Do you love Jelly Bellys?
I find Jelly Belly gourmet jelly beans in my Christmas stocking and Easter basket pretty much every year. I'm a big fan.
When we saw a sign for Fairfield, California on our road trip to Santa Cruz last summer, my husband asked, “Isn't the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield?”
I looked it up and found that it was on our route. We stopped there on the way to Santa Cruz and liked it so much that we stopped there again to take the tour and buy more jelly beans on the way home!
My kids (ages 12 and 15) thought I was crazy to go twice, but they didn't complain about my gift shop purchases.
Here's what you can expect on the Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California.
It costs nothing to take the self-guided tour of the Jelly Belly factory, and we received free jelly bean samples at the beginning and end of our tours. The jelly bean Sample Bar in the gift shop is also free – 3 beans at a time.
You can visit the Jelly Belly factory without spending a cent, but most visitors will probably want to plan some gift shop purchases into their budget.
Related: One Day in Santa Cruz, California
We found driving directions to Jelly Belly Candy Company on Google Maps and drove there with no problems. It's located in Fairfield, California, within an hour of Sacramento and Napa, and 90 minutes of San Francisco.
Parking was free and abundant on both our visits.
Related: 10 Fun Things to do in Monterey, California
The line for the tour is the first thing you'll see when you walk into the Jelly Belly factory. It's right in front of the gift shop.
Take your place in line and wait for the next tour to start. Our wait was under 10 minutes on both visits.
Everyone received a paper Jelly Belly hat just before we climbed the stairs to the second floor. There is an elevator too. From there, we walked a short distance to the tour entrance, where we were greeted with a short video about the history of Jelly Belly. We were also given a handful of unfinished jelly beans to snack on.
Your group will be invited to pose for a photo op as you walk in. You can purchase the souvenir photo at the end of the tour if you'd like.
From there, you follow the 1/4 mile route overlooking the factory floor at your own pace. There are several videos along the way that explain what's going on. We skipped a lot of them – especially the second time through.
It's interesting to see what's happening on the factory floor, but there are games and other interactive exhibits along the tour too. They're nothing special, but we thought they were fun.
Look for jelly bean art before, during and after your tour. These are large and impressive portraits made from jelly beans.
Weekends vs Weekdays
Tours are offered every day of the week, but the factory typically does not operate on Saturdays and Sundays. Our first visit was on a weekend and our second was on a weekday.
The interactive activities, videos, free samples and gift shop were all the same on both our visits, but there was no action on the factory floor during our weekend visit. It was still interesting to see the bins of beans and the custom equipment, but it was a little more fun to see the Jelly Belly factory in action on a weekday.
Shopping and Dining
Jelly Belly has a colorful gift shop and cafe. We found a huge assortment of flavors and unique souvenirs here.
Jelly Belly makes a lot of Harry Potter-themed candy. If you've been wanting to try Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans or a Chocolate Frog – with a collectible wizard card – you can get them here.
The Sample Bar is lots of fun. We had the chance to try flavors that I'd never seen before, risk-free. You can request three beans at a time, then get in line again if you want more. My 12-year-old son was all over it.
You can buy food and ice cream in the cafe. The cafe serves the usual items, like burgers and chicken strips. It was pretty quiet on the days we were there, and we didn't try it.
Look for a second gift shop near the cafe. It's filled with clearance items like holiday candy, items that have been shipped from the international factory and candy that didn't sell well. Prices are less expensive than at the regular gift shop. We bought our Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs here.
We steered clear of most gift shop items, but stocked up on Belly Flops.
Belly Flops are irregular jelly beans that are too big, too small, misshapen, or stuck together. They didn't make the cut, but they taste as good as regular Jelly Bellys.
The factory sells 2 lb bags of Belly Flops in assorted flavors. These bags are about $10 each, but if you buy a certain number, you get more bags for free.
We took that deal and bought about 10 lbs of Belly Flops between our two visits. We shared them with family and friends all summer long – plus had plenty for road trips.
The clearance shop has Belly Flops, but we bought ours from the regular gift shop. The Belly Flops in the clearance shop were shipped from an international factory, and were sticking together in the bag. They were less expensive, but didn't look as fresh.
The Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California is a fun road trip diversion for families – especially if you love the Jelly Belly brand. We liked the tour – and the Belly Flops – so much that we stopped here twice on the same family vacation. I hope that your family will enjoy it too.
Good to Know
Where: 1 Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield, California. Located halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento off I-80 and Highway 12.
When: Seven days a week, 9 AM-5 PM. Last tour at 4 PM. Closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day. Hours subject to change.
How Much: No charge for tours and free samples
How Long: About an hour
Amenities: free parking, gift shop, cafe, restrooms
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