Choo, Choo! Santa coming through! Christmas traditions are back on track this year and this is one of our favorites! After Ol’ St. Nick’s famous red sled, trains are Kris Kringle’s favorite way to travel. NOW is the time to book! These magical holiday rides sell out quickly, so make your reservations soon. Scroll down for the best places to catch the holiday spirit on the rails. All aboard!
Bring Your Holiday List
West Chester Railroad's Santa Express
Spend 90 minutes with the Jolly Guy on this excursion that explores the Chester Creek Valley in PA. There are plenty of chances to fill your Instagram feed, from the historic station to candid meet-and-greet snaps on the rails. Be sure to bring your wish list to give Santa. West Chester Railroad also offers a Christmas Tree Train on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 12; hop aboard for a scenic trip to Wiggins Tree Farm for a unique pick-your-own tree experiences (trees are tagged and loaded on to the train's flat car).
Cost: $30/adult, $25/child ages 2-12, $10/infant, children under 9 months are free
When: Nov. 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and Dec. 4, 11, 12, 18, 19 at 5 pm.
Where: 230 E. Market St., West Chester, PA
Hop a Ride on a Historic Train
Strasburg Railroad's Santa Paradise Express
Share in this 60 year tradition on America's oldest operating railroad. Climb aboard a vintage rail car for a 45-minute journey with Santa himself on Santa's Paradise Express. You can even hop aboard on Christmas Eve! Before you depart, don't forget to visit Mrs. Clause at the North Pole Annex. Want get cozy on a train in your PJs? Come listen to The Night Before Christmas from story tellers dressed in old fashioned nightcaps and gowns. Santa makes a brief appearance on this train, as well.
Editor's Note: To ensure everyone's safety, all Team Members will be wearing masks during you visit. The rail line asks that guests also wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
Cost: $23/adult, $17/child ages 2-11, Free/infant ages 0-1
When: Nov. 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29 and Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 24; departure time varies by date
Where: 301 Gap Road, Strasburg, PA
Sip Hot Chocolate with The Big Guy
Walkersville's Train Ride with Santa
Get your camera ready for this Insta-worthy trip on the Walkersville Southern Railroad. Santa will make his way through rail cars, being sure to greet each passenger with his hearty signature welcome and a special small gift for all children. After the trip, be sure to grab your free hot chocolate and cookies in the museum.
Cost: $18/adult, $17/child ages 2-12 and seniors, Free/2 & under
When: Nov. 27 & 28 and Dec. 4, 5. 11. 12. 18, 19; departing at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Where: 34 West Pennsylvania Ave., Walkersville, MD
Head to the North Pole on the Polar Express
Polar Express Train Ride
All aboard at the B&O Railroad Museum’s roundhouse, which, we might mention, is chock full of trains. The museum is open daily, but you can take a special trip on the Polar Express on select dates in Nov. and Dec. Character actors bring this beloved book to life through songs and interactions. Get you golden ticket punched while Chefs dance to the hot chocolate song and guests receive a special gift: a silver bell.
When: Nov. 19-21, 26-28 & Dec. 2-5, 10-12 at 10 a.m.
Where: 901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD
—Meghan Yudes Meyers
featured photo: Strasburg Railroad