National parks are popular destinations whether you’re planning to drive, fly or take an Amtrak train to visit the natural wonders in the United States. Many Amtrak vacation packages can be misleading, as not many national parks are actually near stations. Rather, some require a bus ride as long as five hours after getting off the train.
So that’s why we put together the list of U.S. national parks that are closest to Amtrak stations so you can better plan your vacation, especially if you don’t want to drive far or be on a bus for hours. See below to learn more; parks are listed in alphabetical order.
Biscayne is an island national park with coral reefs and mangrove forest. After the drive, board a boat to get to the park. Fishing, boating, canoeing/kayaking are the popular things to do.
2. Crater Lake
Enjoy stunning views in Crater Lake as well as beautiful scenery while riding the Coast Starlight train to the station closest to the park.
3. Cuyahoga Valley
A short drive from the Cleveland Amtrak Station, Cuyahoga Valley National Park has waterfalls, a scenic train ride, hiking trails and other outdoor activities.
Car rentals are available near the Miami Amtrak Station so you can easily drive to explore and tour the Everglades.
The closest national park to Amtrak is Glacier National Park in Montana. Trains stop about a 15-minute drive from the Two Medicine park entrance. Or drive about an hour to the St. Mary’s visitor center, which has a free shuttle along the Going-to-the-Sun Road to the Apgar Visitor Center.
6. Indiana Dunes National Park
Near the Wolverine route that travels between Chicago and Detroit, the Indiana Dunes National Park is in a charming location on Lake Michigan. Rent a car after getting off the train.
7. Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree is a desert national park that has camping (but no lodging, restaurants or food stores, so come prepared if you plan to stay overnight). Car rentals are available near the station and plenty of hotels are in Palm Springs if camping isn’t your thing.
8. Kings Canyon
In Northern California, downtown Fresno has many amenities including an Amtrak station, hotels, restaurants and proximity to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Forest. Multiple national park lodges are on site or book a room in Fresno during your stay.
9. Rocky Mountain
The California Zephyr train technically goes through Rocky Mountain National Park, but you’ll need to exit the train in Denver in order to rent a car.
Take Amtrak to the college town Charlottesville in order to visit Shenandoah National Park. It’s an easy drive with plenty of restaurants and hotels near Amtrak if you need a place to stay at the start or end of your trip.