Gettysburg is the site of the bloodiest conflict and most pivotal battle of the Civil War, where, in July 1863, 150,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought for three days to determine the future of the United States. In the end, more than 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured, or missing. The vast battlefield has been preserved to allow visitors to tread the same complicated and varied terrain of hills, fields, woods, and orchards as the soldiers.
The first stop on your visit should be the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center, where you can begin one of the many battlefield tours the National Park Service offers, including a guided bus tour, private tours with guides who will accompany you in your car, an audio tape timed to the marked plaques, a guided bicycle trip, and a horseback riding tour. It's a large site to explore, but be sure to stop and see the huge boulders at Devil's Den as well as nearby Little Round Top, which holds a commanding view of most of the battlefield.
Gettysburg National Military Park Information
Address: At St. Rt. 97 and Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg, PA
Telephone: 717/334-1124 ext. 431
Hours of Operation:
- Apr.-Oct.: Daily, 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Nov.-Mar.: Daily, 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.
To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
- Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
- Pennsylvania State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Pennsylvania, as well as other recreational activities.
- Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.