With over 50 years of service, Amtrak presents seven of the best Eastern train journeys - all short and perfect for family getaways. We know that families with children and adults love trains. As a father, avid train traveler, and vacation lover, I'm sharing some of my favorite family railroad adventures in the eastern United States.
Ride the rails while traveling on the Eastern Train
I'm sure you heard itAmtrak, a national rail operator connecting America with 21,000 miles of routes in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces.
Did you know that Amtrak operates over 300 trains daily to over 500 destinations? In the interests of families, Amtrak operates more trains in the eastern states than anywhere else.
Whether you live there or plan to visit, these tours are a great introduction to rail travel. According to my specific criteria, the Eastern Train rides described should be family-friendly. They last relatively short and will certainly amuse the youngest at the first call "All abuuaard".
take the train Why if we have a car?
While the car provides mobility, the train, for example, makes it fun to walk around and stretch your little legs. Instead of the usual packed car ride, a train ride is a great opportunity for the whole family to look out the window and see the stuff that America is made of.
When a train driver works at the front of the train, no adult is responsible for driving. Almost all registered Amtrak trains offer reasonably comfortable seating and a cafeteria car with a selection of food, snacks, and beverages.
Even if your kids aren't part of Greta Thunberg's children's rights movement, they surely know that train travel is far more environmentally friendly than CO2-burning road and air travel.
In fact, all Eastern rail travel from Washington to Boston is powered by Amtrak, which is fully electric and fossil-free. They not only save wear and tear when driving, but also protect the planet on these journeys.
So, like car trips with toddlers, I included kid-friendly locations to keep them interested and break up the journey for off-piste adventures.
Weekend getaway from New York to New England?
The beautiful Moynihan Train Hall in New York City serves more Amtrak passengers than any other in the United States. More Eastern trains run there than at any other station in the national system. Adjacent to the Pennsylvania Train Station, Moynihan Hall rekindles nostalgia for long-distance train travel in the 21st century. It's a natural place to start family adventures.
If you have the money for convenience and speed, you'll want to take one of Acela's bullet trains. The cheapest (albeit expensive) tickets are for seats in business class (there is no bus service). (Please note that child discounts, see below, do not apply on weekday Acela trains.)
Acela are fast! Acel's journey from New York to Boston takes just over four hours; Providence is about three and a half, both slightly longer on Northeast Regional trains.
New York > Providence; New York > Travel to Boston by train
Traveling by train in the Northeast, the Acela's huge, kid-friendly windows offer sweeping views of southern New England, as well as charming vistas of the small towns and beaches along Long Island Sound as you cruise along the Connecticut coast.
Providence, Rhode Island is also a great stop on this route, with the kid-friendly Providence Children's Museum and Roger Williams Zoo.
Are you staying in Boston? There is a huge selection of children's attractions, museums and restaurants on almost every block. It's a great place for little ones to learn about history and culture.
An overnight ride on the Eastern Train is sure to be exciting
One of my favorite train spots? You're going to want to visit Pennsylvania, my favorite place.
Head west from New York's Penn Station for a three-hour trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, served by Amtrak's Keystone Trains. Lancaster is the closest train station to Strasburg PA.
While vistas of the coast are absent, I hope the vistas of suburban New Jersey, metropolitan Philadelphia, and scenic Pennsylvania farmland will engage a younger crowd with an ever-changing landscape. For me, as a New Jersey resident, the vistas stretching from the Jersey Meadowlands on the outskirts of New York to the Delaware River offer young travelers a microcosm of the geography of the eastern United States.
Railroad adventures in Strasbourg, Pennsylvania
Why are we going to kid-friendly Strasbourg, Pennsylvania? It's the most train-friendly place in the United States!
This place can boastUniversity of Strasbourg,Pennsylvania Railroad Museum,National Toy Train MuseumIRed Caboose Motelwhere the family can stay together in the galley. Don't miss the Casey Jones Cafe either. It's Nirvana for kids and adults!
The motel is within walking distance of all three attractions. Autumn is the best time to travel. That's ifTom-Panzerlokomotiveoffers budding engineers the chance to ride behind the legendary steam locomotive and get up close and personal with the Strasbourg Railway. In case you haven't read itThomas and Friends book series.originated in England and have been translated worldwide, please do so.
The Railway Museum displays real, superbly preserved locomotives and wagons, both inside and out, while the Toy Railway Museum is full of replicas of various sizes, some running on complete model landscape trains called "layouts", and recreating the sounds and smells of a bygone era .
Note for parents and grandparents; Unlike the other trains mentioned, the Keystone trains from New York and Philadelphia do not serve food or drinks, so pack snacks and drinks for everyone.
Zugtouren ab Washington
Or maybe great ideas for traveling with the East Train? If you live in or visit the Greater Washington metro area, including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, Amtrak's second largest destination offers family rail travel to relatively nearby destinations.
If you want a break from your domestic routine or if you have a lot of visitorsgreat free activitiesIn the capital of our country, here are some day and night train alternatives that can easily be part of your visit.
Train from DC to Baltimore
Fancy a short drive with great family activities?
Baltimore can be reached by both Amtrak and railMARC(Maryland Area Regional Commuter), which runs through northeast Washington before crossing the suburbs of both cities en route to Baltimore
Travel times vary from 40 minutes to about an hour, with both rail companies departing from Washington's glamorous Union Station and arriving at Penn Station in Baltimore, just north of downtown.
A taxi from the train station will take you to museums across the city. Little railway workers will be delightedBaltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum. Young scientists will enjoy othersFamily attractions in BaltimoreifMaryland Science Centerand everyone will be amazedPort Discovery Kindermuseum, just a short walk from the wonderfulNational Aquarium. And these are just a few of the many museums in Baltimore that are sure to keep all family members busy on a day or overnight trip.
MARC offers less frequent connections than Amtrak. However, it is cheaper and worth trying, especially if there are no local trains where you live. The MARC is a completely different experience than the Amtrak train.
Washington DC > Delaware and more eastward train travel
Ride the Amtrak Acela bullet train for the most comfortable ride. If you want to travel a little further, another Acela Expedition offers exceptional views of the Chesapeake Bay on a 75-minute drive to Wilmington, Delaware.
Wilmington is home toDelaware Kindermuseum, easily accessible by a scenic walk along the rebuiltChristiana riverside.
If you want to visit Philadelphia for the weekend, just half an hour outside of Wilmington is historic Philadelphia with many great museums, countless restaurants and enough attractions to enchant everyone.
Both cities are also easily accessible by train from New York for a nice long day or family weekend.
Short trips south of Washington > Richmond
If you want to travel south, Richmond, Virginia is a two-hour drive. Amtrak offers regular service from DC. The scenic drive takes you past many Civil War-era sites and before you know it, you'll be at Richmond station.
A short cab ride away is a one of a kind museum worth visiting in Richmond - theCivil War Museum in historic Tredegar. Many other museums, restaurants and sights can also be found here. Richmond offers a glimpse of the South as it was and is today.
A short Eastern Train ride past Richmond? Williamsburg, Va
If you have at least one night, Williamsburg, Virginia is also worth a visit. Fascinating, modern and historic, this city is an hour's train ride from Richmond. Young history buffs can experience life in the 18th century hereColonial Williamsburg, a historic recreation village and living history museum offering on-site entertainment, history, historic dining and lodging.
It would be another budget expense, but combined with Williamsburg's contemporary arts, food brewing, and craft brewing scene, the Historic Triangle's Historic Triangle locations make for a great week-long vacationJamestownIYorktownIAmusement Park Busch Gardens Williamsburgand a water park.
The region is particularly interesting for school children who have dealt with the arrival of the first settlers, slavery, the American Revolution, the beginnings of democracy or the independence movements of the colonies. Dressed in contemporary clothing, historical interpreters explain how things used to be done and are happy to answer the children's questions.
Train travel tips from the Family Travel Forum
It's always worth pre-booking your Amtrak tickets online or in person. Young train enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the local train station to plan and buy tickets for their next journey.
At Amtrak, with limited exceptions, a child aged 2-12 travels with each paying adult (18+) at 50% off the lowest available adult fare. Single parents traveling with more than one child pay the full fare for additional children. However, infants under the age of 2 ride for free; one infant per full-paying adult. Additional infants under the age of 2 pay 50% of the full price. Sometimes the Amtrak website offers special fares that may be cheaper.
And if you're willing to go all the wayAmtrak.comincludes current travel offers such as the US 10 Segment Train Pass ($499), valid for 30 days.
Our next stops on this journey?
Share your opinion! If you're interested in more rail travel ideas for youth, teens and railroad fans, our next section offers tips on longer trips in the continental United States. This link leads to mineFavorite train travel in the western United States
Ralph Spielman is a retired Fortune 500 business travel manager, lifelong train enthusiast, honorary associate professor at Grand Central Terminal, and volunteer at The High Line, both in New York City. He has ridden many large and small trains in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.
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1 Response to “The 7 Best Train Journeys to Explore the East”
May 8, 2020 at 6:30 am
With its rugged interior dotted with 286 10,000-foot (3,000-meter) peaks, Taiwan's railway system connects to the shores of the coast, where much of Taiwan's cultural life is concentrated. Whether you're taking the bullet train from Taipei to the second-largest city, Kaohsiung, or spending a week slowly circling the island on a local train, all trips are from the cobalt-blue Pacific Ocean, or from the green-covered plains in sight of paddy fields or the mountainsides
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