Plan Your Civil War Road Trip Starting at Gettysburg

gettysburg cannon in the fall For Civil War buffs and history lovers alike, Gettysburg is among the top destinations for a Civil War road trip. What better place to start your trip than the very town in which the Union Army ended the Confederacy’s chances of invading the North and triumphed in its attempt to remain “one nation, under God.”

Plan a weeklong vacation in Gettysburg, where our historic guided bus tours let you experience the battlefields in comfort and where the Seminary Ridge Museum provides three floors of Civil War exhibits (Open Thursday-Monday though November 1st, then Friday & Saturday only through it’s closure on November 23). The Gettysburg National Military Park enables you to learn all about the people and the places that make up the battle!

There are so many venues in Gettysburg to help you experience the three-day battle and its historic significance that you could easily spend a week in town and never get bored.

But for those ready to expand their Civil War Road Trip, we offer the following destinations you should add to your itinerary either as your next destination stay or as a trip out and back.

Times listed are approximate travel time from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center heading south to the respective destinations. We recommend you check with each historical site prior to your departure to ensure operating status due to COVID-19 responses.

Civil War Road Trip Destinations

  • Frederick, Maryland (40 minutes)

Tour the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, open Wednesday-Sunday and by appointment. Either through a self-guided tour or group tour, learn about medical research and innovation during the Civil War. Two floors of exhibits tell the stories of medical logistics, nursing, civilian medical relief, and more.

Docents are often available to answer questions. You will see proof of the true horrors of the Civil War, but also the impact it had on transforming medicine.

  • Antietam, Maryland (1 hour)

1862, General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army invade Maryland. General George B. McClellan and the Union Army attack. The Battle of Sharpsburg erupts.

The Union Army: 80,000 soldiers; Confederates: 40,000.

Despite being drastically outnumbered, General Lee stands his ground. After all-day fighting on Sept. 17, 1862, the Union movement is stalled. The cost of this grueling battle: 23,000 soldiers killed wounded or captured. It’s been called the “Bloodiest Day in American History.”

The next day, the Union Army persists, and eventually the Confederate Army is forced back toward Virginia. The Southern invasion is done. With the Union victory secured at Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln gives his Emancipation Proclamation, a turning point in the Civil War.

Although the visitor center and tower are closed for much-needed rehabilitation (until further notice), the park roads and trails are open. Get updated information here.

  • Manassas, Virginia (1 hour, 45 minutes)

Two epic battles of the Civil War occurred in this historic town. Here in August of 1862, Confederates win a solid victory. Hike the Manassas National Battlefield Park, nearly 5,100 acres with more than 40 miles of hiking trails with trailside interpretive markers describing the battle action to help you visualize the experience of Civil War soldiers and the civilians.

Check out this burial pit of a Civil War surgeon discovered at Manassas National Battlefield Park:

  • Richmond, Virginia (3 hours, 15 minutes)

Most known as the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, Richmond shifts from an agricultural town to a powerful industrial city during these tragic four years.

Visit Richmond to learn about the Bread Riot of April 1863 and about the largest hospital tending to the wounded soldiers, Chimborazo. Visit Hollywood Cemetery, the final resting place for President Jefferson Davis and 25 Confederate generals.

The new American Civil War Museum, located at Historic Tredegar on the James River waterfront, offers guided tours.  There’s also the White House of the Confederacy, which once served as the executive mansion for President Jefferson Davis.

  • Appomattox, Virginia (4 hours, 15 minutes)

Lastly, explore the site where the Civil War ends and peace begins in Appomattox, Va., April 1865. Immerse yourself in the surrender at Appomattox, where, although defeated, the Confederate soldiers were paroled and given rations and horses in an effort to end the bloody Civil War with civility and mercy.

Visit the Appomattox Court House Historic National Park, the McLean House surrender site, and the American Civil War Museum – Appomattox.

Return to Gettysburg

We hope you travel back to the town of Gettysburg to explore more of this historic town, including ghostly haunts, historic dedication ceremonies, and Christmas events.

We also operate the shuttle service to the Eisenhower Farm under a National Park Service concession contract and provide private charter services and airport shuttle services. Contact us for more information, including suggestions for places to stay and great dining options: 877-680-TOUR