Last updated on April 24th, 2022 at 11:41 pm
There is no better way to take a leisurely trip than by train. There is so much natural beauty across the United States just waiting to be discovered, and traveling by train is the best way to take it all in.
And, with train travel, sometimes it’s not about getting to your destination, it’s about enjoying the journey. That’s why we’re sharing six of the best scenic train trips in the United States. We’re listing trips that are all about the the experience and the sightseeing along the way. No matter your budget or how much (or how little) time you have, we have you covered.
6 of the Best Scenic Train Trips in the USA
Cass Scenic Railroad, Cass Depot, Cass, WV:
This eight-mile trip starts at just $41 per person (for adults) and is perfect for those who just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy West Virginia’s spectacular scenery–and who wouldn’t? This trip offers you a chance to ride in the locomotives used so many years ago when logging was a major industry in this area. The best time to see the amazing fall foliage is in October.
Cape Cod Central Railroad, Hyannis/Buzzards Bay, MA:
With this scenic ride, you can choose between a sightseeing tour, or if you prefer, the dinner train ride makes a perfect night out. This 27-mile trip takes you from Hyannis Port to Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts. Look for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, and other special occasion brunches served aboard the train. What a fun way to enjoy a holiday with your family!
Grand Canyon Railway, Northern Arizona:
The iconic Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s bucket list, and one of the best ways to see it is by train. It’s the perfect way to avoid the traffic and the hordes of tourists. Starting in Northern Arizona, the 130-mile train trip through a beautiful stretch of ponderosa pine forest ends at the glorious Grand Canyon. I speak from experience when I tell you it is absolutely breathtaking and a must-see!
California Zephyr, several states:
If you have the time for a cross-country vacation, this might be the trip for you. From Chicago to California, this train ride will take you through several states and amazing scenery. After sightseeing in Chicago, you’ll head west through the Great Plains, to the craggy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and then to the open desert landscapes of Utah and Nevada. Your journey ends in San Francisco with a little sightseeing in the city by the bay.
This trip is over 3,000 miles and seven days, with so much packed into that short time. How incredible to see our country’s huge variety of landscapes and natural beauty in just seven days! There are several stops during the trip, and you’ll enjoy the use of a dining car, sleeper cars, and a lot of open spaces to roam and stretch your legs.
Based in western North Carolina, you can take a short 45-mile scenic railway tour through the beautiful Smoky Mountains and along the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers. The scenery alone earns this route a spot on our list of the best scenic train trips in the country. Choose your accommodations on this trip–options include first class, family first class, and open air to name a few. This is definitely a budget-friendly excursion.
This gorgeous route, the Grand West Coast Train Adventure, is often talked about as one of the best scenic train trips in the entire Amtrak system. It takes you along the Pacific Coast, with stunning cliff views as you look over the Cascade mountains. There are stops along the West Coast, including in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and several more all the way to Portland, Oregon. This trip gives you a chance to experience some of the most incredible views of the oceans, moutains, forest, and valleys our country has to offer. Click to learn more about the Grand West Coast Train Adventure.
Train travel is perhaps the best way to see the the country, so why not make plans to get out there and explore?
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