Train Travel Information & Rail Travel Guide


Amtrak Coast Starlight

Ride a discovery train through the Pacific West

Amtrak Coast Starlight

Southern California beaches, great West Coast cities, and the Northwest's Cascades range highlight the Coast Starlight's Los Angeles - Seattle route. Photo: © Amtrak

For an exciting West Coast vacation, Amtrak's Coast Starlight offers a unique and affordable alternative to crowded skies and freeways. The family-friendly train, linking Los Angeles and Seattle, treats travelers to a Pacific panorama of sun-swept beaches and snow-capped peaks. The Coast Starlight is a hotel on wheels. Travelers relax, dine, sleep... even party and play on the train. And, because rail impacts the environment more gently than road or air travel, the Coast Starlight is the greenest way to experience all that America's 'left coast' has to offer.
Heading north from L.A.'s historic mission-style Union Station each morning, the Coast Starlight takes travelers on a two-day West Coast discovery tour (the Amtrak website features a southbound guide). The train combines the experience of a classic rail tour with the flexibiity of daily scheduled service, making it easy to stop and explore destinations along the way (Just remember to schedule your layover destinations when booking your travel!).
Following the same route as the old Spanish mission road, "El Camino Real," the train tracks the Pacific Coast, skirting high cliffs and remote shore points on a breathtaking afternoon course. Along the way, Santa Barbara — popular with tourists, sun worshippers and celebrities alike — makes an ideal place to linger for a few days.
The Coast Starlight pulls into Salinas around dinnertime. From there, travelers can make motorcoach connections to Carmel and Monterey. Next up: San Francisco Bay; a couple of hours to the north and a natural choice for a few days layover. A midnight stop at Sacramento follows.
Rocked to sleep by the train's gentle sway, early risers awaken to sweeping views of Mount Shasta and the Cascades Range that follows. Descending into the Willamette Valley in early afternoon, the Coast Starlight reaches Portland — "the Rose City" — just before dinner. Across the mighty Columbia River and on into Washington, the trip's final leg passes Mount St. Helens, and Mt. Rainer, before tracing Puget Sound to Seattle.
Extending some 1380 mi (2220 km), the Coast Starlight's route offers plenty of options for side trips by rail. Connecting Amtrak destinations include San Diego, Disneyland, Yosemite, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Vancouver, Canada!
The Coast Starlight offers a choice of travel classes.
Coach Class is ideal for those going only part of the way or looking to save money. Roomy, reclining Coach Class seats feature handy access to 120v outlets for personal electric devices. The Sightseer Lounge/Café provides a laid-back place to chat with fellow passengers, enjoy a light nibble or bar selection, or just sit back and savor the view through large panoramic windows. Passenger Comfort Kits (inflatable pillow, earplugs, blanket, and eye shade) are available for purchase.
For those seeking the comforts of home or a good hotel, Superliner Sleeping Class is worth the splurge. Accommodations, for up to four feature private lavatory and shower. All meals are included and served in the Dining Car where regional favorites highlight seasonal menus. Sleeping class passengers also have exclusive access to the Pacific Parlour Car where you can catch a movie, surf the web via Amtrak WiFi, share drinks with new-found friends, sample Californian cheeses and wines, and dine from the bistro-style menu.
A "Coast Starlight only" feature: the Arcade Coach is lined with high-tech video games, and is a hit with kids of all ages!
Amtrak's premier tour train is a rolling vacation resort that enhances West Coast sightseeing with gourmet dining, laid-back lounges, and deluxe over-night accommodations. The perfect car-free travel choice, the Coast Starlight offers a memory-making journey for young and old alike.

The Coast Starlight has daily departures from Los Angeles. (Amtrak connections for San Diego, New Orleans and Chicago) and Seattle (connections for Chicago and Vancouver, Canada). For optimum daylight sightseeing, the northbound route is recommended. Fares are determined by availability so book early for best prices. Kids 2 through 15 years old ride half-price and infants under 2 ride free. Discounts for military, students, AAA and seniors are also available. Passengers are allowed up to two pieces of carry-on luggage and three checked pieces at no additional charge. Special menu requests, including kosher and vegan, should be made 72-hours in advance. Wheelchair access and assistance is available at all stations.
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