Sure, summer still feels about as far away as the next total solar eclipse, but it’s definitely not too soon to start planning a dreamy road trip. And, a new spin on the choice mode of transportation for the season will allow you to see some of the country’s most beautiful places on the cheap. In fact, if you opt to take your road trip aboard a train, you actually get from coast to coast for only $213. Yes, seriously.
Reported by Elle, travel expert Derek Low first shared his genius route on his blog. He found that by purchasing one Amtrak ticket for two popular sightseeing routes—the direct California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited—it’s possible to cover a total of 3,400 miles from San Francisco to New York, with incredibly scenic views of landmarks like the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas serving as checkpoints along the way.
“Traveling by train rewards you with far more stories and experiences and sights than you could ever witness alone in a car, eyes fixed on the road, or on a five-hour flight across the country.” —Derek Low, travel expert
After 4 days, 11 states, and 4 time zones, Low had seen both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans without having stepped foot on a plane. “Traveling by train gives you a glimpse into the soul of America,” Low wrote on his blog. “The experience rewards you with far more stories and experiences and sights than you could ever witness alone in a car, eyes fixed on the road, or on a five-hour flight across the country.”
If you want to get the best views during your journey, grab a seat in the Sightseer Lounge whenever possible, Low instructs. And to do some exploring in the cities along the way, you might want to get a 15-day rail pass instead for $429.
Since your eyes won’t have to be glued to the road for, you know, safety reasons, they’ll be free to explore the real prize of road trips: Mother Nature, in all her glory.