All Aboard! Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway Staycation

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AKRON, Ohio-From beer and wine tours to adventures just for the kids, this summer staycation will take you on an exciting ride through history.

In the heart of Northeast Ohio is a trip that’s like a step back in time.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway started back in 1972.

“It never gets boring,” said Kelly Steele-Moore, who’s worked with railroad for the past five years. “There’s always something new to see. Every season presents something new to see in the national park.”

The tracks stretch 51 miles, passing through the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

With nine stations scattered from Independence to Canton, the railway is now one of the oldest and longest tourist railways in the country.

“I’m psyched cause we’re going to ride a train, and I’ve never rode a train in Akron before,” said eight-year-old Kanye Lee, who attended an educational tour on the train with his school. “I can’t wait. It’s going to be so much fun.”

In addition to educational tours, some of the railroad’s most celebrated rides are specialty tours, like Ales on Rails and Wine Country: The Grape Escape Wine Train; on these rides, passengers get to taste a variety of food and drink while traveling through the valley.

However, for those looking for a more family friendly ride, some suggest you try the Bike Aboard program.

“Summertime is really nice for families to come down on the train and bike,” said Akron school teacher Diane Pancoe. “It’s so beautiful, peaceful.”

Nearly 24,000 people participated in Bike Aboard last year. The program allows people to bring their bikes on board and encourages them to ride the trails of Cuyahoga Valley. A one-way ticket costs $2.

Supported by nearly 500 volunteers, the non-profit railway teaches the rich history of the area, including its connection to the Underground Railroad.

“Reading about it, you can picture it however you want to,” said 14-year-old Akron student Kendia Peake. “But, actually seeing it is like different in real life than picturing it in your mind. So, it’s like kind of fascinating because you don’t know what to expect.”

It’s truly a one-of-a-kind tour, and a ride that kids and adults will never forget, said Steele Moore.

“You see families getting ready to get on the train, and kids are so excited that they’re running in circles,” she said. “It’s not only historic and educational, but a great way to see Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You can sit back and let the driving to us.”

The CVSR is also offering a variety of deals in celebration of its 40th year. For those who are turning 40 years old this year, Steele-Moore said to bring your ID on board and you can ride for free. At other times, a family of four can ride the train for $40.

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