The immense size and scale of the USA is unquestionable. Discover over 10 million km² of stunning mountain ranges, deserts, deep snow, breathtaking cities, endless prairies, six time zones, and massive lakes that could swallow entire countries.
While flying from New York to LA is convenient, rail is the best way to see the country’s beauty.
Many US trains offer a nostalgic, relaxing touring experience through pristine landscapes inaccessible by car or plane.These are the best US train routes. Top 5 US train trips from California to New England.
New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited
New Orleans-San Antonio-Tucson-Phoenix-Los Angeles route.
Longest distance: 2764 miles (4448 km); 48 hours.
One of the most iconic American railroad rides is Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, which runs from New Orleans to the Pacific Ocean. Don’t want to spend two weeks in a car but want to cross the US? Take the Sunset Limited.
Indulge in America’s diverse landscapes, from Louisiana’s bayous to Houston’s high-rises, Texas and Arizona deserts, California hills, and LA beaches. Saddle up—it’ll be a ride.
Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight
route: Seattle-Portland-Sacramento-Los Angeles
Took 35 hours to cover 1377 miles (2216 km).
Explore the captivating “left coast” in its entirety. Amtrak’s 35-hour (or more) journey from Seattle to Los Angeles circles crashing Pacific waves, America’s lushest agricultural land, snowcapped mountains, and towering redwoods. The Coast Starlight Amtrak route offers the richest scenery in the shortest time.
Also, this train is the only Amtrak service with a sleeper-only parlor car. Traditional wood paneling, soft lighting, and a special menu and wine-and-cheese tastings make the parlor evoke rail romance.
Experience stunning sunrise views on 14,179ft Mt Shasta and a midday ride through Oregon’s Cascade Range.
NY-Poughkeepsie Metro-North Hudson Line
69 miles (111 km); 1.5 hours.
Depart from Grand Central Terminal, enjoy the astronomical ceiling painting in the vaulted Grand Concourse, and enjoy oysters and martinis at the famous Oyster Bar. Pennsylvania Station, where Amtrak trains stop, is less glamorous.
Join Metro-North’s Hudson line and travel through upper Manhattan and the Bronx to the Hudson River Valley. Stop at charming historic towns like Tarrytown near Sleepy Hollow and Beacon, home to a world-class art museum.
CalZephyr Chicago-San Francisco
Chicago, Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco.
Duration: 51 hours 20 minutes, 2438 miles (3924 km).
Experience the beauty of North America best with Amtrak’s California Zephyr train. A three-day journey from Chicago to San Francisco covers nearly 2500 miles (4000km) through prairies, deserts, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada.
The train travels through an often roadless wilderness of deep, narrow gorges near the Colorado River’s headwaters for 185 miles (298km) between Denver and Glenwood Springs, with stunning scenery, especially from the lounge car’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
After sunset, the train enters the red rock desert of eastern Utah and overnight journeys through Nevada’s sagebrush country, featuring vast salt flats and arid mountains.
The next day, you climb into California’s Sierra Nevada toward Truckee, a charming 19th-century railroad town, or over Donner Pass to San Francisco.
Mileage: 145 miles (233 km); 3 hours 25 minutes.
With a train ride from downtown Boston to rural Maine in under four hours, this car-free city break is challenging to beat. From the seventh most densely populated city to the state with the most forest coverage in less time than it takes to cook a Yankee plum pudding.
The Amtrak Downeaster offers a unique experience with stops in historic New England cities, parks, seascapes, cottage crafts, world-class shopping, and fresh farm-to-table cuisine.