Friday

A First-Person Account of Two Must-Book Tours in Gettysburg


Written By: Sharee Collier, Editor of IndieRV Travel Network

We knew when we decided to head to Gettysburg we would need to book at least one tour! Listening to stories told by the certified battlefield guides, detailing the events of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War while being immersed in the actual battlefield was something we wanted to experience and something we needed the kids to learn about. This was a turning point for our country, just reading about in a textbook wouldn’t do justice. So we contacted the folks behind a few of the tours offered inside the battlefield and booked two we felt would offer a full spectrum experience for our family.

To be honest, it was probably information overload, but we didn’t know if we would be coming back to Gettysburg any time soon, so we figured we would do our best to give the kids a whirlwind adventure in Roadschooling History while here! The two tours I’ll tell you about are the best of the best and while you could just book one, I personally think the experiences are different enough to justify doing both!

Guided Battlefield Carriage Tour:
The maximum number of people on this tour is 10, so you can count on some personal attention and time to ask questions on this intimate and educational tour. A certified guide keeps your attention, as the Victorian Carriage Company says, “…listen to a play by play of three days that changed America's history.”


Our tour guide was a warm and welcoming middle-aged man who knew his facts, front and back. He was well informed, entertaining, and delivered the story in a way it made sense to everyone in the carriage-regardless of age. He gave modern day examples, related stories to the kids, life, and school, and even made a point to ask the quiz questions to keep you on your toes! The tour was a round trip ride from the Gettysburg Heritage Center, through the battlefield and back, that lasted about two hours.

I recommend this tour because of its personal nature. The story and the details are orchestrated based on the people in the carriage. Questions are answered with facts and lead to other interesting points not often told and sometimes forgotten. You can bring snacks, a blanket if it’s a little chilly or some warm hot chocolate- during the Fall & Winter!

During the ride, our guide passed around relics like bullets and fragments of cannon balls to help narrate the story, points of interests we were viewing out in the fields, and assure everyone understood the depth and historical significance of this bloody battle. 


At first I was a little worried about the graphics and gory details, since two of our kids are only 7, I didn’t want anyone to have nightmares and end up sleeping in my bed. Glad to say that wasn’t the case - if anything they just really enjoyed the story. History has a way of bringing out curiosity in the kids that they sometimes keep at bay.

After the tour, we took advantage of the time we had left to visit with the beautiful horses and thank our drivers and guide for an amazing experience.

Tips to Know Before You Go:
  • Tour will begin at scheduled time, rain or shine. 
  • Arrive 15-20 minutes early to get checked-in, park and get yourself settled without being rushed. You can also take some pictures with the horses during this time. 
  • Check the weather for the day and know what to expect. 
  • Bring sunglasses, blankets if it's cold, and some water to drink. 
  • Make sure to eat before you come! 
  • Ticket price doesn’t include gratuity. 
  • You will spend the entire 2 hours on the carriage. 
Check Out Their Website for More Details.

Gettysburg Double Decker Bus Tour:
Totally different from the personal tour we took with the horse-drawn carriage the day prior, this double-decker bus was packed with people and we were just lucky enough to get a seat for all of us on the upper level- where you just have to sit! Departing from the Gettysburg Tour Center, where you should plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to guarantee you get a good seat, the tour goes through both the town of Gettysburg and the National Battlefield.


We plugged in our headphones that were provided by the guide and waited for everyone to settle in before taking off on the two-hour tour. The bus was packed solid and we were excited about this adventure!

Instead of heading straight to the battlefield, as we did on the carriage tour, we were first given a tour of the town of Gettysburg, which we all really enjoyed! Historical houses, markers, and points of interest were all topics of discussion and viewing them from the open air seating was fun and entertaining.

Before heading over to the battlefield, the bus cordially stopped at a local vendor where restrooms, coffee, ice cream and snacks could be purchased for the remaining hour ride. We took advantage of this, and I’ll be honest- the cookies at this little shop we amazing as was the coffee!

Driving through the battlefield again and especially on consecutive days as we did, you would think the story would get old- but with a new guide you get a new fresh perspective. Yeah, some of the story is the same, as you would imagine because they’re detailing a historical event based on real facts and events that took place, but the focus can be different which was great. 



On this tour, we drove up to Little Round Top, where the bus pulled over for a scenic treat. We all got off and walked around this little gem, taking pictures and chatting about what we were experiencing. The kids had a great time exploring the monuments, the cannons and chatting with the other guests. We took tons of pictures, and since someone offered to snap a shot with all of us in it - we actually have a family memory with all 6 of us to cherish for many years to come.

We loved the Double Decker Bus Tour, it was fun and educational and the time was broken up into smaller, more manageable segments, with the two breaks, that really helped to keep the little ones from getting too antsy. This is a great activity for families with kids of any age.

Tips to Know Before You Go:
  • Tour will begin at scheduled time, rain or shine. 
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early to get checked-in, park and get in line to get your seat. 
  • Check the weather for the day and dress appropriately if you plan to sit on the top. 
  • Bring your sunglasses, a jacket if needed and some water to drink. 
  • Make sure to eat before you come- or bring a small cooler, like we did! 
  • Stops last about 10-15 minutes each. 
  • Bring some cash for snack stops and a camera! 
  • Ticket price doesn’t include gratuity. 
  • Beware of low hanging branches as you drive through the wooded areas. 
Check Out Their Website for More Details.

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AUTHOR BIO: Wife, Mother of four & full-time travel lover and doer- Sharee Collier, Editor of IndieRV Travel Network, is having a blast this year while showing other RVers the “Best of the Best” when it comes to places to go & things to see. 


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