Amtrak Train crossing through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Photo by / Jacob Boomsma

Traveling by Train: Explore the Country in Style

The U.S. leaves much to be desired where train travel is concerned, but the original choice of cross-country transportation can still satisfy one’s desire to feel like a classy, well-traveled individual. There are sights to be seen across the country, and there’s nothing like a domed observation car to give you a 360° view of the Rocky, Smoky, or Grand Teton Mountains. Environmentally, trains are responsible for less than three percent of all gas emissions from transportation, emitting 75 percent less greenhouse gas than cars. Rail travel is also the most reliable method of transportation. Adverse weather and environmental factors that affect alternative modes of transport are less likely to set back rail trips. The original way of American cross-country travel guarantees beautiful sights and plenty of time to relax (along with some of the best sleep of your life).


Amtrak (Cross-Country)

Amtrak, the primary operator of passenger rail services, offers more wheelchair-accessible accommodations than independent railway companies. Offered on a first-come, first-served basis, Amtrak guarantees wheelchair-accessible bathrooms in Coach cars and overnight rooms in Sleeper cars. Amtrak also automatically applies a 15 percent discount for guests requesting a wheelchair seating space.


Pacific Northwest & Midwest

Amtrak has several packages allowing you to visit the most beautiful sights America offers. The Northern Rail Experience begins in Chicago, stopping in Seattle, Northern California, and San Francisco before returning to Chicago. Over the nine-day trip, you will experience the Pacific Coast and Midwest like never before. This rail trip follows significant portions of the historic Lewis and Clark trail and many sightseeing opportunities in Seattle, Northern California, and San Francisco. The ticket price per adult starts at $1,849 and includes three nights of hotel accommodations, five nights on board Amtrak, and one dinner. Buy tickets and learn more at


The South

If you love the Coastal South and weeping willows, Amtrak offers a six-day experience of two beautiful Southern cities: Savannah and Charleston. At $1,199 per adult, this trip includes sightseeing in Charleston and Savannah, where you will visit Rainbow Row, the Battery, Andrew Low House, and River Street. This trip also offers a riverside plantation tour and sightseeing cruise, with overnight accommodations via hotels. If you want to feel refreshed and well-fed, this Southern tour is the remedy to your post-summer blues. Buy tickets and learn more at


Alaska Railroad (Alaska)

Alaska Railroad offers a variety of summer and winter packages. Ranging from one- to 11-day trips, you have your choice of sights and experiences.



The Denali in a Day package offers a guided drive from Fairbanks to Denali, a visit to the Murie Science and Learning Center, a guided nature walk (or snowshoe), and a visit to the river community of Nenana on your way to Denali National Park. Denali National Park encompasses six million acres of wilderness, including the tallest mountain in North America. You’ll ride back to Fairbanks on the Aurora Winter Train for breathtaking sights of The Last Frontier. At only $315 per person, this is an affordable option for anyone visiting Alaska. Buy tickets and learn more at


Vacations by Rail 


New England

The New England Autumn Foliage Tour is an eight-day round-trip experience, departing from Boston to Kancamagus Highway, Vermont, and Mystic, Connecticut. Before returning to Boston, you’ll ride the Conway Scenic Railroad, Cog Railway, Amtrak’s Vermonter, and Cape Cod Central Railway. This package includes dinners, sightseeing, and ample time for self-guided and group tours at Mystic Seaport Museum and Newport Mansion. This trip is perfect for viewing New England’s enviable fall foliage display, which remains unmatched on the Kancamagus Highway. Tickets start at $2,495 per person and include hotel accommodations for seven nights and twelve meals. Buy tickets and learn more at


Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountain Rail Adventure starts in Nashville, with a guided sightseeing experience, including many landmarks of the Music City, such as the Grand Ole Opry and RCA Studio B where legends like Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton have performed/recorded. The nine-day trip includes three scenic rail excursions and sights of the Great Smoky Mountains and Biltmore Estate. The ticket price, $2,895 per person, includes hotel accommodations for eight nights and ten meals. The trip, concluding in Asheville, offers transportation to the airport to help you get home safely. This trip is perfect for Southerners and anyone who wants to know the mountainous region of the Smokies better. Buy tickets and learn more at

There are various ways to travel in style, and trains are as classic as they get. As the lowest emitting way of transportation, you’ll be able to enjoy your travels without hurting the environment. If you’re planning a trip for this fall (or next), consider a train trip to get you there.