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There’s a Huge Sale on the Most Scenic Amtrak Routes in the United States Right Now

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One-way fares on Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area are on major sale right now.

Courtesy of Amtrak

One-way fares on Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area are on major sale right now.

Now’s the time to book that train ride across America.

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If the idea of ditching the plane for a train ride across the United States appeals to you, now’s the time to book it. Amtrak is having a two-for-one sale through January 12, 2020, on its coach seats and sleeping accommodations, including both Amtrak Bedrooms and Roomettes—the smaller private rooms that up to two people can sleep in each night—for train travel between February 1, 2020, and June 12, 2020.

Amtrak Roomettes are a far cry from luxury train travel, but they do have enough room for two seats facing each other that convert into a bed at night, with another bunk that folds down from the ceiling for the second guest. The Amtrak Viewliner Roomettes used on trains to and from New York City also include an in-room toilet, while the Amtrak Superliner Roomettes do not. Amtrak Bedrooms are slightly larger and can accommodate a third guest and have in-room showers in addition to in-room toilets.

Both Amtrak Roomette and Bedroom fares include access to hot showers, coffee, and room service in the morning, plus turn-down service in the evening. Fares also include all meals in the dining car, including Amtrak’s new flexible dining service on select routes. It may be a cozy way to travel, but it’s also one of the best ways to take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States without having to do any of the driving yourself.

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This sale is available on some of Amtrak’s most popular routes, including the City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans for as low as $138 for two coach tickets (or $312 for a Roomette) and the Crescent from Atlanta to New Orleans from $82 for two coach tickets (or $243 for a Roomette).

Here are some other long-distance Amtrak train routes—considered to be the most scenic in the United States—for more inspiration.

The Pacific coastline is one highlight of the Coast Starlight train.

Coast Starlight

This 35-hour journey from Seattle to Los Angeles has been called the most beautiful train ride in the United States—and for good reason. As you make your way from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California on the Coast Starlight, you pass through the Cascade Range, see Mount Shasta’s snow-capped peak, and take in mile after mile of the California coastline.

We found one-way coach fares for two people on the Portland, Oregon, to Los Angeles leg of this route as low as $123 during this sale.

The Southwest Chief passes through New Mexico along its route.

Southwest Chief

Always wanted to see the American West but don’t want to spend days in a car cruising Route 66? Amtrak’s Southwest Chief takes a similar route between Chicago to Los Angeles with stops in Kansas City, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff along the way. After leaving the Midwest, the train makes its way through the Southwest, cutting through canyons and offering views you can’t get from the highway. To extend your trip, get off in Flagstaff and take a day trip on the vintage cars of the Grand Canyon Railway, which offers daily train rides through the end of January each winter.

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One-way coach fares for two people between Los Angeles and Albuquerque can be found for as low as $86 on this route during this sale.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder travels across Gassman Coulee Trestle near Minot, North Dakota.

Empire Builder

If you’re looking to travel cross-country instead of down the coast, the Empire Builder between Portland and Chicago is one of our favorite winter train rides.

As you make your way through the Columbia River Gorge and out of Oregon up to Spokane, Washington (this train also departs from Seattle), you’ll pass by Glacier National Park before crossing North Dakota’s plains. From there, you’ll get fantastic views of the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis skyline before reaching your destination in Chicago.

The Sunset Limited passes over the Amistad Reservoir in western Texas.

Sunset Limited

Three days a week, the Sunset Limited train makes its way from New Orleans to Los Angeles with stops along the route in San Antonio, Tucson, and Phoenix. On Amtrak’s southernmost route, you’ll get to see Bayou Country, the deserts of the Southwest, and California’s mountains. National Parks fans can extend their train trip by getting off the train in Tuscon to visit Saguaro National Park and in Alpine, Texas, to explore Big Bend National Park.

The California Zephyr is considered to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the United States.

California Zephyr

You could make the journey from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area by plane in under five hours, but the California Zephyr lets you experience the plains of Iowa and Nebraska before heading up into the Rockies and crossing over the Sierra Nevada to arrive in Emeryville, California, across the bay from San Francisco.

The Lake Shore Limited passes over New York’s Erie Canal several times during its route.

Lake Shore Limited

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Starting in either New York City or Boston, the Lake Shore Limited route joins together in Albany, New York, and makes its way to Chicago. Along the way you’ll ride through New York’s scenic Finger Lakes region before traveling along the southern coast of Lake Erie and the shores of Lake Michigan before arriving in Chicago.

During this Amtrak sale, you can find one-way coach fares for two people for as little as $112 on the New York to Chicago route.

How to book this Amtrak sale

To take advantage of these two-for-one Amtrak fares, you can enter the discount code “V605” when booking or visit the promotion page at amtrak.com and the price will be automatically discounted. 

This Amtrak sale is valid for one free companion fare with the purchase of a regular full adult fare. Passengers must travel together in the same room (for sleeping accommodations) and on the same reservation. Blackout dates apply for train travel on April 10, 2020, and April 13, 2020, as well as May 22 through May 25, 2020.

This article originally appeared online in June 2018; it was updated on December 4, 2018, October 8, 2019, November 29, 2019, and January 7, 2020, to include current information.

>>Next: 8 Scenic Winter Train Rides Around the World