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Tips on Avoiding Gettysburg Tourist Traps

SmarterTravel

Gettysburg Tourist Traps

Gettysburg, in eastern Pennsylvania, was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the American Civil War. The small town and battlefield attract thousands of visitors each year, but there are certainly some attractions not worth visiting. We have outlined a few of the tourist traps to beware of while visiting Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Ghost Tours

Ghost tours are popping up everywhere and now in Gettysburg there are 14 different tours to choose from. While these tours are making money on eager tourists who sign up for the tours, the experience is rather under whelming. Most tours are simply following a tour guide along sidewalks, hearing stories about hauntings and ghosts in buildings that you are not permitted to enter. While it can be fun to walk around for an hour and hear the spooky stories, to see an actual ghost you will have more luck exploring the battlefields after dark on your own.

Gettysbrew Restaurant

While it can be quite appealing to dine in an authentic Civil War hospital that was converted into a restaurant and brewery, try not to get too caught up in the hype. Visitors dining at the Gettysbrew Restaurant have described the food as mediocre and the beer flat. For an alternative, try either the Restaurant and Pub in the main square or the Gettysburg Brewery located just off of the square.

General Lee Headquarters

Although admission to the building is only $2, once inside the building visitors will see very little. The inside of the headquarters contains barely anything that makes the headquarters appear authentic to the time period or similar to the way General Lee would have experienced the space. Instead, inside the headquarters you will see a random collection of mismatched Civil War artifacts displayed in glass case after case. General Lee makes his only appearance as an almost cartoon like cardboard cut-out. You can get the same experience of the headquarters by simply viewing the building from the outside. If you want to see historic guns and Civil War artifacts, visit the National Parks Service Visitor’s Center where you can see the artifacts for free.

Pioneer Lines Ghost Train

The ghost train departs each evening at 7:00 pm. Visitors can purchase the train ticket alone, or have the option to purchase a small lunch for an additional $7 per person. The lunch is a hotdog and small bag of chips. The train takes tourists on a ride with tales of ghosts and hauntings. The train only goes about 3/4 of a mile into the Gettysburg battlefield and the stories that are told are not authenticated and lack any specifics. The train narration is an odd mix of an inexperienced tour guide and a pre-recorded audio CD. With awkwardly long pauses and a questionable route, the train ride is hardly worth the $22 a ticket. Once again, you will have more luck exploring the battlefield on your in in the dark for any chance of a ghost sighting.

Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about tourist traps in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

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