How Safe Is Gettysburg for Travel?

Updated On February 1, 2024
Gettysburg, United States
Safety Index:
83
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Gettysburg jumps right off the pages of a history book in southern Pennsylvania.

A visit to this historic place is more than just a trip back in time; it’s a walk through hallowed ground, where the echoes of cannons and cavalry charges still linger in the air.

In fact, Gettysburg isn’t a city or a town.

It’s a borough founded in 1786.

One of the early settlers, Samuel Gettys, was honored with the town being named after him.

Gettysburg National Military Park, encompassing over 6,000 acres, is the heart of the experience.

Here, rolling hills and serene woodlands give way to poignant monuments and silent battlefields from the three-day battle in 1863.

Walk the path of Pickett’s Charge, feel the weight of history at Devil’s Den, and pay your respects at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, where over 6,000 Union soldiers rest eternally.

Outdoor enthusiasts can hike or bike miles of scenic trails, weaving through forests and farmland.

Horseback riding tours offer a unique perspective on the battlefields, while picnics under the shade of towering trees create lasting memories.

Hidden gems are found throughout Gettysburg, too, like dinosaur footprints and covered bridges.

If you want an adventure, even at your hotel, at least 10 inns throughout Gettysburg are believed to be haunted.

The best part is that, aside from possible ghosts, this is a very safe town to explore, and there’s so much to see.

Warnings & Dangers in Gettysburg

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk in Gettysburg with low crime rates and an almost dizzying number of things to do. As a tourist area, keep your wits about you, but common sense will go a long way.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Rabbit Transit serves the Gettysburg area. Some publications might still refer to it as Freedom Transit, but the name has officially changed. A route does go from downtown to the battlefield and a nearby outlet mall. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find, and the town is bicycle-friendly. A rental car should be readily available at the airport of your choice.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Surprisingly, only three pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported in Gettysburg over the past five years. Even car break-ins are low compared to other cities that see this many visitors.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

The risk is low here, but potential impacts range from severe thunderstorms to winter storms. Excessive heat and cold can also happen. While storms can be dangerous here, they aren't as frequent as you would see in some parts of the Midwest.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Since 2018, no more than five robberies have been reported each year. In 2023, there was just one. The risk is low but never low enough to throw caution to the wind.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Any potential risk for international terrorism would be negated by the exemplary security around these national treasures. You are asked to report suspicious activity, even if it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

I'd be wary of anything that seems too good to be true, especially in a town like this. With so many tours and "history" museums, it's hard to weed out which ones are authentic and entertaining. It's important to read online travel reviews on trustworthy sites like TripAdvisor. Treat this as a medium risk just because of how much tourist information you'll face.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

This is a safe place for women, whether traveling solo, with kids, with grandkids, or with a group of friends. You should always use standard safety practices, but this isn't a place where an overwhelming sense of fear exists.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

It's hard to find a city in America where the water isn't low risk and safe, thanks to all the strict clean water laws. The latest water quality report for Gettysburg shows full compliance and no violations.

Safest Places to Visit in Gettysburg

Destination Gettysburg is the official tourism site for the region.

You can download a free visitor’s guide without having to give personal information.

The National Park Service website for Gettysburg National Military Park will have all the updated information you need before visiting there.

They’ve even provided a short movie to watch online to get the lay of the land.

Gettysburg National Military Park encompasses the battlefields where over 500,000 soldiers clashed in 1863.

Walk or drive the tour routes, stop by the Cyclorama painting in the visitor’s center, and visit iconic landmarks like Little Round Top and Devil’s Den.

Living history programs are held during certain seasons.

Check the park’s calendar for more.

Horseback rides are allowed in parts of the park, and the tourism site has a list of vendors that aren’t affiliated with the park but are approved by the National Park Service.

Guided walking and bus tours are also available for the battlefield and other historical parts of town.

It’s worth spending the money on, so you don’t have to track down the many historic places here and plan your own itinerary.

You can also look for tours by niche, like a cemetery tour, ghost tour, or food tour.

It was at Cemetery Hill in the National Solider Cemetery that President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address.

Right next to Gettysburg National Historic Park is Eisenhower National Historic Site.

This home was a presidential escape and a neutral ground to negotiate tough decisions during the Cold War.

Home tours are available and it’s especially stunning during the holidays.

Other museums in town include the Gettysburg Black History Museum, the Gettysburg Museum of History, and the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum.

If you prefer high-tech tours, there’s a new virtual reality museum that takes you back to 1863 in a performance called “Ticket to the Past.”

The younger people in your party will enjoy the Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum.

And seemingly unrelated to anything that has to do with Gettysburg, the Land of Little Horses (and rumors have it – a unicorn or two) awaits with a petting zoo, Old West town, and pig races.

You also have about a dozen state parks and local parks to choose from if you want to enjoy the great outdoors.

Liberty Mountain Resort is just 10 miles away for those who want to ski or snowboard.

Places to Avoid in Gettysburg

With low crime rates here, you don’t need to worry about dangerous neighborhoods or bad parts of town.

It will help to know where you plan to park, so check out the parking maps on the city and NPS site ahead of time.

You might want to avoid Gettysburg in the summer, especially during the 4th of July or other long holiday weekends.

This is the busiest time of year in the city.

The best time to visit is in the fall when the crowds have died down and the fall foliage is at its peak.

Expect Halloween week to pick up with more visitors.

Some attractions could be closed during the winter after the new year, so check the schedule or your preferred location before making plans.

The only exception in winter is from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, when the holiday celebration takes over the town.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Gettysburg

  1. The Gettysburg Police Department covers the borough for public safety with the help of county and national park law enforcement. If you have specific questions, you can call the department at 717-334-1168. They are also on Facebook @GettysburgPD.
  2. You can use the crime mapping technology on the department’s website to see the most recent crimes. You set the dates, type of crime, and location, and the map displays the crimes reported in that time frame.
  3. A daily log of all crimes is posted on the Crime Watch PA section of the department’s website. This is where you can also report an anonymous crime tip or file a report for a minor crime, like a car burglary.
  4. Sign up for Alert PA notifications to get severe weather and public safety alerts to your phone. You need to stay aware of any potential risks in this area.
  5. Credit card skimming is where scammers place a device on an ATM that reads your card information when you think you’re just getting cash. The police department has a helpful visual guide to spot these skimmers.
  6. You can use the Pay By Phone app to find and pay for parking in certain parts of Gettysburg. Parking is also available in three-hour increments on the street or 12 hours in a garage.
  7. Any fishing requires a license from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. You have the option to purchase it online or at a local vendor. Carry this with you at all times while fishing.
  8. It is against federal law to take anything from a National Park Service site. That goes for natural items, like rocks or fossils you might find. Don’t touch or mark any historical site. If you think the park service won’t take it seriously, check out the charges Pierce Brosnan is facing for breaking rules at Yellowstone.
  9. You are also not allowed to climb on, lean into, or sit on monuments and cannons. That’s out of respect and to preserve these icons.
  10. Ticks in this area are thick from late spring through fall. Even if you weren’t in a deep-wooded area, it’s important to scam yourself and any children for ticks. Check delicate areas and behind the ears and back. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against ticks while pulling your socks over your pant leg opening.

So... How Safe Is Gettysburg Really?

It’s easy to assume that a big tourist attraction like Gettysburg is a safe place to visit, and in this case, that’s 100% correct.

Violent crime is down 81% since a spike in 2019.

The rate is 70% lower than national averages and 60% lower than the state average.

Property crimes are 62% lower than the national average.

Even theft in Gettysburg is 56% lower than the national average, and that’s before you consider the nearly one million people who visit each year.

It’s important to keep your guard up, even with those low numbers.

If you get a false sense of safety, you could be setting yourself up for a crime of opportunity.

Always lock your car doors, carry only what you need with you, and stay in well-lit areas.

How Does Gettysburg Compare?

CitySafety Index
Gettysburg83
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Baltimore56
Boston67
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

Coming to the U.S. from abroad? Visa/waiver (eligible countries only) and a valid passport (6+ months) are essential. Get started on your visa application through the U.S. State Department website.

Currency

Currency

The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. Before you leave, get cash at your home bank for the lowest fees, confirm your card will work at American ATMs, and check your credit card fee schedule for foreign transaction fees.

Weather

Weather

You'll need comfortable shoes in any season because of all the walking to do. Gettysburg gets four full seasons, so packing is pretty standard, but also check the forecast to see if you'll need rain gear, snow boots, or extra layers. Bring bug spray for outdoor activities.

Airports

Airports

The closest airport is Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), about 35 miles away. You can get to the large airports in Baltimore and Washington (Dulles) in 90 minutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Leave worry behind in the U.S. Get comprehensive travel insurance for emergencies, weather troubles, and car issues. Don't forget to double-check U.S. health coverage.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Gettysburg Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -3° C
Feb -1° C
Mar 5° C
Apr 11° C
May 17° C
Jun 21° C
Jul 24° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 1° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
241017232729292518126
Low
°C
-7-6-15101518171362-4
High
°F
363950637381848477645443
Low
°F
192130415059646355433625

Pennsylvania - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Allentown78
Altoona82
Bethlehem80
Doylestown78
Erie62
Gettysburg83
Harrisburg54
Hershey82
Kennett Square84
Philadelphia60
Pittsburgh63
Pittston74
Reading58
Scranton66
Stroudsburg82
Uniontown59

Where to Next?

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