While RV getaways are filled with fun, sun, and adventure, they can also be a great way to explore our country’s history and learn a thing or two along the way. Make a plan to visit some of our country’s historical sites while you’re cruising the open road and learn about our ancestors and the shaping of our great nation. An excellent stop east of the Mississippi is Gettysburg National Military Park in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Immerse yourself in Civil War history and make memories, not war when you visit this historic park on your next RV vacation.
History of Gettysburg
Located in south-central Pennsylvania a little north of the Maryland state line, Gettysburg is home to the pivotal turning point in the Civil War. The fate of our nation was determined by the events that took place during three days at the northeast battlefield. On July 1, 1863, General Robert E. Lee, commander of the “Army of Northern Virginia,” led his troops north into Pennsylvania in an effort to defeat the Union Army of the Potomac, tear down the morale of the North, and relieve pressure on war-torn Virginia. Only three days into leading the Union army, Major General George Gordon Meade and his troops unexpectedly encountered Lee and his troops in the town of Gettysburg. What ensued was a bloody, ferocious battle that resulted in over 50,000 soldiers losing their lives and Lee retreating back into Virginia with only about two-thirds of his army still intact. The North had won the battle, and it turned the tide of the Civil War in favor of the Union.
Things To Do
at Gettysburg National Military Park
Visit the Soldiers’ National Cemetery
Meander through the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, filled with grave sites and monuments, and reflect on the lives lost during this momentous battle. Dedicated on November 19, 1863, the cemetery is where President Abraham Lincoln gave his most famous speech, “The Gettysburg Address,” which aimed to transform a feeling of devastation into one of a new birth of freedom. A visit to this spot is not one that you’ll soon forget.
Tour the Park
There are a couple ways to tour the national military park so you can get the most out of your visit!
Self-guided Auto Tour
If you like to do things your way, then the self-guided auto tour might be a good choice for you. This free tour is on your own schedule and in your own vehicle. Pick up the official map and guide at the museum and visitor center and head out on your way. The tour guides you through the park with stops at sites where field exhibits explain the area and tell the history behind it.
Licensed Battlefield Guide Tour
Get the personalized treatment with a licensed battlefield guide who takes you on a tour of the park in the comfort of your own vehicle or on a tour bus. These two-hour tours are available beginning at 8am every day and offer a very in-depth, informative tour from a knowledgeable guide. For guided tour fees, click here.
CD audio tours are available for purchase at the park bookstore. Narrated by authorities on the Battle of Gettysburg, these audio tours bring to life the soldiers who fought and offer detailed descriptions of significant areas of the battlefield.
Bike Around the Park
Bikes are allowed on paved pathways and trails throughout the park. This is a great way to experience the solemnity of the area while exploring at your own pace.
Stop by the David Wills House
Attorney David Wills was appointed the state agent in charge of establishing the new “Soldiers’ National Cemetery.” His house is where Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on his famous speech and where Wills received letters from family members looking for missing loved ones. It is also where Lincoln slept the night before his address. This museum opened to the public in 2009 and features six galleries, two of which have been restored to their 1863 appearance.
If you’re traveling to Gettysburg with your RV, check out the Gettysburg Campground, just three miles west of the center of town. Whether you have a travel trailer or fifth wheel RV, their nice campsites can accommodate you. They even have an on-site RV repair facility in case your RV needs some attention. If you’re thinking of trading in and trading up for a newer or larger RV, come see us at RV World in Grand Rapids, MI, where we sell all the best RV brands at the lowest prices in the nation! Our special no-money-down financing makes owning an RV easy and affordable, and we’ll even deliver it right to your driveway if you can’t make it to West Michigan. Shop with us today and save $1000s on your new or used RV!