This post is in partnership with Destination Gettysburg. All opinions are my own. You can read my full Disclosure Policy here. Thank you to the Wyndham Gettysburg and Liberty Mountain Resort for hosting my family!
We live maybe an hour and a half away from Gettysburg (located in South Central Pennsylvania) and despite being so close, we’ve never taken the kids. My husband and I don’t think we’ve gone since we were on an elementary school field trip. Ack, what’s wrong with us? Probably what’s wrong with a lot of people: You don’t realize how much there is to do in this town!
Yes, of course there’s the battlefield (which, by the way, is incredible). But there’s also plenty of family-friendly fun to be found. We’ve partnered with Destination Gettysburg to share our winter weekend with you!
Our Gettysburg Vlog
For just the highlights, this video will show you some of our favorite parts of the trip including our beautiful hosted accommodations at the Wyndham Gettysburg. Read on for more photos and details on our stay.
Fun, huh? Keep reading!
Where To Stay
There are plenty of lodging options in Gettysburg depending on your budget, how close you want to be to downtown, and other factors that might be important to you. We stayed at the Wyndham Gettysburg and for families, I think it’s a great choice.
Gateway Gettysburg is kind of a ‘complex’ that includes 2 hotels, the Marriott and the Wyndham, plus dining options and a movie theater. If you’ve got small kids and don’t want to have to cart them around for food or entertainment, this is the place to be.
The Wyndham is gorgeous. It’s has an up-to-date decor but with a historical theme, if that makes sense. It doesn’t feel like you’re going back in time, but you’ll find paintings of presidents, the canon in the lobby, things like that that really immerse you in the Gettysburg culture. We loved it!
The hotel has comfortable amenities like a great pool (we took our suits but didn’t find time to swim – too much to do in town!), free WiFi, a restaurant, and more. We didn’t dine here, but for breakfast we hopped over the the adjacent Marriott (also a lovely hotel with more of a modern decor) because they have a bistro style eatery in the lobby. It was quick and easy and they serve food all times of the day. A winner when you need to feed the kids fast!
Right across the parking lot (yes, we walked there from the hotel) is the Appalachian Brewing Company. We have one of these in the town adjacent to us that we love. A relaxed atmosphere with great food. We had burgers, fries, and split peanut butter pie for dessert. Delicious!
Our stay included the Family Slumber Party Package which was SO much fun! That includes cookies and drinks delivered to your room, plus 4 movie tickets to the theater across the street. Isn’t that so fun! Let me tell you, you want to make your kids’ night when you’re traveling? Have cookies delivered to the room. They were thrilled!
Gettysburg Heritage Center
There are a variety of historical museums in Gettysburg, but we only made it to one on this trip: Gettysburg Heritage Center. You can also schedule guided tours of the battlefield here.
Before we dive into the Civil War stuff, let me be upfront and say that I’m not really a huge history fanatic. It was a total snore for me in high school, and now I’m jealous of all the people, like my husband, who know SO MUCH STUFF. Why did I never learn this? Anyway, being in Gettysburg and actually walking on that battlefield has seriously sparked an interest in history in me like never before. I’ve been on YouTube watching video after video, trying to learn as much as I can.
My kids are really into it, too. There’s nothing that replaces that hands-on learning for piquing an interest and leaving a lasting impression.
The Gettysburg Heritage Center is unique in that it completely focuses on the experience of the residents of Gettysburg during the battle. It’s really crazy to think about people going about their lives and all of the sudden there’s a huge battle happening in your town.
These kinds of quotes and stories are all over the museum and just hit you in the gut. Can you imagine? Then you go to the battlefield and walk on this land. It’s a bit surreal.
One of the really neat features of this museum is The Cellar Experience. There’s a room that’s made to feel like a cellar where many residents of Gettysburg hid out during the battle. It’s really…wow. I never thought about what this would be like before. My son is a bit sensitive and didn’t want to stay through the whole thing (there are footsteps above to mimic the sound of the soldiers going through the house which freaked him out a bit!), but the rest of us learned a lot from this experience.
This is also where we picked up an iPad to go on a guided self-tour of the battlefield. This is a neat way to do the tour because it’s very informative but you can go at your own pace. Our iPad directions were a little hit or miss but the weather (as you’ll see in my photos below) was not great this weekend and could have had something to do with the reception.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is really big and split into a few different sections. If you plan to get out and walk around the monuments at all, I would give yourself a solid 3-5 hours to do it. I couldn’t believe we spent that much time there either, and in fact we split it into two days. But there’s so much to see and we were really enjoying it. You could get through it faster if you take it all in from your car.
The Battle of Gettysburg took place during the hot July summer of 1863. When you visit today there are cannons everywhere and so many memorials.
This is the biggest memorial, the Pennsylvania State Memorial. You can actually climb it and get a great view of the battlefield from above. That’s the Goddess of Victory on top. This memorial has the names of all 34,530 Pennsylvanians who fought in the battle on it. It’s impressive.
Some of the monuments are small and more like a plaque. Others are really big and more artistic looking. Each state that had men fighting in the war has their own monument here. Most of them tell how many men were lost from their state in this battle. There were more than 50,000 casualties in Gettysburg (that’s dead, missing, and wounded combined), the largest of any of the Civil War battles.
And when you take the kids onto the battlefield, there’s always room for a little fun thrown in with the learning. Ah, these two really adore each other. Can’tcha tell?
Devil’s Den was another favorite spot on the battlefield for my kids. This is a boulder-covered hill that’s great for climbing and peeping around. To get the feel of really being in the battle zone, be sure to hike up and walk around.
Liberty Mountain Resort
In addition to all of the history in Gettysburg, there’s plenty of FUN to take in! We found ours at Liberty Mountain Resort where they invited us for a day of snow tubing. Two words: TOTAL BLAST.
This is kind of a sprawling resort property and the snow tubing is at the top of the hill. There’s parking up there, but if the lot is full, there’s a free shuttle from the lower parking area which is what we took. Easy peasy and free! This lodge is where you’ll check in and grab your tickets, and then get a tube and off you go!
There’s a belt that pulls you and your tube up the hill so parents, you don’t need to lug your kids up the mountain. WIN. And going up this lift was definitely part of the fun!
These two had so much fun this day! It’s not every day you’ll find them clinging to each other and saying, “Do you want to go down the hill with me again?”
The young people that work there are great, so friendly and they did a great job keeping everyone safe. As you can see the fog rolled in while we were there which made it feel kind of cool! But it was tricky to see if the path was clear at the bottom. The staff used walkie talkies to make sure the kids were good to go before sending them down. And yes, my husband and I went down over and over (and over!) again, too!
In addition to snow tubing Liberty Mountain has an ice skating rink, and lots of ski options. That wooden structure just beyond the rink encloses a cozy outdoor fireplace.
And if you are a skiing family, you will love the accommodations here. The have a brand new lodge and we stepped into the lobby to take a peek. Gorgeous!
Walking around downtown Gettysburg was one of my personal favorite things to do. I love to discover new little shops and wineries and restaurants and you’ll find all of this and more.
We had to have a little chat with Abe while we were passing by.
My favorite find in the town was Lark. I’m obsessed with this store! So many unique and really awesome things in here. I bought a ton of gifts for friends and for the kids. I couldn’t stop myself!
Right next door to that shop is The Pub. This is both a bar and restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and great food. I got this crab bisque soup bread bowl and salad for dinner. Soooo good!
There are tons of places to eat in Gettysburg, too. Tommy’s Pizza is great for families and they have the best pizza. We went there for lunch on our first day and the kids wanted to go there again on day 2! We also had dinner at Eddie’s another casual eatery with a baseball theme. Really neat place! Definitely try some of the local stuff. We loved it!
We ended up staying in Gettysburg longer than we had originally planned to because we were enjoying our day so much. It’s such a neat town and as a parent one of the things I value most about traveling with my kids is the educational aspect. They learn so much by actually BEING in a new place versus just reading about it or watching it on YouTube. Gettysburg was the best of everything for us: highly educational and also highly entertaining.
I’d encourage you to check out the Destination Gettysburg website and see what local attractions look like they’d be fun for your family, then go plan a trip! We can’t wait to go back ourselves!