Once upon a time, train travel was the mode of transportation. From its convenience and amenities to its air-conditioned cars, a train ride is still a perfect way for the whole family to enjoy scenery without the hassle of a road trip or plane ride.
And if you’ve got a budding train conductor on your hands, go full steam ahead with our picks for a train ride excursion through Texas’ terrain.
Editor’s note: Each train is operating with increased safety precautions per Governor Greg Abbott’s suggestions. Visit each website to learn more about the safety measures before your excursion.
Austin Steam Train // Austin, $23–45 per ticket
Sit back and relax in Austin Steam Train Association’s 44-mile, 2.5-hour journey around Austin. The vintage train cars—built in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s—are fully restored for your family’s enjoyment. All rides in June will be limited to 50% capacity and masks are required.
Grapevine Vintage Railroad // Grapevine, prices vary by route
Located in the heart of downtown Grapevine, the authentic 1920s Victorian coaches will take your family back in time. Not only does it offer family-friendly excursions like the North Pole Express, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad also offers adult-only Jazz Wine Trains.
Historical Jefferson Railway // Jefferson, $12
This ride includes a narrated ride through Texas’ historical ruins from the 1800s in the Piney Woods, including a pitstop (weather permitting) at Diamond Don Gator Pit where you can feed the gators. Don’t worry if your little one can’t sit still for long; this ride lasts about 40 minutes with the pitstop.
M-Line Trolleys // Dallas, free
While it’s not technically a train ride, the M-Line Trolleys in Dallas offer a special tour of the city for no charge. Simply hop on at any of the 42 designated stops, and enjoy a trek through downtown Dallas.
San Antonio Zoo Eagle // San Antonio, $5
If you’re making a stop at the San Antonio Zoo, make sure you and your kiddos hitch a ride on the San Antonio Eagle. Since 1956, the Zoo Eagle has travelled the tracks along the banks of the San Antonio river with various stops at places such as the Witte Museum, Kiddie Park and the Sunken Gardens.
Texas Eagle // Various city depots
Ready for a Texas-sized adventure? Amtrak’s Texas Eagle runs through Chicago to Los Angeles three times weekly, and offers sleeping car accommodations, a dining car and complete meals. Hop aboard the Texas Eagle at any of the 15 Texas cities where the train stops—including Dallas and Fort Worth—and catch the spectacular views from Amtrak’s Sightseer Lounge Car. Bonus: Kids ages 2–12 ride for half off, and infants ride free.
Texas State Railroad Rusk Depot // Rusk and Palestine, prices vary by route
Resuming July 3, Texas State Railroad welcomes all aboard the various routes and locomotive ride-alongs. Less than a two-hour drive away, it’s a quick escape from the city and features the only working steam trains in the state.
Image courtesy of iStock.