National Parks / Natural World

Antietam National Battlefield Sharpsburg

Where is it at?

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Antietam National Battlefield
5831 Dunker Church Road
Sharpsburg
MD
21782
Tel: 301 432 7648

Directions

Traveling East on Interstate 70: Exit 29A onto Rt. 65 south. Ten miles south on the left is the Visitor Center. Traveling West on Interstate 70 from the Baltimore/Washington area: Exit 29 onto Rt. 65 South towards Sharpsburg. Travel about 10 miles south to the Park Visitor Center entrance which will be on your left side. Optional Route: Exit 49 onto Alternate Rt. 40 West towards Middletown. Continue through Middletown, over South Mountain to Boonsboro. Turn left onto Rt. 34 to Sharpsburg. When you enter town, turn right (north) onto Rt. 65 and the Park Visitor Center will be on your right a mile north of Sharpsburg. Traveling North-South on Interstate 81: Exit 1, Rt. 68, six miles east to Rt. 65. Turn RIGHT at light on Rt. 65. Five miles south on the left is the Visitor Center.

Where are we going today?

History is an incredible thing for kids to learn about, and it's even more eye opening when they can visit a place where what they are learning about, actually happened.

Antietam National Battlefield is an eye opening experience for any family who is interested in the country, history, and events that shaped the future of the USA.

Did you know that on the grounds right on the battlefield, one of the bloodiest one day battles in US history occurred? 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after only 12 hours of terrible combat, way back in 1862.

It was this battle that ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's invasion up into the North of the country, which led to Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation - so it's an incredible site for kids to visit.

When you arrive, start at the Visitor Center. If you don't have much time, make sure you explore the museum and it's exhibits, as well as catch the introductory film. This will ensure kids can get a good understanding of what they are about to experience. You can also join a Park Ranger for a fascinating battlefield talk, or you can take the self-guided auto tour through the battlefield, which takes you through 8.5 miles and 11 stops of history.

If you have a little more time at the Antietam National Battlefield, you can add on a self-guided hike on the Bloody Lane, or the Snavely Ford Trails, just to name a few great walks. The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is a great little stop for some extra education, and there is even a FUN scavenger hunt you can do across the battlefields.

So you certainly will have lots to fill your family day out with - an amazing experience kids won't forget! 

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How much does it cost?

  • Adults$4 per person / $6 per vehicle.
  • Free Under: 15 years.
LAST UPDATED 2015

When can we go?

Visitor Center open 9am - 5pm daily. Grounds open daylight hours.

All year round, but closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.

Teachers corner

They have lots of information that will help you plan your visit to the battlefield with the students - and it's a trip that every history student should do! .

Any Top Tips?

Get kids to join the Junior Ranger program where they can fill out their activity booklets and even get a badge! .

Doing our bit

The park completely respect the history that happened here, and you can help them by respecting all the memorials too. They want to ensure the stories continue for the future visitors! .

Need a little extra help?

Parking and Visitor Center are accessible, but some of the historic structures are only accessible from the doorway. Check when you arrive! .

Can I get one of those?

There is a bookstore in the visitor center where you can buy souviners and CD tours!.

More information

If you want a private guide, you can hire them to join you in your vehicle so you can ask all the questions you like! .

What people are saying?

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    Took a day trip here from DC after seeing the movie "Lincoln" and starting on a Civil War kick. There is so much history in the DC area and I hope to see much more. Antietam is a fascinating and very sad place to visit. Hard to imagine that in this now bucolic place such an awful tragedy took place. The movie is very informative at the visitor center and we did the self-guided auto tour through the battlefield which was a great way to see the area. Did not do a ranger tour because of our schedule but I am sure that would be great, as they were very...Read More

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    Very well marked tour through the battlefield. The Visitor Center is near the Dunker Church, and the marked tour takes you chronologically through the battle, from the Cornfield-Dunker Church area, past the Sunken Road, and around to Burnside's Bridge. Just being there gave me a new appreciation, for instance, of what the men in the Sunken Road must have felt like, looking up that slope, or how Burnside's men must have felt having to go past the embankment at the end of that bridge.

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    I was here 3 or 4 years ago. It was an excellent trip. While I was familiar with the battle, I hadn't studied it. Still, I could understand the layout pretty well. Since then I have read more about the day and I'm anxious to return to give it another look. It is a huge area, there were really three separate battles that were fought during the day. The scale makes it all difficult to absorb, but the separateness of the fights, north, south, and central, helps to get your head around it. If you are interested in the Civil War, this is a must see battlefield,...Read More

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    The little brother to Gettysburg is often overshadowed and overlooked but is well worth it. The park sits just outside of Sharpsburg, just a bit south of I-70 and a bit east of I-81, signage off of both and on the roads leading clearly marked. So getting to it from either DC or Baltimore isn't much of a hassle. Parking looks like it could be an issue on days where they could be really busy, but for the sunday afternoon i went, with perfect weather, i didn't have any issues finding a space.

    The main parking area sits just outside of the visitors...Read More

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    Lived here all my life and just don't get stuck on that tower. We have to call a platform ladder truck from 15 miles away to get you down if it's bad enough that you can't go down the steps.if you can't walk over the edge you go at 110 feet.

Submit a review

by Robert Andrews

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Took a day trip here from DC after seeing the movie "Lincoln" and starting on a Civil War kick. There is so much history in the DC area and I hope to see much more. Antietam is a fascinating and very sad place to visit. Hard to imagine that in this now bucolic place such an awful tragedy took place. The movie is very informative at the visitor center and we did the self-guided auto tour through the battlefield which was a great way to see the area. Did not do a ranger tour because of our schedule but I am sure that would be great, as they were very helpful in the visitor center.

by Jim Reamer

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I was here 3 or 4 years ago. It was an excellent trip. While I was familiar with the battle, I hadn't studied it. Still, I could understand the layout pretty well. Since then I have read more about the day and I'm anxious to return to give it another look. It is a huge area, there were really three separate battles that were fought during the day. The scale makes it all difficult to absorb, but the separateness of the fights, north, south, and central, helps to get your head around it. If you are interested in the Civil War, this is a must see battlefield, in my opinion.

by Jason Boothe

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The little brother to Gettysburg is often overshadowed and overlooked but is well worth it. The park sits just outside of Sharpsburg, just a bit south of I-70 and a bit east of I-81, signage off of both and on the roads leading clearly marked. So getting to it from either DC or Baltimore isn't much of a hassle. Parking looks like it could be an issue on days where they could be really busy, but for the sunday afternoon i went, with perfect weather, i didn't have any issues finding a space.

The main parking area sits just outside of the visitors center, which i can't say much on being i have yet to step a foot in it. Right from the get your within spitting distance of several monuments and battlefield sites. But don't let this fool you, this park is expansive. I would recommend getting a map from visitor center. The main tour is a self guided auto tour, you'll see the blue markers around the roadways. Don't stay in your car the whole time ,get out and explore the sites and monuments. There are also a number of trails that run though the park, many of which are interconnected. Most will run you though parts of the battlefield, while others (like the farm trails) will take you more into the wilderness areas along Antietam Creek.

Speaking of the wilderness, don't think Antietam is all about the battle. This is a great spot for enjoying nature in Western Maryland. The views from many of the high points of the park into the surrounding areas are stunning. On top of it, there is a lot, and i mean a lot of wildlife to observe. A number of species of butterflies pass through or are residents of the parks. Not uncommon to see dear or rabbit as well. Also a number of bird species, all of which the Park Service can help you out in identifying. But the most ubiquitous furry creature is the groundhog, and you will see many of them in the summer. If you see a big hole in the ground somewhere, it's more than likely a groundhog burrow.

One of the big things i like about Antietam as opposed to Gettysburg is that the area surrounding it isn't significantly developed. Not a number of hotels, resorts, shops, and related things. The area has kept its small town, Western Maryland, rural character. With that, i would also recommend checking out the small (and i do mean small) town of Sharpsburg if you have a chance, it's right adjacent to the park. The town is quaint and small with a couple of shops and taverns on the main drags. Your also not to far away from Shepherdstown, Boonsboro, Williamsport, and Hagerstown (it being the largest of the communities).

The Weather

Sunday

Conditions: Chance of Rain
Temp: 53° F / 12° C
Humidity: 84 %
Wind: NNE - 3 MPH

Monday

Conditions: Rain
Temp: 46° F / 8° C
Humidity: 79 %
Wind: NE - 21 MPH

Tuesday

Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Temp: 48° F / 9° C
Humidity: 69 %
Wind: NW - 19 MPH

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