Book a seat on these scenic train rides in Texas through open spaces.
There is something special about scenic train rides. You never know what you’ll see as the train takes the same route on every trip. I always gaze out the window to look for wildlife. Even though I may be on a train to see something totally different, like dogwood blooms, I have my eye on possible glimpses of any type of wild animal.
So, are you ready for a road trip to take a scenic train ride through Lone Star State? History buffs, train lovers, and the whole family will love these family-friendly excursions aboard one of Texas’s top scenic train rides.
5 Top Scenic Train Rides In Texas
When I visited a winery in Burnet (TX Hill Country), the lady behind the counter pouring our wine told us about a train ride excursion that comes through Burnet and offers wine tasting and more. It then dawned on me that many of you and the other four I know of would probably want to hear about it, too.
You’ll find many special events on these major train rides throughout Texas all year round. Enjoy these fantastic train rides through Texas, and book a seat!
Texas State Railroad – East Texas
The Texas State Railroad, built by inmates long ago, is a heritage railroad between Rusk and Palestine, TX. A vintage steam locomotive that takes passengers on a 4-hour round-trip train ride through the Piney Woods of East Texas. And when the dogwoods are out, it makes for a lovely scenic ride. There is an hour layover at the Rusk Depot, where each passenger will get a box lunch to enjoy outside on the depot grounds.
My mom and I got tickets for the Dogwood Lunch Train Excursion and enjoyed the view, talking with other passengers, and feeling the breeze outside the caboose.
Palestine has many attractions to boast about and is also a fabulous town for a mother-daughter trip.
Did you know…
The Texas State Railroad is the Official Railroad of Texas.
Special Events on the Texas State Railroad:
- Dogwood Lunch Train
- Easter Lunch Train
- Wine In The Pines
- Speakeasy Special
Grapevine Vintage Railroad – North Texas
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad is an excursion and special event railroad in Grapevine, Texas that runs from the Main Street station in Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards.
I took this Cotton Belt Excursion a long time ago and enjoyed it. I’d love to do it again. Two of my favorite places to roam—are Grapevine and the Stockyards! You’ll love the Victorian coaches.
- Cotton Belt Excursion (Grapevine/Fort Worth Stockyards)
- Trinity River Train Excursion – (Historic Stockyard Station/Fort Worth’s Trinity Park)
- Grapevine Bear Creek – Grapevine Cotton Belt and back) great for families with toddlers.
Special Events on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad:
- North Pole Express – Grapevine’s Christmas train.
- Day Out With Thomas
- Sweetheart Wine Train
- Grapevine’s Christmas Wine Train Tour
Historic Jefferson Railway – East Texas
Historic Jefferson Railway is a 3-foot narrow gauge railroad that takes passengers on its diesel engine locomotive on a 3-mile (40-minute) narrated train ride through the scenic Big Cypress Bayou with a stop at the Diamond Don Gator Pit to see the feeding of the live alligators. Be sure to look for the Boggy Creek Monster! Open Thursdays & Saturdays. Pets welcome.
Special Events on the Historic Jefferson Railway:
- Halloween Express Haunted Train Ride
- “Rail of Lights” Christmas Express Steam Tour (evenings in December)
Austin Steam Train Association – Central Texas
From first-class coach to excursion coach to first-class lounge to adult-only first-class ding cars and wheelchair-accessible cars, the Austin Steam Train Association has you covered. I can only imagine how much fun this ride would be, and to see the Texas Hill Country in a whole new way is thrilling. I just learned about it, and now I’m booking a seat! It promises to be the Texas train ride of your life!
There are three depots: Cedar Park Depot, Bertrem Depot, and Burnet Depot. All depots are located in the northern hill country area.
Some excursions will go to the Canyon Of The Eagles overlooking Lake Buchannan. Burnet & Cedar Park have dining and lodging available. And you can buy a ticket for a locomotive cab ride, but be prepared to fork out $500-$700.
Pro Tip: Check out the Buckeye Trail and Eagle Cliff cars for wheelchair-accessible.
Special Event on the Austin Steam Train:
- Take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a train ride through the hill country on the Bertram Flyer!
- Explore vintage train cars on the Hill Country Flyer while you wind through the Texas Hill Country, crossing the South San Gabriel River bridge and Short Creek Canyon.
- Saint Paddy’s Express – March 19, 2023
- Wedding Oak Wine Train (the one the lady behind the counter told me about) It’s March 26, 2023.
- And more.
Texas Eagle Train Amtrak
Chicago – St. Louis – Dallas – San Antonio – Los Angeles, and everywhere in between in Texas – departs daily.
Amtrak’s Texas Eagle will take you deep into the heart of Texas, traveling between Chicago and San Antonio through Austin and Dallas. Continue your trip between San Antonio and Los Angeles via Sunset Limited. Wind through the Land of Lincoln, across the Mississippi River, and through the Ozarks to Little Rock and the piney woods of East Texas. Then back through Dallas, Austin, and ended in San Antonio. I don’t know if I got that right, but it’s a long train ride for sure!
WOW – what a way to see the world. I took my son on an Amtrak train from Fort Worth to California when he was 7 (1987). We went for the experience, and I’ll never forget sleeping where we sat. Never did that again. If ever I take the Texas Eagle, I will get a room with a bed!
- What is the longest train ride in Texas? Texas Eagle
- Famous Texas Train – Texas Eagle
Make one of these scenic train rides in Texas your next trip!
Texas Train Museums
- Texas Transportation Museum – San Antonio. Unlimited 15-minute rides are included with admission to the museum.
- Austin Steam Train Association Museum is in Cedar Park, TX (link is above)
- Railroad Heritage Center – Palestine, TX