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Amtrak’s 10 Best Scenic Day Trips

Amtrak's Best Day Trips
California Zephyr, Nevada (Photo: Loco Steve via flickr/CC Attribution)

You can argue the relative merits of air and train travel all day, but trains outscore planes every time on one important factor: scenery. With their large windows and comfortable coach seats, trains are unsurpassed for enjoying the countryside as you go.

Amtrak posts a list of what it considers its most scenic trips. Amtrak’s list is based on trips that may entail a night or two en route. But you don’t have to travel overnight to enjoy spectacular scenery by train. Several Amtrak routes include some spectacular day trips or day-trip segments. I tried to cull the best day-only options between cities with good air and highway access. The final list is mine, not Amtrak’s.

Obviously, you can enjoy more daylight sightseeing in the summer than in the winter, but some trips can be good even when you pass through bleak winter snowscapes. Fall trips, of course, can be fantastic for viewing foliage. Check Amtrak’s schedules for further details.

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