5 Fun & Budget-Friendly Travel Ideas

January 31, 2023

Your New Year’s resolution to save money doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your travel dreams—just take the train! With Amtrak San Joaquins, it’s never been more affordable or convenient to make memories and experience all that California has to offer. And with our Everyday Discounts—like the Friends & Family deal and Kids ride half-off—you can save up to 50% on tickets! Stretch out with comfortable seating, enjoy free-WiFi, skip the traffic, and reap the benefits of extra savings when you ride with us.

From the beautiful Napa Valley to the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, we’ve rounded up five memorable and budget-friendly travel ideas for you on our routes.


Free Museum Days

Calling all museum lovers! Visiting the museums listed on this website is a great way to explore and learn about California's rich history and culture. Many of these museums offer free admission, making them accessible to everyone. Whether you're interested in art, science, or history, there's a museum on this list for you to discover. Pick one (or a few) to visit and Amtrak can take you there with stops close to many of these destinations!

Explore the San Francisco Presidio Tunnel Tops

Exploring the San Francisco Presidio Tunnel Tops is a great way to experience the beauty and history of the Bay. The Tunnel Tops offer a unique vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge (perfect for a photo op) and the surrounding area. Whether you're interested in nature, history, or just looking for a great view, the Tunnel Tops should be on your bucket list, and it’s time to cross them off! Take the Amtrak San Joaquins train to Emeryville and hop on one of our Thruway Buses to San Francisco. From there, take BART to the Presidio. Learn more here.


Visit the Fresno Chaffee Zoo

The Fresno Amtrak Station is located just three miles from the world-class Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California’s Central Valley. Take a five-minute Uber or Lyft ride to the zoo, where you can feed a giraffe, touch a stingray and awe at over 190 animal species from all over the world. You can even grab a bite to eat at Kopje Lodge, with breathtaking views of the African Savanna, including African elephants, rhinos, and wildebeests! Don’t wait, plan your visit today!

Strut your stuff on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Since 1960, the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been one of the most highly trafficked landmarks in the U.S., and one of Los Angeles’ most beloved (and free!) tourist attractions. Get there by taking the Amtrak San Joaquins train to Bakersfield and easily transferring to our Thruway Bus that will take you directly to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. Then hop on the Metro B Line to Hollywood and Vine. Once you're there, you'll have the opportunity to see the stars of your favorite actors and musicians, and explore the surrounding area with its many shops, restaurants, and other attractions.

Aerial view of wine vineyard in Napa Valley during summer season

Hiking up Mount St. Helena in Napa Valley

Hiking up Mount St. Helena in Napa Valley is a fantastic and free way to experience the natural beauty of Northern California. One of the best ways to get there is by taking the Amtrak San Joaquins train to Martinez and transferring to Route 7’s Thruway Bus. Once at the station, take a short rideshare service of your choosing to the trailhead. The hike offers breathtaking views of the valley below, and it's a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while exploring California’s Wine Country.

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