Ride the Romantic Rails to Pismo
Clickity-clack over the rails, countryside sliding by. Riding Amtrak from LA to Grover Beach, you can watch the scenery, or you can read, or get up and go to the dining car for a snack. Maybe you’ll meet someone interesting. Whatever you do, the engineer is driving and there’s nobody in the cramped seat ahead of you reclining into your lunch. You can actually relax and enjoy the ride.
Trains seem to be making a comeback. We have a friend who just left on a two-week train adventure that will take her from San Luis Obispo to L.A., east to the Grand Canyon area, then north to Chicago, before finally ending up in Louisiana. Whew!
I’m not sure I’d want to spend that much time riding the rails, but if you have the time (and don’t need to be exactly ON time), it can be a really comfortable, hassle-free way to travel. U.S. railroads are not as common or kept up as those in Europe, but we still have access to trains in most places through Amtrak.
In fact, there’s an Amtrak station in Grover Beach,
just 1.5 miles south of the SeaVenture by Highway 1. Everyday, trains from the south glide into town to drop off, pick up passengers for the coastal route.
Say you live in LA and want to spend some down time in Pismo Beach walking on an uncrowded white sand beach—you need sand between your toes without the punishing drive-park-rush that goes with it in LA. Making the train part of the trip could maximize the relaxation.
You could start from several places in LA, but let’s look at the classic Union Station downtown. You could pick a morning or afternoon departure, depending on your day, and spend about 5 hours wending your way up the coast. Along the way, the view is terrific (sit on the left for maximum ocean views) and there’s plenty of space to stretch out.
When you get to Grover Beach, you could pick up a taxi for the really short ride to the SeaVenture. Once you’re here, no need for a vehicle. Walk out the door to get to the beach, or take the beach walk a couple blocks north to enjoy the pier and downtown Pismo. Get one of our beach bikes or rent a surfboard if you’re feeling up for more activity.
But remember: this rail vacation is about relaxing. Maybe the hot tub is better than the surf. Up to you.
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