Looking for family funday ideas? You totally need to take the train. A family train trip is just what the doctor ordered! Even if your family doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to travel, a day trip can be super memorable and totally awesome for the kids. A few months ago, we got the opportunity to go on a family adventure that involved taking the train for an overnight trip in San Diego. While we loved all the activities we got to do together, one of our favorite parts was the train ride! We’ve taken train trips only a few times before and they only required riding it a few stops. This time, our train ride was a few hours. The boys had a blast exploring the train and watching the scenery zoom past. If you are looking for something fun to do with your kids for the day, this is it. For our trip we rode Amtrak Business Class and I highly recommend it. While it might seem like more money than you want to spend on travel, it was really THE experience that the kids will remember most. When we first got on the train, we didn’t know we had Business Class tickets. We were seated across from the kids in a VERY busy train car that was almost totally full. When the ticket checker came to us she suggested we move to the Business Class area immediately as the cars would be standing room only by the next stop. So we hurried to the right car before the train started and were so glad that we did.
While the regular seats on the train are fine, the cars feel a bit cramped and they are super crowded. While we were able to find seats by our kids, that was just us getting lucky. If you are taking a busy route, even weekends can be hard to find seats all together. Business class was super roomy and there was plenty of space for us to sit together as a family including some seats with tables. Our return trip was full, even in Business Class, so don’t assume you’ll always have the run of the car. But it is less likely to be as crowded as the regular seats.
There are a few perks in Business class. Like free sodas. If your kids are like mine and don’t drink a lot of soda, this blew their minds! The sodas were passed out near the end of our route. When we first got on the train, however, there were free juice boxes, hot cocoa and coffee, as well as breakfast pastries. It’s amazing what free snacks will do for a family trip. The other great thing is that just about every seat (Business Class or standard seats) has a plug for you to charge your device as you travel. While we didn’t plan very much to keep us busy on the train trip, I would at least plan on bringing a small pad of paper and pencils or pens so the kids can play games, doodle, etc. We couldn’t bring electronics on our trip and I was really happy about that. I wanted to make sure the kids were looking out the windows and experiencing the scenery. Next time I would probably bring a book for myself to read. Also near the end of our route, snack bags were passed out with water or soda. It was like Christmas morning! Each bag contained fig bar cookies, a bag or chips, mini Oreos, a trail mix and a few hard candies. And for the adults they offered wine (and maybe beer – I can’t remember!). I am always conscious of how much money we are spending on family excursions. There was no way we would finish all these snacks before we got off the train. So we took what was left with us and took bottled water for the road as well. Depending on where you go and how you time your day, you may only need to pay for one meal out. We got these snack bags on our return trip as well (these may not be available on trips where you are only riding a few stops). If you spend an hour researching the location you are interested in visiting you can probably put together a list of fun, free activities to do as part of your train trip.
If you go to the Amtrak website you can check out all the train routes, prices and trip planning information. They even have suggestions for walking tours of major cities that you can do on foot once you arrive at the train station. The site also has a “deals” section where you can see if they have promotions that might help you save a few dollars on your trip. It looks like kids are 50% off (most days, most trains – see exclusions) which is a great deal! I highly suggest planning a family train day trip. We had the BEST time and the kids still talk about their day on the train.
This post is not sponsored. We had such a great time on our train ride that I thought your family should take one too!
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