Family Travel On Amtrak: A Comprehensive Guide

Traveling with family can be a memorable experience, full of bonding moments and shared adventures. However, the journey to your destination can often be a source of stress and anxiety. This is where Amtrak comes in. With its comfortable seating, spacious cabins, and scenic routes, Amtrak offers a stress-free alternative to air travel. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about family travel on Amtrak, from booking tickets to onboard amenities, and everything in between.

Family travel by train is becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people opt for eco-friendly and budget-friendly travel options. Amtrak, the national rail network in the United States, offers a great way for families to explore the country together. With a wide range of routes and destinations, comfortable seating, and on-board amenities, Amtrak is a convenient and stress-free option for family travel. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a cross-country adventure, Amtrak makes it easy for families to discover the beauty of America while creating unforgettable memories.

Booking Your Tickets

The first step in planning your family trip on Amtrak is to book your tickets. Fortunately, Amtrak offers a variety of options for booking your travel. You can book your tickets online, by phone, or in person at a ticket counter. Keep in mind that booking early will not only save you money but also ensure that you have the best choice of seats and accommodations.

Types of Tickets

When booking your tickets, you’ll need to choose between different fare options. The three primary fare options are Saver, Value, and Flexible. Saver fares are the cheapest option, but they come with restrictions, such as no refunds or changes. Value fares offer more flexibility, but they are slightly more expensive. Flexible fares are the most expensive but offer the most flexibility, including the ability to change your travel plans without penalties.

Seating and Accommodations

Amtrak offers a variety of seating and accommodations options to suit your family’s needs. Coach seats are the most economical option and offer comfortable seating with ample legroom. If you’re traveling overnight, you may want to consider upgrading to a sleeping accommodation, which comes with a bed or bunk bed, fresh linens, and towels.

Onboard Amenities

One of the benefits of traveling on Amtrak is the onboard amenities. From dining options to entertainment, Amtrak has something for everyone.

Traveling with family on Amtrak can be a stress-free and enjoyable experience, with comfortable seating, spacious accommodations, and a range of onboard amenities. To make the most of your journey, book your tickets early, choose the fare option that best suits your needs, and take advantage of the dining and entertainment options available. Remember to pack light, bring snacks and drinks, plan for restroom breaks, and be prepared for potential delays. And don’t forget to enjoy the stunning scenery along the way!

Dining Options

Amtrak offers a variety of dining options, including a full-service dining car and a café car. The dining car serves meals prepared onboard, with options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The café car offers snacks and light meals, including sandwiches, salads, and beverages.


Amtrak offers a range of onboard entertainment options to keep you and your family entertained during your journey. This includes complimentary Wi-Fi, streaming entertainment, and a selection of books and magazines.


Amtrak is committed to providing accessibility for all passengers, regardless of their mobility needs. This includes wheelchair-accessible seating and accommodations, as well as assistance with boarding and disembarking.

Tips for Family Travel on Amtrak

Traveling with family on Amtrak can be a great experience, but it does require some planning and preparation. Here are some tips to help make your Amtrak journey a success:

Pack Light

Amtrak allows each passenger to bring two carry-on bags and two personal items. However, keep in mind that storage space is limited, so it’s best to pack light.

Bring Snacks and Drinks

While Amtrak does offer dining options, it’s always a good idea to bring your own snacks and drinks. This is especially important if you have young children who may get hungry or thirsty between meals.

Plan for Restroom Breaks

Unlike air travel, Amtrak has restrooms available throughout the train. However, keep in mind that some accommodations may not have their own restroom, so plan accordingly.

Be Prepared for Delays

While Amtrak strives to be on time, delays can happen. Be sure to plan for potential delays and have a backup plan in case you arrive at your destination later than expected.

Take Advantage of the Scenery

One of the best things about traveling on Amtrak is the stunning scenery you’ll see along the way. Be sure to take advantage of this and bring a camera to capture the views.

FAQs for Family Travel on Amtrak

How does Amtrak accommodate families with young children?

Amtrak offers several amenities and services to help families travel comfortably with young children. Families with infants can bring an infant car seat on board at no additional cost, and Amtrak staff can assist with storing it securely on board. On select trains, Amtrak offers family bedrooms that feature two sets of bunk beds and a private bathroom, providing privacy and convenience for families with young children. Additionally, Amtrak staff are available to assist with carrying luggage and strollers, making boarding and disembarking easier for families.

Can families bring their own food and drinks on board?

Yes, families are allowed to bring their own food and drinks on board Amtrak trains. In fact, Amtrak encourages passengers to bring their own beverages and snacks, as well as prepared meals, to enjoy during their journey. For added convenience, some Amtrak trains include a dining car where passengers can purchase meals and snacks on board.

What kind of activities are available for children on board Amtrak?

Amtrak offers several activities and services that are tailored to children. Many trains feature a Kids Zone in the observation car, where kids can play games, read books, and color. Amtrak also offers onboard movies and shows that are family-friendly, as well as an onboard library with a selection of children’s books. Additionally, some routes feature scenic views and points of interest, which can be a fun and educational experience for young passengers.

Can families bring pets on board Amtrak?

Yes, Amtrak allows pets on select trains, but there are some restrictions and requirements. Dogs and cats are the only pets allowed, and they must be at least eight weeks old and fully trained. A maximum of two pets is allowed per passenger, and they must be kept in a carrier at all times. There is also an additional fee for traveling with pets, and certain restrictions may apply depending on the train’s route.

Is Amtrak a safe way to travel with family?

Amtrak is generally considered a safe and reliable way to travel with family. Safety measures include 24-hour patrol of trains and stations, secure storage of luggage and personal belongings, and onboard emergency medical services if needed. Additionally, Amtrak staff undergo extensive training and background checks to ensure that they provide safe and professional service to all passengers. Families are encouraged to follow Amtrak’s safety guidelines and tips for a smooth and stress-free journey.

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