East Texas is loaded with beautiful scenery and if you're like me, you want to observe the surroundings while you're driving. Except you'll always have someone tailing your bumper (and it's just not safe in general). So that's why the Texas State Railroad, which has many stops and events in East Texas, is the perfect fall/winter adventure for you and your family - or even your date.

Only in Your State highlights up to nine themed train rides that will bring out the kid in everyone, but since one has already passed this year (Labor Day), we'll list the remaining four for 2017. Note: Three rides at Jefferson Railway are cancelled.

And they're all just a short drive from Tyler, located throughout East Texas!

Pumpkin Patch Fast Track - Rusk Depot

Since Halloween is on the brain, we'll start with the Pumpkin Patch Fast Track. Bring your kids, get 'em all costumed up and take them on a Halloween-themed train ride to Texas State Railroad's own pumpkin patch. There are games, prizes, trick-or-treating and more.

This ride happens every Saturday and Sunday between October 7-29.

These are daytime events meant to be more fun rather than scary. From their event page:

The 90-minute layover at the Pumpkin Patch includes hayrides, spooky tunes and seasonal music, and safe, fun trick-or-treating on “Trick or Treat Street.” Food Options will be available for purchase at the Pumpkin Patch.


Pints in the Pines - Rusk, Palestine

Texas State Railroad has its very own version of Ockotberfest - something you probably haven't done! Imagine sitting on a historic train travelling through the piney woods while you sample Texas-brewed beers. No, it's not a dream, it's something you can actually do.

On Saturday October 7 and 21, you'll depart in the evening and will have snacks and a 'variety of local ales' in your outbound journey. It's not just ale you'll get to sample though. They mention Hefeweizen, lagers, IPAs, stouts and chocolate porters.

On top of that, you'll get a souvenir tasting glass and a BBQ dinner during the stopover in Palestine.


Polar Express - Texas State Railroad

The Polar Express Train Ride is easily the most popular attraction at the Texas State Railroad. It's so popular, they were promoting ticket sales as early as the beginning of September because seats go fast.

Starting on November 11, the magical train departs from Palestine Depot in a journey to the North Pole. There, Santa and his elves will greet guests, pass out gifts and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate. Get tickets and more information at their website.


Engineer Ride-Along - Texas State Railroad

Have you (or your kids) ever wanted to see what it was it like to keep a train running? In this featured ride, you'll sit right between the engineer and conductor inside the cab of one of Texas State Railroad's 'classic Old Girls'. You'll be dressed in complimentary TSR safety gear - so you'll look like the real deal - and you'll jump right into assisting the engineer and conductor in preparing for departure.

These rides are available on most weekends through the rest of the year. To book or for more info, check out their page.


Rail of Lights New Year's Train - Jefferson Railway

Cancelled. =(

Runaway Fright Train - Jefferson Railway

Sadly, the owners of Historic Jefferson Railway have cancelled the Runaway Fright Train for 2017 so employees can have some personal time.

Rail of Lights Christmas Train - Jefferson Railway

UPDATE: Jefferson Railway is closed for the winter, which means both Rail of Lights and Runaway Fright Train are cancelled for 2017.