The Best Scenic Train Rides for Kids in Every State



Slide 1 of 54: You’ve traveled by car, by bus, and by plane-but we guarantee you and your kids have never seen America like this. For your next family adventure, hop on board one of these amazing train rides for kids (that just so happen to be adult-friendly too!) and get ready to take in some seriously beautiful views. From Alabama to Wyoming and nearly every state in between, there's something on our list that's bound to suit your vacation style and taste for adventure. Traverse canyons, peep some pretty fall foliage, or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the delicious fare offered in one of the trains' dining cars. We know what you might be thinking: Isn't rail travel a thing of the past? Nope, not really. These 55 stunning U.S. train rides might have begun operating way back in the early 1900s-and some, believe it or not, in the late 1800s-but the experience of riding them is every bit as wonderful today. In fact, it's doubly wonderful, because it's something your kids won't see or do every day. That makes a train ride an extra-special event, and the memories that follow will be treasured by your whole family for years to come.
Slide 2 of 54: Get on in the city, get off in the country! This 5.5-hour journey is the most beautiful way to get from New York City to Rutland, Vermont, passing through dozens of quaint New England towns along the way. It's fast, scenic, and oh-so-memorable.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 3 of 54: The repurposed vintage trains on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operate out of Alamosa, La Veta, and Monte Vista, Colorado. Your kids will love the chance to experience a ride on a real steam or diesel train, and you'll be left in awe of the stunning views. PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 4 of 54: The Danbury Railway Museum is the perfect place to take your kids this fall. Not only does the experience include a ride on a real operating turntable, but it's also open nearly every weekend between April and November. Just be sure to check the museum's website for updated times.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 5 of 54: Located just south of Birmingham, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum provides plenty of options for the whole family, including the one-hour Calera & Shelby Saturday Train Ride that chugs through the beautiful forests of Shelby County and kid-friendly events like the Pumpkin Patch Express and the Santa Special. PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 6 of 54: Make the most of a visit to Alaska by riding on Alaska Railroad's Denali Star Train, a 12-hour journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks. On a clear day, you'll have full view of the train's namesake landmark, Denali Mountain (formerly Mount McKinley), which is the tallest peak in North AmericaPLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 7 of 54: The Grand Canyon Railway offers a 65-mile, 2 hour and 15 minute train ride along the edge of the Colorado Plateau, at an elevation of 5,000 feet. Don't forget to look into the company's popular Polar Express Train Ride, offered during the holiday season.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 8 of 54: The Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway is open April through October and travels along the restored Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad. In November, the railway offers a distinctive off-season experience with its Saturday Excursion Trains. Have a lovely meal in the 1920s Eurekan Dining Car and view the fall leaves.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 9 of 54: Instead of traveling down California's Pacific Coast Highway by car, consider taking in views of the ocean via Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, which travels from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, a journey that's approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes of pure scenic bliss.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 10 of 54: It doesn’t get much more rough and rowdy than this. Imagine that you’re a 19th-century cowboy and take a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Choose the Cascade Canyon Excursion and ride a coal-fired locomotive as it chugs along 45 miles of rails originally constructed in 1882. The views of the Animas River can’t be beat.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 11 of 54: Travel by land and by water during an unforgettable excursion the whole family is sure to love. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat offers a two and a half-hour jaunt that includes a 12-mile ride on a steam locomotive through the Connecticut River Valley. Then, board the Becky Thatcher riverboat and glide in style along the Connecticut River.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 12 of 54: You might feel as if you’ve traveled in a time machine when you hop onto a train at the Wilmington and Western Railroad. Choose the historic Mt. Cuba Meteor to ride through Delaware’s Red Clay Valley and have a picnic lunch on the Hockessin Flyer, which travels the entire length of the 17-mile line.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 13 of 54: Soak up palm trees and lush greenery as you enjoy a 13-mile round trip on a diesel train through the Florida Railroad Museum. Don’t miss the museum’s fun events, like the Wild West Train Robbery or the North Pole Express.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 14 of 54: Take in Georgia's beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, Chattahoochee National Forest, and Toccoa River during this four-hour open-air ride with Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Don't miss their "Firecracker Special," which includes a festive firework show.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 15 of 54: Now this is a unique way to see Hawaii! Book a ride with the Kauai Plantation Railway and you’ll coast along through jungles and farmland in a reproduction train from the period of King Kalakaua. The conductor will stop during the trip to allow travelers to hike in a rainforest and pick their own tropical fruits.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 16 of 54: As Idaho’s only scenic train ride, you’ll be amazed at the scenery as you travel alongside the Payette River and Boise National Forest. For an exceptionally one-of-a-kind experience, book the “Raft and Rails” package in which participants take an hour and a half-long train ride to the rapids of the Payette River. Get ready for a heart-pounding rafting adventure!PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 17 of 54: Your kids will love seeing all of the cool trains on display at the Illinois Railway Museum. This huge place holds the largest collection of historic railway equipment in North America. After taking in all that history, hit the rails for a 45-minute ride on a train of yore.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 18 of 54: The Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, Indiana takes visitors to Metamora, a restored canal town with a working grist mill, horse-drawn canal boat, shops, restaurants, and more.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 19 of 54: In the midst of the quiet Iowa cornfields, you’ll find an authentic railroad offering a myriad of events and excursions. The Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad offers rides in 1920s coach cars through a picturesque valley, and they have dinner and picnic trains, too. We think the Wolf Dessert Train featuring seasonal treats sounds especially fun.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 20 of 54: Speed along through the Kansas countryside on a steam locomotive from the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad. In addition to their regular passenger trains, the railroad also has dinner train rides complete with classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths and tasty fare.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 21 of 54: New Haven, Kentucky is home to the Kentucky Railway Museum, the oldest rail museum in the state. See the rolling green fields and farmland from a locomotive or book a private excursion on the caboose. Now that’s a cool idea for a birthday party!  PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 22 of 54: Start in the grand city of New Orleans and head out to equally grand landscapes on an the Amtrak Sunset Limited tour between Louisiana and California. You’ll scope out bayous, deserts, and mountains during this once-in-a-lifetime journey.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 23 of 54: This peaceful 35-minute train ride with the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company allows you to see the splendor of Portland up close, riding along the Eastern Promenade of Casco Bay.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 24 of 54: For a wide variety of different train excursions, look no further than Cumberland’s Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. They have family-focused trips that include a Fall Foliage Experience and Christmas Trains, and they also offer an adults-only New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Train.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 25 of 54: There’s a good reason why this railroad has been featured on the Food Network show Dining on the Train. The Cape Cod Central Railroad specializes in exquisite adventures through sand dunes, cranberry bogs, and sandy shores, all while you dine or listen to a narrator share history on the area.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 26 of 54: Dearborn, Michigan’s Greenfield Village is a top destination for Henry Ford fans (you can take a ride in a real Model T!) and train enthusiasts alike. The historic attraction provides rides on the Weiser Railroad where you’ll be pulled by one of the oldest steam engines in existence.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 27 of 54: This is one of the best ways to see Lake Superior. Although a walk along the lake would be pleasant, a train ride with Duluth’s North Shore Scenic Railroad is even better. During the summer, board the Duluth Zephyr to see waterfront views of Lake Superior and the Lester River.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 28 of 54: See the very best of the South during this amazing trip from Pullman Rail Journeys. During the Tracks of the Deep South Tour which includes jaunts to Jack Daniel’s distillery and Graceland, you’ll also get the chance to go on an incredible Mississippi jazz sightseeing cruise.
Slide 29 of 54: You’ll marvel at the grandeur of the Ozarks when you take a ride with the Branson Scenic Railway. After making its way through Branson, the route dips down into Arkansas, and you can pick either a Regular Excursion or the Dinner Train.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 30 of 54: This short-but-sweet train ride with the Alder Gulch Railway is only 15 minutes long, but it’s definitely worth it. Between Virginia City and Nevada City, you’ll travel on what’s called the “short line” and behold towering pines and Montana terrain.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 31 of 54: The railroad at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is a real-life tale of the Little Engine That Could. You might be picturing one of those small trains for kids that travels around a zoo, but this one is in its own category: it’s a steam locomotive that rides along a heritage railroad and carries over 200,000 visitors per year. It’s an entertaining way to see the zoo’s animal residents.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 32 of 54: Hitch a ride on a century-old train at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and try out a new way to stargaze. The museum offers an excursion called the Great Basin Star Train which travels to a remote area of the Steptoe Valley that’s famous for its pristine star-viewing. There, local rangers set up telescopes and share their astronomical knowledge.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 33 of 54: Open late April through November, the Mount Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire offers a thrilling adventure as you ascend the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington. Once at the top of the three-mile track, you'll be surrounded by mountain views as you travel through New Hampshire and Maine as well as an eastern view of the Atlantic Ocean.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 34 of 54: Make family memories with a ride on New Jersey’s Black River & Western Railroad. Jump on a steam locomotive and participate in themed rides, like the North Pole Express and Pumpkin Junction excursions.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 35 of 54: It doesn’t get much more scenic than this. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad based in Chama, New Mexico takes passengers on an unforgettable 64-mile ride through the Rocky Mountains and makes its way up to Antonito, Colorado. You’ll be astounded by the views of canyons, deserts, and meadows as you whiz by.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 36 of 54: Hiking the Adirondacks is a breathtaking experience. But if you’d prefer to see the peaks and pinnacles from the comfort of a train, you’re in luck. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad has two stations to choose from, and they each provide different excursions. Little ones will delight in the Family Halloween Train, and the Beer & Wine Train is geared toward adults.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 37 of 54: The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina offers two scenic train rides that the whole family will surely love. Ride alongside the Nantahala River during the 4.5-hour Nantahala Gorge Excursion, or take the four-hour Tuckasegee River Excursion to ride past a spot where the 1993 film The Fugitive was filmed.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 38 of 54: This is a train ride that the kiddos will really enjoy. On a scaled-down version of a historic locomotive, take a mile-long ride on the Magic City Express around Minot’s Roosevelt Park and then walk over to the Roosevelt Park Zoo next door to see lions, tigers, and bears-oh my!PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 39 of 54: The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers several family-friendly train options. Whether you decide to take a ride on the company's Fall Foliage Train or its Santa Train during the holidays, these train rides along Ohio's Hocking River promise some of the most scenic views of Ohio.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 40 of 54: At the Oklahoma Railway Museum, your family will make a 45-minute trek in a passenger coach pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive and explore the sights of Oklahoma City. Come back for the Halloween Train and Christmas Train excursions.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 41 of 54: Mount Hood Railroad offers three seasonal train excursions, perfect if you're looking for an adventurous new way to foster family bonding. Travel through woods, orchards, and vineyards aboard the June through October Parkdale Excursions, see the rich colors of Portland, Oregon's fall foliage during the October Harvest Fall Special train ride, or enjoy an Old West-themed adventure on the Western Train Robbery ride, which is offered July through September.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 42 of 54: Travel through the scenic Pennsylvania Dutch Countryside in Strasburg Railroad's coal-burning steam train, built more than 175 years ago. This Pennsylvania-based railroad has great options for kids including their Day Out With Thomas train and the Santa's Paradise Christmas train.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 43 of 54: The Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad has train rides for every member of the family. As you steam around Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Island, you can savor gourmet eats on the Grand Bellevue Dinner Train, see a retelling of “A Christmas Carol” on the Dickens Holiday Dinner Theatre Train, or relish fall on the Autumn Harvest Bistro Train.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 44 of 54: At the South Carolina Railroad Museum, you can take a ride with the Rockton, Rion & Western Railroad and see the panoramas of the idyllic South Carolina countryside. Choose from the dining car with picture windows, a 1952 passenger car, a 1940 caboose, or an open-air car.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 45 of 54: Nestled in the Black Hills, you can make like Wild Bill and take an authentically-Western train ride. Board an 1880 Train and learn about the history of the region through a two-hour, narrated excursion. These rides are offered through the Black Hills Central Railroad, the oldest continuously-operating tour railroad in the United States.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 46 of 54: It’s as if the song Chattanooga Choo Choo has come to life! Glenn Miller would have undoubtedly enjoyed a train ride through Chattanooga’s Tennessee Valley Railroad, where you’ll see the Tennessee scenery speeding by during your ride. The excursions each have throwback names, like the Missionary Ridge Local, Summerville Steam Special, Copperhill Special, and Hiwassee Loop.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 47 of 54: Get ready to be transported back in time once you step aboard the Texas State Railroad's 1920s train car. You'll travel through Texas' Piney Woods during your 50-mile, four-hour journey. For the kids, the Texas State Railroad sets up a pumpkin patch during the fall and offers a Polar Express ride, which begins in November.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 48 of 54: Hop onboard the Heber Valley Railroad's 1907 vintage steam locomotive to see amazing views of Utah's Heber Valley and Provo Canyon. Make sure your kiddos are also on the lookout for bald eagles, deer, and elk along the 16-mile ride.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 49 of 54: Vermont is certainly a gorgeous state, and we think that the best way to see its beauty is from a Green Mountain Railroad train. Based in Burlington, you can look at waterfront locales and fall foliage from a dinner train or the popular “Cocktails on the Rails” excursion.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 50 of 54: Although this one isn’t as grandiose as some train rides, we love it all the same. The Gypsy Express mini train in Staunton, Virginia is simply charming, and perfectly-suited for little ones. For the past 60 years, this tiny train has been enchanting visitors with its trek around Gypsy Hill Park. It just might be the most adorable train ride you’ll ever take.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 51 of 54: Dubbed one of America's most beautiful train rides, Amtrak's Coast Starlight train not only offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean you'll ever see, it's also one of the most affordable adventures out there-starting at just $98! This special trip ventures from Seattle to Los Angeles over the course of 35 hours, but you can enjoy an abbreviated version by getting off at one of its 30 west coast stops.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 52 of 54: Catch a ride on one of the steam-driven locomotives through West Virginia's Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Be sure to pack your camera for beautiful shots of the Monongahela National Forest.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 53 of 54: Wisconsin’s train mecca, otherwise known as the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, lies in North Freedom and takes visitors on rides through the exquisite Baraboo Hills. They have excursions for nearly every holiday, including the Pumpkin Special, Stars and Stripes Special, and the Snow Train.PLAN YOUR TRIP
Slide 54 of 54: This is a train-ride experience like no other. At Cheyenne, Wyoming’s Terry Bison Ranch, you’ll hoot and holler for the many on-site activities, like horseback riding, homecooked dinners at the steakhouse and rides on their custom-built, scaled-down trains. Take a Bison Train Tour to see their ostriches, camels and of course, bison, or choose a Sunday Lunch Train for a good, old-fashioned meal.PLAN YOUR TRIP

You’ve traveled by car, by bus, and by plane-but we guarantee you and your kids have never seen America like this. For your next family adventure, hop on board one of these amazing train rides for kids (that just so happen to be adult-friendly too!) and get ready to take in some seriously beautiful views. From Alabama to Wyoming and nearly every state in between, there’s something on our list that’s bound to suit your vacation style and taste for adventure. Traverse canyons, peep some pretty fall foliage, or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the delicious fare offered in one of the trains’ dining cars. We know what you might be thinking: Isn’t rail travel a thing of the past? Nope, not really. These 55 stunning U.S. train rides might have begun operating way back in the early 1900s-and some, believe it or not, in the late 1800s-but the experience of riding them is every bit as wonderful today. In fact, it’s doubly wonderful, because it’s something your kids won’t see or do every day. That makes a train ride an extra-special event, and the memories that follow will be treasured by your whole family for years to come.

Vermont: Ethan Allen Express

Get on in the city, get off in the country! This 5.5-hour journey is the most beautiful way to get from New York City to Rutland, Vermont, passing through dozens of quaint New England towns along the way. It’s fast, scenic, and oh-so-memorable.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Colorado: Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

The repurposed vintage trains on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operate out of Alamosa, La Veta, and Monte Vista, Colorado. Your kids will love the chance to experience a ride on a real steam or diesel train, and you’ll be left in awe of the stunning views.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Connecticut: The Danbury Railway Museum

The Danbury Railway Museum is the perfect place to take your kids this fall. Not only does the experience include a ride on a real operating turntable, but it’s also open nearly every weekend between April and November. Just be sure to check the museum’s website for updated times.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Alabama: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum

Located just south of Birmingham, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum provides plenty of options for the whole family, including the one-hour Calera & Shelby Saturday Train Ride that chugs through the beautiful forests of Shelby County and kid-friendly events like the Pumpkin Patch Express and the Santa Special.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Alaska: Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star Train

Make the most of a visit to Alaska by riding on Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star Train, a 12-hour journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks. On a clear day, you’ll have full view of the train’s namesake landmark, Denali Mountain (formerly Mount McKinley), which is the tallest peak in North America

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Arizona: Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon Railway offers a 65-mile, 2 hour and 15 minute train ride along the edge of the Colorado Plateau, at an elevation of 5,000 feet. Don’t forget to look into the company’s popular Polar Express Train Ride, offered during the holiday season.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Arkansas: Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

The Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway is open April through October and travels along the restored Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad. In November, the railway offers a distinctive off-season experience with its Saturday Excursion Trains. Have a lovely meal in the 1920s Eurekan Dining Car and view the fall leaves.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

California: Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner

Instead of traveling down California’s Pacific Coast Highway by car, consider taking in views of the ocean via Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, which travels from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, a journey that’s approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes of pure scenic bliss.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Colorado: Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum

It doesn’t get much more rough and rowdy than this. Imagine that you’re a 19th-century cowboy and take a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Choose the Cascade Canyon Excursion and ride a coal-fired locomotive as it chugs along 45 miles of rails originally constructed in 1882. The views of the Animas River can’t be beat.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Connecticut: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Travel by land and by water during an unforgettable excursion the whole family is sure to love. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat offers a two and a half-hour jaunt that includes a 12-mile ride on a steam locomotive through the Connecticut River Valley. Then, board the Becky Thatcher riverboat and glide in style along the Connecticut River.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Delaware: Wilmington and Western Railroad

You might feel as if you’ve traveled in a time machine when you hop onto a train at the Wilmington and Western Railroad. Choose the historic Mt. Cuba Meteor to ride through Delaware’s Red Clay Valley and have a picnic lunch on the Hockessin Flyer, which travels the entire length of the 17-mile line.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Florida: Florida Railroad Museum

Soak up palm trees and lush greenery as you enjoy a 13-mile round trip on a diesel train through the Florida Railroad Museum. Don’t miss the museum’s fun events, like the Wild West Train Robbery or the North Pole Express.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Georgia: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Take in Georgia’s beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, Chattahoochee National Forest, and Toccoa River during this four-hour open-air ride with Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Don’t miss their “Firecracker Special,” which includes a festive firework show.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Hawaii: Kauai Plantation Railway

Now this is a unique way to see Hawaii! Book a ride with the Kauai Plantation Railway and you’ll coast along through jungles and farmland in a reproduction train from the period of King Kalakaua. The conductor will stop during the trip to allow travelers to hike in a rainforest and pick their own tropical fruits.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Idaho: Thunder Mountain Line

As Idaho’s only scenic train ride, you’ll be amazed at the scenery as you travel alongside the Payette River and Boise National Forest. For an exceptionally one-of-a-kind experience, book the “Raft and Rails” package in which participants take an hour and a half-long train ride to the rapids of the Payette River. Get ready for a heart-pounding rafting adventure!

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Illinois: Illinois Railway Museum

Your kids will love seeing all of the cool trains on display at the Illinois Railway Museum. This huge place holds the largest collection of historic railway equipment in North America. After taking in all that history, hit the rails for a 45-minute ride on a train of yore.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Indiana: Whitewater Valley Railroad

The Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, Indiana takes visitors to Metamora, a restored canal town with a working grist mill, horse-drawn canal boat, shops, restaurants, and more.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Iowa: Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad

In the midst of the quiet Iowa cornfields, you’ll find an authentic railroad offering a myriad of events and excursions. The Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad offers rides in 1920s coach cars through a picturesque valley, and they have dinner and picnic trains, too. We think the Wolf Dessert Train featuring seasonal treats sounds especially fun.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Kansas: Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad

Speed along through the Kansas countryside on a steam locomotive from the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad. In addition to their regular passenger trains, the railroad also has dinner train rides complete with classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths and tasty fare.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Kentucky: Kentucky Railway Museum

New Haven, Kentucky is home to the Kentucky Railway Museum, the oldest rail museum in the state. See the rolling green fields and farmland from a locomotive or book a private excursion on the caboose. Now that’s a cool idea for a birthday party!

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Louisiana: Amtrak’s Sunset Limited Tour

Start in the grand city of New Orleans and head out to equally grand landscapes on an the Amtrak Sunset Limited tour between Louisiana and California. You’ll scope out bayous, deserts, and mountains during this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Maine: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum

This peaceful 35-minute train ride with the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company allows you to see the splendor of Portland up close, riding along the Eastern Promenade of Casco Bay.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Maryland: Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

For a wide variety of different train excursions, look no further than Cumberland’s Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. They have family-focused trips that include a Fall Foliage Experience and Christmas Trains, and they also offer an adults-only New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Train.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Massachusetts: Cape Cod Central Railroad

There’s a good reason why this railroad has been featured on the Food Network show Dining on the Train. The Cape Cod Central Railroad specializes in exquisite adventures through sand dunes, cranberry bogs, and sandy shores, all while you dine or listen to a narrator share history on the area.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Michigan: Greenfield Village

Dearborn, Michigan’s Greenfield Village is a top destination for Henry Ford fans (you can take a ride in a real Model T!) and train enthusiasts alike. The historic attraction provides rides on the Weiser Railroad where you’ll be pulled by one of the oldest steam engines in existence.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Minnesota: North Shore Scenic Railroad

This is one of the best ways to see Lake Superior. Although a walk along the lake would be pleasant, a train ride with Duluth’s North Shore Scenic Railroad is even better. During the summer, board the Duluth Zephyr to see waterfront views of Lake Superior and the Lester River.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Mississippi: Pullman Rail Journeys’ Tracks of the Deep South Tour

See the very best of the South during this amazing trip from Pullman Rail Journeys. During the Tracks of the Deep South Tour which includes jaunts to Jack Daniel’s distillery and Graceland, you’ll also get the chance to go on an incredible Mississippi jazz sightseeing cruise.

Missouri: Branson Scenic Railway

You’ll marvel at the grandeur of the Ozarks when you take a ride with the Branson Scenic Railway. After making its way through Branson, the route dips down into Arkansas, and you can pick either a Regular Excursion or the Dinner Train.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Montana: Alder Gulch Railway

This short-but-sweet train ride with the Alder Gulch Railway is only 15 minutes long, but it’s definitely worth it. Between Virginia City and Nevada City, you’ll travel on what’s called the “short line” and behold towering pines and Montana terrain.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Nebraska: Omaha Zoo Railroad

The railroad at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is a real-life tale of the Little Engine That Could. You might be picturing one of those small trains for kids that travels around a zoo, but this one is in its own category: it’s a steam locomotive that rides along a heritage railroad and carries over 200,000 visitors per year. It’s an entertaining way to see the zoo’s animal residents.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

Hitch a ride on a century-old train at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and try out a new way to stargaze. The museum offers an excursion called the Great Basin Star Train which travels to a remote area of the Steptoe Valley that’s famous for its pristine star-viewing. There, local rangers set up telescopes and share their astronomical knowledge.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

New Hampshire: The Mount Washington Cog Railway

Open late April through November, the Mount Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire offers a thrilling adventure as you ascend the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington. Once at the top of the three-mile track, you’ll be surrounded by mountain views as you travel through New Hampshire and Maine as well as an eastern view of the Atlantic Ocean.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

New Jersey: Black River & Western Railroad

Make family memories with a ride on New Jersey’s Black River & Western Railroad. Jump on a steam locomotive and participate in themed rides, like the North Pole Express and Pumpkin Junction excursions.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

New Mexico: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

It doesn’t get much more scenic than this. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad based in Chama, New Mexico takes passengers on an unforgettable 64-mile ride through the Rocky Mountains and makes its way up to Antonito, Colorado. You’ll be astounded by the views of canyons, deserts, and meadows as you whiz by.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

New York: Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Hiking the Adirondacks is a breathtaking experience. But if you’d prefer to see the peaks and pinnacles from the comfort of a train, you’re in luck. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad has two stations to choose from, and they each provide different excursions. Little ones will delight in the Family Halloween Train, and the Beer & Wine Train is geared toward adults.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

North Carolina: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina offers two scenic train rides that the whole family will surely love. Ride alongside the Nantahala River during the 4.5-hour Nantahala Gorge Excursion, or take the four-hour Tuckasegee River Excursion to ride past a spot where the 1993 film The Fugitive was filmed.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

North Dakota: Magic City Express

This is a train ride that the kiddos will really enjoy. On a scaled-down version of a historic locomotive, take a mile-long ride on the Magic City Express around Minot’s Roosevelt Park and then walk over to the Roosevelt Park Zoo next door to see lions, tigers, and bears-oh my!

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Ohio: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers several family-friendly train options. Whether you decide to take a ride on the company’s Fall Foliage Train or its Santa Train during the holidays, these train rides along Ohio’s Hocking River promise some of the most scenic views of Ohio.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Railway Museum

At the Oklahoma Railway Museum, your family will make a 45-minute trek in a passenger coach pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive and explore the sights of Oklahoma City. Come back for the Halloween Train and Christmas Train excursions.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Oregon: Mount Hood Railroad

Mount Hood Railroad offers three seasonal train excursions, perfect if you’re looking for an adventurous new way to foster family bonding. Travel through woods, orchards, and vineyards aboard the June through October Parkdale Excursions, see the rich colors of Portland, Oregon’s fall foliage during the October Harvest Fall Special train ride, or enjoy an Old West-themed adventure on the Western Train Robbery ride, which is offered July through September.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

Pennsylvania: Strasburg Railroad

Travel through the scenic Pennsylvania Dutch Countryside in Strasburg Railroad’s coal-burning steam train, built more than 175 years ago. This Pennsylvania-based railroad has great options for kids including their Day Out With Thomas train and the Santa’s Paradise Christmas train.

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Rhode Island: Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad

The Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad has train rides for every member of the family. As you steam around Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Island, you can savor gourmet eats on the Grand Bellevue Dinner Train, see a retelling of “A Christmas Carol” on the Dickens Holiday Dinner Theatre Train, or relish fall on the Autumn Harvest Bistro Train.

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South Carolina: South Carolina Railroad Museum

At the South Carolina Railroad Museum, you can take a ride with the Rockton, Rion & Western Railroad and see the panoramas of the idyllic South Carolina countryside. Choose from the dining car with picture windows, a 1952 passenger car, a 1940 caboose, or an open-air car.

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South Dakota: 1880 Train

Nestled in the Black Hills, you can make like Wild Bill and take an authentically-Western train ride. Board an 1880 Train and learn about the history of the region through a two-hour, narrated excursion. These rides are offered through the Black Hills Central Railroad, the oldest continuously-operating tour railroad in the United States.

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Tennessee: Tennessee Valley Railroad

It’s as if the song Chattanooga Choo Choo has come to life! Glenn Miller would have undoubtedly enjoyed a train ride through Chattanooga’s Tennessee Valley Railroad, where you’ll see the Tennessee scenery speeding by during your ride. The excursions each have throwback names, like the Missionary Ridge Local, Summerville Steam Special, Copperhill Special, and Hiwassee Loop.

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Texas: Texas State Railroad

Get ready to be transported back in time once you step aboard the Texas State Railroad’s 1920s train car. You’ll travel through Texas’ Piney Woods during your 50-mile, four-hour journey. For the kids, the Texas State Railroad sets up a pumpkin patch during the fall and offers a Polar Express ride, which begins in November.

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Utah: Heber Valley Railroad

Hop onboard the Heber Valley Railroad’s 1907 vintage steam locomotive to see amazing views of Utah’s Heber Valley and Provo Canyon. Make sure your kiddos are also on the lookout for bald eagles, deer, and elk along the 16-mile ride.

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Vermont: Green Mountain Railroad

Vermont is certainly a gorgeous state, and we think that the best way to see its beauty is from a Green Mountain Railroad train. Based in Burlington, you can look at waterfront locales and fall foliage from a dinner train or the popular “Cocktails on the Rails” excursion.

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Virginia: The Gypsy Express

Although this one isn’t as grandiose as some train rides, we love it all the same. The Gypsy Express mini train in Staunton, Virginia is simply charming, and perfectly-suited for little ones. For the past 60 years, this tiny train has been enchanting visitors with its trek around Gypsy Hill Park. It just might be the most adorable train ride you’ll ever take.

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Washington: Amtrak’s Coast Starlight

Dubbed one of America’s most beautiful train rides, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train not only offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean you’ll ever see, it’s also one of the most affordable adventures out there-starting at just $98! This special trip ventures from Seattle to Los Angeles over the course of 35 hours, but you can enjoy an abbreviated version by getting off at one of its 30 west coast stops.

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West Virginia: Cass Scenic Railway

Catch a ride on one of the steam-driven locomotives through West Virginia’s Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Be sure to pack your camera for beautiful shots of the Monongahela National Forest.

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Wisconsin: Mid-Continent Railway Museum

Wisconsin’s train mecca, otherwise known as the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, lies in North Freedom and takes visitors on rides through the exquisite Baraboo Hills. They have excursions for nearly every holiday, including the Pumpkin Special, Stars and Stripes Special, and the Snow Train.

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Wyoming: Terry Bison Ranch

This is a train-ride experience like no other. At Cheyenne, Wyoming’s Terry Bison Ranch, you’ll hoot and holler for the many on-site activities, like horseback riding, homecooked dinners at the steakhouse and rides on their custom-built, scaled-down trains. Take a Bison Train Tour to see their ostriches, camels and of course, bison, or choose a Sunday Lunch Train for a good, old-fashioned meal.

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