The Civil War Tour

Self-Drive Tour 22 Days / 21 Nights
Tour Map
  • 2894.0 mi = 4630.4 km
  • Summer, Spring, Fall
  • 43.0 - 95.0°F = 6.1 - 35.0°C

Combine your love of riding great motorcycle roads with your love of history to explore iconic Civil War battlefields such as Vicksburg, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Appomattox, Harpers Ferry, Antietam, and Bentonville, on the Civil War Tour that includes the Top 10 Civil War Sites recommended by National Geographic, plus much, much more! This 21day self-drive adventure begins in the Florida Panhandle at Pensacola, crosses the southern states of Alabama and Mississippi, up through Tennessee and West Virginia, all the way to Gettysburg and down back through Manassas, Richmond, Petersburg, Charleston, and lastly Andersonville - Discover some of the most memorable Civil War Sites in the country, where you will learn of the sieges, the deprivations, the battles, the characters and their stories that will reverberate down through the centuries and leave you with amazing memories for years to come.

Tour Itinerary

The start of your tour will put some serious scenic miles under your belt as you ride through the countryside of Alabama through to Natchez, where the river is wide and the history is deep. Explore the restored antebellum houses in town and the settlement known as Natchez-under-the-hill on Silver St. From its vantage point on the highest bluff of the Mississippi River, Natchez beckons to travelers in search of a truly distinctive Southern story.
Enjoy a leisurely ride along the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway which follows the historical Natchez Trace, which roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace" a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, European settlers, slave traders, and soldiers. Have lunch in Vicksburg, spend the afternoon visiting the first of the battlefields at the Vicksburg National Military Park, and stay the night in a Historic Southern Mansion that still has cannonballs from the Civil War lodged in the walls.
Rejoin the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway for 179miles until Tupelo, the site of what was known as the Battle of Harrisburg. Check out the monument at Tupelo National Battlefield, on Main Street in Tupelo, and then continue up to Corinth for the night.
Start the day with a visit to the Corinth Battlefield/Civil War Interpretive Center and then spend the day exploring one of the country's most beautifully preserved battlefields and the site of the first large scale battle in the Civil War - the Shiloh National Military Park - and the Shiloh Battlefield Visitor Centre and Museum. Ride to Savannah for the night’s accommodation.
Ride Hwy 64 thru the Tennessee countryside, stopping at Waynesboro to find the historical marker and the former home (ca. 1854) of Union Col. William Pl Kindrick, Jr, before stopping for the night in Chattanooga, where there is so much to see that Lookout Mountain is aptly named!
The perfect starting point for your exploration of Chattannoga's Civil War Battle Sites is Lookout Mountain which hosts Ruby Falls, Point Park, Craven's House, The Incline Railway and the show - The Battles for Chattanooga. Other memorable sites to see are Racoon Mountain Caverns,Signal Mountain, Brown's Ferry and the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
Take the breathtakingly beautiful Cherahola Skyway through to Robbinsville, where you can relax for the rest of the afternoon or try the challenge of riding north and then back south on Hwy 129 - the legendary ride of all rides – the Tail of the Dragon - with 318 curves in 11 miles, it is America’s number one motorcycle road, and well worth the effort if only to gain the bragging rights that you slayed the dragon!
An early start is needed today to travel through the Great Smoky Mountains on 'The Rattler' - an amazingly scenic twister - to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Have the choice to stop at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Wheels in time Museum (home to the world’s premier collection of rare American motorcycles, but closed Tues/Wed), Linville Caverns where deserting soldiers from both sides sought refuge, and/or the mile-high swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain . Overnight in Boone, the town named after Daniel, who had a cabin here in the 1760's.
Today is the time to enjoy the natural beauty of riding the riveting Blue Ridge Parkway, all the way from Boone, up to where the Confederates Capitulated - Appomattox. Stop in at the Museum of the Confederacy to help set the scene for the visit tomorrow to Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, the site of Lee's surrender.
Start the day at the end of the Civil War…. And finish at the start! Ride to the site of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, and then onto Harper's Ferry which is considered by many to be the ignition point, or prelude to what was to come. Explore the Appomattox Court House National Park, a village of 27 structures that have been restored to it's 1865 appearance, and the site of the last shots fired by the Confederates before Lee signed the surrender in the front parlor of the McLeans house. Then ride to Harpers Ferry, where in 1859, abolitionist John Brown captured the armory, hoping to incite the slaves to rebellion, but was consequently captured, tried for treason and hanged.
Not one, but two National Historic Parks to immerse yourself in today. Harpers Ferry has exhibits and museums in more than two dozen restored buildings which describe the diverse historical events that shaped the region, and Antietam which is not only one the the best preserved battlefields in America, but also has the dubious honor of being known as the site of the Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History. Finish the day with an easy 50mile ride to Gettysburg.
No Civil War Tour would be complete without a trip to Gettysburg where you can explore on your own or jump on one of the many guided tour buses to discover 'what they did here" as President Lincoln so eloquently put it. Your sensitivities will be assaulted as you immerse yourself in The National Military Park, which will engross, and haunt you forever
There is so much to see and do…..and learn….that you will easily need 2 full days to complete your Gettysburg wanderings and come to your own conclusions of what went wrong…or right…..and why…..
Stop at Manassas National Battlefield Park, where two of the great Civil War Battles occurred. Watch the film and wander the Battlefield before riding through to Fredericksburg. If time allows,stop off at George Washington's boyhood home and or visit the 1760 'Rising Sun Tavern' where costumed tavern wenches and male servants set the scene of a time long ago past.
Begin the day at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, where you can catch the film at the visitor's center before covering the 5mile driving tour. Make sure to stop at the 'Stonewall Jackson Shrine' and pay homage to the famous Confederate hero. Ride to Richmond where you will stay for the night after visiting the American Civil war Center. Spend the rest of daylight wandering down Monument Drive - home to the massive statues immortalizing the Confederate War Heroes.
Start the day at the Museum of the Confederacy, add on The White House of the Confederacy, and then visit the impressive Virginia State Capitol Building. Finish your Confederacy immersion with the Richmond National Battlefield Park and learn about the battles and the struggle for possession of the Confederate Capitol.
You are spoilt for choice in Petersburg today as there are so many great options to check out. Choose between the Petersburg National Battlefield Park, the Pamplin Historical Park, the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, and the Siege Museum.
It is advisable to ride on the intestate today in order to fit in a visit to Bentonville Battlefield, which was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive. Start at the visitor's center and then tour Harper House -which played a key role in the battle when over 500 wounded Union and Confederate soldiers were treated there by the Harpers and 7 of their children. Stay the night in nearby Clinton.
Finally you get to Charleston, for the sole purpose of catching a cruise from Patriots Point for a narrated tour of Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter - from where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
There are many things to do in Charleston from visiting an Antebellum Plantation Home, or the aircraft carrier USS York, or even the haunted Old Jail, but nothing is more relevant than catching a cruise from Patriots Point, for a narrated tour of Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter – travel back in time to the start of the Civil War.
Finish your tour in Americus with an early night, ready to rise early the next day for your last history lesson at Andersonville National Historic Site, Cemetery, Civil War Village and Camp Sumter Military Prison - the infamous Confederate impenetrable wooden stockade that so many Union soldiers were held under truly appalling conditions.
You will be up early for the 8am start to the day at The Camp Sumter Military Prison in Andersonville, where more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined. Almost 13,000 died in the 14months the prison was open, and the story here will give you much to think about as you ride through the beautiful Georgian countryside down to Pensacola, arriving in time to return your motorcycle at the EagleRider location.
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