Love California but tired of the time-consuming traffic? You’re far from alone. Fortunately for locals and tourists alike, the state is home to a number of bustling train routes that allow visitors to take in the sights of the West Coast—all without the hassle of navigating it by car or having to splurge on those outrageous gas prices.
If you’re looking to get outside and explore California this spring, here are five ways to travel the state by train this spring.
Depart on a cultural escape from Los Angeles to San Diego
Those hoping to get outside of Los Angeles’ downtown can find solace on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trip—which is a roundtrip option that takes visitors straight into the heart of SoCal. Play tourist around San Diego’s Old Town quarters and Gaslamp District—don’t forget to stop at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop while you’re there. Plus, travelers can even peruse through the shops at Balboa Park and take in the sights at one of the state’s best waterside spots.
Marvel at Northern California’s Bay Area sights by train
California’s Capitol Corridor route is an intercity passenger rail service that operates between Silicon Valley/San Jose and the Sacramento region. As Northern California’s premier train system, the route allows locals and tourists alike to hop around the northern portion of the state’s most iconic cities and suburbs—no car or Uber needed.
Venture down the Golden Coast with Amtrak
If you’re willing to splurge for the chance to see California in its fullest glory, then you can’t go wrong with hopping aboard Amtrak’s expansive Golden Coast trip— an 11-day venture that takes visitors to four different destinations, beginning in San Francisco and concluding the train travels in San Diego. The scenic route is (understandably) pricier than some of the other one-day, roundtrip offerings. But how else could you do better than getting to see Yosemite, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood Walk of Fame and sunny San Diego all in one swoop?
Explore more agricultural with the San Joaquins route
Trek your way through the state’s richest agricultural region (a k a San Joaquin Valley) with the help of the cozy San Joaquins route—a train ride that treats travelers to a glimpse of the state’s more relaxed suburbs like Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Martinez, Fresno and more. The train route runs multiple times daily all throughout Sacramento and Bakersfield.
Hop aboard the Coast Starlight for a coastal adventure
And last but certainly not least, you’ll be able to enjoy the grandest views of the entire West Coast via the Coast Starlight train—a 35-hour route which runs from Seattle to Portland, Sacramento and Los Angeles. The train ride is regarded as one of the most beautiful routes in the entire United States—and for good reason. From snow-capped mountaintops and Red Wood Forests to bustling city scenes (hi, Los Angeles) and expansive stretches of Pacific shoreline, you can’t beat the landscape diversity and inimitable beauty seen throughout the Coast Starlight adventure.