Millions of tourists visit Gettysburg each year, which means that the area can get pretty crowded during certain times of the year. So if you’re planning an upcoming trip to the area, you may be wondering, When is the best time to visit Gettysburg (and the Gettysburg Battlefield)?
The best times of year to visit Gettysburg PA and the battlefield are September or October, or between March-May. At those times, the area is much less crowded and the temperature is not as high.
However, depending on why you are visiting and what you plan on seeing, you may find that another time of the year is best for you, as we’ll explain below.
Is It Worth Visiting Gettysburg In July (In The Peak Of Summer)?
While the temperatures may be high in July (it sometimes almost reaches 90°F / 32°C in mid July) and the area crowded, there is a reason its most crowded during the summer. Part of the reason is that July is a very popular month to take a vacation anywhere, Gettysburg included. The other reason is that many tourists choose to visit the Battle of Gettysburg on or near July 4, to celebrate Independence Day. There is usually one or more public events/celebrations on or near the Battlefield, so if you plan ahead you may be able to join one.
So if your work schedule requires a summertime vacation, or if you have a particular interest in being at the Gettysburg Battlefield on Independence Day, then you may find it worthwhile to visit Gettysburg in July or some other time during the summer.
Is It Worth Visiting Gettysburg During Off-Season?
While there is not an official “off-season,” most people consider November-April to be Gettysburg’s off-season, and we (Gettysburg Battlefield Tours) completely shut down in January, as do some other tourist spots in the area.
If you don’t have a specific reason to visit Gettysburg during the summer (peak season) – maybe you’re able to take a vacation from work at another time of year, or you don’t have a desire to be there during the 4th of July – then yes, you may find it worthwhile visiting Gettysburg and the Battlefield during the off-season (excluding January to avoid going when certain places are closed). The weather is much less harsh, and the crowds are less populated.
According to the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce, approximately 1 million tourists visit the Gettysburg Battlefield and even more visit surrounding areas (source). So going when crowds are not as dense is a very big perk. Not only does fewer people translate into less time wasted battling traffic/crowds, but with fewer people around you may be able to feel more serene, making it easier to contemplate the events that surrounded the Battle of Gettysburg many years ago.
Another benefit of visiting during off-season is that lodging and some other expenses are generally lower. So you could end up spending less money overall during your trip, or you could use the freed-up budget money to take a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield or other local attractions.
What Is There To Do In Gettysburg In The Winter?
Aside from January, when some places (including Gettysburg Battlefield Tours) close down for the month, there are other activities that can be done during the winter months. The Gettysburg Battlefield itself is open, although it closes at 7PM between November-March, compared to 10PM at other times of the year. If a guided tour is not available when you visit Gettysburg Battlefield in the winter, you can still walk through the battlefield yourself, or get our self-guided tour package ahead of time and use the included map with accompanying audio to learn as you walk.
Hopefully this has helped you decide on the best time to visit Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Battlefield for you and your family. As you plan your trip, keep in mind that there is a lot to do in Gettysburg. In addition to offering guided tours of the Battlefield itself, we also offer ghost tours, and tours of the Jennie Wade house.