The Best Historic Sites to Visit in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

There\'s so much to see in Gettysburg. Here\'s what you need to hit. (Image via Shutterstock.com)

Visiting Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania and standing on the battlefields gives one the feeling of being on sacred ground. In 1863, just over 7,000 soldiers lost their lives in the Battle of Gettysburg, where eventually President Abraham Lincoln would give the Gettysburg Address. The entire area has artifacts and landmarks from the Civil War era, and the downtown area has lovely inns, homes, restaurants, and shops that can round out a fascinating trip.

The Battle of Gettysburg was our country’s bloodiest war, and the entire town was shattered by the battle. General Lee’s retreat afterwards was the turning point of the entire war. A year later, local citizens created the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, which preserved sections of the battlefield before the property was designated a National Military Park.

Museum and Visitor Center

 /><figcaption>The Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center should be your first stop to contextualize the rest of the trip. (Image via Shutterstock.com)</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>The <a href=Museum and Visitor Center is the perfect starting point for your visit. Here you can get maps, audio tours, and a good overall feel for the place. The museum has 11 different galleries, which have battle relics and displays, plus theaters, videos, and interactive exhibits. Learning about how the Civil War started and why Gettysburg was so crucial gives visitors a better perspective about the Park.

Eisenhower National Historic Site

 /><figcaption>President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s home where he hosted several historic figures.</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>President Dwight D. Eisenhower purchased this <a href=homestead and farm next to the battlefield in 1950 and moved here in 1961. The building is 4,100 square feet with 24 rooms and is almost completely furnished with the Eisenhower’s original pieces. Here, the family entertained guests including Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and Nikita Khrushchev. It offers a lovely view of South Mountain, which is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Soldiers’ National Cemetery

 /><figcaption>The National Cemetery is home to veterans of many American wars. </figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p><a href=Soldiers’ National Cemetery is a hauntingly beautiful site on Cemetery Hill, the center of the battlefield. This is where Gettysburg Governor Andrew Curtin organized the reburial of around 3,600 Union soldiers. It was dedicated that following November where President Lincoln delivered the historic Gettysburg Address to a crowd of more than 10,000. In 1869, the Soldiers’ Monument was built, and the cemetery was later expanded to include soldiers who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.

David Wills House & Jennie Wade House

 /><figcaption>The David Wills House gives visitors a chance to see where Lincoln stayed the night before he gave the Gettysburg Address. (Image via Shutterstock.com)</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>A Gettysburg lawyer, David Wills helped care for wounded soldiers and was instrumental in establishing the Soldiers’ Cemetery. The <a href=David Wills House is where Lincoln prepared his speech the night before its delivery. The house shows how Wills and local residents helped soldiers and their families.  His office and bedroom have been lovingly restored for visitors to see. The Jennie Wade House is another historic home owned by a local family during the war. Its namesake, Jennie, was only 20 years old when she was killed by a stray bullet in her home.

Sachs Covered Bridge

 /><figcaption>Pennsylvania is known for its covered bridges, with Sachs being one of the most famous.</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>Built in 1852, Sachs Bridge is one of the most historic in Pennsylvania. It was important during the war as it was crossed by Union Army troops as they moved into Gettysburg. Four days afterward, General Lee’s army retreated back over it towards Virginia. There are some who believe that it is <a href=haunted by ghosts, but that is up to you to decide. It is in the National Register of Historic Places, has a distinctive red color, and is open to foot traffic only.

Shriver House Museum

 /><figcaption>The Shriver House Museum is a good way to learn about what life was like for civilians during the Civil War. (Image via <a href=Jon Dawson)

The Shriver House Museum is a living history museum that is a carefully restored home from 1860 that shows how families lived during the battle. Visitors can participate in tours led by guides dressed in period attire. The home includes a sharpshooters “nest” where Confederate soldiers fired at Union troops. This home also functioned as a small hospital for the wounded. It was owned by George Washington Shriver, a local businessman. He lived there with his wife Hettie and daughters Sadie and Mollie. The family opened up Shriver’s Saloon & Ten-Pin Alley on the property before George volunteered for the war.

The Battlefield and Monuments of Gettysburg

 /><figcaption>The best way to learn about the Civil War is to visit the battlefield.</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>The battlefield has around 1,400 different statues and monuments that pay tribute to both Confederate and Union soldiers. Most of them are placed where the units actually fought.  Some of the best known include Oak Ridge and the <a href=Eternal Light Peace Memorial, which were erected where the first battle occurred. The biggest monument, Pennsylvania Memorial, was built on Cemetery Ridge. This lists all of the PA soldiers who fought in the battle. One of the others is Seminary Ridge, built at what was a Confederate position. This site features the North Carolina Memorial, the Virginia State Memorial, and a bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee.

Battlefield Tours

 /><figcaption>There are several ways to get guided tours through Gettysburg. (Image via Shutterstock.com)</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>The pristine grounds are also perfect for biking and tours are offered through companies like <a href=Getty’s Bike. Audio tours can be arranged through the visitor’s center, and these can be listened to in your car. For a bus tour, try Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tours.

Need-to-Know Gettysburg Basics

 /><figcaption>Downtown Gettysburg offers an escape from the war with quaint shops and restaurants. (Image via Shutterstock.com)</figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>Gettysburg is open year-round, although some areas can be closed depending on weather conditions. Winter hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., while summer hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to the park is free and some of the attractions and tours are available for nominal fees.</p>
<p>Gettysburg is in Adams County, pretty close to the center of the state. It’s a scenic drive through bucolic countrysides and gently rolling hills.</p>
<p>For those that want to fly into Gettysburg, the closest airport is Harrisburg International, which is 36 miles away. Amtrak’s closest station is in Baltimore. Once in town, there are many <a href=lodging options, including motels, campgrounds, and charming, historic inns. Once you’re settled in, you can explore all of the rich culture and history that Gettysburg has to offer.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Closed up on a tiny wood home model on green grass with sunlight background.

This Month in Real Estate: A Housing Market Summary

The new year is showing that the predicted changes coming to the housing market were accurate and kept with the trend for 55+ homebuyers. If you’re just entering the housing market as a homebuyer, make sure you’re aware of the changes happening so you’re prepared to make the best purchasing decision. 

Aerial view of a picturesque olive plantation in Bakersfield, California.

The Cheapest Places to Live in California

With almost year-round sunshine, some of the world’s prettiest beaches, world-class shopping and dining, and a never-ending list of recreational and entertainment opportunities, it’s no wonder California is such as sought-after state to settle down in.

A sunset over Huntington Beach Pier in California.

The Active Adult Travel Guide to California

California is known for its diverse regions and cities. This means if you’re an active adult looking to vacation in the Golden State, you’ll have a lot of options. We breakdown the state into its three main regions and find everything you should do while on vacation.

3 Virginia 55+ Communities With Easy Commutes to D.C.

If you’re looking for a 55+ community but you’re still working in Washington D.C., here are several active adult communities that offer easy commutes to D.C. with a chance to take the first step toward retirement.

The Best Washington D.C. Area Communities for Downsizing

Outside of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, active adults can find a number of communities with condominiums and smaller attached homes perfect for downsizing. Here are the five best communities for homebuyers looking to downsize in the Washington, D.C. area.

Annapolis, Maryland: What to Do and Where to Live

Annapolis, Maryland is quaint and historic, with arts, culture, and outdoor activities. Active adults can find varied and affordable homes to buy in age-restricted communities.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top