Amtrak Rail Passes for Domestic Train Travel

When travelers think about unlimited rail passes for a week or month of travel, we usually think of the Eurail Pass. Here in the United States, Amtrak offers a few options for unlimited domestic tourist (not commuting) train travel. Traveling by train allows you to relax and enjoy the ride without worrying about parking or traffic. With planning you can visit many great places across the country, while seeing the beauty of the natural scenery along the way.

Here are the unlimited domestic travel passes offered by Amtrak:

California Pass
As a popular tourist destination, California is also well served by the Amtrak system. Travelers can get Amtrak’s California Pass and see the whole state, from San Francisco to San Diego, Los Angeles and places of great natural beauty like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.

The California Pass is $159 for adults and $80 for kids. There are more rules and restrictions, but with good planning it’s a good value. The pass is good for seven days of travel within an 21 consecutive day period. After you use the pass the first day, you have 21 days left, and have a total of seven days of rail travel. The seven days do not have to be consecutive, but you must use them within the 21 day period.

USA Rail Pass
The USA Rail Pass is available in 15, 30 and 45 day lengths, also you are limited to a certain number of segments. The 15 day pass is good for eight segments, the 30 day pass is for 12 segments and the 45 day pass is for 18 segments. A segment is a journey between two main points, not just between two stations. The total time allowed to use the pass is 180 days from the first day of travel, but the pass days (15 / 30 / 45) do not have to be used consecutively.

The pass can be purchased online at or via travel agents who officially sell amtrak tickets and passes. The pass is not valid on the auto train (connecting the Northeast with Florida) or the Acela train (high speed line between New York City and Washington, DC). Check the amtrak website for other rules and restrictions. Prices for the 15 day pass are $389 for adults and $194.50 for kids 2-15. For the 45 day pass, adults pay $749, kids pay $374.50.

Travelers should note the USA Rail Pass is not a ticket, you can’t just hop on and off trains and show your pass. The pass is a like a permanent coupon, you still need to book and purchase train tickets for each journey you want to take. Using your pass information, the Amtrak reservation agent books a ticket, but there is no charge. You show this ticket on the train when you do travel.

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