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New Jersey Train Rides Near Me: A Guide to NJ Train Rides for Kids

Are you looking for New Jersey train rides near me?

There is something magical about trains for kids. Boys and girls alike always stop to stare as a train glides into the station, and think taking a ride on a train is way cooler than hopping in the car. I agree and I can’t blame them. I loved riding trains with my kids when they were little.

We always did the Thomas the Train ride in Strausburg or local trains at attractions like Storybook Land and Historic Smithville. I wish then that I knew more about the train rides near me, instead of now when my boys are all teenagers. I would have definitely done more scenic train rides in addition to the themed train rides.

Let this guide to NJ train rides for kids help you have those train rides nearly almost all of us want for our kids. With our suggestions, you won’t have to travel far for train rides as all of these are nearby in New Jersey.

If you’re looking for more ideas about where to see trains in New Jersey visit our guide to Trains Kids Love!: NJ Train Museums and Train Parks Near Me.

A Guide to NJ Train Rides for Kids

Ready for a ride in a train car? Do you prefer a vintage train, a modern one, or both?

As we help you find ‘train rides near me’ we showcase vintage trains and modern ones. We’ll remind you of commuter train options that run throughout New Jersey and introduce you to scenic train rides. Our scenic train rides will include touristy trains, historic trains, trains through nature, and trains in amusement parks and attractions.

Father and Son LOR - M Donnelly prepare for one of the Amtrak NJ train rides near me
Photo Credit Amtrak

Tips for train rides for kids

Kid Activities on trains

The most family-friendly train rides for kids will feature additional activities for kids that keep them engaged at the station and along the train ride. Always plan additional time into your train excursions to allow for those activities and pictures.

Check the train websites as well. A few of them have downloadable and printable coloring pages and activity sheets.

Be ready for pictures

PICTURES! Vintage trains, steam engines, open-air cars, classic train cars…all make for great settings for family photos. Don’t forget to take not just selfies but also photos that take in these unique spots.

Outside the Patcong Valley Railroad Christmas Train display you can pose for pictures with real trains. |Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun
Outside the Patcong Valley Railroad Christmas Train display you can pose for pictures with real trains. |Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun

Food, drinks, & snacks

Before riding the train, check their policies for food and drinks. Kids get hungry. Kids get thirsty. It’s only natural that they would want something to drink or eat while riding a train, but not all trains will allow food and drinks on board.

Commuter trains have more generous policies as most have passengers commuting back and forth to work and conductors realize they may need to eat on the commute. The seats tend to be more resistant to stains and easy to wipe clean.

Historic trains will likely have more rules against food because their trains are more likely to be vintage trains with special seats and rail cars that could easily be damaged from spills.

When in doubt stick with spillproof cups or bottles of water.

Save money with special kid pricing

Kids often qualify for reduced pricing on train rides. When buying train ride tickets always check the ticket fees. If you don’t see a lower price for kids, ask about it. For example, some NJ train rides allow kids to ride for free at select times. When posted publicly online, we’ve included that information below.

child and adult looks out the window of a passenger car on a train

Commuter Trains in New Jersey

We understand the information about NJ commuter trains may be a bit overwhelming and not what you need. If that’s you feel free to scroll past this part and onto the scenic train rides in New Jersey section where we talk about historic train rides, touristy train rides, vintage train rides, and more.

That being said, taking a commuter train ride can be the most convenient way to experience train rides for kids as commuter trains run daily and year-round. They also tend to a cheaper way to ride a train.

A NJ Transit pulls into the New Jersey train station - Photo credit NJ Transit
Photo Credit NJ Transit

NJ Transit

NJ Transit offers train service across New Jersey, with lines stretching as far south as Atlantic City, as far north as New York City, and to points west in Philadelphia.

Where does NJ Transit travel to?

NJ Transit trains travel from Central Jersey to North Jersey and areas across South Jersey. At this time there is no direct train route from the southernmost areas of New Jersey to the northernmost areas.

This list provides a look at the NJ Transit train routes. Click the NJ Transit Route Map to see the routes and station stops.

  • Atlantic City
  • Main-Bergen County
  • Montclair-Boonton
  • Morris & Essex
  • Northeast Corridor
  • North Jersey Coast
  • Pascack Valley
  • Raritan Valley
  • Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
  • Newark Light Rail

For the easiest time planning your route with NJ Transit use their trip planner. It allows you to enter your starting and ending destination (doesn’t need to be specific train stations or stops), date, and mode of travel.

Where can I find NJ Transit train schedules?

One of the great things about the NJ Transit site is that you can enter your starting and ending destination along with the date and you’ll get the train schedule for that day. It’s helpful if you know exactly when you want to use the train.

If on the other hand, you want to plan a trip around a train schedule you’ll want to see the full regular schedule. Visit this page of the NJ Transit site for printable schedules.

Where can I find NJ Transit train fares?

Fares differ from fare to fare and are based on distance, age of rider, and other factors. Using the NJ Transit website or app is the best method for finding out fare information for the route you wish to take.

Tickets are required before boarding a train or light rail car.

NJ TRANSIT light rail systems utilize a “proof of payment” fare collection system. An activated ticket, monthly pass, transfer, or continuing trip ticket receipt is considered proof of payment. You can show that purchase on your phone or smart device if you prefer.

You can buy all tickets on the NJ TRANSIT App, at a Ticket Vending Machine, or at a staffed Ticket Office.

NJ Transit Belmar Station for train rides near me - Photo credit NJ Transit
Photo Credit NJ Transit

Use NJ Transit for travel and sightseeing

I’m not always a fan of driving into the city. When I want to avoid tolls, parking fees, and traffic I rely on public transportation like NJ Transit. But here’s the cool thing, even if you’re staying in New Jersey to head to fun spots like Six Flags Great Adventure, the Meadowlands (for a show or sporting event), or American Dream (for shopping or attractions), you can take a train ride there!

NJ TRANSIT provides daily service to American Dream via three local bus routes:

  • 85 Hoboken/Union City – American Dream
  • 703 Haledon – Paterson – East Rutherford
  • 772 Paramus – Hackensack – American Dream   

NJ TRANSIT provides service to Six Flags Great Adventure

As Six Flags Great Adventure was closed at the time of this writing, the 2023 schedules were not yet available. The 2022 schedules were no longer listed. Visit to see if updated schedules have been added.

NJ TRANSIT provides service to the Meadowlands

For events where train service is operating, NJ Transit recommends taking a train to Secaucus Junction via the Main-Bergen County Line, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morris & Essex Line, Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Pascack Valley Line, or Port Jervis Line. Once you arrive, transfer to a direct shuttle train to the Meadowlands Rail Station.

Take NJ Transit from South Jersey into Philadelphia.

There are 2 main ways to take NJ Transit into Philadelphia from South Jersey.

  • Take NJ Transit to Lindenwold. Then switch to a Patco Speedline train to travel to points in Philadelphia.
  • Take NJ Transit to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

Take NJ Transit into New York City NYC.

There’s not a direct NJ Transit train route from South Jersey to NYC, but there is a bus that will take you from Toms River to the Port Authority.

  • You can take a NJ Transit train from Trenton and other areas in Central and North Jersey to NYC.
A new Jersey transit train with NYC skyline in the background  - Photo credit NJ Transit
Photo Credit NJ Transit

Take NJ Transit to the Jersey Shore

Toms River, Seaside Heights, & Seaside Park

Bus Route 137 and Bus Route 67 serves Toms River all year. Bus Routes 67 and 137 operate seasonal summer service to Seaside Heights and Seaside Park beginning in late June. New timetables will be available approximately two weeks prior to the beginning of service.

Island Beach State Park

Take Bus Route 137 from Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York and let the driver know to continue from Seaside Park to Island Beach State Park. Service dates to be announced.

Wildwood and Cape May

Express bus service operates during the summer season, between Philadelphia, Wildwood and Cape May. Bus Route 316 operates daily seasonal summer service to Wildwood and Cape May beginning in June. Service to Wildwood and Cape May is available daily year-round on Bus Routes 313/315.

Atlantic City, Ocean City, Wildwood, and Cape May

NJ TRANSIT offers a variety of bus service and connections to Atlantic City kid attractions, outlet shopping and FREE beach access. Bus Route 319 provides express service from Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to Atlantic City, with limited service from Jersey City, Newark, and Toms River.

Take a NJ Transit train to a hike

Yes! You can ride a NJ Transit train or bus to parks with hiking trails. It’s all possible through the NJ Transit to Trails App. I LOVE THAT! The app allows you to search for parks that are local to NJ Transit stops. It even lists the specific bus routes and train routes.