An appealing alternative to the standard road trip adventure that road trip planners might consider this summer is to utilize the train system for the long stretches of highway between destination cities and then renting a car to explore the area. This way, "getting there" becomes its own adventure, especially if your trip includes an overnight stay aboard the train! Plus you get the added bonus of leaving the bulk of the driving to someone else.
There's something about a railway road trip that beckons the pioneer spirit within us. And there's a certain appeal to letting the rhythmic chug-chug-chug of the tracks lull you to sleep. Granted, these sleeping cabins aren't as roomy as regular hotel rooms, but then again, it moves you towards your destination while allowing you to sleep, something you couldn't do with a car or RV unless you alternated driving shifts. And the sleeping cabins are definitely roomier than airline seats!
Family train trip adventures are growing in popularity. Dad can play a marathon game of Monopoly instead of being stuck behind the wheel; Mom can watch a movie with you instead of her riding shotgun to keep the driver on track and alert for the duration. When kids get antsy or hungry, you can round them up for a walk to the dining cab (without losing any traveling mileage).
Explore the train, revel in the changing scenery buzzing by your view, curl up with a good book and maybe take in a catnap. Trains allow you to slow your pace and relax...and isn't that one of the main goals of going on a vacation? Your road trip planner will still be filled with things to do, hotels, car rental and restaurants once you reach your destination.
Amtraks's Superliners have sleeping cars that range from Roomettes (1-2 people), special accessible rooms (1-2), and even bedroom suites (4-6) that includes 2 toilets & 2 showers (usually two bedrooms with the partition removed). Even though we recommend you stay the bulk of your trip in hotels in the cities you want to explore, sleeping overnight on a train is an adventure in itself. Plus, the Sleeper Service price includes all regular meals aboard the train.
Below are a few of the most popular railway destination in the United States. Amtrak has more than 500 destinations so these are just enough to whet your appetite to fill your road trip planner with a brand new adventure. Bon appétit!
* WEST COAST SPECTACULAR - Set aside about 10 days for this vacation, beginning with 2 days/nights in Seattle, an overnight aboard the train, then 3 nights in San Francisco before boarding the train again to head south to Los Angeles for a 3 night stay there.
* JAZZ, BLUES AND ROCK 'N ROLL - This trip will have you rock n rolling from north to south on the fun filled 8 days/7 night adventure. You'll start out in Chicago, spend a couple of nights enjoying famous blues clubs like Buddy Guy's Legends, then aboard Amtrak overnight into Memphis for 2 full days in the birthplace of Rock 'n Roll and then landing in New Orleans for some Cajun cooking to enjoy with your evenings of Jazz.
You can also opt for Railway Day Passes if you want the total freedom of coming and going whenever you please (a fun option for couples): 15- Day Railway Pass: 15 Days (8 segments) $389.00 - Adults, $194.50 - Child (Ages 2-15).
So...hop aboard the fun train! Whichever method of travel you choose, your road trip planner will still come in handy because it will contain the things to do and restaurants to try at each destination.