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“A true piece of American history”

Gettysburg National Military Park
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Gettysburg Day Trip from Washington DC
Ranked #1 of 109 things to do in Gettysburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the Civil War's bloodiest battle and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address".
Reviewed August 19, 2011

If your a war buff, history buff or just looking for something different to do, this is the place for you. You can drive it, bike it or even walk it if thats your style (about a 26 mile course all together). Going through Gettysburg battlefields was an experience to say the least. My first impression (based on all the monuments) was a giant cemetery. But after driving through and walking around, reading the markers and battle descriptions it really puts you into the era and what was taking place. I visit the battle field on 3 seperate occasions as I missed things the first round. I opted to buy the CD and take the car ride on my own. I recommend this as I like to go on my own pace, however now after doing that, when I revisit, I would pay for a guided tour.

For my trip through the battlefields, I packed a cooler w/ water, gatorade and snacks. I saved alot of downtime and money this way not having to stop for lunch and wait for crowds.

I did walk through the downtown "square" which is loaded with little fun shops and plenty of dining options.

Overall, there can be alot of walking so be prepared for that. Make the best of it and don't hesitate to do the entire tour over 2 days or more. There is alot to take in all at once. I highly recommend 2-3 hours a day over 2 days or so. Early morning is nice for a beautiful sunrise just as evening for a beautiful sunset to the west.

Thank karl4700
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,570 - 6,574 of 6,890 reviews

Reviewed August 16, 2011

Firstly, I only booked the night before. Cost a little extra, but the booking company was fast and efficient - two characteristics that I rate very highly.

The day started early. Real early - like up at 06:00 to make sure I was at Union Station by 07:30. On a side note, I gotta say that Washington people are just plain aloof and unpleasant to deal with and homeless people are everywhere, but at least they leave takes that cake for unpleasant people. Everything and everyone is up themselves.

Anyway, we get on the GrayLine Tour bus and there were like 16 people all up, so everyone got a seat to themselves which was lovely - especially in this humidity.

We set off on time and the driver went into a fairly scripted schpiel about Washington that despite the fact it sounded like he was reading directly off an auto-cue, was actually quite informative.

As we passed over some river (Potomac, I think), he switched on the movie, Gettysburg Part 1. Personally, I would have preferred to watch a documentary, but hey, it was better than a kick in the teeth.

Time flew, the drive was pleasant - a reflection on the driver's skills. Before we knew it, we had arrived in the hamlet of Gettysburg. We hopped off and went and saw a tired diorama that even had cobwebs hanging off the little buildings that was only visible when the lights went down. Despite the little misgivings, the presentation was informative and the museum had some cool things to look at. Surprised that the souvenier shop was bigger.

At this point, I was thinking OMG, I should have hired a car and done it myself. Then, the volunteer guide got on board and he was, without exagerating, the most interesting, engaging and informative guide I have ever experienced on a tour. Dave Cooper I think his name was.

This guy lives and breaths this Civil War Stuff (and WWII too) and he was so animated and, as we say in Australia, he could 'spin a yarn'. He stayed with us for the two hours on the bus and when we got off, he told us those intricate details and real-life stories that brings these places to life.

Best tour guide ever, hands down. Look for the loudest, most confident guy on the Guide List and you will have found him. Awesome guy to talk to.

Then we went for lunch.....oddly enough all the Australians chose not to eat that General Pickett's buffett (gotta see it for yourself to know what I mean). Anyway, we got back on the bus and headed into Gettysburg to do a tour through George Washington Shriver's House.


Well, I am chuffed we did this tour because it gave us a brilliant insight into the lives of the locals that were living in Gettysburg at the time of the battle. The bullet holes in the outside walls where Union troops were firing on Confederate sniper perches where the highlight for me. Anyway, we then stopped off at Cemetary Hill for a wander and had some time to take a short walk around the town gto buy some Civil War lead bullets and some ice cream (remember the humidity). Before you knew it, it was 4:00 PM and time to head home to Washington DC. We got back at 6:30 PM feeling goodafter watching Gettysburg Part 2 on the ride home. It was cool being able to transpose some of the scenes in the movie to actual locations you had just stood on 2 hours earlier (i.e. Little Round Top)

In summary, I was leaning towards ho-hum until I got there and by the end of the day I was absolutely stoked I did this tour. Driving there (for those of us that drive on the left) would have not been easy to work out, but at the end of the day, it was those tour guides who made the trip worthwhile.

I would highly recommend everyone does this day trip and if you like, go back in a car on a second trip if you wish to explore the area in more detail. It is ENORMOUS!!!!!!!! Yep, that was the only downside. We didn't get to explore a lot, but what you lose on detail, you make up for in really cool stories and knowledge. Do It!!!!

Thank Neurokahuna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2011

From the Visitor Center to the battlefields to the monuments, this place is simply a must see for everyone - even if you're not into history and monuments. This is a great reminder of our history and what brought the Civil War on.
The Museum and Visitor Center are an excellent source of information and a great starting point. All the fees (national park passes don't work here) go towards maintaining this historic site - not wasted into the federal govt machine (if the fed govt were to shut down, this place is the only national park that would remain open for this reason). The battlefield is free to roam around and you can do your own audio tour by calling a number on your cell phone. Or you can pay to get on a bus-guided tour or better still a $55 car/personal tour (for a party up to 6-one price) for 2 hours.
The battlefield itself is immense and there are monuments and structures and plaques everywhere commemorating each battalion, brigade and division.

Definite must see for young children - will expand their understanding of the Civil War that they eventually learn in their classrooms.

1  Thank Happy King
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2011

We toured the battlefied with an accredited guide for 3 hours. This was well worth the cost of $75. The guide, John, was great and took us in our own car around the site explaining the history and the 3 days events at Gettysburg. We had the opportunity to ask as many questions as we wanted and to get some insight into the battle at Gettysburg. We would highly recommend doing it this way rather than a bus tour with a large group or doing it on your own. We went back a couple days later and drove it ourselves and stopped and read the many informative displays, but that was not nearly as informative as the private tour. Doing both was a complete experience. We followed the guided tour with a trip to the museum - a very full and interesting day. The musuem is extremely good. We spent 4 hours there and ran out of time. We are history buffs so we read everything we could and took our time. It is interactive, has very good displays, short movies, and a decent cafe.

Thank Carolyn012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2011

A car audio tour supplemented with the museum and hike or horseback ride, will leave you with a good understanding the of Battlefield and town layout. The lasting impression on left on me not so much the Battle the scale and importance of the aftermath.

1  Thank KeokiHangLoose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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