It’s a fact: the holidays are chugging steadily towards us and there’s no better view than from the window of a merrily-themed train with your little elves beside you! From short train tours to all-day historic trips, the holiday train rides below will be a highlight of the season. Read on for all you need to know about trips that are guaranteed to stoke their fires.


Photo: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden Ride-On Holiday Train
Hop on the colorful ride-on train at the Atlanta Botanical Garden for a gentle ride along a paved path in front of the orchid collection and around the lawn filled with colorful holiday orbs. Perfectly sized for your littlest conductors, this merry train has room for their grown-ups, too. Be sure to check out the incredible Holiday Model Train Show while you’re there!

Details: The Ride-On train operates weekends until Dec. 17, and daily from Dec. 17-Dec. 24 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $3/person and are available at the Hardin Visitor Center.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, Ga


Photo: Stone Mountain Park via Facebook

Stone Mountain Singalong Christmas Train
For little ones with a short attention span, the Stone Mountain Christmas Train is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of the tracks before nap time. The five-mile, 40-minute trip takes a tour through the park and includes Christmas carols and the story of the first Christmas.

Details: Trains depart throughout the day through January 4. Singalong Christmas Train is only available on “Adventure Pass” days during Stone Mountain Christmas, and is included in a daily Christmas Adventure Pass. Be sure to check the calendar for dates and hours of operation prior to your visit. From $25.95 per person.

Stone Mountain Park
1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. 
Stone Mountain, Ga

Southeaster Railroad Santa

Photo: Southeastern Railway Museum

Southeastern Railway Lunch with Santa
Don’t miss lunch with Santa, where he and his elves will be ready for some fun with crafts, a hayride to the train platform, and a short ride with the big guy. Be sure to arrive early or stay late to enjoy exploring the 35-acres of transportation relics throughout the site.

Details: Enjoy lunch on Dec. 10 & 17 buy purchasing tickets here in advance for $18/person (ages under 2 are free).

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Hwy
Duluth, Ga

Blue Ridge Santa Express

Photo: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Blue Ridge Scenic Express Santa Express or Night Train
If you’re looking for a day trip out of the city, check out The Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad’s collection of antique trains that run between Blue Ridge and McCaysville, Georgia. The Santa Express is a short, one-hour daytime trip with Christmas stories, songs and characters—including Santa, of course, as the main event.

Details: The Santa Express runs from Nov. 25-Dec. 24 on select dates at 10 a.m., 12 & 2 p.m. Tickets are $45/adults, $29/kids under 13 and free for kids under 2.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
241 Depot St.
Blue Ridge, Ga


Photo: SAM Shortline

SAM Shortline Excursion Train
A ride on this 1949 vintage train that runs from Georgia Veterans State Park to Archery, Georgia is well worth the 2 hour drive from Atlanta, especially if your holiday travel plans take you south. SAM offers two Christmas-themed trips, the Candy Cane Express and the North Pole Express.

Details: While prices vary by coach selection and package options, the standard fare for a ride on one of SAM’s holiday trains is $29.99/adult and $19.99/child. The North Pole Express is on Fri. Dec. 16, while the Candy Cane Express runs multiple times during Dec. Check out the calendar here.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train
105 East 9th Ave.
Cordele, Ga


Will your family be taking a Polar Express ride this Christmas? Tell us about it below!

—Shelley Massey