First, train travel is affordable. In what may be the best family vacation value in the travel industry, Amtrak gives half-price discounts for children aged two to 15 year-round, and children under two ride for free. There's also a 15 percent discount for passengers sixty-two years and over (except on Auto Train) to make intergenerational travel affordable, too.
Amtrak offers a number of destinations and deals for families. One of the most popular is the Amtrak Explore America fare, which provides 45 days of coach travel and up to three stopovers in one, two, or three regions of the country for one low fare ($198 for one region, $258 for two, $318 for anywhere in the country). Buy your tickets by early May for even lower spring Explore America fares.
Amtrak's premier land cruise, the Coast Starlight, operates daily between Los Angeles and Seattle and is extremely popular with families. The double-decker Superliner train features a new kiddie car called the "Little Traveler Fun Zone" with bright interiors, a jungle gym, Fisher-Price toys and supervision by a uniformed staffer.
Families like to take the family car to Florida on Amtrak's Auto Train, the only train that transports people, their vans, cars, even motorcycles from suburban Washington, DC, to suburban Orlando, FL. Leave in the late afternoon from Lorton, VA, and arrive the next morning rested and ready for The Magic Kingdom, a 30-minute drive from the train station.
Three Amtrak trains -- the Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Silver Palm -- also bring families from the Northeast to the most popular tourist points in Florida, including Daytona, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. You step off your train at the doorstep of Disney World, Universal Studios, the Kennedy Space Center and warm sandy beaches.
Children of all ages ride free on Amtrak's Vermonter, Adirondack and NortheastDirect trains to New London/Foxwoods Casino.
All meals are complimentary on Amtrak when you book sleeping accommodations. Sleepers on most trains offer spacious family bedrooms, showers, even video entertainment in some bedrooms!
For ideas on family rail vacations, request a copy of Amtrak's 1997 Travel Planner by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL, or visit Amtrak's Web site at www.amtrak.com. (NAPSI)