13 Scenic Train Rides Across America Every Family Should Take

Bonus: They're all super affordable.

scenic train rides for kids - best train rides for families in america
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You've traveled by car and by plane—but your kids have never seen America like this. For your next family adventure, hop on board one of these affordable train trips and get ready to take in some seriously beautiful views. Rail travel might seem like a thing of the past, but we guarantee your kids will love these stunning U.S. train rides.

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scenic train rides for kids - blue ridge scenic railway
Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Take in Georgia's beautiful , , and Toccoa River during this four-hour open-air ride with . Don't miss their "Firecracker Special," which includes a festive firework show.

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alaska railroad's denali star train
Kerrick James / ARRC
Alaska Railroad's Denali Star Train

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

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amtrak's coast starlight california
Courtesy of Amtrak
Amtrak's Coast Starlight

Dubbed , 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—! This special trip ventures from to 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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mount hood railroad oregon
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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 , see the rich colors of , Oregon's fall foliage during the train ride, or enjoy an Old West-themed adventure on the ride, which is offered July through September.

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west virginia cass scenic railway
Courtesy of West Virginia State Parks
Cass Scenic Railway

Catch a ride on one of the steam-driven locomotives through West Virginia's . Be sure to pack your camera for beautiful shots of the .

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amtrak's pacific surfliner california
Courtesy of Amtrak
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner

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

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north carolina great smoky mountains railroad
Facebook/Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The in North Carolina offers two scenic train rides that the whole family will surely love. Ride alongside the 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.

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grand canyon railway
Facebook/Grand Canyon Railroad
Grand Canyon Railway

The offers a 65-mile, 2 hour and 15 minute train ride along the edge of the , at an elevation of 5,000 feet. Don't forget to look into the company's popular , offered during the holiday season.

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ohio hocking valley scenic railway
Facebook/Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

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

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mount washington cog railway
Courtesy of The Mount Washington Cog Railway
The Mount Washington Cog Railway

Open late April through November, the in offers a thrilling adventure as you ascend the 6,288-foot summit of . 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.

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texas state railroad
Courtesy of Texas State Railroad
Texas State Railroad

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

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heber valley railroad utah
Facebook/Herber Valley Railroad
Heber Valley Railroad

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

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strasburg railroad pennsylvania
Courtesy of Strasburg Railroad
Strasburg Railroad

Travel through the scenic in 's coal-burning steam train, built more than 175 years ago. This Pennsylvania-based railroad has great options for kids including their and the Christmas train.

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