For the past 2 years I’ve been taking the family to the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg PA. I went there when I was a kid, and it has been fun going back as an adult. My son really loves Thomas the Tank, and anything else related to trains. The Railroad has a running steam train that makes a 45 minute round trip down a 5 mile straight track. They have beautifully restored the engine and cars. The craftsmanship inside the coaches and dining cars is beautiful so book a ride. We usually eat lunch in the dining car during the train ride. The Railroad also has special ‘Thomas the Tank’ events on certain dates. I have not gone to these, but I imagine they are extremely busy, so you should book any train rides in advance.
After spending some time at the railroad, check out the Choo Choo Barn up the road. They have an amazing model railway that recreates many scenes from the local area. The attention to detail is amazing, everytime I go back, I see something I missed the last time. Across the street from the railway is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. They have indoor and outdoor displays of many different historical engines and railcars from the Pennsylvania Railroad. They have steam engines, streamliners and trolly cars from the glory days of the rail era.
The railway is located in Lancaster County (Amish Country). The picture above gives you an idea of the mix of ‘tourist trap’, beautiful landscapes and rustic appeal. There are a ton of things to do in town (outlet stores, greasy spoons, arts and crafts etc), so the non-train lovers won’t get too bored. The Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park is another place to stop by if you have kids.