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Taking A 14 Day Vacation Around The USA With Amtrak

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14 Day Vacation Around The USA With Amtrak
Excited to ride across the country:-)

Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight is likely one of the most iconic Amtrak train routes. It runs between Los Angeles and Seattle. The scenery is incredible as you zoom past the shore line of the Pacific Ocean. This train journey is about 35 hours. Ours arrived a few minutes early. In years past this train was known as the “Coast StarLATE” because of it’s constant tardiness.

Amtrak Coast Starlight

If you are in a roomette, grab a drink and enjoy the views from your room. If you want a little variety or you are in a Coach seat, you can head to the Sightseer Lounge to take in the views from both sides. This is probably one of our favorite train rides to date. Not only do you get to enjoy the shoreline views but you will also see the beautiful mountains and fertile valleys along the way as you make your way up the coast.

Empire Builder

Empire Builder is a glorious ride across the American West. We rode this train from Seattle to Chicago. This train runs along major portions of the Lewis and Clark trail. I felt like I was riding along with the pioneers of the west. You will get a quick stop in North Dakota if you are looking to cross this state off your 50 state list. The ride through Montana will show why they call it Big Sky Country. You will dip into edge of Glacier National Park.

Amtrak Empire Builder

We were not expecting magnificent views on this route but we were surprised as we left Seattle. After a short time we were admiring the shoreline of Puget Sound. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful area. We also love city views and the ride into Chicago does not disappoint. Be sure to enjoy the ride into the city. This is the only train we rode that was very late. We arrived about 90 minutes after our scheduled time. Overall this was a nice route, the views were great.

14 Day Vacation Around The USA With Amtrak
A quick, fresh air break in Minnesota:-)

California Zephyr

California Zephyr is unrivaled as the most beautiful train trip in North America. We rode it from Chicago to Emeryville (San Francisco). After zipping through the heartland, the California Zephyr will take you up into the Rockies. While in the Rockies you will have a quick, fresh air break at the highest altitude station on Amtrak in Winter Park, CO. The conductor warned us about the 10 min tunnel ride under the Western Divide and we did not heed his warning seriously enough. Rob experienced severe allergies soon after exiting the tunnel.

From the Rockies you will zoom up the Sierra Nevadas and admire Donner Pass as you make your way back down and into the Bay Area. This was an incredibly enjoyable train ride. If you are looking to do just one Amtrak Vacation, I would definitely rank this one high. The only issue we encountered was the severe allergies from the tunnel. The staff was great on this train and we arrived to Emeryville on time. The station here is just a few steps away from several hotels as well as restaurants.


  1. I love your videos on YouTube. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of getting the best experience of traveling with Amtrak.
    I would really love to travel cross country by train, but I am concerned about traveling alone. How safe is it for a sixty year old woman to travel by herself in a Roomette or Bedroom? I’m really kind of a loner, but this trip is on my bucket list. Also, would I be able to use a BOGO discount? I appreciate your thoughts and look forward to seeing your next video.

    1. Hi! Thanks for your kind comments. We’ve seen many solo passengers, including females and think it is quite safe in a roomette or bedroom. The sleeper cars lock from the inside and are in a separate area.

      You would not be able to use the BOGO sale as a single rider though, but you might be able to catch a different sale, they change from time to time.

      Hope you have a great trip!

  2. what is the difference between a roomette and a sleeper car? I will be traveling alone.

    1. A roomette is the smallest room, designed for two people. Moving up to the bedroom allows twice the space of the roomette, but still only bunk beds. So, if you are going solo and don’t need the extra space, the roomette may suffice. On Viewliner trains the roomette will have a toilet, but not on Superliner trains.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to create the color-coded maps, they are incredibly helpful.

  4. You two are our absolute go-to authorities on Amtrak. Your new route map should be on the walls of every Amtrak station and office in the country. Hope you’re receiving compensation from Amtrak; You deserve it!

  5. Can you do a YouTube video about the best way to be efficient traveling with luggage on the long distance trains. Tips on ways to maximize what you bring without being bogged down by the amount of luggage.

  6. Rob and Allie,

    JJ here. Vera and I just completed the first segment / day of our 11-day trek from coast-to-coast on Amtrak. Bottom line: the Capital Limited was something of a disaster for us,… no Trad dining, no lounge car, one-car café AND dining cars, and on top of it all, a severely clogged shower drain! Couldn’t get to Chicago soon enough.

    I’ll keep you updated. Now, on to Seattle on the Empire Builder!

    — JJ

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Allie Marmion
Allie is married to Rob and has been traveling with him across the world for the last two years. She is an accomplished personal trainer, speaker and author.