60 feet
Local tip: Woodward Cave also has a campground and cabin rentals available
#4 Penn’s Cave
Distance from Hershey: 90 minutes
Penn’s Cave is a one-of-a-kind natural attraction located in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1885, it is the oldest cave to be developed and operated as a show cave in the United States and is still open to the public today.
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It is also the only all-water cavern and wildlife park in the United States.
This Pennsylvania cave consists of 22 acres of stunning limestone and sandstone formations.
Penn’s Cave is the only all-water cave and wildlife park in the entire country
The cave itself can be explored via a 1-hour tour that showcases some of the more impressive and unique features inside the cave. Since this is an all-water cave, the tour is on a boat!
You will ride through the cave on a boat while learning about the history and geology of the cave as you go.
The Wildlife Park tours allow guests to explore the 22 acres of land and spot white-tailed deer, elk, buffalo, black bears, and wild turkeys.
If you’re looking for something more unique and exciting to do in Pennsylvania, definitely consider a visit here! This is an unforgettable experience for the whole family
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With its stunning rock formations, wildlife park tours, and Cave Boat Tours, Penn’s Cave is sure to please every Pennsylvania caves enthusiast.
What to do:
- Cave tour (& see crystal clear sparkling lakes)
- Farm-nature-wildlife park & tour
- Miner’s maze
- Gemstone panning
- Off-road mountain tour
#5 Lost River Caverns
Distance from Hershey: 90 minutes
Lost River Caverns is a natural limestone cavern and is one of our favorite caves to visit in the state. When you visit, you will take a guided walking tour that lasts about 30 to 45 minutes.
All of the walkways are not only paved, they are also well light.
After the tour, we take a walk on the nature trail. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to go around the loop but it is beautiful and you can stop at 12 different stations that talk about the terrain and the cave.
What to do at Lost River Caverns:
- Take the cavern tour
- Stop by the gift shop with gems, minerals, crystals and more
- Visit The Gilman Museum to see rare fossils, minerals, gemstones and more
- Enjoy the nature trail that goes through the wooded area.
#6 Lincoln Caverns
Distance from Hershey: 2.5 hours
Lincoln Caverns is actually two connected caves that were discovered by John Faust and Jacob Erb in 1930. Although the two caves are connected, they have very different features.
The first of these is a smaller cave known as Whisper Rocks.
This cave has a beautiful and unique look that sets it apart from other caverns in the area.
Inside the cave, you will find:
- Intricate calcite formations
- Delicate soda straws
- And dazzling helictites
The second cave, called Indian Caverns, has a much larger and more impressive entrance. This one is filled with breathtaking stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.
At Lincoln Caverns, visitors can take tours led by experienced guides who will help them explore these beautiful and mysterious caverns.
You can also learn about the history of the caverns, from their discovery to their use as a refuge during the Revolutionary War.
With its stunning features and rich history, Lincoln Caverns is worth visiting.
#7 Laurel Caverns
Distance from Hershey: 3.5 hours
Laurel Caverns is Pennsylvania’s largest cave and it has over 4-miles of passages. In fact, it’s one of the steepest caves in the United States, take you down 17 stories!
Interesting fact: the caverns do close for some of the winter months for the bat hibernation season. But don’t worry, you probably won’t see them during your spring, summer and fall visits!
Located in Pennsylvania’s scenic Laurel Highlands, Laurel Caverns is a great spot to explore and take in the beauty of nature. They offer both a guided and self-guided tour or you have the option to do both.
Did You Know?
➡️ Lural Caverns is the largest!It’s Pennsylvania’s largest cave (and the only cave in the Western half of the state)
➡️ It’s the largest sandstone cave in the world
➡️ And it’s the largest natural bat hibernaculum in the north-eastern US
Another fun option for kids ages 4 to 9 is The Grottos of Learning which is one of the largest simulated caves you’ll find in the world. Here the kids can study stalactites and even play archeologist during their time.
The guided tour is about 30 to 40-minutes long and takes you through the easiest passages in the caverns while you hear about the geology and history of the caverns.
The sound and light show is also fun to see. If you take the guided tour, you can also take the self-guided tour at no additional charge.
The self-guided tour will also take about 30 to 45-minutes to complete and you will walk along the largest, longest and steepest parts of the caverns.
This is a good option especially if you have kids who don’t want to listen to a tour guide and you would prefer to explore on your own.
If you need easier paths, the guided tour is best to take.
If you can handle a more strenuous walk, you can see a lot on the self-guided tour.
What to do:
- Take a guided tour
- Take a self-guided tour
- Pan for gemstones
- The Grottos of learning
- Visit the family lookout to see the view on Chestnut Ridge
Frequently Asked Questions
What temperature is it inside the caves?
Most caves have a constant temperature between 48 – 54 degrees depending on the cave. This makes anytime of the year the perfect time to visit!
What is the largest cave in Pennsylvania?
The largest cave in Pennsylvania is Laurel Caverns. It’s also the largest sandstone cave in the world and the largest natural bat hibernaculum in the north-eastern US.
How long does it take to go through Indian Echo Caverns?
The Indian Echo Caverns tour is 45-minutes long.
How long are the guided cave tours?
Most cave tours are between 45 to 60-minutes in length. Some caverns add extra time to walk down to the cave where the tour will actually start.
What do you wear to a cave?
It’s best to wear pants and a light jacket to the caves as it is colder underground. You will also want to wear close-toed shoes such as tennis shoes so you don’t slip or get your feet wet if it has rained and there are small puddles.
Visiting the Caves Near Hershey, PA
Exploring the caves near Hershey, PA is a great way to get outside and experience nature. Each of the caves offer unique and interesting experiences for everyone to enjoy.