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Coast to Coast : San Francisco to New York

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10 days From $2,176 per person
4.2 stars(5 reviews)

There is no better way to see the USA than by rail. Travel from coast to coast aboard two iconic long-distance trains, Amtrak’s California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited. Combine these fantastic overnight rail journeys with city stays in three of the USA’s most popular cosmopolitan cities: San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2024 Tour code: TU-CCSE-24

About the tour

Embark on a 10-day cross-country rail vacation that showcases the best of the USA, from unspoiled natural beauty to bustling big cities. Your coast to coast adventure begins in the City by the Bay, San Francisco, for a 2-night stay in this coastal metropolis. Explore highlights of the city on a guided tour of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight Ashbury, and Chinatown, and stand in awe of the Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods.

Next, board the legendary California Zephyr for the two-night journey across America's western frontier, over the Colorado Rockies, and through the prairies and plains of the Midwest to Chicago. Take in the city with an included architecture tour on the Chicago River. Visit the Art Institute, stroll along the lakefront, shop along the Magnificent Mile, see a play, or enjoy a slice of famous Chicago deep dish pizza.

Your journey east continues with the overnight trip from Chicago to New York City aboard the Lake Shore Limited. Your coast to coast vacation continues with a 2-night stay in New York City. See all the popular landmarks and attractions on a guided sightseeing tour to see Central Park, Rockefeller Center, 9/11 Memorial cruise past the Statue of Liberty by boat.

This itinerary is available for travel from New York to San Francisco based on your travel preference.


What’s included


Day 1 - Arrive in San Francisco

Arrive in San Francisco and transfer on your own to your centrally-located hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure. This evening you may wish to dine at nearby Fisherman's Wharf, enjoy the charm of the Marina District, or explore the Embarcadero. Overnight San Francisco.

*There's so much to see and do in this iconic city. Speak to your rail specialist about adding additional nights or activities in San Francisco.

Day 2 - San Francisco Sightseeing

Spend the day exploring San Francisco a guided tour of the cities most iconic sights. Visit Chinatown, Haight Ashbury, travel across the Golden Gate Bridge, and stare up in wonder at the tallest living things on earth, the Coastal Redwoods in Muir Woods. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Coast before returning to the city for the night. Overnight San Francisco.

Day 3 - Onboard the California Zephyr

This morning transfer to the rail station in neighboring Emeryville, board the California Zephyr, and settle in to your onboard accommodations. The train is scheduled to depart around 9am. Your day aboard the train can be spent with a good book, meeting fellow travelers, or enjoying the passing scenery from the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car. Overnight train.

Day 4 - En Route to Chicago

When you awake this morning, the Zephyr will be departing Utah and headed into Colorado. Views of the Rockies will be the backdrop for the better part of today's train journey as you wind your way through tunnels and around mountain curves. Highlights of today's journey include Glenwood and Ruby Canyons and the famous Moffat Tunnel. Overnight train.

Day 5 - Arrive in Chicago

The California Zephyr travels through the cornfields of Iowa and across the Mississippi River en route to Chicago. You're scheduled to arrive late afternoon. Transfer on your own to your downtown hotel with your evening at leisure. You may wish to visit Millenium Park or Navy Pier this evening with a variety of lakeside dining and entertainment options, or perhaps you'll seek out the perfect slice of authentic deep dish pizza. Overnight Chicago.

Day 6 - Chicago Sightseeing

Discover the beauty of Chicago and learn a bit of its history with an architecture tour* on the Chicago River. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore on your own, check out Wrigleyville, Willis Tower, or add one of the many optional activities available. Overnight Chicago.

*Chicago Architecture tours are available March-November. A bus tour will be substituted for December-February travel dates.

Day 7 - Chicago / Lake Shore Limited to New York

You have an entire day at leisure to visit one of Chicago's art, science or history museums, continue exploring some of the city's historic neighborhoods, or shop along the Magnificent Mile. This evening transfer on your own to the Amtrak station and board the Lake Shore Limited. The train is scheduled to depart around 9:30 pm. Overnight train.

Day 8 - Lake Shore Limited to New York City

Spend the day relaxing aboard the train, enjoying the passing scenery as the Lake Shore Limited travels its eastbound route. Highlights along your route include a journey alongside the Hudson River, Bannerman's Castle, and West Point Academy. Mid-afternoon you'll pass through the state capital of Albany, arriving in New York City around 7pm. Transfer on your own to your centrally-located hotel with the evening at leisure. Overnight New York City.

*Opt to stop en route with an overnight or two to Niagara Falls. Speak to a Rail Specialist for more information.

Day 9 - New York City Sightseeing

Deep dive into the city that never sleeps on a guided tour of its highlights. Experience the city by vehicle and by boat to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island , the Brooklyn Bridge, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and more. Hear stories about the history and people that shaped America's largest city. Overnight New York City.

Day 10 - New York City

Your coast to coast vacation comes to an end this morning.

*There's so much to experience in this large metropolis. Speak to your Rail Specialist if you'd like to add additional nights or activities in New York City.

Additional information

Pricing Plans

Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette and Bedroom.

Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest.

Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night.

Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower. Roomette and Bedroom accommodations include all meals aboard the train.

Sleeping car passengers aboard the California Zephyr enjoy meals in the train's Dining car. New contemporary and fresh dining choices replace traditional dining car service on the Lake Shore Limited. Sleeping car passengers may elect to have a chilled prepared meal selection delivered to your Roomette or Bedroom or enjoy meals in a private cafe or lounge car.

Please Note

Please be aware Amtrak may experience occasional schedule changes and service disruptions.  Vacations By Rail recommends visiting the Amtrak web site prior to your departure for the latest information.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

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Fifty Hotel & Suites by Affinia, New York

Fifty Hotel & Suites by Affinia, New York

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Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

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Amtrak's California Zephyr
Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited

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4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 5 reviews

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  5. 1 star


1 stars

Submitted 16 Mar 2023

I was informed that my Trip on the Zefer had been canceled I was not told why and then your staff said I could get on another train and all I had to do was take a Taxi to Emeryville and get on the train to Bakersfield and then get on a bus to L.A.Station.Sobecause I have never been on a Train before and was not told that we were going on a completely different Route .I was lead to believe that everything was as planed other than we were just having to take Taxi to Emeryville and we were all in the same Vacation. If I had been told that this was a completely different route I would have learned more about the route and would have been able to look at it and decide if it would work for me and my wife. It was our nightmare vacation!!

Collected by Trustpilot

Alyson M, Fort Worth, TX

5 stars

Submitted 20 Jul 2021

Traveling by train was the perfect way to spend our honeymoon and see the country!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Alyson M, Fort Worth, TX

5 stars

Submitted 20 Jul 2021

Traveling by train was the perfect way to spend our honeymoon and see the country!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Deirdre Heitmeyer

5 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2018

We loved this trip and would recommend it to anyone

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Jill S, New Britain , CT

5 stars

Submitted 12 Jan 2018

I?ve wanted to go cross country and I love traveling by rail so it made perfect sense. The trip was beyond my wildest dreams. Our country, all the beautiful people I met on the train. The incredible hard working people on the train who got to know you by name. A fabulous way to see our country and some great cities.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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