Train Rides in the Bay Area

Stacie Dong - San Francisco Bay Area
October 2, 2017

Do you have a train enthusiast at your house? Here are five wonderful places for a train adventure in the Bay Area. Marvel at the elaborate detail of scale model trains and the magical, miniature worlds created around them; learn about the fascinating history of railroads in the Bay Area; or enjoy a living history experience with a ride on real, working steam engine. All aboard!

Randall Museum, Caboose and Train Room, San Francisco

For a fun train excursion without having to leave the city, check out the caboose exhibit and model train at the Randall Museum. Entrance to the museum is free, so it's always fun to pop in for a quick visit to the caboose whenever you're in the neighborhood. Kids will love the chance to climb around on the scaled-down caboose, push buttons to hear authentic train sounds, and imagine themselves as a train conductor or engineer. The train room next door houses an extensive model train exhibit and is open to the public on Saturdays.

Niles Canyon Railway, Fremont

You can find this living history museum and working railroad in the heart of Niles Alvarado district of Fremont in the East Bay. The original train depot has been lovingly restored and contains exhibits and memorabilia that will give kids a window into the past. You can book tickets for a ride on a real, working train between Niles and Sunol where you'll wind through picturesque canyons that were the backdrop for many early silent films. Check the schedule for special events including the "Train of Light" during the holidays, wine tasting specials, and "Steamfest," which showcases a variety of historic steam engines each summer.

Redwood Valley Railway, Oakland

High up in the hills of Tilden Park in the East Bay, you'll find the Redwood Valley Railway nestled along the treeline, a family favorite since the 1950s. This scale steam train winds around more than a mile of track during the approximately twelve-minute ride through the trees. The chug-chug of the steam engine and the cheerful whistle are guaranteed to make train enthusiasts of all ages smile. The Redwood Valley Railway runs on weekends throughout the year and daily during the summer. Check the website for specific dates and times.

Roaring Camp Railroads, Beach Train, Santa Cruz

Next time you visit the boardwalk, plan a little extra time for a ride on Roaring Camp Railroads' Beach Train. In its day, this historic train line carried lumber as well as trainloads of picnickers and tourists seeking fun at the beach and in the Santa Cruz mountains. A one-way ride will take you between the beach boardwalk to the Santa Cruz mountains through the scenic San Lorenzo River Gorge. Check the website for schedule and fares.

Sonoma Train Town Railroad, Sonoma

Just a mile from Sonoma's main plaza, you'll find Sonoma Train Town where you can enjoy rides geared for younger kids as well as a miniature steam train. The Sonoma Train Town Railroad is a quarter scale railroad that runs over four miles of track. Each trip lasts about twenty minutes and includes a stop at Lakeview, a miniature town that is tons of fun for little ones to explore.

Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are San Francisco moms with a passion for cooking, eating and exploring the world through food. On their blog, A Little Yumminess, they share recipes from around the world, favorite foodie destinations, and ideas for bringing up adventurous eaters. In addition they teach kids' classes and camps throughout the year and are also available for private workshops and events. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

   

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