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Tourist Train Rides > Southern States

Scenic and heritage train rides in the Southern States

Tweetsie Railroad, North Carolina

Tourist railways feature historic train rides and scenic routes to provide memorable day trips that are fun for the whole family! Photo: Tweetsie Railroad, North Carolina. Photo: © Tweetsie Railroad.

Alabama

Calera, Alabama

The museum's diesel-powered Calera & Shelby takes riders on a 10 mi (16 km) spin along former Louisville & Nashville trackage; the narrow-gauge Shelby & Southern provides Southern Alabama's only steam-drawn scenic excursion. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, limited wheelchair access.

Huntsville, Alabama

A restored depot at a former mainline crossroads is the departure point for this 90-minute excursion through Alabama's Blue Ridge Country. Highlights include a 1926 Boxcab locomotive, restored railway post office car and other exhibits. Limited days of operation. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, limited wheelchair access.

Silverhill, Alabama

Encircling a Welsh-themed RV resort of the same name, America's only authentic Welsh Victorian 2 ft narrow gauge railway is complemented by a 7.5 inch gauge miniature railway. Highlights include family fun park activities, 3 acre lake for fishing and pedal-boating, and full hook-up RV sites. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, gift certificates, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Arkansas

Springdale, Arkansas

The A&M hosts daytrippers on roundtrips to historic Van Buren. A second excursion continues from Van Buren to Winslow, clearing high trestles and a mountain tunnel on its awesome Ozark run. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, gift shop, snack bar.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Scenic Ozark Hills excursions and an active rail yard bring Arkansas's railroading heritage to life. A popular dining excursion is also scheduled. Highlights include exhibits of railroad memorabilia and a working roundtable. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, dinner trips, gift shop, snack bar.

Florida

Parrish, Florida

Visitors "ride the exhibits" along a 6 mi/10 km preservation stretch of the historic Seaboard Air Line Railway through rural Manatee County. Highlights include locomotives, coaches and cabooses in various stages of restoration.. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: rail museum, onboard snack services, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, picnic area, online ticketing.

Miami, Florida

The hangars of a former navy air base house the museum's rare and extensive collection of rolling stock and equipment including the Ferdinand Magellan Presidential Rail Car. Standard diesel demonstration runs and children's railway are featured. Highlights include crew-for-a-day and cab ride programs. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters.

Tavares, Florida

Florida's only operating steam train rolls through Central Florida's Lake Country. The Sunshine State's "movie train" has been featured in over 20 films and TV shows. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing.

Eustis, Florida

The Star Clipper has ceased operation.

Fort Myers, Florida

A Gulf Coast favorite, this 3½-hour excursion treats guests to a five-course dinner prepared by an on-board chef, plus a live performance of a comical murder mystery, and scenic Caloosahatchee River crossing. Highlights include overnight hotel packages. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, online booking, wheelchair access (arrange in advance).

Georgia

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Tracking the Toccoa River through the Chattahoochee National Forest, the train makes a sightseeing layover at the twin Appalachian villages of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. Highlights include rail/raft and rail/tube packages. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, gift shop, online ticketing, limited wheelchair access.

Cordele, Georgia

Traveling through the rural countryside, stops include Georgia Veterans State Park, historic Americus, Habitat for Humanity Global Village and Plains... home of President Jimmy Carter. Highlights include overnight packages. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Open-air coaches offer excellent views of the Civil War Memorial relief carved into the mountain face. The railway is part of a theme park that features rides, entertainment and other attractions. Trains operate year-round (closed Jan/Feb). Selected features: train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Kentucky

Stearns, Kentucky

Within the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, along trackage once dedicated to hauling lumber and coal, trains descend the river gorge to the restored Blue Heron Mining Community. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, gift shop, snack bar, wheelchair access.

Versaillies, Kentucky

Coaches from rail's golden age take passengers on a romantic excursion through the gorges and horse farms of Central Kentucky's Bluegrass Region. Railroadiana exhibits include a rare watchman's shanty and a working telegraph set. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop.

New Haven, Kentucky

"The Official Railway Museum of the Commonwealth of Kentucky" runs 22 mi (35 km) trips through the fields and forests of the historic Rolling Fork River Valley. Highlights include 3 model train layouts and historic rail exhibits. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, limited wheelchair access.

Bardstown, Kentucky

Luncheon and dinner excursions depart historic Bardstown for a two-hour jaunt through the Kentucky heartland. Southern hospitality abounds aboard restored circa 1940s dining cars where fine cuisine and gracious service are standard. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: dinner trips, train charters.

North Carolina

Bryson City, North Carolina

Vintage trainsets cross soaring Fontana Trestle with some continuing to spectacular Nantahala River Gorge. Separate Tuckasegee River excursions pass through historic Cowee Tunnel. Highlights include raft/train and overnight packages. Selected features: dinner trips, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, limited wheelchair access.

New Hill, North Carolina

Along a century-old line once used to haul timber and tobacco to Raleigh-Durham, the NHVRR hosts a popular series of excursions. Highlights include a guest engineer program, caboose rentals and a garden railroad. Limited days of operation. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, limited wheelchair access.

Spencer, North Carolina

An antique diesel pulls heritage coaches around a 57 acre (24 hectare) yard containing an extensive multi-modal transportation collection. Highlights include cab and turntable rides and caboose rental. Trains operate year-round. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Named for the "tweet tweet" of its whistle and pulled by historic steam engine No. 12, the train does a 3mi (4km) turn through a wild west theme park. Highlights include rides, shows and a locomotive shop. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

South Carolina

Winnsboro, South Carolina

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum's rural railroad dates back more than a century. Today's 10 mi (16 km) round-trip runs along track first laid to haul granite from a nearby quarry. Highlights include an open-air car. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee

The steepest passenger railway in the world, "America's Most Amazing Mile" has thrilled travelers for over a century. The Upper Station observation deck is the mountain's highest overlook. Highlights include a Lookout Mountain Incline Railway/Rock City/Ruby Falls package. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: gift shop, snack bar, limited wheelchair access.

Nashville, Tennessee

A range of streamliner excursions ease through the Cumberland Mountain Foothills of Middle Tennessee, most running round-trip to historic Watertown or Cookeville. Highlights include dome coach seating. Limited days of operation. Selected features: rail museum, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, wheelchair access.

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Departing a former Manhattan Project facility, this 12-mi/19-km ride brings passengers face-to-face with the once secret complex where the atomic bomb was developed. Trains operate seasonally. Highlights include caboose rides and open-air car. Selected features: dinner trips, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, limited wheelchair access.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

In under an hour, guests ride through a Civil War tunnel and see a turntable rotate the locomotive for the return trip. A half-day round-trip to Chickamauga, Georgia includes a layover in the historic town. Highlights include birthday parties. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, limited wheelchair access.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Beyond Downtown Knoxville, the Rambler skirts farmland and abandoned quarry works to reach the “Three Rivers Trestle” where the French Broad and Holston Rivers join to form the Tennessee River. Highlights include an open-air car and caboose. Trains operate holidays/events/charters. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar, wheelchair access.

Virginia

Dillwyn, Virginia

Through the rolling hills and deep forests of Central Virginia, the Rambler's vintage diesels haul classic coaches along a heritage route. Highlights include open-air sightseeing cars. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, gift shop, snack bar, online ticketing, wheelchair access.

West Virginia

Cass, West Virginia

Popular 1½-hour steam excursions include a layover at a traditional loggers' camp. Separate half-day sightseer trips transport visitors to the top of Bald Knob, the third-highest summit in the Allegheny range. Highlights include overnight accommodations in cabooses. Selected features: dinner trips, holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, restaurant.

Durbin, West Virginia

Several DGV trains explore the Cheat Mountain region. A 40's streamliner heads for High Falls via a remarkable S-curve tunnel... a unique rail bus scales "Cheat" to reach the falls... and a rare gear-driven steamer meanders through the valley below. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: dinner train, gift shop, snack bar.

Romney, West Virginia

Excursions follow the South Branch Potomac River past farm and forest and into "The Trough," a narrow and secluded mountain valley where, high above their natural habitat, American bald eagles soar. Highlights include meal service and open-air cars. Trains operate seasonally. Selected features: holiday/event excursions, train charters, gift shop, snack bar.

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