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Travel by Train: Three Amtrak Adventures


Written by
Kathryn Smith

Amtrak is the heart of train travel in the United States. Dedicated to preserving this classic mode of transportation, the extensive rail system makes it easy for people to travel with a different perspective. From Seattle, you can travel to Portland or Spokane, but we recommend making a vacation out of it with these preplanned, miss-nothing routes (or even build your own!).


Starting locally, the Coast Starlight extends along the Pacific Coast. From Seattle, the trip continues south to Portland, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco and eventually Los Angeles, 1,377 miles later. During the spring and summer months, volunteer National Park Service Rangers explain parts of the scenery on the route to enhance the experience of travel.


Another interesting option is the Empire Builder, a route leading east to the Windy City. Starting in Seattle, travelers will head through Spokane, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and end in Chicago. Entirely different from the Coast Starlight, this route treks eastward along rails that were previously called the Great Northern Railway during the time of westward expansion. Swiftly travel through the farmland of North Dakota, the Wisconsin Dells, and along the Mississippi River as you appreciate the historical railroad route.


From either of the above destinations, plenty of opportunity awaits. Find more routes that begin in Los Angeles or Chicago to continue your train journey, or discover more about the stops on the Coast Starlight and Empire Builder at


500 destinations; 46 states; 21,000 miles

Those looking for more adventure can charter a private, vintage railcar for an extra special trip. Amtrak allows private car owners to attach to the back of the Amtrak trains, and railcar owners want to share the experience with you! For more details, visit

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