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All Aboard! Take a Day Trip to
Historic Sites
March 13, 2023
All Aboard! Take a Day Trip to "Train Town USA" in Strasburg

From "Hell's Hole" to "Train Town USA"

Three centuries ago, rowdy crowds and reckless behavior earned a Pennsylvania crossroads town the nickname “Hell’s Hole.” That is, until the chartering of a railroad turned its reputation from rough-and-tumble to peaceful and picturesque.

Nearly two hundred years later, Strasburg is recognized as one of the most well-preserved railroad towns in the country. And lucky for NEPA natives, it’s only a short car ride away. Grab your whistle and hit the road for a day in “Train Town USA.”


Photography by: Historic Strasburg PA


Dive into Pennsylvania’s rich railroad past.

As one might gather from the moniker, Strasburg is a locomotive lover’s paradise. It is home to the state’s oldest operating railroad after all. From historic steam engines to miniature models, there is plenty for enthusiasts of all ages to explore.

A stop at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is a must. Telling stories of railroading all across Pennsylvania and housing some of the oldest locomotives and train cars in the region, this museum covers the industry’s incredible history. And with interactive exhibits in Stewart Junction, the kids won’t even have a chance to cry boredom.


Photography by: Strasburg Rail Road

Tour the countryside in a 150-year old train.

After your history lesson, experience the real deal. The Strasburg Rail Road, in operation since 1832, offers rides throughout Lancaster County. Take a trip on a classic steam-powered locomotive or plan ahead for a themed ride. From being pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine to solving a murder mystery while on board, there’s an excursion for just about everyone.


Photography by: National Toy Train Museum

Or scale it back a bit.

For those with a strict attention to detail (or small aspiring conductors), the National Toy Train Museum is an obvious day trip destination. Housed in a re-creation of a Victorian-era train station, the Train Collectors Association displays miniatures, models and so much more. You might even be inspired to start your own collection.


Photography by: Verdant View Farm

Put in a day’s work.

Green, serene countryside surround Strasburg’s centuries-old tracks. You’ll probably pass more farms than you can count on your drive through the area, some of which open their barn doors to visitors during the warmer months.

For little ones, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm provides the best in “agri-tainment.” From games and mazes to petting zoos and tractor rides, you could spend a whole day at Cherry Crest alone.

Or you can roll up your sleeves and go the more traditional route at Verdant View Farm. Tour the fully operational farm or get down and dirty in one of the many agricultural classes.


Photography by: Historic Strasburg PA

Time to hit the town.

If you can’t go a day without seeing civilization, drive five minutes from the rail and farm attractions into downtown Strasburg. You’ll experience a true country town, with quaint shops on quiet streets and locally-owned restaurants around every corner.

Spend hours browsing through antique markets and craft stores. Supplement your newfound train obsession with a visit to the Strasburg Train Shop. Or, simply explore the streets, taking in historic sites and Lancaster landmarks.


Photography by: The Red Caboose Motel

Good eats in restaurants and railroad cars.

Riding trains and chasing animals around farms takes a toll. The only solution is a delicious meal and some friendly faces. Thankfully, Strasburg has both in abundance. You’ll find breweries, cafes and taverns, with menus fit for the whole family, spread across the town.

If you haven’t had enough of trains just yet, head to Casey Jones’ Restaurant at The Red Caboose Motel. Dine in an authentic vintage train car with views of the Strasburg Rail Road and stunning Lancaster countryside. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a signature Strasburg sunset.


Photography by: Historic Strasburg PA

Return visits are always in order.

Strasburg changes with the times. Different seasons mean different railroad excursions, farm adventures and holiday celebrations. There’s always a new restaurant to try or shop to explore. Or, maybe after a few trips, you’ll find a favorite. Because if there’s one sure thing about Strasburg, visitors always find themselves coming back for more.

For help planning your trip to Strasburg, visit the Historic Strasburg website and Facebook page for ideas and information.

*Featured image (top) courtesy of Strasburg Rail Road. Check out their Facebook and Instagram for more photos.