Fourscore and seven million visitors?
August 28, 2013 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I was thinking of taking my daughter to Gettysburg this coming (Labor Day Weekend) Saturday. How are the crowds at Gettysburg, or other National Historic Battlefields, during the LDW? Are they hyper-crowded because this is the big weekend, or are the crowds all getting drunk and the lake and the beach, leaving the historic parks to the (relatively) serious? Bonus points if you know of other fun things to do with a 12 year old girl this specific weekend in the MD-DC area. You can assume we're pretty well-informed about the general lay of the land (smithsonian, zoos, aquaria, capitol, etc).
posted by ubiquity to Travel & Transportation around Pennsylvania (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Gettysburg is one of my favorite quiet places. My intial thought was to use this weekend as a chance to teach your daughter about hallowed ground and how many many people haven't learned how or why to respect such places. I was going to drone on a bit about explaining to her ahead of time that there will be people dropping trash, speaking loudly, roughhousing, and how to teach her why we don't do that.

But then, I realized that was not your question.

So, I called the park and asked for the information you want. The very nice woman who answered the phone said it will be "Busier than normal, but not as a rule an overwhelming crowd."

If you have other questions about the park, the phone number is available here, and here's the visitor center web page. You may or may not be aware that you can take tours!
posted by bilabial at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

The 150th Anniversary of the battle was last month. It was a huge deal and I suspect at least some of the people that might be there this weekend went in July instead. I wouldn't expect the crowds to be unbearable. Also, Gettysburg is a large area so even if the visitors center is crowded they tend to disperse throughout the park.

If you going to Gettysburg then you might pop over to Harpers Ferry too.

Shenandoah National Park wouldn't be a bad option either. You could easily spend a day driving down Skyline Drive stopping at the various scenic overlooks, visitors centers, and short trails to waterfalls and other interesting sights. If you do that you might see me and my kids on Sunday as we'll be hiking in the Stony Man area.
posted by COD at 8:45 AM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Grand Prix of Baltimore, Hon.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:48 AM on August 28, 2013

Can't help with Gettysburg info, but check your memail.
posted by easily confused at 9:06 AM on August 28, 2013

Despite living about 20-25 minutes from Gettysburg (I often hear cannons firing and other such war re-enactment activity from my backyard), I'm a little sorry to say that I've never been there. I'd like to go. I'm not certain that I would have enjoyed such a thing as a 12 year old; perhaps a little later on in my teen years, or I would at least have better appreciated it in whatever year I took American History in high school (I think it was 11th grade, but that's New York State; no idea about MD's curriculum).

I also don't know anything specific to this weekend.

Seconding Shenandoah and Skyline Drive.

The National Fallen Firefighters' Memorial is in Emmitsburg, MD, which is just over the MD line south of Gettysburg. This is another local place I've never visited, so I'm not sure how large or popular with tourists it is.
posted by tckma at 9:37 AM on August 28, 2013

The 150th Anniversary of the battle was last month.

And even with record-setting crowds then, it wasn't so crowded that you couldn't get around and see things. Gettysburg is ... big (for a Civil War battlefield).
posted by me & my monkey at 1:46 PM on August 28, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for the help and advice. We went on Sunday and the crowds were, if not light, not particularly bothersome. bilabial, you will be happy to know that everyone was behaving properly, and we saw no one dropping trash, speaking loudly, or roughhousing. It was a great experience, and we hope to go back soon, because there is way more stuff to do than one can do in a day.
posted by ubiquity at 7:51 AM on September 3, 2013

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