These Magical US Train Rides Will Make You Think Twice About Flying

United States, train rides, grand canyon railway, colorado rail experience, napa valley wine train, pacific surfliner

Trains are a fantastic way to get places, whether you are looking to take a scenic tour of the country, you want to save money on flights, or you want to experience the magical old-school charm that sets it apart from other modes of travel. As you sit in your spacious seat, you’ll notice that the train ride encourages you to relax in a way that other forms of transportation simply cannot. Pop into the dining car for a bite to eat or take in the scenery through one of the long rows of windows—the perks are many.

The U.S. has a variety of diverse landscapes from coast to coast, from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes and Atlantic beaches. As a result, it has a plethora of great train routes as well as scenic train rides, making it a unique country for rail travel.

Read on to learn more about the four best train journeys across America for an unforgettable adventure.


The Pacific Surfliner


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The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner travels over 351 miles through Southern California, connecting San Diego to San Luis Obispo. Ride the train to visit beaches, restaurants, and landmarks in quaint beach towns like Carpinteria, San Juan Capistrano, and Ventura. Then, hop-off at Santa Barbara to explore its beautiful downtown area or visit the Santa Barbara Zoo. The Pacific Surfliner offers the thrills of a coastal ride through the heart of California. With 27 stops along the way, this train service gives glimpses of the state’s best sights and experiences.

Pacific Surfliner tickets from Solana Beach Station to Santa Barbara Station start at $40 for a one-way coach ticket. The cheapest round-trip business class tickets start at $120 for an adult.

The Napa Valley Wine Train


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The Napa Valley Wine Train is the perfect combination of luxury and adventure, offering round-trips from downtown Napa to St. Helena. Following the original rail that opened in 1864, this scenic route goes north to the resort town of Calistoga. On this three-hour, 36-mile round-trip journey, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful views of vineyards, mountains, and valleys when it passes the towns of Yountville, Rutherford, and Oakville. Traveling aboard a vintage rail car, passengers can enjoy gourmet meals as they make stops at the state’s finest wineries. With extensive amenities, including a live entertainment theatre, plush armchairs, and luxurious dining service, this excursion train has become one of the most popular activities in the Bay Area.

The day trip’s price begins at $280 per person and can go up to $350 depending on the tour you choose. The half-day tour price starts at $215 per person.

Colorado Rail Experience

You can’t touch the highest peaks in Colorado without experiencing one of the most scenic passenger rail journeys in the United States. This high-alpine journey lets you explore Garden of the Gods and Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and a lot more with five spectacular railroads, including the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, and Royal Gorge Route Railroad. These lines are some of the most beautiful in the United States, offering breathtaking views of lakes, mountains, streams, waterfalls, forests, and more. The 8-day Colorado Rail Experience with Vacations By Rail takes you across the Rockies aboard standard and narrow gauge trains.

The Grand Canyon Railway

People have been visiting the Grand Canyon forever—and now, they can experience a little bit of history as well as a healthy dose of nature on a train ride from Williams, Arizona, to the South Rim. The Grand Canyon Railway, which dates back to 1901, transports visitors to the South Rim in restored vintage cars, filled with tales from the crew and characters from the olden days. History comes alive on this ride—which is a lot more fun than a boring old car trip! The fun train ride offers a unique way to see the western landscape and lets you experience western music and scenery as you make way for one of nature’s most magnificent wonders.

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