Camping and a Train Ride | Houston, TX Family Photographer
Mateo is slightly obsessed with my brother’s green van. This van is what we use to pull my father’s RV trailer. I never would have thought these two things, out of all the things he could possibly be incredibly crazy about, that he would incessantly dream about, talk about, and pretend play about a green van and RV trailer. Yet here we are, my sweet nearly four year old tells me, “Mama, one day I’m going to have a green van and a trailah”. And yes, he pronounces it as “trailah”!
Earlier in the summer we loaded up the green van and trailer and headed to Freeport, TX to Quintana Beach to camp. Mateo had dreamed and prayed for this trip since last October. We had a blast. Mateo helped to prepare the trailer to go on the trip by raising the jacks, hooking up the trailer to the van, and riding with Papa in the green van to help navigate. While camping we knew we wanted to begin to plan our next trip. We knew of the Texas State Railroad and began to wonder what kind of adventure we could get into on a train ride!
TSRR offers a roundtrip train ride through out the year either with a diesel locomotive or a steam locomotive. We knew the steam locomotive would be our personal choice, and so we looked at their schedule of rides and saw July 4th weekend would be the perfect time to go on a ride! Camping is allowed at the Rusk depot, and we began to do a little googling to see what we might wish to do. We saw this great video of a train running through the campsite at Rusk and I was SOLD!
Luck was on our side as the campground was not full when we arrived; the campsite is a first come first serve of those who have reservations. We pretty much had the pick of all the sites! We chose the site where there would be the best view of the train going through the campground. We were also excited to note the campground has a splash pad for the kids to enjoy, and this mama may have enjoyed it too!
We celebrated the birth of the United States of America with a good old grilling of burgers and dogs with a side of sparklers fit for the littles. We brought my nephew, Ben, along for the trip, and I’m so glad we did. My boys sure enjoyed getting to hang out with their cousin.
The train currently runs from Palestine, TX to Rusk, TX and back again. We drove the 30 minutes to Palestine, TX and caught the train. The roundtrip takes about 4 hours total with an hour layover in Rusk, TX for lunch. We rode on the Dome Class car and had a blast! As part of the trip we had the opportunity to explore the other cars, moving about between the cars as though we were in a movie! Both depots have a sweet, little gift shop full of goodies just waiting for grandparents or gullible moms to spend all their money! I was happy to oblige securing train whistles, handkerchiefs, and caps for my boys. Oh, and don’t forget the toy trains and book with a wind-up train!
In all, this was such a fun trip, and I would absolutely do it again! The train is also a very feasible day trip, if you leave early enough. You’ll want to be sure to arrive at least an hour prior to departure so you can enjoy the tour of the locomotive! I was so impressed with how open the operators of the train are with their train and depot. You’ll see so many with their cameras out taking video and photos standing on the tracks and just enjoying the time of years past!
We had a blast and I look forward to our next adventure!