Train travel is underrated, especially in the United States. While countries in Europe are well known for their excellent train connections with companies like Eurail, you won’t find too many people in the United States who frequently consider this service.
This is a mistake! Rail travel is cheap, relaxing, scenic, and environmentally friendly. Amtrak, the rail network in the United States, has more than 35 routes and 500 destinations in 46 states.
You’ll have access to private sleeping rooms, quiet cars, dining and lounge cars, and comfortable seating with amazing views. Solo travelers can bring their bikes, couples can bring their pets, and families have plenty of space to keep kids entertained.
In this ultimate guide to Amtrak routes in the United States and Canada, we’re sharing all the Amtrak routes you should consider. Check out your options and get started planning your next trip.
Northeast Amtrak Routes
#1 – Acela
Destinations: Boston – New Haven – New York – Philadelphia – Wilmington – Washington, DC
The Acela Amtrak route is the perfect Northeast adventure from Boston, MA, to DC. If you choose to ride the entire way, it will take around 7 hours. There are four downtown stops in New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, if you’re interested in exploring a new city! The Acela train includes quiet cars, business and first class, dining services, and allows small pets.
#2 – Ethan Allen Express
Destinations: Rutland – Saratoga Springs – Albany – New York
The Ethan Allen Express Amtrak route travels from New York City to Rutland, Vermont. The trip is around 7 hours and 30 minutes and offers gorgeous views of the Hudson River Valley. There are also several stops in New York and Vermont with bus connections to Killington, VT, if you plan to take a ski trip. Amenities include coach and business class, Wi-Fi, cafe services, and the option to bring small pets.
#3 – Adirondack
Destinations: Montreal – Westport – Saratoga Springs – Albany – New York
If you’re looking to visit Montreal from the New York City area, the Adirondack Amtrak route is a great option. The entire ride will take around 10 hours. There are upstate New York stops with scenic views of the Hudson Valley wine country and the Adirondack mountains. The train has cafe services, offers Wi-Fi, and allows small pets.
#4 – Keystone Express
Destinations: New York – Philadelphia – Paoli – Downingtown – Lancaster – Harrisburg
Maybe you’re heading to NYC to enjoy the sights and the sounds of the Big Apple. Perhaps, you want to explore Pennsylvania’s Dutch country or tour Philadelphia. In either case, the Keystone Express is a relatively quick ride that’ll get you where you need to go without the hassle of city traffic.
The Keystone Express offers multiple daily rides from New York to Harrisonburg, PA. The trip is approximately 4 hours, with various stops in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. Amenities include a quiet car, Wi-Fi, and bicycle racks.
#5 – Amtrak Hartford Line
Destinations: New Haven – Hartford – Windsor Locks – Springfield
The Amtrak Hartford Line will take you from New Haven, CT, to Springfield, MA, in about an hour and a half. This scenic route will give you gorgeous views of New England’s rolling hills and quickly get you to your destination. Amenities include Wi-Fi, small pets, and bicycle racks.
#6 – Lake Shore Limited
Destinations: New York/Boston – Albany – Buffalo – Cleveland – Toledo – Chicago
If you’re looking to get to Chicago from New York, you’re in for a real treat. Although it may take around 19 hours to get there, you’ll experience beautiful views of lakes and rivers along the way. You can pick up the train in New York and pass by the beautiful Finger Lakes. Then, as you get going, you’ll travel along Lake Michigan, the Mohawk River, and the Erie Canal. Amenities for this Amtrak route include Wi-Fi, bedrooms and suites, bicycle racks, and dining services, and you may bring small pets along with you.
#7 – Auto Train
Destinations: Lorton, VA – Sanford, FL
On the Auto Train, you can go from northern Virginia to Orlando, FL, in around 19 hours. The cool thing about the Auto Train is that you can haul your car, motorcycle, bike, boat, jet-ski, or any other recreational vehicle. Skip the high cost of gas and traffic on I-95 and take a relaxing scenic train ride. Other amenities on this train include Wi-Fi, bedrooms and suites, and cafe services.
#8 – Maple Leaf
Destinations: Toronto – Niagara Falls – Buffalo – Rochester – Syracuse – Albany – New York
The Maple Leaf train will take you from New York to Toronto, Canada, in about 12 hours and 30 minutes. On this Amtrak route, you’ll enjoy views of the Hudson River Valley, wine country, the Finger Lakes, and Niagara Falls as you cross the border into beautiful Canada. The Maple Leaf offers Wi-Fi, business class, cafe services, and bike racks and will allow small pets onboard.
#9 – Capitol Limited
Destinations: Washington – Pittsburgh – Cleveland – Toledo – South Bend – Chicago
The Capitol Limited will take you from DC to the windy city of Chicago, IL, in around 18 hours. This scenic route will take you through Virginia’s Potomac Valley, West Virginia’s Harpers Ferry, the Appalachian Alleghenies, and the Ohio River. The Capital Limited has bedrooms and suites, bicycle racks, allows small pets, and has dining services, but unfortunately does not provide Wi-Fi. So if you’re looking for a trip that’ll allow you to unplug and relax completely, this is the Amtrak route.
#10 – Northeast Regional
Destinations: Boston – Providence / Springfield – Hartford – New York – Washington, DC – Roanoke / Richmond – Norfolk / Newport News
The Northeast Regional is a great way to take a trip from Boston, MA, to Virginia. Starting in Boston, it’ll take around 12 hours and 30 minutes to reach Norfolk, Virginia. You’ll make multiple stops in the central downtown areas of New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, and DC.
During the summertime, there are additional stops in Bristol and Newport, RI, as well as connections to central Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Amenities include Wi-Fi, cafe service, business class, sleeper cars, and allows small pets onboard.
#11 – Cardinal
Destinations: New York – Washington – Charlottesville – Cincinnati – Indianapolis – Chicago
Traveling from New York, this twenty-six-and-a-half-hour Amtrak route will get you to Chicago. Along the way, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the rivers of West Virginia, and the Ohio River. Amenities on this train include cafe service, Wi-Fi, bedrooms and suites, bicycle storage. Small pets are also allowed. Business class seats are available if you want to upgrade.
#12 – Pennsylvanian
Destinations: New York – Philadelphia – Lancaster – Harrisburg – Altoona – Pittsburgh
The Pennsylvanian Amtrak route takes around nine and a half hours from New York to Pittsburgh. You’ll witness the Golden Triangle, where three rivers converge, the Alleghenies and Dutch country. The Pennsylvanian also connects with Capitol Limited if you are interested in going to Cleveland, Toledo, or Chicago. Train amenities include Wi-Fi, cafe service, business class, and bike racks.
#13 – Carolinian / Piedmont
Destinations: New York – Philadelphia – Washington – Richmond – Raleigh – Greensboro – Charlotte
If you’re looking to get down south, the Carolinian will take you from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, in thirteen and a half hours. Major stops include DC, Richmond, Virginia, and North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh. Amenities included on this train ride include a cafe car, Wi-Fi, bike racks, and the allowance for small pets. There is also a business class option.
#14 – Silver Service/Palmetto
Destinations: New York – Washington – Charleston – Savannah – Jacksonville – Orlando – Tampa/Miami
This overnight Amtrak route will take around 28 hours from New York to Miami. You’ll have the opportunity to stop in the beautiful Palmetto state or explore the southern hospitality of Savannah, GA. However, if you’re on a mission to get to sunny Florida, there are roomettes, bedrooms, and suites available. Amenities include cafe services, bicycle storage, and Wi-Fi. There is also a business class option.
#15 – Crescent
Destinations: New York – Washington – Charlottesville – Charlotte – Atlanta – Birmingham – New Orleans
The Crescent will take you from New York to New Orleans in around 30 hours. This Amtrak journey will take you through Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama before its final stop in New Orleans. What a great trip for a group of friends looking to celebrate Mardi Gras or a bachelorette celebration! Amenities on this route include Wi-Fi, roomettes, bedrooms, suites, cafe services, and the option to bring a small pet.
#16 – Valley Flyer
Destinations: New Haven – Springfield – Northampton – Greenfield
Starting in New Haven, CT, the Valley Flyer train will take you to Greenfield, MA, in 2 hours and 48 minutes. It’s a relatively quick and convenient way to travel to and from Connecticut and Massachusetts and a perfect distance for a day trip! Amenities include Wi-Fi, bicycle racks, and the allowance for small pets.
Destinations: Brunswick – Freeport – Portland – Saco – Exeter – Boston
On the Downeaster train, you can go from Brunswick, ME, to Boston, MA, in about three and a half hours. With round trips daily, skip the I-95 traffic, load up the bicycle and take the train! With so many exciting things to do in Boston, it’s always a great spot to visit. Amenities on this Amtrak route include business class, Wi-Fi, cafe services, bike racks, and the allowance for small pets.
#18 Empire Service
Destinations: New York – Albany – Syracuse – Rochester – Buffalo – Niagara Falls
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the Empire Service train will take you from New York City to Niagara Falls in seven and a half hours. Enjoy views of the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes, with options to stop in both regions. If you’re on you’re way to Niagara Falls, sit back and enjoy amenities like Wi-Fi, cafe services, bicycle storage, and the allowance for small pets. There is also a business class option.
Destinations: St. Albans – Essex Junction (Burlington) – Springfield – New York – Washington, DC
If you’re trying to get to Washington, DC, from St. Albans, the Vermonter will take you there in 13 hours and 45 minutes. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to stop in Springfield, MA, and New York City. Or, you can take the train in the
opposite direction and go skiing in Vermont. Amenities included are Wi-Fi, cafe services, bike storage, and the opportunity to bring a small pet. You may opt for business class cabins too.
#20 Berkshire Flyer
Destinations: New York – Poughkeepsie – Albany – Pittsfield
Getting from New York to the Berkshires has never been easier. Another drive you won’t want to deal with traffic on, this Amtrak route takes around 4 hours one-way. A trip to the Berkshires is the perfect fall getaway. Enjoy the beautiful small towns, fall foliage, and great hiking. Amenities on the ride include Wi-Fi, bicycle storage, and allows for small pets. This route offers business class seating.
South Amtrak Routes
#21 – City of New Orleans
Destinations: Chicago – Champaign-Urbana – Carbondale – Memphis – Jackson – New Orleans
The City of New Orleans train will get you to NOLA from Chicago in around 19 hours. Amenities include sleeper cars, cafe services, and bicycle storage. Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi available on this train.
#22 – Sunset Limited
Destinations: New Orleans – Houston – San Antonio – El Paso – Tucson – Palm Springs – Los Angeles
The Sunset Limited is a two-day train ride from New Orleans to Los Angeles. This cross-country tour will make stops in Texas and Arizona, allowing you to make connections to other Amtrak trains. You’ll have views of NOLA’s bayous and California’s deserts and mountains. This train provides sleeper cars, cafe services, bike racks, and the allowance for small pets.
Midwest Amtrak Routes
#23 – California Zephyr
Destinations: Chicago – Omaha – Denver – Salt Lake City – Emeryville (San Francisco)
The California Zephyr train takes approximately 51+ hours from Chicago to San Francisco. You’ll travel through the gorgeous Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas with the ability to make stops in several cities such as Denver and Salt Lake along the way. Amenities on this Amtrak route include sleeper cars, cafe services, bicycle storage, and the allowance for small pets. Unfortunately, the California Zephyr does not have Wi-Fi.
#24 – Michigan Services
Destinations: Chicago – Grand Rapids/East Lansing – Port Huron/Detroit – Pontiac
From Chicago to Pontiac, the Michigan Services train take around six and a half hours. Whether you’re heading to Michigan State University or beautiful Lake Huron, this Amtrak route will help you tour the beauty of the “Wolverine State.” Amenities on this train include Wi-Fi, quiet cars, cafe services, and bicycle storage. There are business class seats on offer.
#25 – Empire Builder
Destinations: Chicago – Milwaukee – St. Paul/Minneapolis – Minot – Spokane – Portland/Seattle
The Empire Builder will take you from Chicago to Seattle in around 46 hours. View the beauty of the rugged west as you travel parts of the Lewis and Clark trail. You’ll experience views of the Mississippi River, the bright city lights of Minneapolis, the North Dakota plains, and Montana’s big sky country. Although there is no Wi-Fi on this train, there are sleeper cars, cafe services, bicycle racks, and an allowance for small pets.
#26 – Hiawatha
Destinations: Milwaukee – Glenview – Chicago
The Hiawatha train will take you from Milwaukee to Chicago in only one and a half hours. Skip I-94 and get to your destination in the same amount of time without the traffic. If you’re traveling for work, use the quiet car and get a few things done! Amenities on the Amtrak route include Wi-Fi, cafe services, bicycle storage, and the allowance for small pets.
#27 – Illinois Services
Destinations: Chicago – Galesburg – Quincy/Springfield – St. Louis/Champaign-Urbana – Carbondale
Illinois Services has multiple daily departures from Chicago to Carbondale and will get you to 25 different cities in Illinois. One way, this Amtrak route will take around five and a half hours. Whether you’re heading to college or just looking for a vacation destination, this relaxing ride will get you there. Amenities on this route include Wi-Fi, cafe services, and the option to bring a small pet. There is a business class option.
#28 Lincoln Service Missouri River Runner
Destinations: Chicago – St. Louis – Kansas City, MO
If you’re traveling from Chicago to Kansas City, the Lincoln Service train will get you there in eleven hours and forty-five minutes. Enjoy the sights, sounds of Jazz, sports, and delicious barbecue Kansas City has to offer. Amenities on this Amtrak route include cafe services, Wi-Fi, bicycle storage, and the allowance for small pets. There is a business class option too.
#29 Missouri River Runner
Destinations: St. Louis – Washington – Sedalia – Independence – Kansas City, MO
The Missouri River Runner will take you from St. Louis to Kansas City in around five hours and forty-five minutes. If you’re looking to learn more about the rich history of the “Show-Me” state, this Amtrak route makes several stops in other cities and towns along the way. Amenities for this ride include Wi-Fi, dining services, and bicycle storage. Business class seats are available.
West Amtrak Routes
#30 – Heartland Flyer
Destinations: Oklahoma City – Fort Worth
From Oklahoma City, the Heartland Flyer will get you to Forth Worth, TX, in around four hours and 15 minutes. If you want to travel further, you can take the Texas Eagle to Dallas, Chicago, and San Antonio. Amenities on this train include cafe services, bicycle storage, and the allowance for small pets. There is no Wi-Fi available on this train.
#31 – Southwest Chief
Destinations: Chicago – Kansas City – La Junta – Albuquerque – Flagstaff – Los Angeles
The Southwest Chief train ride will take you from Chicago to Los Angeles in 40+ hours. On this Amtrak route, you’ll enjoy views of ranches, fields, pueblos, mountains, and deserts. With stops in MO, NM, and AZ, you can easily turn your trip into a multi-city vacation. Amenities on this route include sleeper cars, cafe services, bike racks, and the option to bring your small pet with you. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi is not available on this train.
#32 – Texas Eagle
Destinations: Chicago – St. Louis – Little Rock – Dallas – San Antonio
From Chicago through Arkansas to the Cowboy State, the Texas Eagle will get you to San Antonio in around thirty-two and a half hours. This Amtrak route will take you over the Mississippi River, past the Ozarks, and into cattle country. Your Texas adventure includes amenities such as sleeper cars, dining options, and the allowance for small pets. You can even hop on a connecting train and visit Houston or Galveston. Like most of the longer routes, Wi-Fi is unavailable on this train.
#33 – Capitol Corridor
Destinations: Auburn – Sacramento – Emeryville (San Francisco) – Oakland – San Jose
The Capitol Corridor will take you from Auburn to San Jose, CA, in around three hours and fifteen minutes. Travel from Sacramento to the Bay Area without the hassles of major traffic backups and parking costs. Instead, grab a bike and hop on the train for a stress-free trip. Train amenities include Wi-Fi and bicycle storage.
#34 – Coast Starlight
Destinations: Seattle – Tacoma – Portland – Sacramento – San Francisco area – Los Angeles
If you’re looking to travel from Los Angeles to Seattle, or vice versa, the trip will take around 35 hours on the Coast Starlight train. This scenic Amtrak route will get you views of the Pacific Ocean, mountains, valleys, snow-covered peaks, and more. You’ll have the options of business class seating, napping in a sleeper car, dining, and bringing your small pet. Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi on this trip.
#35 – Pacific Surfliner
Destinations: San Luis Obispo – Santa Barbara – Los Angeles – Anaheim – San Diego
If you want to explore the SoCal coastline, the Pacific Surfliner will take you from San Luis Obispo to San Diego in 5 hours and 45 minutes. You’ll have the opportunity to stop and explore major cities such as Santa Baraba, Los Angeles, and Anaheim along the way. The Pacific Surfliner offers business class, Wi-Fi, cafe services, bicycle storage, and allows for small pets.
#36 – San Joaquins
Destinations: San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento – Bakersfield/Southern California
The San Joaquin train will take you between the Bay Area and Bakersfield, California, in around 6 hours and 15 minutes. Bakersfield, located in the San Joaquin Valley, is known for geology and paleontology museums and is bordered by coastal mountain ranges. In Bakersfield, you can take thruway connections to Santa Barbara, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, CA, and more. Train amenities include Wi-Fi and bicycle storage.
Northwest Amtrak Routes
#37 – Amtrak Cascades
Destinations: Vancouver – Seattle – Tacoma – Portland – Salem – Eugene
The Amtrak Cascades train will take nearly ten hours and thirty minutes to travel between Eugene, OR, and Vancouver, BC. With stops in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, you can easily plan a Washington State adventure for this trip. Along this Amtrak route, you pass Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, and other magnificent natural wonders. Amenities on this train include Wi-Fi, cafe services, bike racks, and the allowance for small pets. There is the option of business class seating too.
Now is the perfect time for a new experience if you’ve never traveled by train! Skip expensive plane tickets and outrageous gas prices this vacation season and take a scenic rail ride. Check the Amtrak website for the latest information on your trip, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
About the Author
Alex Sumuel is the founder of the travel website Wander With Alex. She provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. Alex travels to experience, eat, explore and, on occasion, escape! Her mission is to help people travel a little easier.