Travel Review: Staying at Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir, California
This post may contain affiliate links. My stay at the Railroad Park Resort was paid for by myself.
I have an on-going quest to find unique accommodations suitable for families. After a great time at an alpaca farm last fall, a friend mentioned in conversation about Railroad Park Resort. I was instantly intrigued. It was a trek from our home (4-5 hours by car) but it sounded absolutely perfect for my son’s third birthday (in lieu of a party). We didn’t really know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by the property and the surrounding area.
When we went: July 2021
Ages of kids at time of travel: 8, 6 and 3
Where we stayed: Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir, California
What To Expect at Railroad Park Resort
Railroad Park Resort is located right off of Interstate 5 in Dunsmuir, California. Located just north of Lake Shasta and with the towering Mt Shasta in background, the setting couldn’t be more beautiful. Upon arrival, you will notice this is not your usual hotel – the rooms are actually train cabooses that have been converted to rooms! The check-in process is very casual and quick. You will park your vehicle right next to your caboose.
These are actual train cabooses so it is very narrow, similar to the width of an RV. But, with so many outdoor amenities in the area, you will spend quite a bit of time outdoors. The caboose has all the basics: bed, small table with chairs, TV, wi-fi, bathroom (toilet, sink, shower tub) as well as A/C and heating. While you do have a microwave and mini fridge in the caboose, we dined out for all of our meals. We did have one meal at the Dining Car restaurant which is on-site. It combines the fun experience of dining in a train car with a delicious meal.
The property does have a pool and hot tub to enjoy. The pool is not heated but summer temperatures make the water quite refreshing! There is a small creek running through the property and lots of trains to check out. A little walk around the property with little ones is perfect! Overall, most everyone we saw staying there had kids. And nights were silent! The Railroad Park Resort does have quiet hours and people were definitely adhering to them.
We did not interact with the staff much as we had everything we needed once we had our keys and we didn’t experience any issues. We also left before the office was open so we just dropped the keys into the mail slot.
Things To Keep in Mind
Overall, this was a fun weekend and a great spot for families. If I could do anything differently, I would have stayed longer in the area! It is a significant drive from the Bay Area so would recommend doing this for a few nights and then maybe exploring some nearby spots like Lassen National Park, Redwoods National Park or even parts of Southern Oregon.
For families of 5 out there, there are only two cabooses with capacity for 5 people so plan ahead!
Less is more for packing when staying in a train caboose. There is not much room for luggage or big bags so try to pack light and leave stuff you don’t need (ex. our water toys for the lake) in the car.
This area is prone to wildfires so keep in mind that air quality could change quickly, even if a fire is far away.
Dining Recommendations in the area
Railroad Park Resort has an on-site restaurant serving dinner five days a week. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (530) 235-4611. They did have a kid’s menu with several choices as well as a simple ice cream sundae for dessert.
Dunsmuir also has a few options to check out and you can venture to other nearby towns for options, too. We visited:
- YAKS on the 5 – creative burger combos with several fry choices and tons of local craft beers on tap. Indoor and outdoor dining.
- Sten’s Burger Strand – a low key spot next to the community pool that sells burgers as well as lots of ice cream treats. Grab a soft serve cone and walk across the street where there is a grassy spot and a train car to admire.
- The Wheelhouse – we grabbed breakfast here but they also serve lunch and dinner. At the time we went, you ordered at the counter and food was brought out. There were a few tables on the sidewalk.
- Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe – located in Mt Shasta, we got an afternoon treat from here. They serve breakfast and lunch as well as coffee, tea and smoothies.
What Else To Do in the Area
Siskiyou County is home to so much outdoor recreation and there are ample things to do in the area. With kids, I would recommend:
- Hedge Creek Falls – an easy .7 mile hike to a small waterfall with a shallow pool area for kids to splash in. Water shoes are perfect for the walk plus water play.
- Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort – you can get a day pass ($2/person ages 11+) and cool off in the lake. Go early to grab a spot on the beach, pack water shoes for the rocky shore and consider bringing your own gear as rentals (kayaks & paddleboards) isn’t open until 11am.
- Mt Shasta Ski Park – in summer, has trails for hiking, biking and disc golf
- Castle Lake – if you enjoy hiking, consider the Castle Lake to Heart Lake trail (2.2 miles roundtrip, moderate)
- Dunsmuir Depot – free museum in town but only open the 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month from 10am – 2pm.
- There are also lots of outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, biking, boating and fishing so be sure to research if those are of interest.
Need more lake time? Check out another one of my favorite vacation rentals in Northern California, Sugar Pine Cabin.
What to Pack for Railroad Park Resort
Nothing too unusual for this trip. We packed:
- Casual clothes (no need to dress-up) as well as comfy loungewear for the evenings
- A light jacket for morning or evenings
- Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, lotion and hand soap were all provided)
- Swimsuit (or two) depending on how frequently you’ll be in the water
- Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for being outside or by the water
- Water shoes were key for both kids and adults for Lake Siskiyou and the waterfall
- Water bottles to refill with delicious Dunsmuir tap water (try it from the tap at Hedge Creek Falls)
- For Lake Siskiyou, some sort of umbrella for shade (ours is linked here), towels, beach chairs, sand toys and inflatable rafts.
How to Book
Book directly with Railroad Park Resort on their website.