The 12 Cheapest Railway Tours Across America

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Roll up, roll up! Are you a train enthusiast on a budget? With these budget-friendly options, you can satisfy your wanderlust and witness the breathtaking panoramas of the country without breaking the bank. Bonus point: you’ll get solid cost estimates to fuel your planning. All aboard the thrift train! Choo-choo!

Grand Canyon Railroad

Rollin Jewett via Wikimedia Commons

For just $109.99, you can witness the majestic Grand Canyon from the comfort of a vintage train. Expect to be treated to panoramic views of the Southwest’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, from the rust-colored cliffs to the vast desert expanses. And if you’re a history buff, you’ll love the vintage charm of the railroad.

The Napa Valley Wine Train

kitmasterbloke via Wikimedia Commons

For just around $150, this 36-mile round-trip excursion will whisk you through scenic vineyards, indulging in a four-course gourmet meal and sipping some of the region’s best vintages. The train itself is a refurbished piece of history, running on tracks that are over 150 years old. It’s the high life minus the high price!

Amtrak Cascades

ItsDaDoc via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll travel through mist-clad mountains, lush forests, and tranquil bodies of water – from the Cascade Mountains to Puget Sound while comfortably seated in your cozy carriage. And the best part? The journey from Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia, will cost around $90 for an adult and $45 for a kid.

The Maple Leaf Train

Diego Torres Silvestre via Wikimedia Commons

The route starts in the Big Apple, New York City, and winds to Toronto, Canada’s largest city. For a mere $148, you’ll get to soak in the sights of the Hudson River, the cascading Niagara Falls, and the serene Finger Lakes. Not to mention, you’ll cross the international border – fancy that, eh?

Verde Canyon Railroad Adventure Package

Clay Gilliland via Wikimedia Commons

For $89.95, you get a front-row seat to Arizona’s scenic splendors. The 4-hour round trip starts from Clarkdale, meandering through a 20-mile route that takes you alongside the Verde River and into the heart of the majestic red rock canyons. You’ll get to see ancient Sinagua Indian ruins, a 680-foot man-made tunnel, and, if you’re lucky, bald eagles soaring overhead.

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

611fan2001 via Wikimedia Commons

For about $56, you’ll be treated to a 4.5-hour journey through lush forests, past sparkling rivers, and around the enchanting Great Smoky Mountains. And let’s not forget the quaint Appalachian towns along the way, oozing with charm and history.

The Coast Starlight

Drew Jacksich via Wikimedia Commons

For a cool $89, you can meander from Seattle to Los Angeles, immersing yourself in a diverse tableau of breathtaking landscapes – think snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and serene seascapes. This scenic 35-hour journey takes you through Washington, Oregon, and California, giving you an up-close and personal encounter with America’s majestic West Coast.

The White Pass Yukon Route

© Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

Twisting through Alaska and the Yukon Territory, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a Jack London novel. The scenic vistas of mountains, gorges, and waterfalls might make you feel like you’re in a movie – but trust me, those $120 tickets (as of 2024) are no CGI!

The Rocky Mountaineer

Andrew Bowden via Wikimedia Commons

Grab a ticket for a song at just $1,500, and prepare to be whisked away on a two-day, all-daylight journey through the wild heart of the Canadian Rockies. You’ll get to see emerald-green forests and towering, snow-capped mountains. And the best part? Every carriage is glass-domed.

Alaska Glacier Discovery Train

Leonid Berger via Wikimedia Commons

With tickets starting at $89, it’s a bracing, budget-friendly jaunt through the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. As you chug along, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of glaciers, mountains, and wildlife – it’s like a nature documentary come to life! And the best part? You get to enjoy all these natural wonders from the comfort of a heated car with a hot cup of cocoa in your hand.

Pikes Peak COG Railway & Garden of Gods Tour

Dough4872 via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll get to sit back and relax as you ascend Pikes Peak, the highest summit of the Southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, on the good ol’ cog railway. At the top, don’t be surprised if you’re lost for words—the view is a knockout!

The tour then swivels to the Garden of the Gods, a public park known for its jaw-dropping sandstone formations, all for just under $100.

Skunk Train, California

Missvain via Wikimedia Commons

This journey takes you through the heart of the Redwood Forest, known for its towering ancient trees that touch the sky. As of 2024, you can hop aboard this adventure for a mere $69 for adults and $34 for kids. Not too shabby for a trip back in time, eh? And don’t worry about the name; the ‘skunk’ refers to the old gasoline-powered engines that, well, stunk a bit.

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    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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