Blake Walsh

21 Best Things to Do in Gettysburg, PA

  • Published 2023/03/02

Perched on the southern side of Pennsylvania is Gettysburg, a homey town with pleasant scenery and fewer than 8,000 registered residents.

From the outside, Gettysburg seems like a typical quiet town, but Gettysburg is far more than just a peaceful place.

Gettysburg is a historical gem.

The Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in America’s Civil War, took place here.

That’s why most tourist destinations here connect to history, though a few focus on recreation and entertainment.

Here are the best things to do in Gettysburg, PA:

Visit the Devil’s Den

Marker of the Devil’s Den

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This hill has crevices between massive boulders, leading previous settlers to believe a giant snake inhabited it.

This topographical feature played an important role in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Stone steps at Devil’s Den

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The rock formations allowed soldiers and snipers to hide, providing some cover from gunfire.

Now, it’s a famous tourist spot, the rocks attracting travelers around the world.

Sharpshooter position at Devil’s Den

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Ride a Victorian Carriage with Horse Tours of Gettysburg

Horse carriage tour at Gettysburg

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You may have had enough of walking tours already, so book a tour with Horse Tours of Gettysburg!

Founded in 2010, this company started with only a few horses and borrowed saddles.

They’ve expanded to give travelers several options that each add a twist to basic walking tours around Gettysburg.

Horseback riding at a Gettysburg ranch

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First, they offer a guided horseback riding tour which will take you to areas around the Gettysburg battlefield, such as the Virginia monument and the Spangler Farm.

The next available tour gives you leisure seats in a Victorian-style carriage.

You can enjoy these tours with fun and exciting narration from knowledgeable tour guides!

Sip Fine Wine at Buddy Boy Winery Gettysburg

There’s always a thrill in tasting something new.

Buddy Boy Winery can give you a fresh taste of Pennsylvania wine, different from commercial wines in stores.

The highlight of their wines is their fruity taste, like a blend of fruit juice and wine, achieved only through using real fruits.

They offer wine-tasting for various flavors, which you can enjoy in a casual, homey setting with wooden furniture and bright, yellow-painted walls.

It’s hard to miss because it’s painted red from the outside and is designed like a barn.

Explore the Eisenhower National Historic Site

Front view of Eisenhower National Historic Site's exterior

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This historical site lets you peek into the household life of a US president during the 1950s.

Eisenhower bought the old farmlands in 1950, but the farm had stood in town since 1921.

Small steps leading to Eisenhower National Historic Site

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If you’re ever curious about what homes looked like in the past, visit this site to find out.

Everything in this house and farm has been carefully preserved as a symbol of American culture and history.

You can check out Eisenhower’s bedroom, living room, dining area, guest room, etc.

Landscape of Eisenhower National Historic Site

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Get Active at Gettysburg Recreation Park

Gettysburg Recreation Park features almost 52 acres of facilities and amenities for public use and enjoyment.

You can enjoy their amenities, including sports fields, children’s playgrounds, pavilions, and a dog park.

There’s also a skate park with plenty of space and metal ramps to practice.

Keep an eye out for events because they sometimes show fireworks displays to celebrate certain holidays like Independence Day.

If you’re looking to play with children or some sports, the Gettysburg Recreation Park will serve your needs.

Buy Local Crafts in Gallery 30

Exterior of Gallery 30

Appsifter LLC, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gallery 30 offers locally made items and handicrafts, from tote bags and sculptures to jewelry and natural hygiene products.

They opened in 1989 and have operated since then.

It’s perfect for souvenirs related to Gettysburg and Pennsylvania since all the items they sell are made and sourced from the local community.

Interior of Gallery 30

Appsifter LLC, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the items include traditionally woven linens, necklaces, natural soaps, and fragrant candles.

This place is also home to a collection of fine arts from upcoming and award-winning artists, most of whom are Pennsylvania locals.

Drop by Gallery 30 and browse local products reminiscent of their homes.

Enjoy a Feast with Savor Gettysburg Food Tours

What can make a tour around Gettysburg’s historic downtown more exciting?

Founder Lori Mitchell’s answer to that is good food, so she established this food tour business.

Learn about the history of downtown Gettysburg while you take pit stops at local restaurants and try some of Gettysburg’s cuisine.

They also have vegetarian options; notify your guide before the tour.

Join a Ghost Tour at Farnsworth House Inn

Exterior of Farnsworth House Inn

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Do you believe in ghosts?

If not, an experience in the Farnsworth House Inn may change your mind.

They regularly hold ghost tours around the historic Farnsworth House, where Union soldiers killed many Confederate snipers.

Most tours are kid-friendly, but some interactive tours use complicated paranormal equipment.

These tours are limited to kids 16 years old and above, to avoid damage.

You’ll explore the attic, cellar, dining rooms, and other haunted areas.

You can also spend the night in historic rooms if you’re brave enough.

Meet the Animals in the Land of Little Horses Performing Animal Theme Park

Founded in 1970, this animal park was the first home of imported miniature ponies.

Years later, the theme park has expanded to include various animals such as ponies, horses, farm animals like pigs, and exotic wildlife such as camels and llamas.

There are plenty of exciting activities with animals here.

You can try grooming, cuddles, pig races, animal performances, and close encounters with horses relaxing at the pastures.

The park offers an exciting and dreamy meet-up with friendly animals, especially for young children.

There’s also a cafe and a gift shop with adorable plushies to explore once you’re done with their main events.

Learn from the Gettysburg Heritage Center Museum

The Gettysburg Heritage Center Museum offers a creative, interactive way to appreciate the long history of Gettysburg.

Inside, there are old artifacts, displays, 3D videos and photography to make the exhibits seem more vivid and real.

For a more lighthearted experience, the museum offers tours in gettypeds—cute, colorful, open-air miniature cars—to liven up the experience.

This museum also features its own gift shop and bookstore, where you can purchase souvenirs and resource materials.

Take a Picture at Sachs Covered Bridge

Entrance to the Sachs Covered Bridge

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Built in 1854, the Sachs Covered Bridge is one of Gettysburg’s most scenic destinations, featuring a bright red wooden barn-like design.

Inside, the bridge is lined up with wood patterned in elaborate diamond shapes, creating a picturesque view the moment you step in.

The view from inside the Sachs Covered Bridge

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Both Union and Confederate armies crossed the bridge toward Marsh Creek.

Some ghost tours stop by the bridge at night.

Side view of Sachs Covered Bridge

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Look around the Shriver House Museum

The Shriver House Museum offers travelers a different perspective—the civilians’ experience in the Civil War.

The Shriver Family built the house in 1893 and left when they heard cannons and rifles.

The war destroyed much of the home, but the preservation staff restored it as close as possible to its original form through meticulous renovations.

Explore the home while listening to an original recording of the Shriver family’s experience.

Get a glimpse of old houses before modern culture and technology.

Explore the Gettysburg National Military Park

Daytime view of Gettysburg National Military Park

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The National Register of Historic Places added this park in 1966.

It’s a vast military park with over 1,328 statues, monuments, plaques, and dedications for the people who fought in the American Civil War.

Canons on Gettysburg National Military Park's battlefield

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Travelers in Gettysburg often visit this park at least once.

Many offered tours will cross this area and include some of the monuments in their historical discussions.

Don’t forget to swing by the Gettysburg National Military Park, one of the town’s most popular destinations!

A monument at Gettysburg National Military Park

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Tour the Museum of Haunted Objects

Gettysburg has an established history of war, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ghost stories and haunted items in the area.

Whether you’re a believer or not, the Museum of Haunted Objects presents a dark peculiar tour of haunted items, narrating the stories of each object.

Learn about the history of these items and what haunted them.

The friendly guides try to make the tour as interactive as possible to make the guests’ experience more immersive.

Satisfy your curiosity about the supernatural in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Visit the David Wills House

Exterior of David Wills House

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After the Civil War, the David Wills House was the center of activity planning rehabilitation and town rebuilding.

The home is a three-story building, but only two floors are available for public viewing.

Name sign and entrance of David Wills House

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Inside, you’ll see a collection of old artifacts such as Abraham Lincoln’s notes, key, and saddle.

There are also several historical explanations on the walls, so travelers should expect a text-heavy museum full of information.

Lincoln statue in front of David Wills House

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Shop Local at the Gettysburg Farmers’ Market

This farmers market is open every Saturday to sell fresh products made or sourced within the local community.

They’ve been open since 1991, providing locals and curious travelers with fresh produce and handmade crafts at affordable prices.

The Gettysburg Farmers’ Market sells various products, from the freshest fruits and vegetables to the prettiest flowers.

Other examples of their local goods include meat, dairy, jams, coffees, honey, and baked goods.

You can taste unique, local flavors through this market, some of which you’ll only find in Gettysburg.

Check Out the Jennie Wade House

Exterior of the Jennie Wade House

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The American Civil War has claimed many lives, including those who were only spending their daily errands at home like Jennie Wade.

Only 20 years old at that time, Wade was kneading dough in her home’s kitchen in 1863 for the soldiers when a rifle bullet hit her in the shoulder and pierced through her heart.

Today, the Jennie Wade House keeps her belongings and artifacts, including the artillery shell and the floorboard that still has Jennie’s blood.

Statue of Jennie Wade in front of the Jennie Wade House

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There’s also a gift shop right next door with Jennie Wade collectibles and souvenirs.

Wade is one of the two civilians who has a perpetual American flag flown in their grave site.

You can find the Jennie Wade House off Baltimore Street.

Front view of the Jennie Wade House

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Dine with a Rich History at the Dobbin House Tavern

Exterior of the Dobbin House Tavern

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the Dobbin House Tavern serves American comfort food, as well as ale, wine, and cocktails.

Nestled in the 1776 home of Reverend Alexander Dobbin, the house became a temporary field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.

Today, the Dobbin House Tavern is a popular bed and breakfast spot for most tourists with a rich culture and history being preserved on-site.

Also, its French onion soup, crab dip, gingerbread, and hot buttered rum are a must-try!

Get your appetite ready and immerse in a spot where you can both get filled with delicious eats and a rich history!

Facade of the Dobbin House Tavern

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Drink Coffee with Local Art at The Ragged Edge Coffee House

Kickstart your day in Gettysburg with The Ragged Edge Coffee House.

You’ll be served not only delicious coffee but also original local art and poetry readings.

Try its freshly baked goodies, breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, and many other delicious eats.

The art on display is a perfect pair with your coffee!

You can also use the outdoor patio during warmer days.

The Ragged Edge Coffee House is located off Chambersburg Street.

Read a Book at the Adams County Public Library

Exterior of the Adams County Public Library

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With comfortable reading nooks and a wide selection of books and other resources, the Adams County Public Library is a great spot for traveling bookworms.

From audiobooks, magazines, and e-books, to music there’s something for everyone here.

Kids, teens, and adults can check out these resources for reading, research, and study.

The Adams County Public Library first opened in 1976 with several other locations.

In Gettysburg, you can find it on Baltimore Street.

Go Camping at Drummer Boy Camping Resort

Offering 95 acres of campgrounds and cabins, Drummer Boy Camping Resort is the best retreat in Gettysburg for traveling families.

If you’re RV camping, the wooded campgrounds are well-kept with great amenities, including a swimming pool, a playground, a picnic area with grills, baths, and more.

You can also rent a cabin or a cottage.

On weekends, lots of activities are happening at Drummer Boy Camping Resort such as live music, tournaments, arts & crafts, and many more.

You can find it at Rocky Grove Road.

Final Thoughts

Gettysburg may be a small town, but it plays a significant role in history.

Even though many of the attractions here relate to history, the locals are incredibly creative, adding their twists to make the tours and destinations livelier.

They do have exciting venues to explore, like the theme park, haunted museum, and the local handicrafts gallery.

Overall, the lovely sights, historical significance, and unique attractions in Gettysburg make for a memorable trip.

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