Lesli has been on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad several times with her young boys — during the Spring, Fall, and Winter — but had yet to make it during the summer months. So this summer, I ventured to North Georgia to take in the lush greenery via the rails.

Here’s why you want to consider going during the summer months too!



The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is just an awesome family adventure, and it’s a great trip to experience in the summertime. Passing by the lush, green trees, and seeing the river in all its glory, was so much fun!

The rail adventure is a 2-hour, 26 mile round trip, with a 2- hour layover to explore the sister towns of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. During your layover, you can stand on either side of the “blue line” and have one foot in Georgia and another in Tennessee!

Our train host, Sam, was super friendly, funny and shared so many great stories about the area and the railroad itself. Every person we met on the train was great, and their hospitality really added something special to our train experience.


Whether you pick a Closed Coach rail car or an Open Air rail car for your summertime adventure, you cannot go wrong.

You might think summer in Georgia means you MUST get an air-conditioned Closed Coach car seat — but it’s not necessary. The Closed Coach cars are awesome though, and are perfect for those who wish for a quieter train experience. The Closed Coach cars feature padded seats which are arranged in groups of 4 (two inward facing sets of two seats). You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery as you pass it by.

The Open Air cars are great in their own right. Even though they’re not air conditioned, the breeze from the car’s open windows allows for a pleasant ride to your destination. The seats in this car are bench style, facing out to the open windows for viewing the scenery.

The Open Air cars were a hit with my kids!

The railroad recommends you arrive an hour before your train departure time, and that’s great advice, especially if you’d like to sit with your group. The train cars are assigned, but the seats are first-come, first-served — so make sure you get there early to get your choice of seats. (We loved sitting on the “river” side.)


Believe it or not, I had never been to the gorgeous mountain town of Blue Ridge, and our short day trip wasn’t nearly long enough to explore everything it has to offer. We did sample some hand-dipped ice cream at Moo Bears Ice Cream & Hot Dogs after our ride — which is a perfect summertime stop!

There are plenty of wonderful boutiques and shops in downtown Blue Ridge — and summer is a great season to walk the streets and stop in for some fun gifts (and air conditioning)! Stop by Canoe for some wearable art — they’ve got the most beautiful jewelry and handbags. Or take the kids to Hucks General Store. My boys love a stop here every time we are in Blue Ridge. Old-fashioned barrels of candy fill the front, and toys are in the back – with a view of the train!


During your 2-hour layover in McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN — you may want to grab a bite to eat, and there’s some great choices near the depot.

If you’re looking for a great lunch spot — try The Copper Grille in McCaysville. They’ve got everything from juicy, hand-crafted burgers to yummy salads. Want something from the Tennessee side? Try Habanero’s in Copperhill for some made-from-scratch fresh Tex Mex. You can’t go wrong with either.

Once you’re back in Blue Ridge — there’s plenty of great places to eat! So many, in fact, that we wrote a whole article about it! These 27 Blue Ridge Restaurants Showcase Culinary Delight in the Mountains.


Blue Ridge is great any time of year — but the summer is an especially great time to explore this awesome outdoorsy area.

Ready to seek out some water? There are 16 waterfalls within a short drive of Blue Ridge, and you can find them all with this self-guided waterfall map.

Lake Blue Ridge is the perfect place to go to cool off and spend some time in the sun! Whether you rent a boat, swim, fish, water ski, or enjoy the pristine shoreline — you’re guaranteed to fall in love with this mountain lake.

The most popular family pastime in the summer is probably tubing the clear, chilly Toccoa River either above the Lake Blue Ridge dam on Aska Road or below in McCaysville. Here’s a great list of water tubing and rafting companies and guides.


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