If you’re anything like us, you’re always on the lookout for unique experiences to try with friends and family. Living in Northern Virginia or parts of Maryland has its perks, and one of them is easy access to some of the best scenic train rides in the United States. You don’t have to book a flight to some far-off destination to catch awe-inspiring landscapes; they’re right here in our backyard!

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

First up on our list is the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Starting from Cumberland, this magical journey takes you through the Allegheny Mountains and features several picturesque spots like the famous “Helmstetter’s Curve.” Perfect for a day trip, it’s only a couple of hours’ drive from Northern Virginia and Maryland. Plus, they offer themed rides around the holidays!

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad

Nestled in the gorgeous area surrounding the South Branch Potomac River, the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad offers an extraordinary trip through “The Trough,” a beautiful and pristine river valley. And, eagles are a common sight during the ride! How awesome is that? This ride is perfect for families, birdwatchers, and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle.

Cass Scenic Railroad

Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia is another gem you won’t want to miss. Steeped in history, this train ride takes you through the rugged landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains. The highlight? The route includes a stop at Whittaker Station, where you can explore an old logging camp. A perfect weekend getaway, Cass Scenic Railroad is just about a three-hour drive from Northern Virginia.

Strasburg Rail Road

Last but not least, there’s the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania. Known for being one of the oldest operating railroads in the United States, Strasburg offers a variety of rides, from dinner trains to Thomas the Tank Engine-themed adventures for the kiddos. And it’s less than a three-hour drive from most parts of Northern Virginia and Maryland!

Tips for Your Train Journey

  • Book Early: Scenic train rides are popular, especially during peak seasons like fall and the holidays. Booking early will secure your spot.
  • Pack Snacks: While some trains offer food, it’s always good to have some munchies and drinks with you.
  • Bring a Camera: These rides offer landscapes you’ll want to remember forever. Don’t forget to pack your camera or smartphone for those Insta-worthy pics!

So now you have four of the best scenic train rides that are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Northern Virginia and Maryland. Whether you’re looking for a romantic day out, a family-friendly activity, or just a way to break the monotony, a scenic train journey is a ticket to an unforgettable experience. All aboard!

For more scenic train rides to explore check out this article: Scenic Train Rides.

Feel free to share new things to try with us so we can cover them (and try them!) in the comments below!