Train Travel VCW_D_NC_T8-Engine #45 at NSP (fall of 2008)

Train Travel

Train Travel
Trains let you sightsee stress-free while you get around the Golden State

Another fun way to explore California is to travel by train. It is a great way to enjoy the scenery instead of focusing on the road ahead. Amtrak’s legendary Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains follow ultra-scenic routes up and down the coast. The Capitol Corridor provides an easy east-west route across Northern California, while the San Joaquin line slices through the broad and sunny Central Valley with connections to Yosemite National Park and other destinations. Along the way, there are options to link to Amtrak Thruway buses, which serve more than 90 destinations statewide. (Plus, you can disembark and hire a car at major stops for additional exploring.) Depending on the route, you may be able to book a space in a special sleeping carriage, with access to an exclusive dining car.

Local & Scenic Railways

Though Amtrak is the largest train service in the state, it is not the only one. In Northern California, Caltrain has regular service between San Francisco and San Jose. In Southern California, Metrolink offers service on seven regional lines that connect L.A., Ventura County, Antelope Valley, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange County, and the Inland Empire. Trains dedicated to certain themes and in specific locales, such as the Napa Valley Wine Train, also provide a unique way to see some of California’s première destinations.

Amtrak's East/West Routes
California Zephyr: Chicago–Denver–Emeryville (San Francisco)
Capitol Corridor: Auburn–Sacramento–Emeryville (San Francisco)–Oakland–San José
Sunset Limited: New Orleans–San Antonio–Los Angeles
Amtrak's North/South Routes
Coast Starlight (multi-state route): Seattle–Portland–Los Angeles
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Michael Svoboda/Getty Images

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