Tips and Etiquette for Gettysburg

If you’re interested in American history, the country’s most famous battlefield can be an educational – and entertaining – family trip. When planning a trip to the national park in Pennsylvania’s southeast corner, consider these tips and etiquette for Gettysburg to help you and your children make the most of your visit to this historically significant site.

Learn about tours.

Our family chose the car audio tour to tour the Gettysburg battlefield, but I wish I’d known about another option – licensed battlefield guides!

A licensed guide will drive your car for you and personalize your tour for $55 for a two-hour tour. These tour guides must pass a rigorous testing program that includes both a written and oral exam to ensure that they know their history and can present it engagingly.

You can make specific requests for your tour if you call ahead. Even if you walk into the Visitor’s Center and request an LBG, the guide will still ask about your interests and even do some research before taking you on your tour.

For more information, go to Gettysburg Daily. Even if you skip an LBG, you can still benefit from the insights of a guide. Phil Lechak, a licensed battlefield guide, agreed to answer a few questions about visiting the site.

Avoid the crowds.

When are the least crowded times of year to visit Gettysburg? As you might expect, the Fourth of July weekend is completely packed. However, less busy months include April, the last two weeks of August, and late October, which is beautiful because the leaves change colors.

Advice on proper behavior.

Is there a code of conduct on the battlefield? Don’t climb on the cannons, says Lechak, and be respectful in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. But you’re not required to remain silent on the rest of the battlefield.

“Yes, something very bloody happened here, and we wouldn’t want people flying kites, but there’s plenty of open space,” Lechak points out. “Parents should not feel obligated to keep their children on short leashes. Children can run around and enjoy the outdoors as well.”

Character interaction.

Is it okay to approach the Civil War re-enactors? They appear to be all over the place!

“When they’re doing protests, no,” Lechak says. “However, feel free to speak with them at other times. They’re friendly and enjoy talking to children.”

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