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American Beauty: 3 of the Best Train Journeys in the U.S.

3 of the Best Train Trips in the United States
3 of the Best Train Trips in the United States

What’s the next best thing to living the American dream? Living the American dream holiday!

There are so many epic train experiences to be had in the land of opportunity. We have chosen three of our customers' best-loved U.S. train journeys to give you a bit of inspiration for your own all-American adventure.


Coast Starlight

Seattle - Portland - Sacramento - Los Angeles

One of the best ways to discover the West Coast of North America is the famed Coast Starlight. Soul-stirring scenery and unsurpassed views have given the Coast Starlight its reputation as one of the most spectacular train routes in the world.

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Downtown Seattle

From the majestic snow-capped mountains and verdant forests of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta to the sparkling shoreline of the Pacific Ocean, this is a journey that showcases the dramatic natural landscapes of America’s western seaboard or ‘left coast’ as the locals call it.

"Soul-stirring scenery and unsurpassed views" 

The Coast starlight begins its mountains-to-sea passage in the Emerald city of Seattle and passes through the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Portland before arriving at its final destination – Los Angeles.  


Scenic highlights of this 2,216 km rail adventure include: 

Amtrak Adventures
Amtrak Adventures onboard Coast Starlight
  • Puget Sound
  • Cascade Mountains – part of the Pacific Ring of Fire
  • Mission Santa Barbara
  • Willamette Valley – home to more than 500 wineries
  • California Coast
  • Los Angeles – historic Olvera Street

Special features of the Coast Starlight:

  • Enjoy sensational views from the Sightseer Lounge Car
  • Sleeping car and Business class passengers can relax in the Pacific Parlour Car which boasts 3 types of luxurious seating, free Wi-Fi lounge and dining areas, library and theatre.


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The Coast Starlight snaking along the Pacific Ocean shoreline

Acela Express

Boston - New Haven - New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore - Washington DC

The Acela Express is the most convenient way to travel downtown to downtown between New York, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other intermediary cities. Travelling at speeds of up to 240 km/h, Amtrak's flagship rail service along the Northeast Corridor offers superior comfort and significant time & money savings when compared to air and bus travel between DC and Boston.

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"Superior comfort and significant time & money savings"

First class passengers aboard the Acela Express enjoy rotating at-seat menu service which boasts dishes typically found in fine dining restaurants.

Several of the entrees offered on the menu are prepared using the sous vide method, which serves to seal in taste and maintain the nutritional value of the meals.

The Amtrak Culinary Advisory Team partnered with the expert chef Michel Richard to create the mouth-watering menu.To complete your first class Acela express culinary experience you can choose from a range of fine red, white and sparkling wines selections, spirits, and other premium beverages.


Scenic highlights of this 735 km rail adventure include:

  • The Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival onpage 380
    Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C.
    Boston – renowned for its many historic sites of the American Revolution and Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox)
  • Scenic views of the Connecticut coastline dotted by numerous harbours, ships and bridges
  • New Haven
  • New York – arrive at Penn Station which sits below Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan, in close proximity to the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and Macy’s department store
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington D.C. – full of iconic U.S. sights, museums and opportunities to learn about American history and government

Special features of the Acela Express:

  • Café Acela
  • At-seat electrical outlets and conference tables
  • Hourly service downtown Boston to downtown Washington D.C. during peak morning and afternoon rush hours
  • America’s fastest train
  • First class passengers enjoy complimentary at-seat meal service and access to Club Acela lounges


New York cityscape America Amtrak
Captivating New York City lights


Pacific Surfliner 

San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara - Los Angeles - San Diego

If coastal vistas, Disneyland, and Hollywood sound like a recipe for the perfect holiday, the Pacific Surfliner is the answer to your ultimate American travel experience. Travelling along the Southern California Coast from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, the Pacific Surfliner makes stops in the resort town of Santa Barbara and the entertainment mecca of Los Angeles.

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Scenic views of courthouse buildlings in Santa Barbara

San Luis Obispo has been called the “happiest place in America” thanks to its mild year-round weather, amazing range of outdoor leisure activities, and its location in Central Coast Wine Country.

"the happiest place in America"

If you are more of a theme park lover you’ll be happy to know that you can visit SeaWorld in San Diego and Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park when the train stops in Anaheim.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for a bit of celebrity spotting you might like to treat yourself to a tour through Beverly Hills of the Movie Stars’ homes and visit the Universal Studios while you’re in the cinematic capital of L.A.


Scenic highlights of this 560 km rail adventure include:

Pacific Surfliner cruising down Southern California Coast
  • Breathtaking views of the panoramic California coastline
  • San Luis Obispo – world-class wine region
  • Santa Maria Valley
  • Santa Barbara – the American Riviera
  • Ventura
  • Anaheim – home to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park
  • Los Angeles
  • San Clemente Pier – when you get off at this stop it’s just a few steps to reach the sand
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • San Diego

Special features of the Pacific Surfliner:

  • SeaView Café & Lounge
  • Special racks to accommodate bikes and surfboards
  • Free Wi-Fi in select carriages


These are just three of the incredible U.S. travel experiences waiting to be had when you ride the rails across this amazing continent. Discover more of Amtrak's amazing American rail routes on our USA train tickets page or contact our friendly team for expert advice on train travel in North America. 

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