Florida tourist railroads you must visit include steam excursions to museums and everything in between in the Sunshine State. Here’s our list of must-see tourist railroads, museums, and displays — for almost every region in Florida.
The home of Henry Flagler, who developed the Florida East Coast Railway, is now a museum of the Gilded Age. Docent-led tours are offered, or you can tour the 55-room Whitehall on your own. The Flagler Kenan Pavilion, designed in the style of a 19th-century Beaux Arts railway palace, houses Henry Flagler’s private railcar. It is closed Mondays.
Location: 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach
Henry B. Plant Museum
You’ll find the Henry B. Plant Museum on the University of Tampa campus in historic Plant Hall, the former Tampa Bay Hotel. Its minarets and unique architecture make Plant Hall the most iconic building in Tampa. The 1891 building now contains exhibits on Plant and his Plant System network of Southeastern railroads, which became part of the Atlantic Coast Line. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays year-round. The Victorian Christmas Stroll event in December, when you’ll find the museum bedecked in period holiday decorations, is a Tampa tradition.
Location: 401 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL
Naples Depot Museum
The museum is housed in a former Seaboard Air Line passenger station and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features restored railcars, interactive exhibits, and a model railroad. Miniature train rides are also offered. It is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Location: 1051 Fifth Avenue South, Naples
Tampa Union Station
Opened in 1912 by the Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Air Line, and Tampa Northern railroads, the station is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Italian Renaissance Revival-style building was restored by a community group in 1998. Additional restoration work continues today. The City of Tampa owns the station. Its ornate waiting room, which still serves Amtrak passengers, features displays chronicling the station’s history and the story of railroading on Florida’s west coast. The Friends of Tampa Union Station hosts a festival called Tampa Train Day, every May.
Location: 601 North Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL
Phone: 1-800-872-7245 (Amtrak tickets and information)
With operations based out of Clewiston, the Sugar Express offers year-round excursions across the U.S. Sugar Corporation system. The star is U.S. Sugar steam locomotive No. 148, a 4-6-2 Pacific-type built in 1920.
West Florida Railroad Museum
The museum is located in the 1909 L&N depot and exhibits a variety of memorabilia from the L&N, Frisco, and other railroads. On display are various railcars including an L&N dining car, boxcar, flatcar, and caboose. You can also see a bridge tender’s house from the Escambia Bay trestle and a section shed with a motor car. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays.
Location: 5003 Henry Street, Milton