Planning for Gettysburg
Where to Stay
Surprisingly, finding a place to stay around Gettysburg is one of the most difficult steps in planning your trip. There are many options, however availability and cost can be problematic for a large group of scouts. In 2014, finding accommodations took a full three months of research, phone calls, emails, and unfortunately disappointment.
I can't possibly list all locations in and around Gettysburg. I will only discuss the locations in which I had direct contact.
McMillan Woods Youth Campground
This is a scout and youth group only camp ground run by the National Park Service located on West Confederate Avenue in the park. Camping is available by reservation only. Between November 1st and January 15, McMillan Woods accepts reservations forms that are put in a lottery. On February 1st, the lottery is held and winning applicants are notified by mail. Beginning around February 10th, any remaining camping sites will be available at a first come first served basis.
The lottery system makes it very difficult for a unit planning a trip in the spring. By the time you are notified that you were not selected, it may be too late to change your plans and find a new location.
For more information, visit the McMillan Woods website.
Camp Tuckahoe and Camp Conewago
New Birth of Freedom Council run these two camps and offer both cabin and tent camping. While planning our trip in 2014, I was very disappointed with how the council ran their reservations and communicated. This is very surprising considering that New Birth of Freedom Council runs the Gettysburg Heritage Trails Program.
The council runs reservations on their fiscal year, which is June to July. This means that if you want to reserve for the third weekend of June, you actually have to wait until June 1st to put in your request. Out of council units have to wait until July 1st. I initially did not know about the out of council policy until I requested a cabin on June 1st. After being told I had to wait another month, I called back just minutes later to inquire on the probability of the cabin being available the weekend we requested. Only then was I told that the cabins were already fully booked. This information should have been given to me the first time I called instead of stringing me along for another month.
I don't want to discourage anyone from looking into Camp Tuckahoe or Conewago. I simply want to convey real world experience. For more information, visit the New Birth of Freedom Council website.
Camp Pioneer is owned and operated by Troop 196 located in Dillsburg, PA. The property has a heated cabin with 14 bunk beds, a large picnic pavilion, outhouse facility, and Adirondack shelter. The Adirondack is located some distance from the cabin and does not have bunks or bedding of any kind.
In 2014, we selected Camp Pioneer for our stay. We were very impressed with the accommodations. The camp is located about 25 minutes from Gettysburg National Park and is almost a direct drive after navigating a few county roads. One note of caution, the driveway has a very narrow entrance that can be difficult to pull a large trailer through. We actually slightly damaged our brand new trailer by bottoming out exiting the driveway.
For more information on Camp Pioneer visit their website.