The phrase is “planes, trains and automobiles.” But sometimes it feels like we forget all about the train altogether, favoring a car’s convenience or the speed of a flight. But trains are a great way to travel: You’ll never hit traffic and it’s much less hassle than you find at the airport. And best of all, certain American train routes bring you much closer to this country’s natural beauty, history and wonder than a car or plane ever could.
Take a look at some of the most scenic train rides in the U.S. below. Book a ticket, then sit back and watch it all roll by.
1. Cape Cod Central Railroad
Route: Ride east from Bourne to Hyannis, Massachusetts
Duration: 2 hours
This coastal excursions run on approximately 27 miles of track from May through October. Traveling from the Cape to the Cape Cod Canal, you can expect to see sand dunes, woodlands, cranberry bogs and salt marshes along the way.
2. Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express
Route: North from New York City to Rutland, Vermont
Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes
This daily route is named for Ethan Allen, the revolutionary war patriot who settled in Vermont. Upstate New York and Vermont both host vast wildernesses, skiing territories, lakes and mountain landscapes. See all of it go by from the first few stops in the Hudson Valley, up through the Catskills, Albany and Saratoga Springs. Stop along the way or ride all the way to the end ― Rutland, Vermont is the state’s second largest city and home to charming B&B’s and inns and several summer festivals.