Join us for our San Francisco Rail Journey in September! We’ll begin in Denver, climb over the Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountains, ride through the Moffat Tunnel, and see Donner Lake before arriving in San Francisco. Then we’ll spend two days touring Alcatraz, Pier 39 and the Sea Lions, Maritime National Historical Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown and more!
When: September 3-7, 2017
Where: Denver to San Francisco
Registration Deadline: This trip is full, but we’re still accepting registrations for the waiting list in case of cancellations. (Read my About page for more information about the waiting list.)
Our train will depart at 8:00 on Sunday, September 3. If you don’t live within driving distance to Denver, I recommend flying in the night before and staying at a hotel since our train leaves so early. (We have to board an hour before departure.) If you don’t, and your plane is late, you’ll miss the train.
We’ll spend September 3 and 4 on the train (two days, one night), then tour San Francisco on September 5 and 6, and depart on the 7th.
Trains are a wonderful way to travel and enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Our group will have an opportunity to eat meals together, play games, and watch the world go by as we travel west.
Your experience will be enhanced if you opt for sleeper accommodations rather than regular coach seats. The least expensive sleepers are the roomettes. They accommodate two people, with two seats in a daytime configuration, and two beds (bunk-style) in a nighttime configuration. While sleeping, you’ll be positioned parallel with the tracks (your head and feet will point toward the front and back of the train). Click here for a roomette diagram.
If you have two or three people (one must be a small child if you have a party of 3) in your party, and two can comfortably sleep together on a bed that’s slightly bigger than a standard twin, then a bedroom may be a good choice. There’s more floor space, and it has an in-room toilet and shower. If you have a larger party, two bedrooms can be combined to make a larger suite. Bedrooms costs quite a bit more than a roomette, though. Two roomettes for three people will be less expensive than one bedroom. In this type of room, you’ll sleep across the width of the train (your head and feet point toward the sides of the train). Click here for a bedroom diagram.
If you have four people in your party (two must be children under 5′ tall), the family bedroom may be a good option. There’s more floor space, but no in-room toilet or shower (they’re down the hall), and it’s on the lower level of the train. These rooms are very limited, and will cost more than two roomettes, but less than a bedroom. Adults sleep across the width of the train, and children are positioned parallel with the tracks. Click here for a diagram of the family bedroom.
We have mostly roomettes for this journey, several bedrooms, and a couple of family bedrooms. Families who register first will have first choice of accommodations.
If you choose sleeper accommodations, your meals during the train portion of our trip (breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Sunday and Monday) are included in the fare.
If you prefer coach seats, they really aren’t a bad alternative to sleepers. They’re as roomy (or roomier) than first class seats on planes, recline more, and have a footrest. If we have enough coach travelers, we may be able to reserve a car to ourselves (but don’t count on it). Meals on the train aren’t included for travelers in coach.
Cost and What’s Included
Your cost will vary depending on the size of your party and the train accommodations you choose. I don’t have final 2017 pricing for a few things, but I have good estimates below. Your final total may be a little higher or lower.
Prices include your room in San Francisco, train fare, sleeper fare if you choose a sleeper, and admission/transportation to the sites on our itinerary. It also includes breakfast each day at our hotel. Meals on the train are included if you choose sleeper accommodations. They aren’t included if you travel in coach.
Transportation and airport transfers from your home to Denver, and from San Francisco back home is not included.
Travel insurance is highly is recommended.
Here are the estimates (per family, not per person):
Family of 2
One Roomette: $1,885
One Bedroom: $2,433
Family of 3
Two Roomettes: $2,607
One Bedroom: $2,759
Family of 4
Two Roomettes: $2,933
One Family Room: $3,072
Two Bedrooms: $4,029
Family of 5 (one hotel room, but no roll-aways)
Three Roomettes: $3,655
Two Bedrooms: $4,355
Family of 6 (two hotel rooms)
Three Roomettes: $4,818
Two Bedrooms: $5,518
Family of 7 (two hotel rooms)
Four Roomettes: $5,540
Three Bedrooms: $6,788
Our hotel room in San Francisco has two queen beds and will be reserved for each family (you won’t share a room with people you don’t know). They accommodate four people (five if your 5th person is small enough to use existing bedding – no roll-aways permitted). If you have 6 or more, you’ll need two rooms.
Payment, Cancellation, and Refund Policy
Half of your estimated total (includes a $250-per-person, non-refundable deposit) is due within 7 days of your registration confirmation.
The final balance is due by April 30.
The $250 per person deposit is not refundable for any reason. Subsequent payments are refundable only if I have a family on my waiting list to replace you through April 30, 2017. After April 30, 2017, no replacements, roster changes, or refunds will be made.
Your signed waiver and payment acknowledges your understanding and agreement with my cancellation and refund policy.
This trip may be cancelled if we don’t have enough registrations. If it is, I’ll refund all payments made to me. However, you’re responsible for your airfare and any cancellation penalties the airlines charge, so please wait until I confirm the trip before you purchase non-refundable airfare.
Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Your non-refundable deposit will be due within 7 days of my email confirmation of your spots on this trip. Please don’t register if you’re not able to make your full deposit within 7 days.
I accept checks, bank checks, and money orders. I don’t accept PayPal or credit cards for my trips (I’m not willing to increase the cost of my trips to cover their fees), but credit card convenience checks are fine.
Important Things to Know
- Our journey together on the train is an important part of our trip. I’ll provide information and tips about riding the rails before we leave.
- Your deposit will be due in my mailbox within 7 days of the date I email your confirmation, and it is non-refundable.
- We’ll walk a lot during this trip. If you have problems that won’t allow you to walk for extended periods during the day, please consider postponing your trip until you’re more able. I don’t recommend this trip for people who must use a wheelchair or scooter.
- Be sure to walk in the (comfortable) shoes you’ll be using for the trip – don’t buy new shoes without breaking them in thoroughly. Trust me on this.
- If you plan to take small children (infants, toddlers, small preschoolers), plan to bring a small umbrella stroller and/or a sling/carrier.
- Due to multiple modes of transportation, I recommend packing as light as possible. It’s much easier to carry and keep track of one piece of carry-on luggage per person. (I’m a one-bag traveler and would be happy to share tips about packing light.)
Want to go?
- To register for this trip, click here.
- If you don’t receive a confirmation with payment information within 3 days, please email me.
- Your payment will be due within 7 days of receiving my confirmation email.
- I’ll email a confirmation when I receive your payment, and send you periodic trip updates via email.
- And that’s it! Email me if you have any questions.