The North Shore Scenic Railroad, located at 506 West Michigan Street in the Historic Union Depot in Duluth, is a great activity to do if you want some restful relaxation.
The 1.5 hour excursion takes you through downtown Duluth along the Lakewalk to Lester River and back. Guests can choose whether to ride inside rail cars and seated, or they can ride outside and stand.
The trip we took in the summer was pretty basic and didn’t offer much to see. In fact, we laughed when one of our children got excited over a portable toilet along the way, not really knowing what it was. Most of the views outside your window are residential streets and houses, aside from the short views of Lake Superior.
I did find the women’s restroom a little fascinating, as it’s in the original condition and takes you back in time to the 1950s decor. There is a small snack bar guests can purchase chips, candy or drinks during the excursion.
Costs for the regular daily 1.5-hour excursion is $14 for adults and $6 for children ages three to 13. The excursions are seasonal and run from select dates in May to October. Advanced reservations are required, or you can purchase tickets at their box office.
If you are in the area sight-seeing, the best bargain would be to purchase the “Must See Duluth Pass,” which costs $27 for adults and $12 for children ages three to 12. The pass includes admission to three attractions: a 1.5-hour Vista Fleet sight-seeing cruise, the Great Lakes Aquarium and the North Shore Scenic Railroad daily excursion.
There are also nights where the Scenic Railroad has pizza nights as well as other special events and trips, including the six-hour excursions to the North Shore (about $45/person), an elegant dinner ride (about $48/person), a murder mystery ride (about $48/person) and a fall excursion. They also rent a birthday caboose, for about $200. During the winter months there is a Polar Express train ride.
The Lake Superior Railroad Museum is also located inside the Historic Union Depot building. If you ride the scenic train, admission to the museum is only $7 for adults or $3.50 for children. Without the ride, admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children.
The museum features railcars and steam engines, as well as a replica of downtown Duluth during early eras. They offer great historical and educational fun for all ages, as you get to go inside and tour the larger-than life railcars. There are a few gift shops and a candy and ice cream shop inside as well.