Trains are not simply a mode of transport. To children, getting from A to B by locomotive is an experience, each detail — walking from car to car, maintaining balance while using the bathroom, being lulled to sleep by the train’s manic gyrations — adding to the thrill. Factor in a sleepover and you’ve got magic, part Hogwart’s with a side of Polar Express.
Though parents may be seduced by week-long itineraries, an extended train trip with children is not ideal. Keep the experience short and sweet, 48 hours max. There are hundreds of itineraries out there to choose from, but here are five of our favorites.