Trains to See, Trains to Ride: The Ultimate Guide to Trains in the Washington, DC Area


All aboard! Very few things excite both my son and daughter quite like a train. And, the DC area has no shortage of full scale and miniature trains for kids to see, ride, and explore in the DC area.

This guide includes three categories of train attractions. The first is Trains to See, there are plenty of model trains and museums with actual or model trains for your littles to look at and explore. There are also a number of Trains to Ride. From vintage trains and streetcars to miniature trains at parks, there are a number of trains you can climb aboard.  And, of course, there is Public Transportation. You may be over the blue or red line commute, but DC’s public transportation can be an adventure.

trains to see and ride in the dc areaBe sure to check out the handy MAP of trains to see and ride in and around DC at the bottom of the article!

Trains to See: Model Trains and Museums around the DC Area

Fairfax Station Museum Fairfax Station, VA
Hop aboard a rail car and learn about the station’s history in the Civil War. Open most Sunday afternoons from 1–4pm.  Special events throughout the year.  Adults and kids 13 and up $5, 5-12 $3, Under 4 Free.

B&O Ellicott City Station Museum Ellicott City, MD
The oldest surviving railroad station in America, the museum has a caboose and model trains. The Ellicott City Stations Museum’s Facebook page has details on upcoming events throughout the year. Open Wednesday and Thursday 10am–3pm and Friday-Sunday 10am–5pm. FREE admission!

Smithsonian American History Museum Washington, DC
Located on the National Mall in Washington, DC head to the Smithsonian American History Museum to find large trains to observe and even one that simulates a train ride. As always, this museum is FREE! Open daily from 10am-5:30pm (except Christmas Day).

Train at Smithsonian Museum
The Hall of Transportation at the Smithsonian American History Museum captivated this future train engineer.

Brunswick Heritage (Railroad) Museum Brunswick, MD
The third floor has a 1,700 square foot model railway showing the track from Brunswick to Union Station in DC. Open Saturday 10am–4pm and Sunday 1pm–4pm. FREE admission!

Roads and Rails Museum Frederick, MD
This museum is TEMPORARILY CLOSED. Have a kiddo into model trains? This museum has one of the largest miniature model train displays in the country. Adults $10, Children $5, under 3 Free.

Trains to Ride:  Vintage Trains, Streetcars, and Miniature Trains

B&O Railroad Museum Baltimore, MD
A true gem, it offers 20 minute train rides on the first miles of commercial track in the country, a train carousel and a “Happy Train” carnival ride. Check the schedule — the train ride schedule is limited and subject to change. Open Monday to Sunday 10am-4pm.  Adults $20, Seniors $17, children 2-12 $12, under 2 free.

B&O Railroad Day Out with Thomas Twins in Awe
These mini conductors were in complete awe of Thomas at B&O Railroad Museum.

Wheaton Regional Park Miniature Train Silver Spring, MD
Take a ride through the woods on the miniature train, then ride on the carousel. Hours of operation vary by season. April – Labor Day (Open Tuesday – Sunday); September (Friday – Sunday only); October (Saturdays and Sundays only, ending October 31st. Halloween Eye Spy Train, $6 tickets.); Closed November – February. Train tickets $3.50, kids under 2 free with a paying adult. We suggest getting a Train Ticket Card for $31.50–you get 10 tickets for the price of 9 and tickets can be used for the carousel too!

Cabin John Regional Park Rockville, MD
In addition to the 15 minute miniature train ride, Cabin John has trails, a nature center, and an ice rink. This is open April – October on Saturday and Sunday only from 9:30am-4:30pm. PLUS, they have special openings for Eye Spy Train Events and certain holidays. Train tickets $3.50, kids under 2 free with a paying adult. Eye Spy Trains are $5 and can be purchased online. Train Ticket Cards are $31.50 and you get 10 rides for the price of 9.

Walkersville Southern Railroad Walkersville, MD
Passenger train rides are available, but check the schedule. Walkersville hosts specialty train rides throughout the year, including Bunny Trains, Super Hero Picnic, Teddy Bear Picnic, and Santa Trains. Advanced tickets are required online. Adults $18-34, kids 2-12 $16-35, and Seniors are $17-35). There is different pricing for events. Charters available too. We suggest signing up for their newsletter for updates.

Burke Lake Park Fairfax Station, VA
The miniature train takes a 10 minute ride around parts of the lake, including through a short tunnel. There is a carousel, playground, and ice cream parlor next to the train station. Hours of operation vary by season; and open all Saturdays and Sundays of the month. Tickets $6.

Family on Burke Lake Park Miniature Train
The whole family can chug along the tracks on the Burke Lake Miniature Train. Choo, Choo!!

Clemyjontri Park McLean, VA
You can take a ride around the colorful Clemyjontri Park on a new trackless train. Open weekends Memorial Day to Labor Day (9:30am-4pm) with special holiday hours for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Tickets are $5 per person.

National Capital Trolley Museum Colesville, MD
Go for a vintage trolley ride through the forest.  (The Capital Trolley Museum is another spot on our Toddler-Friendly Summer Scavenger Hunt!) Be sure to check out special events like summer story times, Pumpkin TrolleyFest during October and Holly TrolleyFest in December. Open Saturdays noon to 5pm; Adults $12, Children 2-17 and Seniors $10, Under 2 Free.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Cumberland, MD
This train ride is fun with popular seasonal excursions. Prices vary and it is open year round. These are longer train rides!

Potomac Eagle Romney, WV
Take enchanting excursions like the Green Spring Special or the North Pole Express for unforgettable memories. Excursion prices and lengths vary.

Northern Central Railway New Freedom, PA
Yes, this is a bit of a drive, but if you are headed this way, then it is worth a visit. They also provide seasonal experiences like a STEAM Summer Camp, Mother’s Day Brunch, and a Princess Express! Excursion prices and lengths vary.

Strasburg Railroad Lancaster County, PA
Lancaster has so many fun things to do for kids. And an epic train ride is one of them. They offer multiple events throughout the year like Day out with Thomas, Holiday Train Rides, Easter Bunny Train rides, and several other themed steam train rides. Excursion prices and lengths vary.

Public Transportation in and around Washington, DC

Metro (DC, MD, VA)
Use the WMATA Trip Planner to integrate a metro ride into another fun adventure.

H Street Streetcar (DC)
My kids yell “Choo! Choo!” every time they see the H St. Streetcar. Hop aboard while it is still free!

King Street Trolley (Alexandria, VA)
The free “trolley” shuttles passengers down King Street, between the King Street Metro Station and Union Street, stopping every two blocks.  The trolley runs every 15 minutes Sunday to Saturday from 11am-11pm. FREE trolley rides.

Amtrak (DC, MD, VA)
The world is your oyster! A train trip to Harper’s Ferry on our Short Summer Vacation Road (or Train) Trip Ideas list.

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria, VA
Explore a local spot after hopping on this train. It goes fast and it is fun!

Did we miss anything?  Please let us know and comment below if there are other DC train destinations we should add.


  1. You forgot Bladensburg – shopping and trains! First, you go to Community Forklift so one adult can happily putter around the nonprofit’s salvage yard/antique shop while spouse or a friend runs around the parking field with the kiddos. Trains come by 40 times a day, so you’re guaranteed to see at least one while you’re there. May want to bring ear plugs though, the train whistle is pretty loud.

    Then you head a few minutes over to Bladensburg Waterfront Park, where there is an old caboose parked that kids can crawl all over (That’s also within sight of the train tracks, but a little further away from them, so not quite as entrancing as the view from the Forklift)


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