Great American Train Tour

Tour departs: 02 June 2018
Tour length: 28 Days


Tour Departs – 2 June 2018.

Tour Length – 28 days.

There is no better way to experience the American heartland than by rail. This has been a favorite tour for so many travellers over the years. On a train, you see sights that you are not able to see strapped into an aircraft seat at 30,000 feet. The train meanders its way over mountains, through canyons, across prairies and along coastal routes revealing the vastness and the contrasts of the American countryside. Add to this the multi-night stays in a range of great American cities and you have as good a tour as you could wish for in the limited time available.

Highlights include
  • San Francisco.
  • Denver.
  • Chicago.
  • New York.
  • Washington DC.
  • New Orleans.
  • Los Angeles.


Saturday 02 June:


Today we depart for San Francisco. Cross the International dateline before arriving in San Francisco early afternoon of the same day. We are met on arrival and transferred to our downtown hotel for a three night stay. The remainder of the day is free to rest up.

Sunday 03 June:


Our morning tour of San Francisco includes the downtown area, Nob Hill, Twin Peaks and Golden Gate Park and Fisherman’s Wharf. The afternoon is at leisure.

Monday 04 June:


Today we take a day tour to Monterey and Carmel via California’s scenic 17 Mile Coastal Drive.  Travel south through Santa Cruz with spectacular views along the way. The tour includes scheduled stops at Steinbeck’s Cannery Row in Monterey – known for the characters in John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row”. Visit the one-square mile city of Carmel, located on the Bay of Carmel. The trip back takes us through the Silicon Valley in the San Jose and Santa Clara counties.


Tuesday 05 June:


This morning, our coach transfers us to Emeryville Station across the Bay where we join the “California Zephyr” train for the 1400 mile journey to Denver. From California through the Tahoe National Forest, the train begins its assault on the High Sierras then across the Nevada Desert to the casinos of Reno. During the night, the train stops briefly at Salt Lake City where the lights of the Mormon “Tabernacle” can be seen across town.

Wednesday 06 June:


After a night’s rest, we enjoy the wonderful sights of the Rocky Mountains as the train crosses the Continental Divide at 9239 feet following the breathtaking canyons of the Colorado River. This afternoon, our train emerges from the Rockies high above Denver and winds its way down to the city for an early evening arrival. We are met and transferred by coach to our downtown hotel for a two night stay.

 Thursday 07 June:


This morning’s sightseeing tour of the “Mile High” city shows us the many parks and gardens of this attractive city, the gold domed Colorado State Capitol Buildings with its “Mile High” marker on the 13th step, Larimer Square and historic Lower Downtown (LODO) where Victorian buildings now house restaurants, galleries, shops and brewpubs. The afternoon is free and the 16th Street Mall is only a couple of blocks from the hotel.

Friday 08 June:


This morning we leave our hotel and enjoy a magnificent tour to the famed Rocky Mountain National Park. Undoubtedly one of the many tour highlights with the unequalled beauty of the towering peaks, picturesque canyons, rivers and meadows. Weather permitting, we drive on Trail Ridge Road to a height of 12,138 feet. In the evening, we rejoin the “California Zephyr“ train for the 1000 mile overnight journey to Chicago. Through Nebraska and Iowa and the lush fertile farmland of America’s agricultural heartland, we cross both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers en route.

Saturday 09 June:


A late afternoon arrival into Chicago for a 2 night stay. We are met and transferred by coach to our hotel conveniently located close to the lake and Michigan Avenue’s magnificent shopping, dining and entertainment areas.

Sunday 10 June:


This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the “Windy City” with its skyscrapers, classic architectural styles and tree-lined boulevards. The afternoon is free for independent activities. You will be impressed with Chicago.

Monday 11 June:


This afternoon, we enjoy a cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan for dramatic views of the city and its buildings from the water. This evening, we continue our adventure on the “Lake Shore Limited” train for the 950 mile overnight journey through to New York. Our train follows the Great Lakes routes across northern Indiana following Lake Erie to Buffalo and then on to Albany, the capital of New York State.

Tuesday 12 June:


From Albany, we journey down the Hudson River through some beautiful country, past the Catskill Mountains and historic West Point Military Academy and on to our journey’s end with an early evening arrival into New York’s Penn Station. We are met on arrival and transferred to our midtown Manhattan hotel for a three night stay.

Wednesday 13 June:


Our comprehensive full day tour of ”The Big Apple” shows us plenty – see Central Park, the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the High Line and Times Square with its glow of glittering signage. Visit Lower Manhattan, where the City began and see Trinity Church, Federal Hall, Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. In the afternoon we embark on a 1.5 hour cruise – sail within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty, see the stunning panoramic views of midtown and lower Manhatten and cruise under Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

Thursday 14 June:


A full day free in New York to pursue your own interests. There are museums and galleries to suite every taste, Fifth Avenue shops … the choice is yours. What about a Broadway show this evening?

Friday 15 June:


A late morning departure from New York’s Penn Station for the 4 hour 225 mile train journey south to the nation’s capital. On arrival mid afternoon, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a three night stay.

Saturday 16 June:


Enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Washington DC. See the city’s most famous address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, nestled on the border of downtown DC, Capitol Hill and the US Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress’ impressive 1897 Thomas Jefferson building, the Washington Monument, the centre of the Nation’s capital and much more.  We visit Arlington National Cemetery to tour the grounds and see President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and more.

In the afternoon we drive to Alexandria to visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon. You have access to the famous mansion, the beautiful view across the Potomac River, all the surrounding colonial buildings, Washington’s amazing gardens and the museum filled with Washington treasures.

Sunday 17 June:


A full day free for independent sightseeing today. Maybe explore one of the 17 world renowned Smithsonian Museums, admission is free.

Monday 18 June:


Most of the day is free before we are transferred to Washington’s Union Station this afternoon in time to join “The Crescent” train for the 1400 mile overnight journey to New Orleans. Through historic Virginia to Georgia where Atlanta’s small station contrasts with the Coca Cola capital’s skyline. On through Alabama where small towns are small and much of the countryside is swampy and overrun with wild creeper.

Tuesday 19 June:


Our journey into New Orleans concludes with the early evening crossing of the spectacular six mile causeway over Lake Pontchartrain. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our river front hotel for a four night stay.


Wednesday 20 June:


This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Crescent city so called because of the way New Orleans nestles between the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain and a horseshoe bend in the Mississippi River.  New Orleans has more the flavour of an old European capital than an American city –  a melting pot of history, culture, food and music.

This afternoon relax on the paddlewheel steamship Natchez as we cruise the Mississippi River.

Thursday 21 June:


A full day tour out of New Orleans to the antebellum mansion of Oak Alley and the contrasting Laura’s Plantation. A chance to see how the wealthy families of the South and their slave workforce lived before the Civil War.

Friday 22 June:


A free day in New Orleans today. Why not visit the markets, explore the antique shops in the French Quarter, maybe a tour of the Bayous, or just relax at a street cafe and watch the world go by.

Saturday 23 June:


This morning, we return to New Orleans Station in time to join the “Sunset Limited” train for the 2000 mile journey to Los Angeles. Commencing with the spectacular crossing of the Mississippi River over the towering Huey P Long Bridge, this journey is large in every way.

Sunday 24 June:


The route is big sky and open spaces with Texas at its centre. The New Mexico and Arizona deserts present their own mystical beauty. San Antonio, El Paso, Yuma – these names conjure up pictures from the “Westerns” of long ago.

Monday 25 June:


From desert to citrus groves to vineyards, the scenery changes as we arrive into Los Angeles early morning. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel located out at Santa Monica Beach for our last two nights. Accommodation has been reserved so we have immediate use of our rooms.  The rest of the day is free for independent activities.


Tuesday 26 June:


Today, we enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Los Angeles including Beverley Hills and Rodeo Drive, downtown LA, historic Olvera Street and Farmers Market. This evening we get together for a farewell tour dinner.

Wednesday 27 June:


The final day of our tour is free for independent activities, sightseeing or last minute shopping. This evening, we transfer to Los Angeles International Airport where we join our homeward flight. We cross the International Dateline en route.

Friday 29 June:





2015 Great American Train Tour

Train Accommodation

During the tour, we spend a total of 6 nights on board the trains. This is not the “Orient Express” but Amtrak and while the compartments are not large, they are comfortable. There are two types of compartments available.

The Roomettes have two reclining seats for day use converting to Upper and Lower Sleeping Berths for the evenings. They do not have private bathrooms but these are located just a few steps along the passage. The Bedrooms, with private facilities, are larger and have a bench sofa and swivel chair for day use converting to Upper and Lower Sleeping Berths for the evenings.

Complimentary tea, coffee and juice is available to all sleeping car passengers and, for the overnight journeys, all meals on board are included in the cost. Dining cars offer a range of freshly prepared meals in comfortable and pleasant surroundings with full waiter service to the table. On selected routes, local guides join the trains to describe the sights, facts and legends of the local countryside.


Tour Costs

Per Person Share Twin Room Hotel/Roomette train – $17,950

Supplementary Cost Options Per Person

Single Room Hotel and Roomette Train – $6,650
Upgrade to Bedroom (share twin) on Train – $2,310

Costs Include
  • Economy class air travel from the tours international departure point.
  • Prepaid airport/government taxes and airline fuel surcharges.
  • Superior / First Class hotel accommodation.
  • Meals as indicated.
  • Sleeping accommodation on all the overnight train journeys.
  • All coach transportation, sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Hotel taxes, service charges and baggage handling of one suitcase per person.
  • Tips to coach drivers, local guides, train cabin attendants.
  • Fully Escorted by a Maher Tours Leader
Costs Exclude
  • Meals unless specified.
  • Items of a personal nature, telephone calls.
  • Travel Insurance (advice and assistance offered).

“From the snow in the Rockies, to the steamy heat of New Orleans, our trip on the Great American Train Tour introduced us to the big cities and spectacular outback of the USA.”
– Chris and Peggy Mencer

“I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. A very happy and friendly group to travel with and could easily repeat the holiday.”
– GG

“A life time experience. Suggest a 10 day break at some exotic island before running to NZ.”
– Jan Wells

I have escorted this tour on many occasions and would do so again tomorrow. Great train journeys, great cities and on each trip I have seen something new and met different people. And that is one of the beauties of this tour – you do get to actually meet and mix with the locals. Each year we receive wonderful reviews so it is pretty much unchanged apart from a few “tweaks”. All aboard!!” We encourage you to book early for this tour as we have a limited number of roomettes and bedrooms reserved on the trains. – Kerry Maher.

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