I recently traveled to Gettysburg, PA and Washington DC. I've been to both of these places before but really looked forward to seeing them again. My best friend Hillari went with me, and it was even more fun because she had never been to Gettysburg. If you are thinking of traveling to either one of these places here are some tips and tricks.
The battlefield at Gettysburg is extensive and if it is your first time going, it can be a bit overwhelming. I encourage anyone traveling to Gettysburg to stop at the visitor center before doing any site seeing. At the visitor center they have park rangers who are able to help you plan your sightseeing experience. To tour the battlefield there are a couple of options. You can purchase a cd set for your car that is a guided tour of the battlefield and helps you to understand the battle and it significance. The set is about $50 and if you plan on returning to Gettysburg in the future it is worth the money. This option also allows you to go at your own pace. You can stop the tour and get out and check out the different memorials, etc. Another excellent option is the park ranger guided tour. This option is $65 per car and a certified park ranger actually goes in the car with you and you family and guides you through the battlefield. These guides go through an extensive training program to become guides and are very knowledgable. An advantage to this option is that you are able to ask questions about Gettysburg and the battle.
In the visitor center there is also a movie, a museum, and the cyclorama. I would highly recommend doing all three. The cost is $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for kids. There are also AAA discounts and discounts for seniors. Kids under 6 and Active Duty Military are free. If you have time I suggest just walking around downtown Gettysburg. There are a lot of neat shops and historical homes in town.
As for hotel accommodations: There are several hotels located in Gettysburg. Those located in downtown can be quite pricey and book quickly. We stayed at the Days Inn located on the edge of town. This hotel is not fancy at all but is clean and comfortable. They also have free continental breakfast for their guests. Something to keep in mind: You are are a person with a disability and need an accessible, the rooms only come with a queen size bed. If you have more than two people you will need to either ask for a roll away bed (this is an extra $10), or get an adjoining room.
DC can be overwhelming and chaotic, especially during the week. Hillari and I were there from Thursday evening to Sunday morning. This was great time to go. We did not stay in downtown DC due to the cost of those hotels. We stated at the Marriott at Tyson Corners in Vienna, VA. This hotel is used by a lot of business people and airport staff. The hotel is very nice, the rooms clean and spacious. Normally $359/night I was able to get a good deal of $89/night. I plan on staying here again if the price is right. The hotel was located about 10 mins from DC and you can either drive in or the metro station is very close. My only issue with this hotel is that the accessible rooms were layout weird. The shower set up made it difficult to get in and out of. If you are a person in a wheelchair and are unable to transfer by yourself, this hotel may not work for you.
There are a lot of sightseeing items in DC. Parking can be a bit of a nightmare. There is free parking located at many of the monuments but they are limited to 3 hours so if you plan on spending all day in DC, I suggest looking for a parking garage. We parked in a lot behind the Department of Agriculture. The parking lot itself needed a little work but the cost was right. It was $17 for us to park for the whole day. This was one of the less expensive lots. The parking lot was located near the Holocaust Museum and was in walking distance to many of the monuments. There are also transport buses that travel to all the sight so if you don't feel like walking you can take those. There are also bike rental places.
As for sights to see: I recommend going to see all of the many monuments and memorials. The WWII Memorial is by far my favorite along with the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial. The Smithsonian Museums are also a must see. These museums are in separate building so you can pick and choose which you'd like to see. We did the museum of American History and the Natural History museum. There is also The Air and Space Museum, The Museum of Native Americans, etc. These museums are all free. There are many other museums also well such as the Spy Museum and the Newseum along with tours of buildings such as Ford's Theatre. You can also tour the National Archives with contains the Declaration of Independence along with other documents. I highly suggest seeing these. You can also tour the White House but you have to contact your state representative to make arrangements. I suggest doing this about 3-6 months in advance. Finally, I would highly recommend The Holocaust Museum. You will need to purchase tickets in advance for the permanent display. The tickets are $1. You can also make a donation to the museum. This museum is very powerful. They also have Holocaust survivors in the museum who you can talk to about their experiences. I highly recommend it.
One last thing about: If you are a person with a disability or traveling with someone with a disability know that DC is one of the most accessible places to visit. All of the museums are handicapped accessible as well as all the monuments. If you have issues at any of the sites there are guards and park rangers who are more than willing to offer assistance. All of the buses in DC are accessible as well as parts of the metro. I recommend going to https://washington.org/ for more information or contacting me if you have questions.