To start the summer off, my husband, two children and I took a short drive north to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We spent three nights and four days exploring the small historic town. Located close to Baltimore and Washington DC, Gettysburg has a rich history, and it offers plenty for children to do too.

Gettysburg Itinerary For Families

If you live on the East Coast, Gettysburg can easily be a weekend getaway, but there is much to do there! From day one to the last few minutes of our stay, we packed in as much as we could, but sometimes needed to unwind at the hotel with the kids. Check out some enjoyable activities to do in the first two days of your visit.

Day One

One advantage of living only hours from Gettysburg is that we arrived early in the afternoon. After dropping our bags at the Gettysburg Wyndham, we ate lunch at the Appalachian Brewing Company at Gateway Gettysburg. Then, we drove downtown and began exploring.

Located minutes from downtown Gettysburg, Gateway Gettysburg has a Courtyard Marriott, a Wyndham Hotel, the Appalachian Brewing Company Restaurant, and the Gateway Movie Theater.

Located minutes from downtown Gettysburg, Gateway Gettysburg has a Courtyard Marriott, a Wyndham Hotel, the Appalachian Brewing Company Restaurant, and the Gateway Movie Theater.

Walk Around Downtown

Walking is a good way to get familiar with the area. Using my husband’s memory of visiting Gettysburg as a child, we drove past the roundabout downtown. On Steinwehr Avenue, street parking was easy to find.

On the first day of visiting Gettysburg, walk around downtown.

On the first day of visiting Gettysburg, walk around downtown.

Looking in tourist shops, walking past ghost tours, and checking out the Old Time photo shops showed us the many options we had for the first evening of our visit.

Mr. G’s Ice Cream

For a delicious treat, get ice cream from Mr. G’s. This was our first stop downtown. Conveniently located on Baltimore Street, Mr. G’s offers a nice variety of homemade ice cream. Everyone ordered an ice cream cone in a different flavor.

Stop by Mr. G's for homemade ice cream in downtown Gettysburg.

Stop by Mr. G’s for homemade ice cream in downtown Gettysburg.

Getting ice cream was a highlight of the day to my daughters. It was nice to sit down and enjoy a treat together.

Visit The Memorials Downtown

Only a short walk from where we parked our car, we reached an overlook with memorials. This spot is East Cemetery Hill.

Within walking distance of downtown Gettysburg, you can see memorials at East Cemetery Hill.

Within walking distance of downtown Gettysburg, you can see memorials at East Cemetery Hill.

Seeing a historic site got us excited for the many other Civil War attractions we would see. The weather was perfect, and the view was incredible.

Located downtown, East Cemetery Hill overlooks wide open land and has memorials worth seeing.

Located downtown, East Cemetery Hill overlooks wide open land and has memorials worth seeing.

My daughter had been listening to a read aloud of a book called What Was The Battle Of Gettysburg. I enjoyed watching history come alive for her. For a detailed, kid-friendly explanation, read this book aloud before you come. The book helped my daughter understand that she was looking at more than just pretty fields and blue skies.

Since Gettysburg has many historical sites, you may want to explain to your children what happened here before you arrive.

Since Gettysburg has many historical sites, you may want to explain to your children what happened here before you arrive.

With wide open land, this space was ideal for letting the children stretch their legs after driving. Until a field trip of students arrived, East Cemetery Hill had few visitors. No one seemed to mind that my younger daughter got some of her energy out here.

East Cemetery Hill has wide open space perfect for children to stretch their legs after a road trip to Gettysburg.

East Cemetery Hill has wide open space perfect for children to stretch their legs after a road trip to Gettysburg.

Check Out Soldier’s National Cemetery

Across from East Cemetery Hill is the Soldier’s National Cemetery. Since this area is more somber, I recommend only bringing your children if they are calm so as not to disturb the other guests. I was impressed with how large and breathtaking the memorials were.

The New York State Monument in the National Cemetery is over 94 feet tall, and has a 16 feet tall weeping statue at the top.

The New York State Monument in the National Cemetery is over 94 feet tall, and has a 16 feet tall weeping statue at the top.

Day Two

On the second day of our visit, I planned a carriage ride tour of the battlefield and a special dinner for my husband’s birthday.

Take A Carriage Ride Tour Of The Battlefield

For a unique experience, I planned a carriage ride tour of the battlefield through the Victorian Carriage Company. Riding in a carriage appealed to my daughters, while my husband and I enjoyed learning about the history of the battlefields. Our two-hour tour left from the Gettysburg Heritage Center, which conveniently had restrooms and water fountains to use before leaving.

Adults and children can appreciate the views of the battlefield from a horse-drawn carriage.

Adults and children can appreciate the views of the battlefield from a horse-drawn carriage.

The horses receive very good treatment. Even though it was hot outside, the temperature had not yet reached a certain heat limit that would have meant the horses couldn’t ride. In between rides, the horses rest and rehydrate before continuing.

The horses that ride with the Victorian Carriage Company are given extra attention in hot weather.

The horses that ride with the Victorian Carriage Company are given extra attention in hot weather.

Starting out on the tour, we continued down Steinwehr Avenue. Seeing the battlefield for the first time, I realized how helpful it was to have a knowledgeable tour guide.

Having a tour guide is helpful if you are visiting the Gettysburg battlefields for the first time.

Having a tour guide is helpful if you are visiting the Gettysburg battlefields for the first time.

Another benefit of taking a tour was that I learned the roads. Some sections, such as Little Round Top, I knew I would want to come back and visit later.

Little Round Top was incredible to see from the horse-drawn carriage.

Little Round Top was incredible to see from the horse-drawn carriage.

I enjoyed learning how Gettysburg became so well-preserved. Civil War General Dan Sickles (who is controversial due to his choices during the Battle of Gettysburg) did a commendable job in keeping the battlefield preserved with monuments for all the Northern states that fought here.

After catching a glimpse of the incredible monuments, I knew I would want to return there on foot before leaving Gettysburg.

After catching a glimpse of the incredible monuments, I knew I would want to return there on foot before leaving Gettysburg.

Eat At Dobbin House Tavern

Finally, we ended our second day with a dinner at Dobbin House Tavern. Not only is Dobbin House home to a restaurant, but it is also a building that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1776, the building is claimed to have been part of the Underground Railroad.

One of the interesting parts of dining at Dobbin House is that the staff are all dressed in colonial clothes.

One of the interesting parts of dining at Dobbin House is that the staff are all dressed in colonial clothes.

The seating at Dobbin House is unique. Not only do they have traditional tables, but they also have tables shaped like beds in the Bedroom historic room. That’s where we ate and enjoyed our meal.

One delicious part of the meal at Dobbin House Tavern was the French Onion Soup.

One delicious part of the meal at Dobbin House Tavern was the French Onion Soup.

Dining at Dobbin House Tavern was a fantastic end to our day, and a wonderful way to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Since he remembers eating here when he was a child, it was neat to come back with his recommendation and to see it as a family.

Our family enjoying a meal at Dobbin House Tavern.

Our family enjoying a meal at Dobbin House Tavern.

The first two days at Gettysburg were packed with plenty to do. From eating delicious food to seeing the views of the battlefields, we enjoyed our stay.

For more travel tips, follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube.

Looking for more ideas for visiting Gettysburg? Learn more in Part 2, and click on the below images to check out more articles!

 

Disclosure: I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion.

About The Author

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Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

35 Responses

  1. Jessica Joachim

    It looks like you had a great time, I can’t wait to see more of your trip. I have always wanted to visit Gettysburg. It would be a lot of fun for a family vacation.

    Reply
  2. Robin Rue

    I am super into history and have ALWAYS wanted to go to Gettysburg. It’s only a 6 hour drive from me, so I should totally make a trip out of it.

    Reply
  3. shelah

    What a great trip to Gettysburg! My favorite was day 2. Taking a carriage ride at eating at a historical site like Dobbin House sounds wonderful.

    Reply
  4. Cassie

    Love your photos here! Have never visited Gettysburg before but it sure sounds like a great place to visit and steeped with a lot of history!

    Reply
  5. Krystal Miller

    What an amazing trip. We would love to visit someday. I love all of the history!

    Reply
  6. Karen Morse

    Those are all awesome and fun for the whole family. I love that you opted to take the kids to historical places, it’s not just a getaway but a nice learning experience for them as well.

    Reply
  7. Pam

    I’ve never been to Gettysburg, but would absolutely love to go! There’s so much history to see and fun to have. Maybe when the kids get a little older and can fully appreciate the history- which shouldn’t be long now.

    Reply
  8. Kerri

    I have never been to Gettysburg. Seems like a great place for a vacation and history too. My girls would love it.

    Reply
  9. Marcie

    This post is exactly what I was looking for! I’m hoping to do some road trips with my boys in the next few years and Gettysburg is somewhere we’ve never been. Great tips!

    Reply
  10. Amanda Love

    Who wouldn’t fall in love with Gettysburg. I love that it’s peaceful there and it’s quiet as well. You can spend the day exploring with the kids or just sitting back and relaxing in the fields! It’s such an easy going itinerary. Nothing that will stress you out.

    Reply
  11. Cindy Ingalls

    I’m a big history buff so I’ve always enjoyed exploring places like Gettysburg. It’s always so fascinating to learn from the locals or other experts about what happened where and to find out great places to eat.

    Reply
  12. Jeanine

    What gorgeous photos! I have always wanted to check out places like Gettysburg. Would love to get the chance, if so this is a great resource!

    Reply
  13. Brittany

    It’s always been my dream to take my whole family here. We’re homeschooling this year too so it will be the perfect opportunity to teach them all the history behind it!@

    Reply
  14. Dean

    I think that would be an interesting trip that I’m sure my history buffs would totally enjoy, and that includes myself. I always enjoy checking out places with history.

    Reply
  15. Shann Eva

    What a great trip! My husband and oldest son love history, and would enjoy all the monuments. You can never go wrong with a trip to an ice cream shop either. So neat that you were able to eat at the same place your husband remembered as a kid.

    Reply
  16. Glenda

    This looks like fun! I live in PA but never been to Gettysburg before. However, I do plan to visit someday!

    Reply
  17. Erica

    I saw the picture at East Cemetery Hill and thought you had a teenage daughter (then I realized it was actually you!) I went to Gettysburg as a kid (I think) but probably didn’t spend enough time there. I don’t live on the East coast anymore, but would love to go back.

    Reply
  18. Ana De- Jesus

    Thank you for putting Gettysburg on the map for me as I had not heard of it before. The French Onion soup looks great but I love that there is amazing culture like a tour too x

    Reply
  19. Heather

    I’d love for my daughters to have this experience! American history is so fascinating and it’s wonderful you are taking the time to teach them during a family vacation.

    Reply
  20. Nikki

    Gettysburg is crazy high on my list of places to visit. My mom and aunts are obsessed with it, but I’ve never had a chance to explore. I’ve driven through many times! We actually want to move down there, it’s only 20 minutes from where my brother lives in MD. Thanks for the travel tips!

    Reply
  21. reesa

    I have heard Gettysburg was an awesome family place! I school here goes on a class trip there overnight. I need to get there with my family!

    Reply
  22. Rachel

    I really want to take my kids there one day. They aren’t really old enough to appreciate it now but maybe in about three or four years.

    Reply
  23. Courtneylynne

    Omg looks like y’all had another fabulous day in Gettysburg!!!! We took the carriage ride before and my daughter loved it!!

    Reply

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