While climbing the rocks at Devil's Den on the battlefield or anywhere else, be aware of where you stepping on putting your hands . Pennsylvania doesn't have too, too much in the way of poisonous reptiles, amphibians or arachnids, but it does have lots of Copperheads. Copperheads are snakes, part of the pit viper family. They are striped...with large rust (copper) stripes separated by smaller white stripes outlined in black. They can be distinguished from the non poisonous snakes by the "pits" on its head. Now, I don't know about you, but if I think it's a copperhead, I'm not going to grab it to get a closer look at the head just to make sure.
They bite more than rattlesnakes do, another poisionous snake found in PA because they don't make any noise. Their bite isn't fatal in adults, but it can kill children. They seem to hide in rock formations, hence the warning at Devil's Den. Also, the babies are born in late summer, so the adult snakes are very protective at this time and during the nesting.
I didn't get a picture of a snake in action, but I did draw one for your amusement
Also known as Lincoln Square. This is the center of town where Carlisle St., Baltimore St., and Lincoln HWY west and east meet. The traffic in this part of town can be down right scary at times if you are not used to city driving or round abouts. Everything from 18 wheelers, big campers and cars go through here. If you are crazy/desperate/comfortable enough there is also parking for some of the shops here as well. A good idea would be to get yourself a map and make use of the side streets to avoid this part of town.
Gettysburg has Washington DC weather. It is hot and humid in the summer! Since the battlefield is so large, many come unprepared for the heat and the distances.
Bring bottled water, sunscreen and insect repellant.
The battlefield is infested with deer ticks. Despite the heat, if you plan on wandering off the pavements, wear long trousers, and insect repellant.
Inspect yourself when you return home. These ticks are known to carry Lyme disease.
My trip to Gettysburg, Pa was wonderful. But two pieces of advise should be offered to anyone planning a trip there. The speed limits posted in town are ignored by travelers and locals alike. Cross the street carefully, even when a pedestrian has the right away, cars will race by anyway. My husband and I were almost hit by a car running a red light when we crossed Baltimore St.
The second piece of advise is concerning the town square. Traffic is a mess, it's every man for himself.
While visitors can be in the national park after the sun goes down keep in mind what time the park closes and make sure to be well on your way out before that time. There is a steep fine of $300 per person for anyone on any land affiliated with the national parks system after/before the posted hours.
Open daily from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. April 1 to October 31
and 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. November 1 to March 31
To add on to wolfiepittsburgh's tip about ticks, they are also a huge problem off the battlefield. I come to Gtysbg every 2 weeks to watch my nephews and yesterday I pulled a tick off my one and a half yr old nephew, and his mom said she is always having to check them for ticks and then replied, "Welcome to Adams County..."
She also works at an animal hospital and told me that the tick problem continues to get worse around here and more cases of Lyme disease.
Just be sure to check yourself once or twice daily when your here.
On the risk chart for crimes in Gettysburg, the statistics put the area at average risk.
The most prevelant crime by far (50% over the national average) is Rape.
There are 29 sexual offenders registered to the region. You can see more info about this at the website below.
You can enjoy yourself at Gettysburg and feel quite safe when you visit the major tourist attractions open during the day. We have never roamed the Gettysburg streets in the evening so I cannot say personally that there are safety issues but the crime statistics would indicate that you should be careful at night.
The majority of the national park is made up of open fields with sparse tree coverage. So it is a good idea to apply some sunscreen before heading out. My last two trips here it was overcast the entire time when I was walking around and yet I still managed to get a nice little burn on both my arms. Which made the car drive home oh so much fun.
Granted it is not a big surprise but, sometimes you just might not be thinking about it while your on vacation. Most of the shops in town have cameras set up. This is especially true of the shops that were once homes. You might be alone on the second floor looking at stuff but you really are not. Now I am not saying this to worn shoplifters but, rather as a reminder to keep the horse play to a minimum when out of sight.
In 2011, there seemed to be even more cameras around town not just in the shops. I think part of this might be because of the civil war church fire as well as some other college town issues.
So again keep in mind you are always being watched.
On my last trip here I found two ticks on me. In all the years that I have been coming to Gettysburg I have never had that happen. I am not sure where I picked them up but, one was on my neck and the other on my arm. Needless to say I thought it was odd not having gone off any main site seeing roads or even grassy areas at that point in the day. Just keep in mind that these little guys are around and take the proper steps to keep them off of you.
Watch for PA state police searching for out of state licesense drivers for DUI.
I am NOT advocating drunk driving at all. However, they will stop you for "erratic driving" and you are FORCED for a blood test (automatic 1 year suspension if you do not comply)
If you have no priors or criminal record, you then enroll in their "rehab program"..costing a few thousand to wipe your record clean.
Great moneu maker for the community-but what a scam
In the hottest months of summer, particularly July, the battlefield becomes a virtual playground for bees - the park service actually ropes off areas of the park and posts warning signs around hives. They seem to make their homes in the ground, so it's not always easy to detect them at first. Use caution and keep your eyes open, particularly if you suffer any allergic reactions to bee stings.