One of the most iconic things to do in the Golden State is to cruise down Pacific Coast Highway with your windows down. While the views are beautiful, traffic in SoCal is no joke. But thankfully, there’s a way to skip the gridlock and still get all of the views. The Pacific Surfliner train takes you on a three-hour roundtrip ride down the California coast for only $47.

This Amtrak route can pick you up and drop you off at various points across the state; you can pick your departure and arrival cities. 

All of the rides have one thing in common - you’re going to see gorgeous views along the way.

If you’ve ever wanted to cozy up in a big sweater, coffee in hand with views for hours, now is your chance. You can get a real feel for southern California via one of the coolest ways to travel.

Prices vary by your departure and arrival locations and the day and time you choose to travel. The Pacific Coastliner runs daily, so you can plan your travels with ease. 

For an affordable route, you can take the coaster from the tiny, historic town of San Juan Capistrano (aka where all of the old missions are) all the way down to San Diego. 

If you take the ride with Amtrak’s value fare, you can ride each way for only twenty-three dollars. The best part is, you’ll get to stop in various small towns along the way. While the ocean views are arguably beautiful, the rolling hills and plains are too.

Sure, the ride is only a couple of hours long, but we can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon. San Diego offers an endless list of attractions to enjoy beneath sunshine and a cloudless sky.

Why not make a day of it while you’re there? You can opt to either make a roundtrip visit in one day or extend your visit and stay in San Diego for a few days. There’s so much to see and do!

You could catch a show at SeaWorld, walk around the Gas Lamp Quarter, and explore historic missions in Old Town. Heading back north, the train route takes you directly through Anaheim. Who else wants to visit Disneyland?

If you’re looking for more ways to explore California, you should also check out this adventure list for the best road trip anyone has ever been onIt'll take you to some of the most drool-worthy places on the west coast. 

Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner

Price: Tickets start at $23 per person per way for a reserved coach seat ($47 roundtrip).

Location: Various cities across California (see the full list here)

Why You Should Go: You can see 3 hours of the beautiful California coast for only $47!


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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