When was the last time you took a relaxing train ride? You know, the one where you relax and enjoy the scenery while you’re on your way to a fun adventure?
Lucky for you there are many amazing weekend trips in Southern California that you can take by train.
All of this is available on the Pacific Surfliner with destinations in San Luis Obispo, San Juan Capistrano, and San Diego.
Bishop of San Luis
From Union Station About 5 hours
Once you get there, the station is within walking distance of downtown where you’ll find boutique shops, restaurants, tasting rooms and more.
Mission San Luis Obispo De Tolosa, located at 751 Palm St., is less than a mile from the train station. Founded in 1772 and founded in 1792, the mission continues as an active church today.
The mission can serve as your first stop downtown as it is centrally located on a traffic-free block of Palm Street between Chorro and Broad.
If you want to go a little further you can take your bike on the train for free by making a bike reservation when booking your trip. Your ticket includes complimentary local transfers. Pacific Surfliner passengers only need to show their train ticket when boarding the bus.
From Union Station About 2 hours
Santa Fe Depot is the name of the Amtrak station in San Diego. From here you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, connect with secret food tours, visit the San Pasqual Winery tasting room in Seaport Village or spend time at SeaWorld San Diego.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is about a minute’s walk from the train station and is located in the historic Jacobs Building, which was originally the Santa Fe Depot baggage building. For more information, visit mcasd.org/visit/downtown.
Secret Food Tours is located about a three-minute walk from the station at 500 W. Broadway, The Guild Hotel. You’ll enjoy dishes with influences from Mexico to the Far East while exploring the downtown area. For more information, visit www.secretfoodtours.com/san-diego.
If you’re interested in tasting some local wines, visit San Pasqual Winery, which is about a 14-minute walk from the depot to the winery in Seaport Village. For information, visit www.sanpasqualwinery.com/Seaport-Village-San-Diego-Tasting-Room.
SeaWorld is located five miles from the Santa Fe Depot. You can take public transportation using the Green line from the depot to Old Town Station, walk about 5 minutes to the Transit Station and then take a bus to Sea World. But that will take about an hour. Or, you can take a taxi.
San Juan Capistrano
From Union Station About 1 1/2 hours
Mission San Juan Capistrano is about one-tenth of a mile from the Amtrak station. The mission is considered the birthplace of Orange Country.
It is probably best known for the annual return dances, which take place every year on March 19, Saint Joseph’s Day. Legend has it that a shopkeeper tried to drive away the dances from his shop with a broom. Padre St. John O’Sullivan asked what he was doing and the shopkeeper said dirty birds were a nuisance. Father O’Sullivan then said, “Come on guys, I’ll give you shelter. Go to the Mission. There is enough room there for everyone.” The next morning, the dancers appeared in the church.
The mission was established on Nov. 1, 1776 by Junipero Serra and was the 7th of 21 missions established in California. For more information, visit www.missionsjc.com.
The Los Rios Historic District is directly across the tracks from the Capistrano Depot and is the oldest neighborhood in California.
According to visitSanJuanCapistrano.net, there are about 40 houses that range in age from 50 to 204 years old. Most are private residences. However, the Montanez Adobe, the O’Neill Museum, the Ramos House Cafe, the Lobo House, the Rodman House and the Lupe Combs House are businesses and open to the public.
The Capistrano Trading Post is located across the street from the mission and is best known for its Native American jewelry and turquoise. According to their website, they boast San Juan Capistrano’s largest selection of local souvenirs, religious items, artwork and works by local artisans. For more information, visit capistranotradingpost.com.