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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.

Auer Family with Thomas the Train

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

Scenic Train Rides Near Me in New Jersey

NJ Tourist Trains Kids Will Love

When it comes to tourist train rides available in New Jersey, we have two: Cape May Seashore Lines in South Jersey and the Black River and Western Railroad in Central Jersey.

Cape May Seashore Lines in Cape May County NJ

Ride trains across South Jersey with Cape May Seashore Line Excursions in Cape May County. They offer a 30-mile round-trip on the former Reading Company’s steel speedway to the shore!

  • Cape May Seashore Line train excursions travel between Richland and Tuckahoe.
  • The Richland Village Train Station: 1272 Harding Highway, Richland
  • The Tuckahoe Village Train Station: 31 Mill Road, Tuckahoe (you may need to “Woodbine” as the town in your GPS)
  • Rio Grande – Cape May City regular passenger service is suspended due to the high volume theft of track material; specifically, tie plates and track spikes, along with the destruction of crossties, over a 15-mile distance of the Cape May Branch.
  • Themed train rides include Santa trains, Easter Bunny Express, and the Spring Ice Cream Express.
  • For more information visit their website at Cape May Seashore Line Excursions.

Black River and Western Railroad in Flemington NJ in Hunterdon County

The Black River & Western Railroad is an independently owned and operated railroad located in rural Hunterdon County, New Jersey. There is also a train museum on the property.

  • From South to North, the railroad connects the towns of Lambertville, Ringoes, Flemington, and Three Bridges.
  • Flemington Station 80 Stangl Road, Flemington
  • Ringoes Station 108 John Ringo Road, Ringoes
  • These NJ train rides run seasonally for different holidays.
  • Pricing varies based on the train excursion.
  • Themed train excursions include Pumpkin Trains, North Pole Express, Easter Bunny Express, and more!
  • For more information visit the Black River & Western Railroad website or call (908) 782-6622.

NJ Train Rides Through Nature That Kids Will Appreciate

The Delaware River Railroad Excursions in Philipsburg is one of the best NJ train rides through nature that we think the entire family will love.

Delaware River Railroad Excursions in Philipsburg

Take a one and a half hour scenic train ride along the Delaware river to Riegelsville and return. The vintage train cars originally came from the Long Island Railroad dating from the 1950’s and have been lovingly restored by volunteers.

Weekend trips along the scenic Delaware River begin in the spring and run through the fall. Themed excursions are offered all year. In the spring families can enjoy the Mine Train Ride which includes a stop at the Susquehanna Mining Company. Riders can participate in informational tours and gemstone panning.

Delaware River Railroad also offers steam engine train rides!

For the whole family, especially for train enthusiasts, a train ride with Delaware River Railroad is an amazing experience.

  • The trains originate at their train station at 38 Market Street in Phillipsburg.
  • These NJ train rides run year-round but only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Regular train rides are available May through October with additional special train excursions for different holidays.
  • Pricing begins at $20 for adults and $14 for children.
  • Themed train excursions include Easter Bunny Train Rides, Corn Maze Train, Mine Train, The Great Pumpkin Train, Dino Days, A Day Out With Thomas and The Polar Express.
  • Visit the Delaware River Railroad Excursions or call (877) 872 4674 for more information or read our Delaware River Railroad Excursions review.
  • You may bring food and drinks on the train, but no alcohol. Snacks like chips, cookies and candy and beverages like soda and water will be sold in the gift car or snack car (when it’s on the train).
  • Strollers are not permitted on the train. They create unsafe conditions in the aisles and vestibules. Also, the terrain is not stroller friendly.
NJ train rides near me looking over nature

NJ Historic Train Rides to Help Kids Learn

The Pine Creek Railroad and the Whippany Railway Museum both provide historic train rides in New Jersey. Go back and time with one of these trains.

Pine Creek Railroad in Wall Township NJ

Separate from Allaire Village but right next to the entrance is the steam train at the Pine Creek Railroad. For a separate fee, you can take a 15-minute ride on the historic train. Founded in 1952, the Pine Creek Railroad is one of the oldest operating narrow gauge railway exhibits in the country. It’s an example of rail travel at the height of the steam era in the United States.

  • 4265 Atlantic Ave, Wall Township
  • The train travels through Allaire State Park.
  • Trains run every weekend, weather permitting, from Easter until Christmas.
  • Open 7 days a week from July to September.
  • Rides are approximately 15 minutes long.
  • $6.00 per person 3 years and older; $2.00 for children under 3 years. Different rates for special events.
  • Themed train rides include the Easter Bunny Express, Haunted Express during Halloween and a Christmas train ride.
  • Visit their website at www.njmt.org or call (732) 938-5524.

For children, a relaxing ride on the Pine Creek Railroad is a great way to end a day of stepping back in time at Allaire Village and State Park! (See our Allaire State Park review.)

alliaire railroad
Pine Creek Railroad at Allaire State Park.

Whippany Railway Museum in Morris County NJ

On the Whippany Railway, you and your family can enjoy various historic train rides and excursions throughout the calendar year including Easter and Halloween. The historic, yet scenic train ride is a 45-minute round trip that allows visitors to view the train and countryside as only railroaders did for over 100 years.

The Whippany Railway trains feature a unique collection of restored, Vintage Cabooses from Historic Rail Lines that once served New Jersey and the Metropolitan area.

Once aboard guests can choose the caboose of their choice.

  • Whippany Railway Museum, 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
  • All rides depart from and return to the Whippany Railway Museum site.
  • The 10-mile round trip Train Ride is part of the Museum’s Operating Heritage Railroad Excursions and travels the Route of the Historic Whippanong Trail through Whippany, East Hanover, Livingston and Roseland in Morris and Essex Counties. The train passes through the remnants of pre-historic Glacial Lake Passaic, a natural swamp that supports abundant wildlife, such as deer, turtles, wild turkeys, hawks and rabbits.
  • The regular Excursion Train rides are on select spring, summer and fall days. Dates are not yet posted for 2024. Please check their website for updates throughout the year.
  • Pricing for regular Excursion Train Rides begins at $18 for adults and $13 for children from 12 to 1 year old. Children 1 year old and younger ride free.
  • Ticket price includes admission to the Museum grounds, the Museum building which houses historical railroad, steam ship memorabilia displays, operating model trains, gift shop, and the outdoor operating large-scale model trains.
  • Themed train rides include Easter Bunny Express, Pumpkin Patch Train, and others.
  • For more information visit the Whippany Railway website or call (973) 887-8177 or read our Whippany Railway Museum review.
Whippany Railway Museum

NJ Attractions and Theme Parks with Train Rides

Many of our much-loved attractions, amusement parks, and zoos feature a train. It can be a fun way to experience an attraction as the train ride is usually throughout the attraction providing scenes you might not see just walking around.

Historic Smithville

Historic Smithville, located at 615 E Moss Mill Road, offers a train, with open-air cars, that runs behind the shops and around the village. It’s suitable for all ages.

  • The Smithville train follows the following schedule, weather permitting.
    • Please note the train is closed in January, February, and March and the official reopening date is Easter weekend.
    • Winter: The train will open on weekends when the temperature is above 50.
    • Spring (starting Easter weekend)- the train runs 7 days a week when shops are open.
    • Summer – the train runs daily throughout the summer
    • Holidays – open all holidays except Christmas Day.
  • Train rides are $3 per person.
  • Call (609) 748-8999 for more information.
Train rides for kids near me include the Smithville Train in Historic Smithville New Jersey.
Photo Credit Historic Smithville

Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township NJ

Storybook Land offers an open-air train ride around the park on the J & J Railroad.

  • The train runs whenever the park is open.
  • The train ride is included with admission.

Turtle Back Zoo Train

Ride the popular Zoo Train at Turtle Back Zoo through the South Mountain Reservation. It’s a favorite! Make time to wait in line it’s worth it!

  • Train rides take about 15 minutes.
  • Closed during January and February.
  • Train rides are free with your paid admission to the zoo.
  • For more information visit their website at Turtle Back Zoo or call 973-731-5800.

Bergen County Zoo Train

The Bergen County Zoo train will reopen in April 2024. The train station is located not far from the entrance. The train loops around the outside perimeter of the zoo. You can contact the Zoo at (201) 634-3100 for more information.

Bergen County Zoo train
All aboard for the Bergen County Zoo train!

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson NJ

Six Flags Great Adventure does not have traditional train rides. It does have 2 train-themed roller coasters: Runaway Mine Train (opening spring 2024) and the HARLEY QUINN Crazy Train.

train rides at Zoo near me in New Jersey

Commuter Trains in New Jersey

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.

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 train getaways in New Jersey section where we talk about traveling with Amtrak to get to a vacation destination or making the train trip the vacation itself.

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
  • River Line

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 Paterson/Passaic – American Dream
  • 772 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 2024 schedules were not yet available. The 2023 schedules were no longer listed. Visit njtransit.com/sixflags 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  simply take 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 Route 137 operates 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 late 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.