I like to travel locally in the early spring or late autumn when places aren’t so full of tourists. Gettysburg can get pretty busy which can make touring the battlefields feel a little too packed; especially if you’re doing the self-driving tour. Yes, you can drive through the battlefields if you aren’t in the mood to do all that walking! I find it much more enjoyable when it’s a little chilly out where we can see the monuments without bumping elbows with others or having to stop the car every few feet to let people cross the road.
The Battle of Gettysburg is the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It began July 1, 1863 and ended just two days later on July 3, 1863. In those 3 days of battle, over 51,000 lost their lives on these fields. Picturing the number of dead bodies in such a small town is something you won’t forget. It’s especially gut-wrenching knowing some of them were children. You can read more about the children who enlisted in the Civil War here: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/children-civil-war
If you opt for the driving tour, don’t worry, you can park your vehicle off to the side and make as many stops as you want to see all the landmarks and monuments. And there are plenty of them to see, so plan to spend at least a few hours there. The views from some areas are definitely worth stopping for and snapping a few photos. You’ll see monuments for both Confederate and Union soldiers who died on the battlefields, including Cavalry and Infantry monuments for different states. There is a Memorial for the Lincoln Address and many monuments for individuals along the way. You’ll see some larger monuments that you’re welcome to enter and go up the stairs for a better view of the battlefields.
If you prefer to tour the battlefields on-foot, bring your walking shoes and plenty of water. Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg and plan your visit at: nps.gov/gett/index.htm