A Coast-to-coast Experience of America’s Beauty and Heritage
Recently, I read an article titled, “Across the USA by Train for Just $213” and immediately did a double take; Wait, there is no way I can travel from coast-to-coast for that cheap! So my friend and I began to research blogger Derek Low’s article and found that, yes, you can travel across the US for a fairly low cost. I was instantly intrigued and felt inspired to share my newfound information with Pink readers.
When I think of travel, immediate options that come to mind are car, plane and cruise ship. And, I’m somewhat ashamed to say, I often think of traveling as heading out of the country. I forget everything our wonderful country has to offer. And seeing it by train is one of the best, most affordable options. Let’s be real, the closest I’ve come to train travel in the last 15 years is my Christmas viewing of The Polar Express. So with Derek Low’s article in mind, I dove into Amtrak’s informative website and talked with their experts to learn everything you need to know about traveling America coast-to-coast and how to have an experience overflowing with beauty and heritage.
Amtrak has four train routes—Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Palmetto and Crescent—and 15 stations that provide service to S.C. The closest station to our area is the newly renovated Yemassee, S.C. station. These trains are part of a national network of services and 82 percent of South Carolinians live within 30 minutes of a station. Amtrak’s principle mission is to provide long-distance service, connecting small towns to the heart of large cities.
Sound like a great idea? I definitely think so. If you are ready for a travel experience with amazing scenery, an environment that fosters engaging connections, and the ability to explore and be inspired by the diversity of landscapes America has to offer read on to learn more.
Where Can You Go? Amtrak trains travel through over 500 destinations in 46 states on a 21,000-mile route system. You may wonder where a particular train goes or what you’re seeing out the window as you travel along the rails—that’s where their handy route guides come in. Each guide points out sights you’ll see, interesting facts about towns along the route and historical information about the route itself. Take one along on your next trip or travel from your armchair and use it to plan the ultimate Amtrak adventure.
It’s Great for the Family: Long-distance trains are a great avenue for family travel, as it is much easier to take care of small children on a train, than in a plane or a car. Train travel allows for families to spend quality, interactive time together while enjoying the passing scenery.
Good Eats: Say goodbye to tiny packets of airplane peanuts and greasy drive-through menus; say hello to more appealing food choices. Whether it’s the casual food service of the café car or the complete sit-down meal service of the dining car, you will find a variety of real food to satisfy your hunger.
A Revolutionary Experience for Our Generation: Amtrak has been working to improve the travel experience for customers. E-ticketing is more convenient. Customers have the ability to travel with a pet or a bicycle and enhanced Wi-Fi.
Comfort is Key: Long-distance trains are the only civilized way to travel with super wide seats, expansive leg and headroom, electrical outlets at every seat, generous baggage allowance, and an ability to get up and walk around. Trains are rolling communities that provide a sense of openness, security and a place to practice the art of conversation with fellow travelers. Offering a complete travel package with transportation, bedrooms and food service, traveling by train allows you to relax the moment you board, all without traffic congestion or airport hassles.
Where Should I Go?
When I began researching train travel with Amtrak, I was blown away by the multitude of journeys they have—about 350 unique rail travel packages to choose from. Read below to learn about their programs and top destinations and one-of-a-kind experiences:
Top Vacation Destinations:
> Glacier National Park
> Grand Canyon National Park
> Yellowstone National Park
> Yosemite National Park
> New York City
> Washington, DC
> New Orleans
> Niagara Falls
> San Francisco
Visit Iconic National Treasures:
To provide passengers with an opportunity to enrich their travel experience, Amtrak partnered with the National Park Service to develop Trails & Rails as a way to encourage vacationers and long-distance travelers to take the train to many of our nation’s natural and cultural heritage sights.
> Saratoga National Historical Park
> Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
> New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
> Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
> Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail
> Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site
> Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
> Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park
> Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
> Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
> Roosevelt - Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
> Oklahoma City National Memorial
> Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
> Lincoln National Historic Site
> National Mall & Memorial Parks and National Parks of New York Harbor
> Cabrillo National Monument
> Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
> San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
I’m interested. Where Do I Start?
Like many vacations, planning is necessary before you begin your adventure. There are several different types of tickets and rail passes. Riders can choose from single-ride and multi-ride tickets. Multi-ride tickets allow you to take multiple trips using one ticket within a set amount of time on select routes; a ten-ticket ride is perfect for larger period of time. The USA Rail Pass offers an excellent way to travel to many of Amtrak’s 500 destinations. And, their 15-, 30-, or 45-day rail travel options let you stay close to home or adventure across the country. When choosing your type of ticket, make sure to check travel restrictions for certain trains. Amtrak’s website (www.amtrak.com) has a multitude of information to help you plan your next adventure.
So take a trip on Amtrak and enjoy the ride—getting there really is half the fun.
Connect with the Amtrak community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube by starting or joining conversations about your Amtrak experience, train travel adventures or your favorite train routes and tips to make the most of train travel. To plan your next unforgettable train adventure visit www.amtrak.com or www.amtrakvacations.com.