How you can take a cross-country train route from Atlanta

Amtrak (Credit: Photo courtesy of Sean R. Thornton)
Sean R. Thornton

During your next vacation, why not let someone else drive while you kick back and relax?

If you’re planning a road trip this summer, but would rather avoid the hefty price of gas, consider letting Amtrak drive by using the Crescent Route, the only major rail line that runs through Atlanta. The train route operates from New York City to New Orleans and includes stops in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Charlotte and Birmingham.

Amtrak offers multi-ride passes in some areas that allow you to take multiple trips using one pass. For $499, they also offer rail passes that allow passengers 10 rides over 30 days to a choice of over 500 destinations, which breaks down to less than $50 per ride, according to Amtrak. Discounts ranging from 10 to 15 percent are sometimes available for military personnel and students, and there are also cost savings available by booking well in advance.

Should passengers pay attention, there are many interesting sights and stops along the 1,377-mile, 30-hour route.

Before arriving in New York City, passengers must first cut beneath the Hudson River using a 2.5-mile tunnel first developed in 1910, according to Amtrak. Passengers then arrive in New York’s Penn Station, the country’s busiest rail station.

On the way back, riders can stop at former U.S. capitols, Trenton, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, as well as Washington, D.C. In case that’s not patriotic enough, there are also six stops throughout colonial Virginia.

In addition, there are several combined stops through the Carolinas. Take a tour through Tobacco Road in North Carolina or visit Spartanburg, South Carolina, consisting of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the state.

Atlanta-area residents could also consider any of nine Southern stops along the Crescent line. Whether it be to tailgate at a University of Alabama football game in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or a tour of Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, there are plenty of options to consider en route to New Orleans.

Of course, Mardi Gras season is the best time to visit the Bayou City, but there are plenty of other reasons to complete the trek to New Orleans. In a shade less than 12 hours, Atlanta passengers can enjoy soulful blues music along Frenchmen Street or any number of other popular New Orleans neighborhoods.

And the 518-mile trip back home to Atlanta should be long enough to recover from such an adventure.

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