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Top 3 Cross-Country Train Rides Across America

By Amtrak Vacations Monday, July 12, 2021 Read time: 3 minutes

There is so much to experience when you travel by train across America, from stunning scenery and picturesque views to iconic cities and famed locations. These three vacations feature cross-country train rides that are a great way to travel across America and make memories that are sure to last a lifetime.

1. Pacific Rail Experience

San Francisco-golden gate bridge


Take an incredible cross-country train ride when you book the Pacific Rail Experience, which features three famous Amtrak train routes:

  • Southwest Chief
  • Coast Starlight
  • California Zephyr

From Chicago, you’ll enjoy a scenic train ride onboard the Southwest Chief through the Midwest plains as you head to California and the famous cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The views from onboard the train are like no other—curving canyon passages, pristine vistas, and spectacular sunsets you can see from anywhere other than the train. In Los Angeles, see some of the most famous sights: Rodeo Drive, Paramount Studios, the Hollywood Sign, and more as part of your included tour. From there, take the Coast Starlight to San Francisco and enjoy the beautiful coastal views. Your deluxe sightseeing tour includes many of the city’s prized locations: the Opera House, Old Mission Dolores, and Fisherman’s Wharf to name a few. After two days exploring the city, sit back, relax, and enjoy the gorgeous train ride back to Chicago (with views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas and the mighty Glenwood Canyons, this journey is truly unforgettable).

2. Rocky Mountains to Yosemite Roundtrip from Chicago

Bear Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park


For a truly stunning experience, visit Rocky Mountain and Yosemite National Parks in one cross-country train ride in this bucket-list-worthy vacation. From the views, onboard the California Zephyr to sightseeing tours of both national parks, this Amtrak train vacation is a photographer’s delight. In addition to the parks, you’ll also get to explore three cities with incredible sights to see:

  • Denver, CO
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Francisco, CA

In Denver, explore places like Red Rocks Park and the Denver Zoo. Your narrated tour of Salt Lake City covers many popular attractions, including Fort Douglas and the historic Old Union Pacific Train Depot. In San Francisco, breathe in the fresh open air and sample the delicious local cuisine as you stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf.

Pro Tip

You’ll spend four nights onboard Amtrak in this cross-country train ride; remember to upgrade to private sleeping accommodations to enjoy complimentary meals, your own private car attendant, and lounge access inside Amtrak stations!

3. Highlights of America Coast-to-Coast

Washington, D.C Capital building during sunset


Journey from “sea to shining sea” in this cross-country train ride that starts in Washington, D.C. and ends in Los Angeles, CA! In Washington, DC, check out all of the monuments and memorials in your included sightseeing tour. You’ll also enjoy the International Spy Museum, which holds the largest collection of international espionage artifacts in the world. Spend a night onboard the train en route to your next stop: Chicago.

Spend two days exploring the “Windy City”, from the Navy Pier and Millenium Park to your included architecture river cruise, Chicago is a true delight. From Chicago, relax and enjoy the scenery from onboard the Southwest Chief as you head to Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon. We don’t need to tell you how spectacular the views are in the Grand Canyon, but we will remind you to bring your camera! This incredible cross-country train ride ends in Los Angeles, with more included sightseeing opportunities—stroll down Rodeo Drive, marvel at the Walk of Fame, and of course, keep an eye out for your favorite celebrities!

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