The hustle and bustle of daily life can tend to consume us. Even when we finally get a chance to take a break from our work-a-day lives, we still find ourselves in a hurry to get to wherever we are going.
What’s the rush?
Though not commonly the form of transportation that first comes to mind, there is a slower-paced option for travel where, rather than zooming through the skies in a plane or barreling down the highway in an automobile, we can actually sit back and take in some of the magnificent scenery our beautiful nation has to offer.
Taking a trip via railway is the epitome of leisurely travel, offering voyagers an experience that can evoke feelings of nostalgia for a time when life wasn’t constantly moving at full-speed. While you can rush to get where you’re headed, it’s valuable to remember that it’s not always about the destination. Sometimes it’s about the journey.
Let’s take a jaunt where we get lost in the possibilities found in enjoying the moment as we look at America’s top five train journeys for both travel or leisure!
Amtrak California Zephyr
In this unbelievable 52-hour journey across the entire country, taking the path traveled by so many during the Gold Rush, the California Zephyr is sure to be on every train enthusiast’s must-do.
Goin’ to California, the Zephyr leaves Chicago headed for Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and then its final destination, the place where all hopeful miners rushed to during the 1800s, San Francisco. Along the way, you’ll be able to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas and cross the great Continental Divide, all on the same route taken by the first transcontinental railroad.
A leisurely alternative to a cross-country road trip, you can spend time taking the scenery from the observation car.
Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic
In this one-and-a-half-hour, one-way journey, you can experience the last great American frontier of Alaska in a fashion that encourages you to take your time and enjoy the sheer beauty all around you.
Offering service from Anchorage to Seward from the middle of May through the middle of September, the 110 mile-long Coastal Classic grants the opportunity to take in the Alaskan wilderness in all its glory. You will see everything from mountains to glaciers to the shore of Turnagain Arm during your four hour trek.
Once at one of the two station stops, you can decide your next step. A few of the possibilities available to you include whale watching, a day cruise, shopping and dining at local businesses, going on a dog sled ride with the pups from the famous Seavey kennels, or checking out the Alaska SeaLife Center.
Seating is available in the basic Adventure Class or a GoldStar service, which offers meal options, this train has something to offer everyone. Regardless of which option you choose, you will undeniably be wowed by the scenic views during your time on the Coastal Classic.
The Grand Canyon Railway
Let’s take a journey back into time when the Wild West had just begun to be tamed. Our next journey offers a picturesque view of not just places that hold significant historical value for the United States, but also lets us gaze upon one of the world’s seven wonders. The Grand Canyon Railway is a can’t-miss train ride.
Fitted with fully restored train cars and complete with a cast of characters set to bring guests into the cowboy era, this legend of the railways takes visitors on a 65-mile trek from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that leaves once per day from historic train depots. Even the Railway itself has been added to the National Register of Historic Places!
Guests have an array of options when it comes to how they want to experience this scenic desert outing. With six different choices available concerning your train accommodations, from basic to luxury, making that decision might seem daunting. But the real dilemma begins upon arriving at your destination.
Once you arrive at the canyon’s South Rim, you have tons of choices as to how to spend your next day or more. Accommodation options are almost as varied as they were for the ride down, from an option to hang out in your RV to glamping it out in a luxury resort, the canyon gives you choices that will suit your lifestyle.
If you are not keen on hanging out overnight, you can take in some of the cultural options the area has to offer, have a nice meal, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. Whatever you decide to do, just know you made the right choice, kick back, and spend some time immersed in the beauty of the American southwest.
During this one-way, 36-hour journey, you will get to witness some of the most majestic scenery the West Coast has to offer that can never be seen when traveling by plane or car. Beginning your adventure in Seattle, you will wind your way through Portland and Sacramento before reaching your final stop, Los Angeles.
Arguably the most popular train trip you could ever take in America, you will behold waterfalls, ocean waves, beautiful coastline, and rolling countryside during the summer and spring, or snow-capped mountains during the winter.
Upgrade your train accommodations in order to make your stay extra luxurious and restful. Options like private rooms, complimentary dining, and quiet rooms could all be possible if you are so inclined. The good people at Amtrak are even happy to accommodate your pets if you can’t leave home without ‘em.
There is virtually no chance that you will be disappointed in your decision to make this trek down the beautiful West Coast by train, so sit back, relax, and take it all in.
The Colorado Rail Experience
During this eight-day exploration of the amazing state of Colorado, you will reach unimaginable heights, literally peaking at over 14,000 feet elevation. Boarding seven different trains, you will be whisked through places such as the legendary and beautiful Rocky Mountains and the Garden of the Gods.
Railway experts and American history authorities will accompany you during your Colorado Rail Experience, pointing out and explaining important information pertaining to the history of this mode of transportation.
This is an all-inclusive trip, so you can leave even more of your troubles behind once aboard because you will not have to concern yourself with making arrangements for food or accommodation. This exciting ride will no doubt be an experience you will never forget.
Ride the rails and enjoy the journey
Forcing yourself to smell the roses is something everyone who is constantly on the go should do. You will, no doubt, learn to appreciate life and the things around you in a different way.
One way to begin practicing this all-too-difficult feat is by forgoing the most commonly sought-after modes of transportation on your next vacation in favor of slowing down and taking the train.
You will be able to appreciate the beautiful scenery that our country has to offer while feeling the peace that will surround you as you unwind and enjoy the journey.