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Train Trips for the Ages

Toddlers point in amazement. Adults feel a rush of excitement. The ground rumbles, and a whistle pierces the air. When a train comes thundering past, the whole family pays attention.

Train travel captivates people of all ages, and a relaxing excursion aboard a train allows passengers to fully enjoy the journey rather than focus only on the destination.

Throw in Santa Claus, train robbers and rafting excursions, and even the most antsy children will walk away from their train ride fully entertained. The mix of a laid-back, scenic trip with kid-focused add-ons creates the perfect opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to travel together.

Group leaders seeking an intergenerational itinerary should consider one of these family-friendly rail rides.

Amtrak Coast Starlight

Los Angeles to Seattle

Daily local wine-and-artisan-cheese tastings thrill adults, and children can hear stories behind the spectacular scenery on the Amtrak Coast Starlight. The train route caters to all ages during its two-day journey between Los Angeles and Seattle, through some of America’s most dramatic scenery.

Instead of struggling through congested airports or clogged freeways to explore the Pacific Coast, passengers can opt for the freedom of movement and amenities possible on a train. If booking overnight accommodations for the two-day ride, passengers enjoy included regional cuisine in the dining car, happy-hour specials and exclusive entrance to the Pacific Parlor Car. With floor-to-ceiling windows and swivel chairs, the Sightseer Lounge Car offers a way for guests to fully focus on the surrounding splendor.

For the section between Santa Barbara and Oakland, California, the train’s onboard Trails and Rails program relates interesting information about the passing Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Guides discuss the dangers and discoveries of de Anza’s exploratory expedition in the 1770s. Between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, National Park Service representatives comment on the passing Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and the relevant stories about miners in search of instant riches.

Though the snow-covered Cascade Range, lush forests and dramatic Pacific Ocean shoreline viewed from the train keep passengers glued to the window, add-on excursions along the coast can easily stretch the train trip’s itinerary.