Attention Train Lovers: Scenic Routes Are A Major Travel Trend

We agree with this train of thought.

As Southerners, we have a natural predilection for taking the roundabout, scenic route. Winding, country roads and a summer sunset? Sign us up. Give us a week's vacation and an Amtrak ticket from New York City to Emeryville, California, and we'll be happy campers. (Give us a good friend and a pile of books, too, please.)

Over the past few years, so-called "slow travel" has risen to the forefront of travel trends with beautiful, lengthy train rides bringing to life the old adage that travel is not about the destination, but the journey. As Brit + Co. reported in a roundup of travel trends, it's high time people get aboard the craze: "According to, travelers are increasingly looking to take longer routes to take in the scenery, enjoy the experience, and reduce their environmental impact," writes Lesley Chen in the piece, also adding that train travel is among the most economical modes of transportation.

Rails to Trails Mountain View in Abingdon, Virginia
Sam Dean

Some of our favorite options for train travel include the Rocky Mountaineer, which has a slew of breathtaking rail journeys around Canada and Amtrak's Coast Starlight between Seattle and Los Angeles, with magnificent scenery of the Cascade Range, Pacific Ocean, forests, valleys, and more.

In the Southern U.S., there are also a variety of picturesque train routes, along with leisure-time train rides year-round. The Virginia Scenic Railway, for example, offers two routes through the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, and the surrounding small towns of Staunton, Fishersville, Goshen, and Waynesboro. Cozy up in a 1940s passenger car, then sit back and relax for a three-hour sightseeing tour. Take a ride during fall for views of the gorgeous foliage, or book a seat for a family friendly Santa Ride once December rolls around.

What's the longest train trip you've ever taken? Do you have any suggestions for people taking their first long train journey? We can hear the train whistle blowing already!

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