Day Trips by Train

Many places across the United States offer scenic train day trips.
Many places across the United States offer scenic train day trips. (Image: Images)

Many people enjoy the old-fashioned nostalgia, romance and excitement of a ride on the rails. While train travel may not be as popular as it once was, there are still a variety of railroads which offer scenic day trips, holiday trips, dinner excursions and brunch excursions. These types of railroads and railway excursions can be found all over the country from Alaska to California and places in between. From first-class gourmet dining trips to murder mystery excursions, day train trips have something for every taste.

Sierra Railroad Dinner Train

For those visiting California, there are a variety of day train trips to choose from such as the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train in Oakdale, which in addition to dinner trips, offers Sunday brunch trips, holiday excursions, murder mystery trips, romantic trips and wild west shows. All excursions are 3 hours long and begin in Oakdale, traveling for 16 miles before turning around in the town of Warnerville.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

The Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California also offers day trips by train that combines railroad history and Hollywood magic. Some of the actual trains were featured on movies such as "High Noon," "Back to the Future 3" and "Petticoat Junction." Guests have the opportunity to tour the historic shops in Jamestown and take a scenic steam train ride through gold country.

Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

The Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway offer 4.5 mile round-trip day train rides on an original 1940-era diesel locomotive. Guests are treated to specially prepared cuisine reminiscent of the 1920s aboard the Eurekan dining car. While waiting for the journey to start through the hills and beauty of Eureka Springs, guests can pay a visit to the Baggage Room Gift Shop or tour other exhibits such as a restored turntable, a handcar and a variety of vintage locomotives.

White Pass Summit Excursion

The White Pass Summit Excursion offers visitors to Alaska an unforgettable train day trip on the "Scenic Railway of the World” all the way from the town of Skagway to the White Pass summit, a 2,865 foot elevation. Guests can relax in a vintage passenger car as they travel 20 miles to retrace the original route to the White Pass summit, passing through historic areas such as Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch. Another highlight of the trip is a view of the original Klondike Trail of 1898 worn into the rocks as a permanent tribute to the thousands who perished in search of gold.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, North Carolina offers a variety of day train scenic excursions over 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges. Guests can experience first class excursions which include beautifully restored first class coaches and all-inclusive gourmet meals served by a private attendant, and all you can drink soda or coffee in a souvenir tumbler. Packages are also available with the train excursions, which include white water rafting trips and lodging.

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