Get out of town for the day or plan an overnight trip with these train experiences in Atlanta and beyond. Travel by train for the perfect way to see the leaves change. Reservations are required, so make your plans now.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

This historic train depot sits in the heart of Bryson City, N.C., and go on train rides for gorgeous view of Fontana Lake, the historic Fontana Trestle, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Nantahala National Forest, the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, historical structures and wonderful fall leaves. Take the 4.5-hour Nantahala Gorge Excursion and enjoy gorgeous views, Bluegrass music and Appalachian folk tales, or go on the Tuckasegee River Excursion for a four-hour trip to the historic town of Dillsboro.

Tennessee Valley Railroad

Explore the beauty of Chattanooga and Hiwassee with these train rides. Options include riding the Missionary Ridge Local for a short line train about local history; a 50-mile round trip through the Hiwassee River Gorge with the Hiwassee Loop, or the eight-hour scenic journey to Copperhill, Tenn. with the Copperhill Special. Also, for a special event, consider the Homefront Tea Room experience or the Evening Ridge Runner. For $6-$10, visit the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum for an interactive and historical experience.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Go on a nostalgic journey through the charming Appalachian foothills of North Georgia with this train ride. Starting at the historic depot in downtown Blue Ridge, take a round-trip journey along the Toccoa River to spot beautiful fall foliage. Fall Rides are available starting on Sept. 21, and you can purchase a two- or four-hour trip.

SAM Shoreline Excursion Train

Travel to Jimmy Carter’s childhood home by train, explore the museum and sample peanut butter treats. Even explore the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum. The variety of trips include stops in towns such as Americus, Leslie, Plains and Archery depending on schedule and time of the year. Starting in September, leave from Georgia Veterans State Park for a trip to enjoy the annual Peanut Festival. Celebrate Halloween with the Halloween Express for a trunk-or-treat event and costumes.

Tweetsie Railroad

This theme park features a historic steam locomotive, live interactive shows, amusement rides, Deer Park Zoo and more. Two historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives are in operation: “Tweetsie” and “Yukon Queen.” A daily admission ticket includes a ride behind one of the historic steam locomotives, live Wild West-themed entertainment, the Deer Park Zoo, amusement rides and a chance to pan for gold. Starting on Sept. 22, check out Ghost Train on Friday and Saturday nights for a Halloween celebration. Young children will love the dance parties, trick-or-treat stations, photo ops and the Palace Spooktacular Show, while those brave souls will trek the scary nighttime journey on Ghost Train exploring the Haunted House and Freaky Forest.

Close to Home:

Scenic Railway at Stone Mountain Park

Climb aboard the full-size locomotive from the 1940s with open-air cars that will take you on a five-mile excursion around the mountain. Marvel at beautiful views of Stone Mountain and the surrounding landscape. See website for schedule. Included with an All-Attractions Pass. 

Southeastern Railway Museum

Explore many pieces of historic steam and diesel locomotives in Duluth. Kids can pretend to be an engineer for the day while they explore train cabooses, see giant wheels and more. There is an antique miniature train that runs on the museum grounds; check website for schedule.

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

Head to Kennesaw to experience the history of railroads in the South through models and hands-on activities. Kids can use telegraph stations to send messages via Morse Code or drive a replica train in the Play Motion Train Simulator. Check website for schedule.

North Georgia Live Steamers

These miniature trains in Conyers are one-eighth the size of full-size railroads, and passengers can ride right on top! The live steam, electric or gas powered trains operate like real locomotives for a fun, realistic train adventure. Check website for next ride days.

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