Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
226 Everett St., Bryson City. 800-872-4681. www.gsmr.com.
Hours: Friday and Saturday trains depart at 11 a.m. from Bryson City to the Nantahala Gorge March 5-26. Beginning April 1, trains will depart 10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Activities: Guests at the railroad will be able to experience a glimpse of American history as they tour the landscapes of Western North Carolina by train. Visitors will journey through valleys and river gorges, passing over bridges and going through tunnels as they explore. An upcoming event includes the Easter Beagle Express on April 2 and 3. The train will depart from Bryson City at 10:30 a.m. for a 41/2 hour journey along the Tuckasegee River, over Fontana Lake Trestle and into the Nantahala River Gorge. During the layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, passengers will mingle with Peanuts' characters Snoopy, Lucy and Charlie Brown, as well as Easter bunnies for springtime festivities. Guests will be able to participate in an Easter egg hunt, egg decorating, coloring, storytelling, temporary tattoos, and enjoy snacks with the cast. In April, for those ages 20 and older, the railroad also offers a Raft n' Rail or Rapid Transit package that provides a train ride through the Smokies, as well as a day of rafting in the gorge.
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Cost: Tickets for Friday and Saturday departures, as well as the Easter Beagle Express are $49 for adults and $29 for children. Package information, as well as seating upgrades and costs can be found online. Admission to the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum is included in ticket purchases. Without tickets, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children.
Target Audience: All ages.
Directions: Take I-85 S toward Gastonia/Spartanburg. Take exit 10B to merge onto U.S.-74 W./Andrew Jackson Hwy. toward Kings Mountain/Shelby. Continue to follow U.S.-74 W. Merge onto I-26 W. Continue onto U.S.-74 W. Merge onto I-40 W. Slight right at U.S.-74 W./Great Smoky Mountains Expy. (signs for U.S.-19/U.S.-23/Clyde/Wavnesville). Take exit 67 toward Bryson City. Turn right at Veterans Blvd. Take the third right onto Main St. Take the 2nd left onto Everett St.
Distance from Charlotte: About 3 hours.