Taking The Train From Florida To California: Routes, Tips, And What To Expect

Looking to travel from Florida to California by train? Cross-country train travel can be a relaxing, scenic way to see the country. But planning a trip on Amtrak between these two far-flung states also takes some research and preparation.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: You can travel by train from Florida to California, but the trip takes 2-3 days each way and requires several transfers along the Amtrak routes.

Amtrak Routes from Florida to California

If you’re looking to take a train from Florida to California, Amtrak offers two main routes that will take you on a scenic journey across the country. Whether you’re a train enthusiast or simply prefer the convenience and comfort of traveling by rail, these routes provide an exciting way to explore the diverse landscapes of the United States.

New Orleans route with Texas Eagle

The first route is the New Orleans route with the Texas Eagle. This route takes you from Florida to New Orleans, where you will transfer to the Texas Eagle train. From there, you’ll travel through the heartland of America, passing through cities like San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth, before reaching Los Angeles, California.

This route offers a unique opportunity to experience the charm of the South and the vastness of the American Midwest.

Chicago route with Capitol Limited and California Zephyr

The second route is the Chicago route with the Capitol Limited and California Zephyr. This route takes you from Florida to Chicago, where you will transfer to the Capitol Limited train. From Chicago, you’ll embark on a scenic journey through the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the California Zephyr, before arriving in Emeryville, California.

This route allows you to witness the beauty of the American heartland and the breathtaking landscapes of the West Coast.

Both routes offer stunning views, comfortable accommodations, and amenities onboard. You’ll have access to dining cars, observation lounges, and sleeping accommodations to make your journey as enjoyable as possible.

Amtrak trains provide a relaxing and leisurely way to travel, allowing you to sit back, relax, and take in the scenery.

It’s important to note that travel times and schedules may vary, so it’s recommended to check the Amtrak website for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, it’s wise to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel times, to ensure availability and secure the best fares.

So, whether you’re interested in exploring the vibrant cities of the South or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the West Coast, taking the train from Florida to California offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey!

Booking Tickets and Planning Your Trip

When it comes to booking tickets and planning your trip, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your train journey from Florida to California.

Choosing accommodation: Coach vs. Roomette vs. Bedroom

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what type of accommodation you prefer on board. Amtrak offers a variety of options, including coach seats, roomettes, and bedrooms. Coach seats are the most affordable option and provide a comfortable reclining seat for your journey.

Roomettes are small private cabins with two seats that convert into a bed at night, perfect for solo travelers or couples. Bedrooms offer more space and can accommodate up to four people, with a private bathroom and shower.

When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as budget, comfort level, and the duration of your trip. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, opt for a roomette or bedroom. However, if you’re on a tight budget or don’t mind a slightly less private space, coach seats can still provide a comfortable journey.

Booking early for best fares and availability

It’s always a good idea to book your train tickets as early as possible to secure the best fares and availability. Amtrak often offers promotional fares and discounts for early bookings, so make sure to keep an eye out for any special deals.

By booking in advance, you’ll also have a better chance of securing the accommodation option of your choice. Popular routes, such as the one from Florida to California, can sell out quickly, so it’s best not to leave your ticket purchase to the last minute.

Additionally, consider booking your tickets online through the official Amtrak website or authorized travel agents. This ensures a hassle-free booking process and gives you access to the most up-to-date information regarding schedules and fares.

Meals and dining on board

While traveling by train, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy delicious meals and dining options on board. Amtrak offers a variety of dining choices, depending on the length of your journey and the type of accommodation you choose.

In coach accommodations, a café car is available where you can purchase snacks, sandwiches, and beverages. Roomette and bedroom passengers, on the other hand, have access to the dining car, where they can enjoy full meals prepared by onboard chefs.

These meals are typically included in the price of your ticket.

It’s important to note that dining options may vary depending on the train route and availability. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on dining options, check the Amtrak website or contact their customer service for specific details about your journey.

Now that you have a better idea of how to book your tickets and plan your trip from Florida to California by train, you can start looking forward to an exciting and scenic adventure across the country.

Remember to book early, choose the accommodation that suits your needs, and prepare to savor the delicious meals offered on board. Bon voyage!

Luggage and Packing Considerations

When embarking on a train journey from Florida to California, it’s essential to consider your luggage and packing needs. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Checked baggage vs. carry-on policies

Before you start packing, familiarize yourself with the checked baggage and carry-on policies of the train service you’ll be using. Each train company may have different regulations regarding the size, weight, and number of bags allowed.

It’s crucial to adhere to these guidelines to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey. Check the train company’s official website or contact their customer service for specific details.

What to pack for a multi-day train ride

When packing for a multi-day train ride, it’s important to strike a balance between comfort and practicality. Here are some essential items to consider including in your luggage:

  • Clothing: Pack enough clothing for the duration of your journey, keeping in mind the weather conditions of both Florida and California. Layering is key to adapt to varying temperatures throughout the trip.
  • Toiletries: Remember to pack travel-sized toiletries, including toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, and any other personal care items you may need.
  • Entertainment: Bring books, magazines, or electronic devices to keep yourself entertained during the journey. Many trains offer Wi-Fi and power outlets, but it’s always good to have backup options.
  • Snacks and drinks: While meals may be provided on the train, it’s a good idea to pack some snacks and drinks to enjoy between meals. Consider bringing some non-perishable options that won’t spoil during the journey.
  • Comfort items: Don’t forget to pack items that will make your journey more comfortable, such as a neck pillow, blanket, or eye mask.

Remember to pack light and efficiently, as train cabins may have limited storage space. It’s also a good idea to label your luggage with your contact information in case it gets misplaced.

Making the Most of a Long Train Journey

Traveling by train from Florida to California can be a long and scenic adventure. To make the most of your journey, here are a few tips and suggestions:

Enjoying the scenery and views

One of the greatest advantages of train travel is the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views along the way. As you pass through different states and landscapes, be sure to grab a window seat and take in the beauty of the countryside.

From the rolling hills of the Midwest to the majestic mountains of the West, each leg of your journey will offer a unique and memorable experience.

For even better views, consider timing your trip to coincide with sunrise or sunset. Witnessing the golden hues of the sun painting the landscape from the comfort of your train seat is a sight to behold.

Activities and entertainment on board

Long train journeys can sometimes be tiring, but there are plenty of activities and entertainment options available on board to keep you engaged and entertained. Many trains have observation cars or lounges where you can relax, socialize, and enjoy panoramic views.

Some trains even have onboard entertainment systems, offering movies, TV shows, and music to keep you entertained throughout the trip.

Bring along a good book or download your favorite podcasts or audiobooks to make the time fly by. If you’re traveling with a companion, card games or board games can be a fun way to pass the hours. And don’t forget to bring some snacks and drinks to keep yourself refreshed and satisfied during the journey.

Dealing with delays and layovers

While train travel is generally reliable, delays and layovers can sometimes occur. It’s important to be prepared and have a contingency plan in case of unexpected disruptions to your journey.

If you have a layover, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the city or town where the station is located. Many train stations are centrally located, allowing for easy access to nearby attractions and dining options. Use the time to stretch your legs, grab a meal, or discover something new.

If you encounter a delay, try to remain patient and make the most of the situation. Strike up a conversation with fellow passengers, play games, or simply relax and enjoy the extra time to unwind. Remember, sometimes the unexpected delays can lead to unexpected adventures and memorable experiences.

For more information on train travel and routes, you can visit Amtrak’s website. They provide detailed information on schedules, fares, and amenities to help you plan your journey.

Pros and Cons of Train Travel Between Florida and California

Scenic views vs. longer travel time

One of the major advantages of taking the train from Florida to California is the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking scenic views along the way. As the train winds its way through different states, passengers are treated to stunning landscapes, from lush green forests to rugged mountains and picturesque coastlines.

The journey itself becomes a memorable experience, allowing travelers to relax and appreciate the beauty of the country. However, it’s important to note that train travel typically takes longer compared to flying.

While some may see this as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the journey, others may prefer a quicker mode of transportation.

Space to move around vs. lack of privacy

Train travel offers the advantage of more space to move around compared to other modes of transportation. Passengers can stretch their legs, walk around, and explore different areas of the train. This freedom of movement can be particularly appealing for those who are prone to feeling cramped or claustrophobic during long journeys.

However, it’s important to consider that train cabins generally do not offer the same level of privacy as hotel rooms or even airplane cabins. Passengers may need to adjust to the presence of others and find ways to create their own personal space within the shared environment.

Low carbon footprint vs. multiple connections

For environmentally conscious travelers, train travel is an excellent choice as it has a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to air travel. Trains consume less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile, making them a more sustainable option for long-distance travel.

Additionally, taking the train reduces the overall number of vehicles on the road, contributing to a decrease in traffic congestion and air pollution. However, it’s important to consider that train travel between Florida and California often requires multiple connections, which can result in longer travel times and potentially more complicated logistics.

It’s important for travelers to plan their itinerary carefully and be prepared for potential delays or schedule changes along the way.


Traveling cross-country by train from Florida to California is feasible using Amtrak’s routes, but requires 2-3 days each way. With strategic planning and flexibility, the journey can be a memorable adventure. But be prepared for a long haul trip with multiple transfers and basic amenities compared to flying or driving.

For the right traveler who prioritizes sustainability and relaxation over speed, taking the train from Florida to California offers a unique way to see the country at ground level.

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