Christmas and trains have always been a magical combination, enchanting both adults and children during the holiday season for many years. The popularity of the Polar Express movie took this Christmas combination to a whole new level and is now one of the most popular Christmas festivities for families.
Fortunately, the Blue Ridge Mountains have a number of historic tourism railroads that have special Christmas trains you can ride and enjoy during the holiday season. Nothing will complete your Christmas celebration, like a good old-fashioned Christmas train ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounded by holiday music, lights, and more!
Here are our top picks for the Best Christmas Train Rides in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
1 - The Holiday Express at Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Blue Ridge GA
The Holiday Express (Also called the Santa Express), is a Christmas train by the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad located in Blue Ridge Georgia. This is a festive 1-hour train ride on the Holiday Express in which you can listen to holiday music, hear the story "The Night Before Christmas," enjoy delicious hot chocolate or other snacks available for sale inside the concession car. Children will receive a Blue Ridge Scenic Railway jingle bell, candy cane, and activity packet while on board.
2 - The Polar Express, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City NC
All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™! This 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City NC depot for a magical Christmas journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole.
Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.
3 - Tweetsie Christmas, Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock NC
Enjoy thousands of dazzling Christmas lights and scenes, as you ride in an open-air train train car pulled by one of our historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives. The train ride is 3 miles, and lasts about 30 minutes. The historic engines and cars are decorated with lights, and you'll enjoy Christmas music throughout the ride.
In the park, you can meet Santa Claus in his magical house - filled with candied furnishings. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the heartwarming, toe-tapping, live Christmas Show in the Tweetsie Palace. Spin through the night on four classic amusement rides - the Little Drummer Boy, (a Tweetsie Christmas exclusive) Bikes & Buggies, F-80s, and the Himalaya. Make some great memories with your friends and family while roast s'mores over an outdoor fire pit.
4 - North Pole Limited, Tennessee Valley Railroad, Chatanooga TN
During the magical holiday season, our trains take you on an imaginary journey to the North Pole. Along the way, you’re treated to refreshments and storytelling while you write your own personal letter to Santa.
As the North Pole Limited train gently rolls down the rails, a number of lighted displays can be seen outside. NOTE: Santa will not be on the train. He will, however, be visible to passengers at the North Pole. All riders will receive a homemade chocolate chip cookie, hot chocolate, keepsake boarding pass, letter from Santa, and bell. Each family will receive an ornament as well.