If tracks, whistles, and shiny engines get your little one’s boiler bubbling, here’s an idea to throw in your funnel. From short train tours to all-day historic trips, these holiday train rides will take your kids’ imagination to the North Pole and back.


Stone Mountain Singalong Christmas Train
For little ones with a short attention span, the Stone Mountain Christmas Train is a perfect train ride experience 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. Trains depart throughout the day.


Southeastern Railway Museum Day With Santa
The Southeastern Railway train ride is a short trip around the 35-acre park, so you’ll have plenty of time left after to explore the exhibit trains, where your kids can climb, touch and pull levers to their hearts’ content. Rides run throughout the day, so enjoy breakfast, lunch or an afternoon Polar Express snack with Santa on board.


Blue Ridge Scenic Express Santa Express or Night Train
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad’s collection of antique trains 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. If your kids are up for late-night travel, you can take the Night Train with Santa all the way to McCaysville, with a two-hour layover on the Tennessee border for shopping and admiring the Christmas decorations. The Night Train also has the option of open-air cars, so check the weather before you book.

SAMS train

SAM Shortline Excursion Train
The SAM Shortline is a 1949 vintage train that runs from Georgia Veterans State Park to Archery, Georgia. For kids (and adults!) who long to experience what travel was like in the Age of Railroad, SAM excursions offer a trip back in time as well as through the Georgia countryside. SAM has two Christmas-themed trips, the two-hour Rudolph’s Favorite for short attention spans and the four-hour Bells Over Plains Train Ride with an hourlong stop in Plains to see the Christmas decorations.

Will your family be taking a Polar Express ride this Christmas?

—Lisa Baker

Photos courtesy of Stone Mountain via Facebook, Southeastern Railway Museum via FacebookBlue Ridge Scenic Railway via Facebook and the SAM Shortline