We love candy, and really who doesn't? And from sea to shining sea, this great land is practically swathed in candy stores, young and old, chock full of sweet treats both homemade and prepackaged to satisfy your sweet tooth. Student trips, whether educational or celebratory, could always use a stop at a candy store, if only as a nice reprieve from the bus ride. Plus, some of these stores are historical landmarks which could make it an easily justified stop!
Nelson's Columbia Candy Kitchen - Columbia, CA
Since the 1800s, Nelson's has been crafting the finest, most delicate, most delectable treats west of the Mississippi. Truly, this Gold Rush country candy kitchen has been churning out candies from the purest and freshest ingredients since the time of the 1849 California Gold Rush, out of their antique copper kettles and pans. Now they have three locations, the original situated in what is now a State Historical Park (hint, hint - extra reason to visit!). Some of their homemade kitchen specialties include whipping cream fudge, fresh fruit jellies in a variety of flavors, almond bark, English toffee, and 1800s era recipes for hard candies, licorice, and much more!
Miette Confiserie - San Francisco
A little different than Nelson's, Miette Confiserie is like a little slice of Paris right in the heart of San Francisco. Doubling as a pastry shop, Miette's candies are just as divine. Plus you have the added delight of entering such a lovely little wonderland of Parisian boulangerie-style sugary confections. While you can, of course, order cookies, cakes, and pastries from this amazing shop, their "confections" are heavenly and just as French as anything else in this wonderful boutique. Salty Dutch licorice, rosettes, brittle and toffees, salted caramels, fruit jelly slices, marshmallow candies, and more are found amid the delightful shelves, curios, and tantalizing decor.
Nisshodo Candy Store - Honolulu
This small store in Hawaii's capital delves into the world of traditional Japanese confections. Chichi Dango, sweet rice flour candies that melt in your mouth, and the rice flour pastries filled with sweet bean flavors (aka mochi and Manju) are the top specialties of this very special shop. Nisshodo is among the top candy stores in the country for its authenticity and flair, set within the sunny, warm climate of our beloved island state. Other sweet treats you'll find among the shelves include flavored seaweed gelatin (Yokan Maki), cinnamon candies, peanut butter mochi, and a multitude of genuine Japanese candies that would be the perfect addition to any Honolulu vacation.
Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie - Salem, MA
Claiming to be the oldest candy company in America, Salem's premier confectionery destination draws in the crowds for their homemade chocolates that are so good they just might be witchcraft! The store is now in its fourth generation of candy makers, all in the family, who have dedicated their lives to keeping Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie fashioning traditional candies and new concoctions. They have a multitude of "famous favorites" including Gibralters, the first commercially made candies in America which come in a variety of flavors, Black Jack (blackstrap molasses sticks), and old fashioned caramel corn. You may also be interested in their freshly pulled saltwater taffy, the homemade chocolates, or their fudge and brittle selections that leave the store by the bundle.
Big Top Candy Shop - Austin, TX
With the personality befitting a big top circus, this crazy carnival-themed candy store goes all out to ensure that their visitors enjoy the experience of candy. This candy store truly is for "kids of all ages" and caters to the young at heart, hence the title of the blog. There are over 300 types of bulk candy, over 2,000 kinds of wrapped candy, plus an old-fashioned soda fountain with ice cream and shaved ice menu. If you don't see a type of candy you want, let them know and they'll get it for you. Let your hair down and be a kid again at the Big Top Candy Shop in Austin!
Papabubble - New York City
A little more sophisticated than the Big Top Candy Shop, Papabubble is a quaint little NYC candy boutique creating the cutest, most delectable, and iconic looking hard candies. These hand sculpted candies take a lot of time and effort, making it all the more impressive that their shop is completely full of them. Chocolate filled peppermints with their delightful striped casings, dual-colored lollipops, themed pillow candies for special occasions, fruit mixes, soda pop mixes, and many, many others fill candy jars that practically shimmer with flavor. They have a variety of specialty flavors, limited edition candies, and top sellers so get here quick before your favorites are all gone!
Carousel Fine Candy - Monterey, CA
Located on the beautiful wharf in oceanside Monterey, Carousel Fine Candy is the historic (and only) maker of saltwater taffy in Monterey for over 47 years! People stop by just to see the taffy being pulled on the mechanical stretchers, nearly ready for tasting. The first thing you notice upon approaching the store is, however, the pervading scent of caramel corn emanating from the doors and windows like a tempting lure. The smell might draw you in but you'll be staying for the homemade caramel apples, the toffee and brittle, fudge, jellies, and gummies that have become a staple in Monterey since the store opened in 1960. Carousel Fine Candy was even featured on the History Channel because of its amazing confections and local history so come check it out!