What is it about trains that excite us all? Well, I was going to find out about it on this trip on Rail Explorers. The warm weather has arrived and we’re traveling. I didn’t waste any time this year with booking adventures for us to do. Our first trip was to Rhode Island for a rail adventure. Rhode Island is such a nice little state with so much to check out. The beaches are great as is the culture and history. But for this adventure, we took to the rails. Trains and railroads tend to be exciting just by themselves, in addition, you get to pedal the rail car only adds to this adventure. Rail Explorers USA has some interesting adventures.
The Rhode Island Division operates along the Old Colony Railroad, built in 1862. The rails meander alongside spectacular Narragansett Bay offering riders unique views that include Jamestown, the Mount Hope Bridge, Hog Island Lighthouse, and coastal woodlands.
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Rail Explorer Trip Options
The Rhode Island Tours have 2 options. The Northern Ramble and the Southern Circuit. On the Northern Ramble, you will have great views of Narragansett Bay only visible from the railroad. You will see private waterfront estates, 2 golf courses as well as the Newport Preservation Society Topiary Gardens, and the Audubon Society Nature Preserve. This route is six miles on the historic railroad between Portsmouth and the Sakonnet River. However, this is a one-way tour with a shuttle bus to return you to Portsmouth. The scenery is beautiful and if you’re lucky you will see wildlife as well.
The Southern Circuit
The Southern Circuit is a six-mile round trip (3 miles out, 3 miles back) starting at Portsmouth Grove Station and heading south to Bayside Station, their private waterfront picnic area. Where you can enjoy spectacular water views over Narragansett Bay for instance. Bring a snack and drink to enjoy during a 30-minute break at Bayside Station. You can relax and watch the boats go by on the bay before returning to the station.
The Portsmouth Grove Station
The Portsmouth Grove Station is a very nice little station with souvenirs and information on the area. Outside there is a nice picnic area and seating around firepits. There’s also a bean bag toss to play while you wait for your tour to start.
The Staff at Rail Explorers
The staff at Rail Explorers were great. The check-in was easy and quick. They seemed to answer the same questions over and over without a problem. Also, they were quick to help take pictures of everyone and give tips on speed, brakes, and safety. The staff certainly make it an easy adventure.
We got into our 4 person pedal car, buckled our seatbelts and off we went. We chose to take the Southern Circuit rail since there is a built-in rest stop half-way through the adventure. However, it’s not hard at all. In fact, Clint and I let the girls pedal by themselves for a little while to see how difficult it was. They didn’t realize they were doing it by themselves until Clint actually started to pedal. lol.
There were some nice vignettes along the way to see the shore and boats out on the water. Ainsley even waved to a man on the beach below.
When you book your trip, just note they run the trips rain or shine. They provided 2 umbrella’s ‘just in case’ but we lucked out. It was a little overcast as we set off but the sun came out as we made our way to Bayside station. By the time we arrive at the station, I was ready for a break and a snack. I think the kids were hungry by then as well. There is also a port-a-let in case you need that during your break.
On the trip back to Portsmouth Grove station Clint challenged the girls to see how fast they could get the rail car to go, always the competitor. Well, the girls were up for the challenge. They were able to get it going pretty fast, I was surprised. Since you are between other rail cars but with enough room to have some privacy, they stopped pedaling and allowed the car to glide.
Tips and Other Information
They advise you to plan 2 hours for your trip and I’d say that’s about right. If you plan your trip around mealtimes you can take in their picnic area as well. If your kids are into boats though, allow a little extra time to drive through the docks just over the railroad tracks. There are some amazing boats there.
If you’d like to take this trip during the evening, Rail Explorers has a treat for you. You can join them on Friday nights at 7:30 pm for their “Fireside Fridays”. For this adventure, you have lanterns light the way on your round trip rail ride to Bayside Station. A bonfire, s’ mores, and hot apple cider await you. Sounds delightful.
However, if mornings are more your style try their Sunday Brunch adventure which begins at 9 am. This is the normal Southern Circuit route but add on brunch at Bayside Station. They serve muffins, fruit, mimosas, bloody marys, and Death Wish Coffee. Since I’m not a coffee drinker Death Wish Coffee sounds scary to me but I’m sure Clint would love it.
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Other Locations for Rail Explorers
Rail Explorers has adventures in Rhode Island, Las Vegas as well as in the Catskill Mountains in New York. The rail ride in Las Vegas is all downhill. Luckily your ticket includes a ride back to the top of the hill in one of the Museum’s historic trains, and free entry to the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
The Catskill Mountain rail ride will take you through the breathtaking scenery of the historic Ulster & Delaware Railroad. You ride alongside the Esopus Creek through the majestic Catskill Forest Preserve.
Since we’ve taken this rail tour the girls have been asking to go on the other 2 adventures as well. It sounds great to me. After reading the description of the different tours I’m up for all they have to offer.
Since we were in the area we also found a geocache. If you don’t know what geocaching is you should check out my post on that adventure. I’m sure your kids will love it. Similarly, Don’t miss this great post that I’m featured in all about other great summer destinations.
How about you? Which rail adventure will you choose?