You Can See This Gorgeous Stretch of Pacific Coast by Train for Under $100

Don't let driving detract from these views.

Traveling by convertible is on lots of people's bucket lists, but there's a more rela (traffic-free!) way to get the same views.

In fact, Amtrak claims the only vantage point that rivals its route is from a surfboard. The coast-hugging train goes from San Diego to San Luis Obispo at some of Southern California's most beautiful towns. After increasing service last fall, the route now offers 11 round-trip services each day and five between Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Pacific coast train
The Pacific Surfliner in San Diego.
Amtrak

The full stretch from SAN to SLO takes approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes, but we suggest booking multi-city stops to get the most out of your railroad adventure. Some notable Surfliner stops include San Clemente Pier, a picturesque place to watch the sun set; Anaheim (hello, !); and Oxnard, known for its strawberry fields and in May. Plus, these particular trains have special — reservations required — giving you an excellent excuse to explore your stopover destinations by pedal.

Pacific coast train
Amtrak

Our recent search for tickets returned a fare of $61 for a straight-shot from San Diego to San Luis Obispo during the second weekend of July. With stops in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the rate is $103.

Once in San Luis Obispo — one of the oldest cities in the state, founded in 1772 — the historic offers boutique accommodations within walking distance of downtown landmarks like the Elmo Theatre. The surrounding region is known for its and , while the nearby fishing village of Morro Bay, 15 miles northwest, is a hotspot for wildlife (think: otters, seals and Peregrine falcons) and year-round water sports like sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

Pacific Coast train
Sailing around Morro Bay Rock
Morro Bay Tourism

Need further proof of the Surfliner's superiority to automobile transport? Four words: bar car and wi-fi. Good luck finding a rental with those amenities!

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