As the current landscape limits travel experiences, travelers are seeking more nature-focused experiences with stunning views and vast space for exploring. In an era when domestic tourism remains the prominent alternative to international travel due to restrictions, there has never been a better time to take in something very uniquely American: a fall foliage train trip with Vacations By Rail, the leading rail-travel package provider.
With updated and strict safety and health protocols onboard, travelers can immerse in the contrasting colors of the changing leaves via train travel and traverse through paths and regions less developed with private accommodations offered by rail travel. Vacations By Rail offers tours throughout the country for discerning travelers seeking an autumn-inspired adventure. See below for rail journeys offered or check out their above-linked website to see the full list of Fall Foliage Tours.
Starting at $2,395
Vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow grace the mountainsides of West Virginia and Virginia on this autumn journey. The journey begins in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., a modern metropolis rooted in history. The time here is highlighted by a guided tour of the city and ample time to explore at leisure. From museums to monuments, there is no shortage of sights to behold. The journey continues into rural West Virginia, where nostalgic rail excursions are perhaps the most wonderful way to soak in the mountain scenery. Ride aboard the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, the Cass Scenic Railroad and the New Tygart Flyer lines before traveling by Amtrak’s Cardinal to White Sulphur Springs, WV, home to the magnificent Greenbrier Resort, where we enjoy a two-night stay. One last dose of American history and natural beauty rounds out the tour with a day trip to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. Ideal for train enthusiasts, history buffs and leaf peepers alike, this journey through the Virginias is sure to please.
Starting at $3,295
Nature’s majesty and American history are presented in the most memorable way on this 11-day journey through the Great Lakes. The tour departs from Chicago on Amtrak’s Hiawatha to Milwaukee, where a deluxe motorcoach takes the group through scenic Door County Peninsula bound for Sturgeon Bay, a treasure trove of history and authentic local cuisine. Next, passengers travel through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and to Sault Ste Marie, a charming city on the St. Mary’s River, and the launching point for adventures both by train and water. After crossing the world-famous Mackinac Bridge en route to Mackinaw City, travelers will board a ferry to Mackinac Island for a 2-day stay at the stunning Grand Hotel. After the relaxing stay, the trip takes travelers down the western shore of Michigan, enjoying sites of forests, sandy beaches, charming towns, lush farmlands and sailboats in the distance as the journey approaches Traverse City, which features a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The journey continues south, with a stop at the fascinating Steam Railroad Institute of Owosso before arriving in Dearborn. Dearborn – the city Henry Ford called home – is filled with amazing displays of history and innovation, as seen on the all-inclusive visits to the three attractions of the Henry Ford Museum. Whether it is nature or a step back in time you seek, this Great Lakes getaway has a little something for everyone.
Departing from Boston, the eight-day Fall Foliage Express journeys across five New England states to offer a diverse landscape view. The train travels through some of the world’s most famous fall-foliage vistas, such as the White Mountain Forest and Mt. Washington regions of New Hampshire, as well as Vermont’s stunning Green Mountains and the Connecticut River Valley, offering views of sheer bluffs, steep ravines, cascading brooks and wide mountain ranges. This tour also includes tours in 1800s-era Mystic Seaport, the yachting hub of Newport, Rhode Island, the romantic shores of Cape Cod and historic Boston. For those looking for a rejuvenating holiday that will showcase the beauty of New England, this route is a can’t miss!
Starting at $2,795
Leaving from Nashville, this nine-day rail journey tours through North Carolina and Tennessee, travelling through Cherokee National Forest, Hiwassee River Gorge, Newfound Gap and Nantahala Gorge, immersing travelers in a sea of mountains and trees showcasing their diverse autumn colors. This rail journey also features historic and cultural activities in Nashville and Chattanooga.