Blue Ridge Scenic Railway decorated in holiday lights

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

8 Holiday Train Adventures Around Georgia

Remember a train encircling your Christmas tree when you were growing up? My boys spend hours enjoying our steam engine that comes out each year with the mistletoe and stockings. Holiday train adventures around Georgia will help you relive those childhood memories. Hold on to your seat, we’re going for a ride!

Inside a train car on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway during the holidays

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

A visit with Santa is magical, especially when you’re headed through the mountains on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway alongside the winding Toccoa River. A daytime ride on the Santa Express is best for young children, lasting only an hour. All children get a traditional bell and a candy cane. Older kids (and adults) will enjoy the four-hour adventure with a stop in the border town of McCaysville/Copperhill for dining and shopping.

Various dates and times November through December 2021. Before your trip, review the railway's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Holiday model trains at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Holiday model trains at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Atlanta Botanical Garden Holiday Ride-on Train

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights is one of my favorite nighttime holiday treats, with millions of lights illuminating the downtown gardenscape at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Holiday cheer continues during the day when visitors can enjoy a G-scale train and trolley winding through a mountain village town. The miniature metropolis is not the only train show; kids can enjoy a turn on the Holiday Ride-on Train.

Plan ahead because tickets are extremely limited for Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. Holiday Ride-on Train rides are offered Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 14, 2021, through Jan. 3, 2022. Before your trip, review the garden's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Atlanta Botanical Garden

Stone Mountain Sing Along Train

Stone Mountain Sing-along Train

Stone Mountain Park Sing-along Train

Stone Mountain Christmas is an event for all your senses. Visit the Snow Angel in her palace and see Polar Express in 4D. If you ask me, though, the highlight is a ride on the Sing-along Train. Carol with the other passengers along this five-mile route around the mountain. There is no extra charge; it’s included with admission!

Nov. 13, 2021 - Jan. 2, 2022. Before your trip, review the park's COVID-19 precautions and frequently asked questions.

Visit Stone Mountain Park

Santa and Mrs. Claus seated in front of a train at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia

Visiting Santa at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia

Southeastern Railway Museum

When Santa’s reindeer are taking a breather, you’ll find him at the Southeastern Railway Museum, where he can pick from more than 90 pieces of railway equipment, all perfect for delivering presents. Enjoy refreshments and entertainment as you mingle with Santa and his elves, and take a ride with Santa at the museum. Kids can also write letters to Santa and have pictures taken in a historic setting for family keepsakes. Follow the museum on Facebook for updates.

Nov. 20, 2021, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Purchase tickets online in advance. Adults $18, Seniors $15, Children (2-12) $12.

Visit Southeastern Railway Museum

SAM Shortline Excursion Train traveling on a bridge over a lake

Historic SAM Shortline Railroad

SAM Shortline Excursion Train

Head to southwest Georgia for multiple holiday adventures on the 1949 vintage cars that are part of the SAM Shortline Excursion Train. The Cordele Holiday Train is a one-hour trip from Cordele, and passengers receive hot chocolate and cookies while Santa hands out gifts. The Candy Cane Express from Cordele includes a two-hour layover in Plains, where passengers can shop the retail stores on Main Street and explore the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Museum. Don't miss the Plains Christmas Lighting ride from Cordele to Plains on Nov. 27, 2021, to see the annual Christmas Lighting Parade and lighting ceremony!

Select dates November and December 2021. Before your trip, review the railroad's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Historic SAM Shortline Railroad

Holiday lights at the Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee

Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia

Linger Longer Express

Just in time for the holiday season, straight from the North Pole to the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, the Linger Longer Express is all decked out and ready for resort guests of all ages to hop aboard and sing along to a few Christmas classics. Rides depart from the front drive daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Make sure to bring your camera to capture some great images of the property along the way.

Before your trip, review the resort's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Aerial view of the St. Marys Express Railroad train in St. Marys, Georgia

St. Marys Express Railroad train in St. Marys, Georgia

The Santa Special

On the Georgia Coastal Railway, the magic of Christmas comes alive during the Open Air Railcar Experience, when Jolly Old St. Nick himself and his elves board the train. Enjoy entertainment all along the way. Or, you can choose the Santa Special, which features an interactive, family-friendly adventure with heroes Mason and Molly on a quest to save Christmas. Santa makes an appearance along with the Snow Queen, elves, snow people and more.

Select dates Nov. 26 - Dec. 31, 2021. Before your trip, review the railroad's COVID-19 precautions.

Ride the train in St. Marys

Winter Wonderland Train at Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Villa Rica, Georgia

Pine Mountain Gold Museum Winter Wonderland Train

Join Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, The Grinch and more holiday characters at the Pine Mountain Gold Museum for Winter Wonderland Train rides on Wednesdays through Saturdays. Meet the Winter Queen, who can make it snow on command, and hear stories and sing songs while you wait on the train. Families will enjoy riding the festively decorated train for almost a mile to see the twinkling lights. (Note, the rides might be canceled in inclement weather. Check the museum's Facebook page for the latest information.)

Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, 2021. 

Visit Pine Mountain Gold Museum

Find more train rides and many other holiday adventures on ExploreGeorgia.org/events/holidays.

Published: November 2021
Written by: Lesli Peterson