Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

8 Ways to See Georgia by Train this Fall

In addition to riding the rails, you can explore the history of trains during festivals throughout the state. Here are the best ways to see Georgia's fall foliage in all its splendor via rail.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge, Georgia
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Late September through early November, you can ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway on a 26-mile journey alongside the Toccoa River. Cars are either climate controlled or open-air, allowing you to pick the view and style you prefer for your ride. There is a two-hour layover in McCaysville, on the Georgia state line, where you can shop and eat lunch.

Stone Mountain Park

Ride The Rock Line train around the base of Stone Mountain
Ride The Rock Line train around the base of Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Park is home to a short railway that travels along the base of the giant landform. Great for kids, riding on the railway is included with your Adventure Pass purchase, as is Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf. Your sub-one-hour journey will take you through the wooded areas of the park.

Southeastern Railway Museum

Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia

Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia

The Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth exhibits 90 pieces of railway history, including locomotives and Pullman cars. Throughout the year, museum visitors are invited to ride the rails, including during a Christmas-themed program each holiday season.

Okefenokee Swamp Park

Okefenokee Swamp Park train. Photo by @tolgy75
Okefenokee Swamp Park train. Photo by @tolgy75

Discover South Georgia’s autumn foliage via the Okefenokee Swamp Park Railroad. The Swamp Park train leaves the station in Waycross and takes riders on an hours-long journey, complete with a stop at history-rich Pioneer Island.

Manchester Railroad Days

Expect about 40 CSX trains daily passing by this observation deck in Manchester, Georgia!
Expect about 40 CSX trains daily passing by this observation deck in Manchester, Georgia!

Manchester Railroad Days happen in October, just northeast of Columbus. A festival for fans young and old, the event features collection displays, model layouts, and an outdoor display. In previous years, children and adults enjoyed rides by live steamers, which are handmade engines to scale (7.5-inch gauge) and can pull riders behind them. Stop into Manchester any time of year to watch up to 40 CSX trains daily pass by the Manchester Railfan Platform located behind the Main Street shops.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train

Day Out with Thomas and the SAM Shortline in Cordele, Georgia
Day Out with Thomas and the SAM Shortline in Cordele, Georgia

In October, the SAM Shortline Excursion Train welcomes Thomas the Tank Engine for two special weekends: Oct. 19-21 & 27-28, 2018. Spend a Day Out with Thomas, including Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway. Trains depart several times each day for 25-minute train rides, and activities like storytelling and crafts will keep your family entertained all day!

Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village

Vulcan Iron Works Steam Locomotive in Tifton
Vulcan Iron Works Steam Locomotive in Tifton

Climb aboard the Vulcan Iron Works Steam Locomotive at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village in Tifton, and ride the only steam-powered train in regular operation in the state. Enjoy the Historic Village from the seat of an open air rail car. Afterward, stroll up Main Street to the Feed and Seed store and the print shop, and visit the drug store for a root beer float.

Pine Mountain Gold Museum & Scenic Railroad at Stockmar Park

Pine Mountain Scenic Railroad
Pine Mountain Scenic Railroad

Kids of all ages will enjoy a scenic trek around the mountain on the Pine Mountain Gold Museum's Golden Nugget engine. After your ride, learn about the gold rush in West Georgia, pan for gold and gemstones, see the farm animal exhibit, and explore miles of trails within the 27-acre park in Villa Rica. Visit during Halloween season for evening rides on the Ghost Train every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Sept. 27 - Oct. 28, 2018. Families with young children will appreciate the not-so-scary Family Time from 6:30-7:30 p.m. After 7:30 p.m., riders beware!

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Published: September 2018