Pacific Surfliner Train Ride

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Santa Barbara, CA
Pacific Surfliner Train Ride
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It's fun to take your kids on a real train, the two-storey Pacific Surfliner. This train is your best option- its route is shorter than the Coast Starlight so it's less likely to be late. The Pacific Surfliner runs from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. The stretch between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo is the best, since it rarely gets slowed down by long waits. It's a bit slower than taking the car but it's a destination and experience in itself. Santa Barbara families often like to do a morning roundtrip from Goleta to Carpinteria and back. The train station in Carpinteria is right by Carpinteria State Beach so it's easy to hop off the train, play in the dunes for an hour, walk around downtown Carpinteria, and then head back home. It's fun to see familiar spots through the window as you ride along, such as State Street, or the best: Santa Claus Lane Beach. At one point the water is literally a few meters away!

Once we rode the train to Surfer's Point in Ventura and the ocean was right beside us for much of the way. The oceanfront area where you get off is just lovely.
Taking the train to San Luis Obispo takes you past parts of the coastline you would never get to see, since they are inaccessible any other way. You ride along the ocean for almost the whole journey and end up at the cutest train station, a ten minute walk from downtown. There are only two times a day to take the train to SLO. 
Riding the train in the summer is interesting because you often meet travelers from Europe. We chatted with a lady from Holland during the ride and there was a French family next to us.
Amtrak isn't known for its reliability and the last time we went, the ride home was delayed by 1 1/2 hours, so be prepared! The other downside is that this is a diesel, not electric, train so it doesn't smell fresh like the trains in Europe. I felt kind of nauseous from the fumes when the locomotive was in the front of the train (when heading north).
When buying tickets, you can save a lot of money if you choose the ten-ticket option. You buy ten one-way tickets at once and you save about 40%! Anyone can use the tickets- it doesn't have to be the same people each time. It's an amazing deal. You have 60 days to use all the tickets. Check the rules here on the amtrak website. You can buy your multi-ride tickets online and you show your phone to the conductor.
Some routes are the terminus route and end in Goleta. We took the 11am train from Carpinteria to Goleta one Saturday and afterwards we got to see the train reverse into the holding area after first driving through a train-wash! It was a blast! The conductor flashed the high lights at us and our kids were delighted.

Continue to directions...

Whizzing by Santa Claus Lane Beach!

The return train arriving at Carpinteria Station.

People often catch the train to Angel Stadium.

Looking out the window at Santa Barbara Station.

The train station at Carpinteria.

Train-wash! Who knew they had these?

Watching the train park in the holding area.


To get to Goleta Train Station, exit Highway 101 at Fairview Ave and head toward the ocean. Turn right on Hollister Avenue. Turn right on La Patera Lane and drive until the end. There is a parking lot on the right and parking is free. The address is 25 South La Patera Ln, Goleta CA 93117.
To get to Santa Barbara Train Station, exit at Garden St and head toward the ocean. Turn right on Cabrillo Blvd. Turn right on State St. Very soon you come to the station: you pass Mason Street and then cross over the train tracks and then the station is on your left. Pull into the parking lot. There is a fee to park. Check out the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, which is at the station. The address is 209 State Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101.


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Sat, 28 Aug 2010

My son and I enjoy taking the train to LA for lunch, then hopping right back on it to come home! Its a great day adventure! We arrive at grand central station (the main LA stop). Get off and walk just two blocks (maybe a block and a half) to this little Mexico area where there is always a little outdoor shopping market happening, and a number of places with GREAT tacos! Spend about an hour or two, then walk back over to the train station and ride back home! We do it at LEAST twice a year. Its always a blast!

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Fri, 21 Apr 2017

Great pics SB is a very Beautiful place

Last Updated: Sun, 04 Feb 2024 18:56:18 GMT

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