All aboard urban explorers. The Amtrak station in New York City has more than a dozen routes that take travelers to some of the most gorgeous cities in the United States. From the mid-19th century until about 1920, nearly all intercity travelers in the United States moved by rail, but conditions weren’t nearly as luxurious. Today patrons will find more legroom, casual or sit-down meal service and an eclectic mix of scenery. Whether you’re heading north or south, travelers can’t beat the city-to-city service on any one of these eco-friendly machines.
Silver Service, Florida
Forget waiting until May to hit the beach by hopping on this train that connects NYC to Miami, visiting cities like Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa on the way. The sleeping car experience on the Silver Meteor includes traditional dining car meals in the price of the ticket with options like thyme roasted chicken breast, creamy tortellini with pesto and vegetables and black bean & corn veggie burgers. Go.
Acela Express, Washington DC
Forget about politics for a minute. Washington is a beautiful place to visit with sights-to-be-seen like the Tidal Basin, a two-mile-long pond that was once attached to the Potomac River. In the spring, it bursts with cherry blossom trees making for the perfect selfie backdrop. Best part is, paddleboats are available every day at the boat dock near Main Ave. from March 15-Oct.9. The ride there is just as delightful with upgraded Wi-Fi that is six times faster along with in-seat electrical outlets and tables. Of course there’s also food options like hot sandwiches, pizza, beer and wine. Go.
The good old windy city. This route’s scenic highlights are aplenty—the Allegheny Mountains, Shenandoah Valley and wild white-water rivers of West Virginia to name a few. Heading westward, the train travels along the banks of the Ohio River from the charming towns of Ashland and Maysville to the skyline of Cincinnati. From there, visitors continue to Indianapolis, and then northward to Chicago. During the ride, enjoy luxe leather seating with extra legroom and access to the Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago-Union Station. Go.
Northeast Regional (Boston – Providence / Springfield – Hartford – New York – Washington, DC – Lynchburg / Richmond – Petersburg – Norfolk / Newport News – Virginia Beach)
For the indecisive travelers, this route offers destinations throughout the Northeast Corridor and beyond. Relax in coach class with at least 39 inches of legroom, outlets for laptops, complimentary Wi-Fi and extra storage space for luggage. Budget-minded travelers can take advantage of Saver Fares and score a discount by booking coach seats at least 14 days in advance. In the Quiet Car, where cell phones are silent and there is minimum conversation, guests can completely unwind and savor some downtime. Go.
Carolinian / Piedmont, North Carolina
There are two routes for travelers who want to discover the many wonders of North Carolina. The Piedmont runs between the commercial center of Charlotte and the state capital of Raleigh, while the Carolinian covers the same route, with service extending up the East Coast to New York City. As one of the original 13 colonies, the rich history of North Carolina can be explored at sites such as the revolutionary Alamance Battleground in Burlington and the first U.S. gold mine outside of Charlotte. Go.