Maryland Monument at Antietam

credit Visit Hagerstown

Experience Antietam National Battlefield

Maryland Monument at Antietam

credit Visit Hagerstown

Explore the turning point of the Civil War through historical sites, museums, recreation and more.

Seeing the peaceful Appalachian foothills and fields along Antietam Creek, it’s hard to imagine “The Bloodiest Day in American History” took place on these hallowed grounds. A Union victory here inspired President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing thousands of slaves throughout the South. Today, a visit to the Antietam National Battlefield and visitor center is a must-do for history enthusiasts and families interested in events that shaped our nation. With hiking trails, hands-on demonstrations, Ranger-guided programs and tours, and a quaint winery right next door - the entire Antietam experience is a fascinating trip waiting for you.

Pay your respects at Antietam National Cemetery, a place to reflect on this pivotal moment in U.S. history that enabled President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Tours & Exploration

There are unlimited ways to experience Antietam National Battlefield. Start with a tour of the battlefield itself. Pick up a battlefield map and guide at the visitor center, then hop in the car to embark on a self-guided 8.5-mile auto tour, including 11 stops. The tour begins at the Dunker Church and offers listeners moving insights into what it was like to be a farmer on this land while the battle surrounded them. Visitors can also opt to do a Park Ranger-led walking tour, offered daily and sure to include battlefield insights and maneuvers, their fateful consequences and the lasting impact they had on the nation.

For families with little ones just learning about the meaningful history of the area, pick up a kid-friendly trail brochure at the visitor center. Try out the Mumma and Roulette Farms Scavenger Hunt, Nature’s Hide and Seek, Antietam Birds, and the Need for Trees. The gently rolling trails and rural landscape of one of America’s best preserved battlefields offer the ideal backdrop for hiking. There are a variety of hikes to discover. Snavely Ford Trail follows Antietam Creek, and it’s just under two miles. Walk the Family-Friendly Track Trail, a one-mile loop through farm fields, streamsides, woodlands and more, featuring interpretive exhibits about each farm and its Civil War history. 

Antietam National Cemetery
Antietam Campaign Scenic Byway

A key turning point in the Civil War, The Battle of Antietam took place on Maryland soil, as Confederate soldiers crossed the Potomac River and clashed with Union forces in the sleepy town of Sharpsburg.

Special Programs & Activities

Antietam National Battlefield also offers annual events that range from moving commemorations, to concerts and fireworks displays. In Summer, don’t miss the Independence Day Commemoration on the first Saturday in July. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Salute to Independence Concert and a stunning fireworks display mark this annual celebration.

Come September, visit the battlefield for multiple days of events to commemorate the Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. This is where you’ll find some of the best opportunities for hands-on exploration, with tons of weapons firing demonstrations. Events also feature music programs and guided hikes.

On the first Saturday in December, Antietam hosts one of the most moving memorial tributes in the nation. The Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination is an evening driving tour through the park amid 23,000 candles—one for each soldier killed, wounded or missing at the battle—that offers a solemn, glowing tribute.

For more events, check out the National Park Service calendar.

Burnside Bridge
Burnside Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield
Dunker Church Cannons
Cannons at Dunker Church
Antietam National Battlefield
Bloody Lane at Antietam National Battlefield

Nearby Restaurants & Things to Do

A visit to Antietam National Battlefield offers much more than a history lesson. The local community is something worth enjoying in its own right. Neighboring downtown Sharpsburg features a handful of options for delicious food, sweet treats and one-of-a-kind fun, like tubing in Antietam Creek.

Sharpsburg Ghost Tours offer another glimpse into life during 1862 for citizens and soldiers, as well as unexplainable happenings. Visit the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum in Boonsboro for a unique view of a fading past. The museum’s vintage automobile collection includes antique cars built right in Hagerstown, rare bicycles that roamed the streets more than a century ago, and even an early bobsled.

Sip and savor local wine at Antietam Creek Vineyards, a winery built on a former 55-acre dairy farm adjacent to Antietam National Battlefield. The winery offers tastings in a gorgeous retrofitted barn. Hungry? Stop by Captain Benders Tavern. This Sharpsburg staple is a classic stop after a day sightseeing at Antietam. The circa-1936 saloon provides a hearty menu in a friendly local setting. Try the Crab Cake Sandwich or Cannonball Burger.

Sharpsburg is also the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Head to Nutter’s Ice Cream for renowned hand-dipped ice cream then grab a fresh pie or donuts that one Facebook-reviewer dubbed as “life changing” at Burkholder's Baked Goods.

However you prefer to experience Antietam National Battlefield, this turning point of American history continues to humble, inspire and captivate visitors.