You like hearing the conductor shout as the engine chugs slowly back into time. The kids like becoming wild western cowboys and robbers, everyone digs the fantastic scenery, and one thing is certain—there’s something about trains. Whatever it is, families can have a full day of exploration and excitement while riding. Read on to discover our picks for the country’s most dazzling train rides.

Virginia Truckee Railroad

All aboard for a train ride into Gold Hill Country!  When riding the rails of the Virginia Truckee Railroad, choose between the tiny-traveler-friendly, 35-minute adventure—go through Tunnel No. 4, take a 1600 ft descent to the valley floor, watch for mines, silver and ore veins, stop at Gold Hill to see the train depot, the Liberty Engine Fire Company monument and the 1859 Gold Hill Hotel—or opt for the longer Sisters in History route that begins in Carson City and includes view of old mining ghost towns, wild mustangs and a three-hour tour of Virginia City.

Insider Tip: Check out Virginia City’s calendar before taking a ride. There’s a ton of fun festivals and events happening throughout the year.

Online: viriginatruckee.com

photo: Drew Jackish via flickr

  • Virginia Truckee Railroad
  • The Heber Creeper
  • Mount Hood Railroad
  • The Texas State Railroad
  • Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
  • Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
  • Thunder Mountain Line
  • The Grand Canyon Railroad
  • Strasburg Railroad
  • Mount Washington Cog Railway

Have you and your family had a historic and awesome train ride? Where?! Share your picks with us below!

—Gabby Cullen