COURTESY OF AMTRAK COAST STARLIGHT
Journeying by rail to explore parts of the United States brings you views you won’t see any other way. From snow-covered peaks to valleys, vineyards and the Pacific Ocean, there are so many sights to observe along the West Coast. Now, Amtrak is making it easier and cheaper to explore the region by welcoming passengers aboard with $97 fares for its Coast Starlight route from Seattle to Los Angeles and vice versa. The 35-hour trip takes you through Portland, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area and Santa Barbara.
Other deals worth checking out if you’re traveling out west include a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway for $65 roundtrip from Williams, Ariz., to the Grand Canyon. The railway service even offers a discount to AARP members. Another great option is the Pacific Surfliner. The railcar will take you from San Diego to San Luis Obispo for as low as $61.
The low fare, under Amtrak’s saver option, will get you an upper or lower seat in coach, and you can check two bags for free. The ticket is nonrefundable. The train also has sleeper cabins, but the price is significantly higher.
While it may not always be the quickest way to travel, the train has its benefits. Besides being the most scenic mode of transport, it’s usually less stressful than air travel, and you avoid aggravating traffic. Plus, depending on the route, it can be educational. Case in point: For the Coast Starlight journey from Seattle to Los Angeles, Amtrak has partnered with the National Park Service to provide information during the trip about the natural and cultural heritage of different areas.
Whether you want to plan a West Coast train ride or a trip to somewhere else, now might be the right time to book. AARP previously reported on 12 U.S. train trips you should take in the fall. Also check out this list of 12 breathtaking train trips from around the world.