The obvious answer to this question is by bike through GettysBike Tours. Not only are they our sponsor, but we founded the business in 2005, though we are not the current owners. It was designed because no one was successfully doing it at the time, though some had tried. Those that tried failed because, we believed, they didn't design the tours (or the business itself) with the tourist in mind. They applied a "one-size-fits-all" approach to bicycle tours in Gettysburg because, well, they weren't from Gettysburg. Until we started the business, we weren't from Gettysburg either, but we toured it almost religiously. We had to learn to think like a local once we became locals, but we never lost our memories of being a tourist (this is probably why I get easily frustrated by the old ways of doing things around here; they just don't work for the tourist.)
Anyway, GettysBike was designed to be an experience and it was borne out of a very simple desire we had: to come somewhat close to the hardships soldiers had to face. You won't get even a whiff of that from an automobile. Certainly not from the sky. The best way is to eat very little and walk miles a day, but who has the time? So, the great compromise is a bike tour. Only then can you get an appreciation for "the high ground" (grunted like Sam Elliott in Gettysburg). Or how the elements affect your progress. Then, top that off with one of several Licensed Battlefield Guides telling you what happened along the way. The best part, to me, is feeling the wind in your face as you ride around (hint: it helps cool you better than AC. I swear)
Ok, cycling is not for everyone. The Gettysburg Tour Center is basically an institution here in Gettysburg. They provide tours by bus and with Licensed Battlefield Guides. Before I moved to Gettysburg to open GettysBike, it was tradition for my father and I (and whoever else was along with us) to open the weekend with a double-decker bus tour. You can certainly ride below in the AC and not all of their buses are double-decker, but, in my book, nothing can replace the feeling of having the wind blowing in your hair (or across your barren scalp, if you're like me) as you tour the fields. It's like being blasted in the face with history. Are you starting to detect a theme here?
If I'm being honest, my dream was to open another horse tour company here in Gettysburg , but I really only had experience riding horses, which I love, and not caring for them. Plus, who had the money to open that when a very successful one was already in existence? Now, for this recommendation, I'm going to urge you to Google which one to try. There's a few reasons for this. One is that it's been many years since I've done a horse tour, so my recommendation would be outdated. Secondly, like it or not, we're trying to start an advertising with Addressing Gettysburg, and seeing as how there are more than one horse tour companies, well, you know what I'm $aying. There's only one bike tour and bus tour company in town so, paid sponsor or not, who else would I be talking about? Horseback is a fantastic and closer-to-authentic way to see the fields. Unlike a bike or automobile tour, horses are limited to horse trails that offer a unique view of the battlefield seldom seen by the average tourist. The only down side is you're limited to these trails which limits the sites your can see. Did I mention you're out in the open AND they utilize Licened Battlefield Guides for their tours?
Speaking of horses, you can also take horse-drawn carriage rides and tours. Again, more than one company, soooooo...
GettysBike almost was the company to bring segways to Gettysburg, but, of course, that was ruined by lawyers during contract negotiations and that idea fell by the wayside. That is, until SegTours opened up. Segways are a fun alternative to bikes because the machine does the work for you, allowing you to just enjoy the information, sights and wind on your face. SegTours teams you up with a Licensed Guide or an audio recording when one is not available.
A Licensed Battlefield Guide In Your car
So, of course I'm biased for a few reasons as I pointed out at the start of the artcile. I'm also just right, regardless of bias ;-)
Look, I get it. You're too old or out of shape or lazy to ride a bike. Maybe it's been too long since you last rode. I know. I've been there and now that I'm back to riding I could kick myself for every stopping. Pizza is delicious, but nothing beats the taste of using your body to move your from one place to another. But, whatever. You can't/won't ride a bike.
The do yourself a favor and see the battlefield in the ONLY way that is TIED with a bike tour through GettysBike Tours: hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to take you around in the comfort of your own car. Through the visitor center reservation desk or personal recommendations from us at Addressing Gettysburg (email@example.com). "It's easier to get into the CIA than become a Licensed Battlefield Guide and that's why I intend to, er-ah, break the CIA into a million little pieces," President John F. Kennedy famously never said and he was right (had he said it). It is VERY difficult to become a LBG. These men and women really know their stuff and you will too when you hire them to take you on a tour. And, hey, open your windows so you can feel the wind in your face.