Great Family Adventures: Civil War Adventure Camp

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Civil War Adventure Camp

HIGHLIGHTS: If you or your children have ever imagined what it was like to be a Civil War soldier, take them to Civil War Adventure Camp. It’s an affordable experience during which families stay overnight on the land on which 1864’s Battle of Harmon Road was fought. At a reconstructed encampment, “recruits” are processed, issued uniforms (Union or Confederate? You choose.), and get trained in the ways of 19th-century warfare. Heeding officers’ commands, you’ll learn to move as a squad, to communicate via signal flags (no iPhones back then), to care for your musket, and to administer field medicine. Come evening, you’ll eat what soldiers ate and hear “Taps” played for lights out in your barrack, hut, or tent. In the morning, a bugled “Reveille” wakes you to use what you’ve learned to battle the enemy. The grand finale: the actual firing of a Coehorn cannon.

OUTFITTER: Pamplin Historical Park, in addition to running Civil War Adventure Camp, also curates the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, the Tudor Hall Plantation, and a battlefield walk called the Breakthrough Trail.

ITINERARY: Stays on Hart Farm at Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg, Virginia.

DATES: June 22 to 23; July 20 to 21; August 10 to 11; September 14 to 15; and October 12 to 13.

PRICE: $70 per person, including dinner, lodging, breakfast, instruction, and entertainment.

INFO:, (804) 861-2408.

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