This Is the Coolest Way to Visit America's National Parks — and the Easiest

All aboard for some national park fun.

Summer vacation is almost here, which means you're likely in the thick of planning for an unforgettable warm-weather getaway. But, before you decide whether you're driving or flying to your destination, can we present you with a third option? This year, we suggest you take the nation by storm on a railway adventure to one of America's greatest national parks.

As gas prices soar we'd like to remind you that train travel can be a rather economical option and one that makes a trip about both the journey and the destination. If your dream summer vacation includes a trip to a national park, then Amtrak Vacations is a great tool, offering 183 different national park itineraries, all of which can be customized for individual needs, including origin city, vacation length, and budget.

The rail company's national parks itineraries range from two days to 29 days, but again, anything can be customized. According to an Amtrak spokesperson, the most popular combinations of national parks are Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier national parks; or Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon.

An Amtrak train, Zephyr, goes through desert valley alongside a river in California
Courtesy of Amtrak

And, if you do decide to head out to a national park by rail, you won't be alone. According to Amtrak, demand for national park travel has increased by 44% in the last year alone.

To help travelers plan, Amtrak created a free National Parks by Rail map, which anyone can request here. It will walk potential travelers through the different journey options and explain what they can see along the way.

For example, there's the Glacier National Park Express, a 10-day trip originating from Chicago that takes passengers on a trip to the national park where guests can "savor its breathtaking beauty and fresh mountain air while touring its most stunning peaks and valleys" before heading to their final destination in Seattle. The trip includes a one-way Amtrak coach ticket from Chicago to Glacier National Park and Glacier National Park to Seattle onboard the Empire Builder, seven nights in a hotel, and two nights onboard Amtrak, starting at $3,299 per person.

There's also the Grand Canyon Express, another 10-day trip originating from Chicago that stops at the Grand Canyon. There, guests will spend two nights at the Maswik Lodge and enjoy a tour of the South Rim. This trip includes a one-way coach Amtrak ticket from Chicago to Williams and Williams to Los Angeles on the Southwest Chief train line, along with a round-trip ride on the Grand Canyon Railway Train, seven nights in a hotel, and three meals. It begins at $2,499 per person.

See all your railway options, along with multi-park itineraries, here.

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