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If you are looking for a relaxing and scenic way to explore the Golden State, you might want to consider traveling on Amtrak trains in southern California. Amtrak offers several train routes that connect some of the most popular destinations in the region, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. You can enjoy the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, the mountains, the deserts, and the cities along the way while avoiding traffic and parking hassles.
One of the most popular train routes in southern California is the Pacific Surfliner, which hugs the coast for 351 miles and stops at 27 stations. You can board this train at any station and hop off at any destination you like, such as San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo.
The Pacific Surfliner offers comfortable seats with power outlets and free Wi-Fi, as well as a café car with snacks and drinks. You can also bring your bike or surfboard onboard for free, making it easy to enjoy some outdoor activities at your destination or sit back and enjoy the views.
Enjoy extra savings with a half-off deal for kids ages 2-12 on the lowest available adult ticket fare every day, and kids younger than two rides free*! Plus, students up to age 25 can save 15%.
Here are some Top Destinations to visit:
Downtown San Diego
Enjoy views of the coastline on your way to San Diego, and arrive in the heart of downtown. Tour Petco Park, visit the San Diego Zoo, dine in Little Italy, shop at Seaport Village, explore the museums of Balboa Park, embark on a harbor cruise, and more. Those who are 21+ can explore the Gaslamp Quarter, known for its nightlife. Try something new by taking the ferry across the bay to the wide sandy beaches of Coronado Island.
San Juan Capistrano
Get a glimpse into early California life in the charming town of San Juan Capistrano. Visit the “Jewel of the California Missions”, as well as one of the state’s oldest neighborhoods. There’s a petting zoo that kids love and a wine bar for those 21+. A track-side restaurant serves delicious food, even a Pacific Surfliner-themed entrée. There’s also a teahouse that offers afternoon tea experiences!
With a vibrant downtown, world-class dining, and access to major event venues and cultural attractions, Los Angeles is known as the entertainment capital of the world. Take a stroll through Olvera Street, a colorful Mexican marketplace located just across the street from the train station. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Little Tokyo, and LA Live are easily accessible with a connection to Metro Rail. Travel a bit further to explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal City.
Head to Ventura for chill surfer town vibes. The train station is centrally located between the downtown area and the beach. Relax on the sand watching the surfers, and walk to the end of the pier. Head to Main Street to browse boutiques and galleries, explore the historic Mission, and grab a bite to eat. Those 21+ can visit the numerous microbreweries throughout downtown.
Santa Barbara is a seaside paradise known as “the American Riviera”. Adults can explore the Urban Wine Trail, wellness spas, gastropubs, and shopping. Families will enjoy the kid-friendly attractions, including the state-of-the-art children’s museum, the oceanfront maritime museum, and the zoo! Stearns Wharf is a historic pier near the train station with casual and fine dining options, wine tasting, souvenir shops, a candy shop, and locally made ice cream.
The “Danish Capital of America” is nestled in Santa Barbara County’s Wine Country. Transport yourself to what feels like a small town in Denmark and admire the old-world European architecture. Shop for authentic gifts from wooden shoes to cuckoo clocks, taste traditional pastries, and visit the many wine-tasting rooms scattered across town. A horse-drawn trolley offers a full tour of the area.
San Luis Obispo
De-stress in San Luis Obispo, a laid-back town with award-winning wineries, outdoor adventures, and farm-to-table culinary offerings. Visit the Thursday night Farmer’s Market, spanning blocks downtown, to enjoy local produce and restaurant specialties. Take a photo in Bubblegum Alley, one of the city’s most unique and popular landmarks, and tour one of the state’s oldest and best-preserved Spanish Missions. There are dozens of hiking and biking trails to explore.
Whether you are looking for a day trip or a longer vacation, traveling on Amtrak trains in southern California can be a fun and convenient way to experience this diverse region. You can sit back and relax while enjoying the views, or get off at any station and explore what each destination has to offer. You can also save money by taking advantage of Amtrak’s discounts and deals for seniors, students, children, veterans, groups, and more. To plan your trip and book your tickets online visit amtrak.com.
*One infant under the age of two may ride free with each passenger paying an adult fare. Free infants ride on the lap of the adult. Additional infants per adult travel at the child fare.