Would you rather tour Gettysburg crammed into a tour bus with 50 other people or enjoy a totally open-air tour instead? I don’t know about you but the answer is easy. You can explore the battlefields on a Gettysburg Segway Tour! And if you’ve never ridden a Segway, Gettysburg SegTours makes sure you can so you can totally enjoy this unique style of touring attraction.
The Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tour is a great way to explore different places; especially for those with disabilities, the elderly and families with young children.
But also, the Gettysburg Self-Guided Driving Tour is also a great method to get around and explore Gettysburg. Both are fairly inexpensive; especially for families. And, they can be enjoyed in any type of weather.
But, you’re sitting in a bus or car with 50 other people. Having sat on several bus tours in Gettysburg (and other places), we find them too restrictive and rushed. Sitting shoulder to shoulder trying looking out dirty windows and rubber-necking around blind spots or over people’s heads just isn’t fun. Also worth a mention, smelling what the guy sitting next to you ate or how about trying to take video or photos around all of that?
Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, does it? Yeah, we don’t think so either! We find riding crowded tour buses just isn’t our forte. So, we had to find a more personable way to explore Gettysburg, let alone anywhere we travel.
Once we learned that Segways are a fantastic way to explore cool destinations, talk about a game changer! Where do we sign up?!
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Gettysburg Segway Tour: Touring the Civil War Battlefields with Gettysburg SegTours
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war’s turning point.
But, with the nearly 6,000 acres with over 26 miles of roads connecting major battlefield landmarks and over 1,300 monuments, markers and memorials, 400 cannons and numerous historic houses, WHEW! You can imagine all the getting in and out of your car or on and off the bus will wear you out in a New York minute!
But, by opting for the Gettysburg Segway Tour, we were able to get a an incredible outdoor experience that we were vying for. And here’s the thing. By the end of the day, we felt we actually got a much more fulfilling experience touring the battlefields and the city of Gettysburg itself on a Segway.
♦ PRO TIP: Start your Gettysburg itinerary by checking out our 24+ Best Things to Do in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
What is a SEGWAY?
A Segway is a motorized personal transporter vehicle consisting of two wheels mounted side by side beneath a platform that the rider stands on while holding on to handlebars, controlled by the way the rider distributes their weight.
They are the perfect and fun way to tour cities and unique places like where the Battle of Gettysburg took place in 1863. Segways are environmentally friendly, emit no exhaust or fumes and are super quiet.
How easy is riding a SEGWAY?
We found that riding a Segway HT (HT is short for human transporter) is actually quite easy. However, riders must respect the machine as there is high potential of injury if you ride incorrectly or go off the pavement.
“When you ride the Segway HT, you gently lean forward to make it go forward, you center your weight over the Wheels to remain stationary, and you gently lean backward to make it go backward. With practice, you will easily learn how to move forward and backward, turn and stop. Whenever riding, avoid abrupt maneuvers.” –Segway.com
What does Gettysburg SegTours provide?
First things first, Gettysburg SegTours does not rent their Segways out like bicycle or other rental companies unaccompanied. They will always have a staff member that will escort riders at all times. But, while all tours are escorted, there’s plenty of opportunities to stop and take water break and a few photos on personal cameras or smartphones. If my memory serves me correctly, there is one restroom stop on the tour as well.
Segway tour companies like SegTours always provide a bicycle helmet and equip each rider with an ear piece and audio intercom for communication between other Segway riders and escort. And of course, they provide a fully charged Segway motorized personal transporter.
Also, Segway rental companies require riders to watch a video on how to operate a Segway safely. And, as with all transport equipment rental companies, there’s always a liability waiver for each rider to sign before stepping foot onto a personal transporter.
After the video, the staff demonstrates how to properly get on and off a Segway, how to accelerate and maneuver the personal transporting device. Riders will then, practice riding in their indoor Segway obstacle course. Once riders can show they can ride a Seg properly and safely, it’s go time!
Gettysburg Segway Tour Options
There are two different Gettysburg SegTour options that are available for those who aren’t particularly interested in the historical tours but just want to learn how to ride a Segway. By the way, this is a great place to learn before buying one of your own.
Anyway, the indoor Ride is for those who just want to try the Segway PT™ in the indoor training area. Those who graduate the initial training can try their hand at their Segway PT™ Obstacle Course!
For those who want an outdoor ride and are NOT interested in an historical tour. Your ride will be escorted by a staff person and will last 1.5 hours, including approximately 30 minutes of mandatory video and hands-on training.
Repeating, training and helmets are provided at no additional charge. I forgot to mention, to ride their Segway personal transporters, you must meet their minimum age requirement.
However, for those who are interested in the history of Gettysburg National Military Park and Battlefields, there are four different outdoor Segway tours you can choose from:
Each of those tours visit all of the main historical sites and are lectured by a Licensed Battlefield Guide. And though the Outdoor Tours are with the Battlefield Guides, each tour group is also accompanied by an Escort-Guide to make certain of safety and that Segways are operating correctly.
Western Battlefield Segway Tour
The Western Battlefield Tour takes approximately 3 hours (including training) covering about 9 miles with 4 rest stops. This tour visits both ends of Pickett’s Charge.
The main battlefield route took us along both Union and Confederate lines. This tour explains everything that happened in the 3 days on that battlefield area. We stopped to visit all of the most famous sites:
- Lutheran Theological Seminary
- Seminary Ridge
- McMillan Woods
- North Carolina Memorial
- Virginia Memorial (start of Picketts Charge)
- Pitzer Woods / Longstreet Headquarters
- The Peach Orchard
- The Wheatfield
- Devil’s Den
- Little Round Top
- Cemetery Ridge
- Pennsylvania Memorial
- High Water Mark / The Angle / Copse of Trees
- Meade’s Headquarters
- Brian Barn
- National Cemetery
It’s interesting to ride through the battlefield while listening to the audio history lesson; all while enjoying the beautiful sunshine. And considering we were doing this almost to the exact anniversary date of the Battle of Gettysburg, it really put things into perspective as we seg’d our way through the battlefield.
Upon finishing the Western Battlefield Tour, we were totally stoked about our first Segway experience that we signed up for the afternoon Eastern Battlefield Tour. Not only for the fun factor, but we yearned to learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg.
However, if you can only do one tour, we do highly recommend doing this Western Battlefield Tour as it gives a good understanding of the battle.
Eastern Battlefield Segway Tour
Since we had already gone through Segway training earlier in the day, we were immediately issued and learned about our new horses (Segways).
This time, Jessie was our Tour Escort for the Eastern Battlefield Tour. For this tour, we rode different horses (Segways) to give our Western Tour war horses a rest (battery recharge). So, we also had to learn about our new horses before riding onto the eastern portion of the battlefield.
On the Eastern Battlefield, we were lucky to have a Licensed Battlefield Guide on this tour. He gave us more in-depth historical accounts that aren’t in the audio narration. There were a few stops that we would dismount and hike a few steps into the woods to see monuments not seen by those who just drive by.
This shorter Eastern Battlefield Tour route took us to the East side of the battlefield where many pivotal engagements on each of the three days of the battle.
SegTours Gettysburg Specialty tours are upon request. They may be able to customize a private tour to an area of the battlefield or part of Gettysburg that is not normally visited by their other tours (e.g., Oak Hill, East Cavalry Field, South Cavalry Field, Gettysburg College, the town cemetery, etc.).
Also, Specialty Tours are directed by a Licensed Battlefield Guide or other appropriate authority. Cost of a Specialty Tour is discussed when you confirm your reservation for such.
However, Specialty tours may require the pre-approval of the National Park Service, Gettysburg Police Department, or other authorities. To receive a custom specialty tour, it’s important to discuss and book your tour request at least 14 days in advance at 717-253-7987.
What is a Licensed Battlefield Guide?
The oldest professional guide service in the United States, the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides have been providing tours to visitors to our community since 1915.
Battlefield Guides test and are licensed by the National Park Service to make sure that they can tell the stories of the battle and make the battlefield come alive for you. They provide personalized tours to the Gettysburg area and battlefield.
And truly, though those pre-recorded history lessons are nice, they are no match to the skill and personal touch of a trained and certified human battlefield guide.
Our Personal Experience with SegTours Gettysburg
After watching the required video, we had to sign a liability release agreeing not to sue them for injuries we might incur from stupid stunts. Then, the tour escort issued everyone in our tour group helmets and an earpiece with an intercom device. And, just the Army Cavalry in the Civil War, we were each assigned our battle horses; our Segway.
I say ‘battle horses’ because Gettysburg SegTours wants each rider to get the full experience of stepping back in time. They name each Segway after a battle horse of a Civil War General, Cavalry Officer or war hero.
We learned who rode our horses in Gettysburg as well as the role they played during the battle of Gettysburg as well as the Civil War. Once we got the hang of riding our Segway, we were ready to ride it outdoors.
Once all the logistical stuff was out of the way, we mounted our battle horses and headed out to the battlefields of Gettysburg.
So, with our Escort Guide as our lead Commander, we followed him out the door and off to the battlefields we went like a Cavalry unit.
Now, remember those headset intercoms I mentioned earlier? Through those headsets, we’d listen to a pre-recorded audio narration of historic accounts by a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide.
Every so often, our Escort Guide would stop at different monuments so we could listen to what took place in that location. They are allowed to communicate through the intercom system to alert us when we’re going to stop and make certain each Segway rider is comfortable.
One important note, Gettysburg SegTours Escort Guides are not permitted to give any historical information or answer questions about what took place along the way or at the stops. The only person(s) permitted to do that are Licensed Battlefield Guides.
But SegTours does offer separate private tours that have a License Battlefield Guide for an additional cost (but SO worth it!).
We totally enjoyed both, the Western Battlefield Tour and Eastern Battlefield Tours! Both times, our Escorts brought a few snacks to share and a bottle of water for each of us to enjoy during a couple of tour stops. That said, we do recommend taking a couple bottles of water; especially on those warm summer days. Each Segway has enough storage for a purse or small bag.
Of all visits we’ve made to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, touring the Battlefield by Segway is, by far, our favorite! Taking the Segway tour surely beats having to sit in a bus full of other tourists and getting on and off at each stop.
Though the price of the Segway tours may be pricy, it’s an educational experience; one you’re remember for years! But also, it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, getting some fresh air and warm sunshine.
In our opinion, we highly recommend taking the Western Battlefield tour first to get a good overview of the whole battle.
This unique tour actually provided us a better understanding of the Battle of Gettysburg. The bonus of taking a Segway tour is we also learned about the battlefield horses who helped shape the outcome of this controversial Civil War battle.
One of the cool things that we loved was the Tour Escorts take lots of photos so we could focus on riding safely instead of trying to hold a camera or taking photos or video while riding our Segway.
Then, later in the evening after our tour, they would upload and share all of the photos taken would be available for free on Flicker.
Gettysburg is undeniably one of the most historical places in the Country. The memories we made on our Segway tours in Gettysburg will follow us for the rest of our lives.
Leaving with a greater knowledge and sense of appreciation for those who fell and rose in such a brutal battle that shaped our Nation’s history was humbly accomplished. But also, we’re excited to look into Segway tours in other cities in the United States. Because they’re fun…MORE fun than sitting in a bus full of people.
♦ PRO TIP: If you don’t think a Segway tour is for you or family members due to physical limitations, ages of those in your party or your budget, there are other cool ways to explore Gettysburg.
Check out SegTours of Gettysburg video:
Where we stayed in Gettysburg
While you’re visiting Gettysburg, take a ride to Emmitsburg, Maryland
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