As the season for RVing in PA unofficially ended in late fall because of the dropping temperatures, we winterized our RV and began to dream about where we’d like to camp in the upcoming year. Since we are getting married this year as well over the summer, we decided that spring and fall camping would make the most sense for us to plan in advance. We booked 4 trips in advance and figured any others would be bonus and could be more of a spontaneous plan.
We did a shakeout trip after de-winterizing our RV to Hershey Road in March and then headed for our first official trip to the KOA in Gettysburg in April. We’d each been to the Gettysburg area previously but had never camped there.
We went over Easter weekend so we spend an extra day in the area versus just a weekend. Below you’ll find our tips for camping in the area with dogs, what we did, and what we suggest for you!
Traveling with Dogs
We have two labs, one that’s 8 and one that is a bit over 1 year old. The 8 year old, Bailey, loves car rides so all you have to ask her is if she wants to go on a “ride” and she will be a perfect angel the whole way there. The other, Remington, is still learning about longer ride rides. We’ve driven about 4 or so hours with him at most. The best tips I have for either a dog who doesn’t love longer car rides or just needs to be occupied for a bit is
- Make them multiple kongs. Remington is incredibly food motivated and loves a Kong. We plug his with peanut butter at the bottom, add in some food that your dog is okay to eat and enjoys. We often use banana, peanut butter, some of his food, a few treats, and then whatever else we may have on hand. We’ve done some with cheese inside or hot dogs or pumpkin. We will freeze them a day prior and then put them in a cooler before we travel. He gets one when we get in the car, and then usually 1 or 2 while we setup our campsite or else he gets very impatient.
- We bring his dog bed in the car too and put it on top of the dog hammock in the back seat. After he gets tired of playing he will often curl up in that to sleep like a king.
- We will bring along a few toys or may get one he hasn’t played with before to keep him occupied.
Exploring Gettysburg National Military Park
The park is dog friendly, so we purchased an audio tour of the park that’s GPS based through Action Tour Guide for $10. We’ve done various audio tours on our road trips and when I found this one, I thought it would be great for us. The park is dog friendly so we grabbed breakfast on the way, and then began our tour. It was really informative and took us about 2 hours to complete. We got out at a few stops but for the most part saw the area by car.
State Parks in the Area
Teddy and I set a goal that in 2023 we wanted to visit 9 state parks together that we hadn’t been before. On this trip, we decided to spend a day visiting 3 new to us state parks. We had breakfast in Mont Alto State park, and then did a hike in both Pine Grove Furnace and Caledonia State Parks since they were shorter. In Pine Grove Furnace, we did part of the Appalachian Hiker Biker Trail and Brickyard Trail. It was easy and pretty along the water and gave the dogs a chance to enjoy the outdoors. At Caledonia State Park, we did the Chambersburg Waterline Trail to the Midland Trail. I love a trail with rhododendrons so this was a favorite for me and another easy trial for the puppies.
- We stayed at the KOA Holiday which is just outside of town. It was easy to get to and had everything we needed. This one also had a trail that you could walk behind the KOA as well as a dog park.
- We had a back in site with a full patio and full hookups which was great for us and the dogs. We love a KOA patio site that already has a nicer table and some chairs around an upgraded fire pit area.
- We usually plan to get pizza on Fridays after we set up camp, and then cook the rest of the weekend. This time around we got pizza locally and then made breakfast sandwiches both mornings, picked up bbq from in town one day, and made chicken cheesesteaks one night.
Teddy and I both agreed that this was one of our favorite camping trips so far. We got to take both dogs, explore a National Military Park and learn about the history, go on a few hikes, enjoy the campfire and s’mores, the weather was beautiful and we got to have some great conversation.