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Need Help with East Coast Trip (DC and Civil War, sites, etc)

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We live in California and are first timers to the east coast. I found low cost flights into BWI and we plan to visit for 8 days in mid-July. We definitely want to visit museums in DC and want to check out Gettysburg in PA and plan to rent a car. Does anyone have any itinerary suggestions or recommendations of what to avoid given high tourist traffic in summer? I know that the question is very broad, but I would appreciate any input. Thanks in advance!

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