There’s no need to get on an anti-septic flight or a tiring driving trip to get an amazing travel experience. Why not make the most of the best kept travel secret – train journeys? Scenic travel that doesn’t involve boarding times, luggage hassles or car traffic as well as the hassle of following directions. Keeping travel green as well as scenic, and give these 9 gorgeous North American rail journeys a try.

Amtrak Cascades- from Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC

Offering high speed rail service that boasts a special technology that shaves 25 minutes off of the trip, Amtrak Cascades is a lovely choice for West coast travel. Experience everything from the hubbub of Seattle to the quirkiness of Portland as you speed through the crisp, cool air. British Columbia also promises an array of unique sights to see as you travel, such as Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium.

Amtrak Cascades Train

Photo: David Honan via Amtrak Cascades

Grand Canyon Railway –  from Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon, AZ

Travel the Grand Canyon Railway to journey through Grand Canyon Country for a variety of breathtaking landscapes: from the Ponderosa pine forest surrounding Williams, to a gentle drop in elevation down to the wide-open prairie before climbing back up to the Pinion pine forests as the train approaches Grand Canyon National Park. As you travel through the forests of Grand Canyon Country, you may spot elk, mountain lions, mule deer, squirrels, and even skunks.

Grand Canyon Railway North America

Photo by Xanterra Parks & Resorts via Grand Canyon Railway

Napa Valley Wine Train – from Downtown Nappa to St. Helena

Travel on the Napa Valley Wine Train is complete with a lounge car originating from 1915. Passing through everything from family owned vineyards to beautiful, famous estates, every inch of land is a sight to see. The area of Napa Valley promises not only delectable food but summer concerts, historic parks, and superb hotels. All you need now is lovely glass of wine!

Napa Valley Wine Train North America

Photo via Napa Valley Wine Train

Rocky Mountaineer –  from Vancouver, BC to Banff, AB

Experience seven mountain ranges along four iconic routes aboard the classic Rocky Mountaineer. An open air vestibule allows you to take in fresh air as well as the scenery in a unique way. See Western Canada in a beautiful light, from the splash of killer whales to the quaint and delicate Butchart gardens as you travel. With an array of tours available locally, see and know each all the area has to offer, including national parks and cascading waterfalls.

Rocky Mountaineer North America

Photo by Noel Hendrickson via Rocky Mountaineer

Photo by Noel Hendrickson via Rocky Mountaineer

Cape Cod Central Railroad – from Hyannis, MA to Sandwich, MA

Considered a “hidden beauty” in Massachusetts, the Cape Cod Central Railroad will take you through cranberry bogs, sand dunes, woodlands, and up close and personal with the Cape Cod Canal. The route is filled to the brim with history. Once you’ve reach your destination, countless activities await, such as kayaking, art galleries, rich history, and golf. Boredom will be long forgotten with all the things to do in the Cape!
cape cod central railroad

Photo by Cape Cod Central Railroad via Flickr

Cardinal – New York, NY to Chicago, IL

The Cardinal travels a distinct route throughout the south and northeast. From quaint tiny towns to rolling hills to skyscraper studded skylines, the travel experience is remarkable. From New York’s Broadway and Central Park to Chicago’s Millenium Park and Art Institute, there’s plenty to take in. Take a break from the rush of the city in between destinations as the journey propels you through nature.

amtrak cardinal new york to chicago

Photo via Amtrak Media Center

Strasburg Railroad- from Strasburg, PA to Paradise, PA

A trip through charming Amish country, the Strasburg Railroad allows you to view over 1,000 acres of lush Lancaster County farmland. The area offers plenty of attractions, including the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Across the street from the station you can learn about trains and all they have to offer at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Bring kids to the nearby National Toy Train Museum for a bunch of fun.

Cass Scenic Railroad- from Cass, WV to Bald Knob, WV

A trip back in time, the Cass Scenic Railroad offers more than meets the eye. As the town has remained relatively untouched, individuals can experience history in restored company houses that now act as vacation cottages. Built in 1901, it passes through bountiful forests in crisp, clean mountain air. Green travel at its best!

Photo by Ron Cogswell via Flickr

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad- from Bryson City, NC to Nantahala Gorge, NC

 A countryside delight, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers an array of special event trains perfect for the whole family. Contributed to the development of the area, the journey gives passengers the opportunity to experience wildlife up close and personal – with over 125 varieties of trees, and an array of other gorgeous plants depending on the season. Ride alongside rushing rivers and have a chat with babbling brooks as you travel on this route.
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