Discover fall travel on AmtrakDiscover fall travel on Amtrak — Photo courtesy of Laser1987 / iStock Via Getty Images

Touring around the country during peak fall foliage season is a dream, but instead of road tripping along the great U.S. highways, take the train. When you travel along one of Amtrak’s routes, it’s all about sitting back and watching the landscape go by in between stops in major cities.

One unexpectedly great route for fall travel is Amtrak’s Silver Star route, which travels between Miami and New York City daily. Start in southern Florida, where autumn events abound in the cooler months. As you travel up the Eastern seaboard, the leaves turn more and more vibrant as you go north. Ending in New York City, where fall is a serious vibe, take in all the sights and sounds of the season.

Stops in major cities along the Silver Star route are timed so you can spend a night or two in each location. That means you don’t have to book a pricey sleeper car (unless you want to). Here are hotel, dining, and fall activity recommendations for the cities along this popular Amtrak train route.

Start in Miami

Miami's South Beach Seafood Festival is a must-do in the fallMiami’s South Beach Seafood Festival is a must-do in the fall — Photo courtesy of South Beach Seafood Festival

Miami might not be the first place that comes to mind for fall travel, but autumn is a great time to visit the Florida hot spot. Not only are there lots of fun festivals, art exhibits to explore, and a dynamite dining scene, you’ll find some exceptional hotel discounts during this shoulder season.

Anything that celebrates the ocean is a must-do, from spending the day on the beach to watching the sunset from hotel rooftops. One event not to miss every October is the South Beach Seafood Festival. The four-day extravaganza — a past 10Best Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best Specialty Seafood Festival — features chef showdowns, pop-up dinners, and one massive seafood feast, courtesy of the city’s best restaurants.

When it’s time to unwind, The Elser Hotel is centrally located in the downtown area. It’s just a skip away from the Kaseya Center for Miami Heat games, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Upon check-in, Elser guests are welcomed with craft cocktails, followed by complimentary happy hour bubbly on the huge rooftop pool deck with gorgeous city views.

First Amtrak stop: Savannah, Georgia

History abounds in Savannah, GeorgiaHistory abounds in Savannah, Georgia — Photo courtesy of DenisTangneyJr / iStock Via Getty Images

Miami to Savannah: Approximately 12 hours

Fall season in Savannah is still pretty balmy, but it’s a delightful time of year to take in the sights and sounds of this southern gem. Savannah’s Oktoberfest in the trendy Plant Riverside District happens every weekend through October with free, family-friendly events — including the popular Savannah Wiener Dog Races — live music, and traditional German food and drinks.

Get a sense of place and the city’s history via carriage ride through the Historic District during the day or a nighttime walking ghost tour. To learn about the role African Americans played in building the city, walking tours like Footprints of Savannah and the Freedom Trail Tour weave together stories from the slave trade to the fight for civil rights.

A romantic carriage ride through Savannah's Historic DistrictA romantic carriage ride through Savannah’s Historic District — Photo courtesy of John Cameron

For an overnight stay, The Thunderbird Inn — voted this year among the 10 best roadside motels in the US — is a stylishly retro motel that many believe to be haunted. Rooms here come with complimentary MoonPies and RC Cola, lemonade in the lobby, and fresh locally made donuts and morning coffee.

If staying for a couple nights, make sure to take in the scenery around Georgia’s low country, only minutes away from downtown Savannah. A kayak tour through the salt marshes from Tybee Island gives you a close look at the flora and fauna of the region.

Second Amtrak stop: Washington, D.C.

Enjoy the architectural marvel that is Amtrak's Union Station in WashingtonEnjoy the architectural marvel that is Amtrak’s Union Station in Washington — Photo courtesy of John Cameron

Savannah to Washington, D.C.: Approximately 12 hours

Sightseeing in Washington starts at Union Station D.C., the neoclassical marvel and cornerstone of the City Beautiful architectural movement. One of the busiest Amtrak stations in the country, there’s plenty of good dining and shopping options, too.

The best place to see fall in action in Washington is at the U.S. National Arboretum. The almost 450 acres offer plenty of opportunities to explore and witness the change of seasons and access is free. In the Ellipse Meadow, the autumn leaves really pop against stately sandstone Corinthian columns that once held up the United States Capitol building.

After taking in the growing collection of modern and contemporary art at The National Gallery’s East Building, including the rooftop sculpture terrace, settle in for a night at The Madison Hotel just steps from the National Mall. It’s close to the White House, so you’ll feel that power and energy pulsing through every inch.

Third Amtrak stop: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Find spooky fall fun visiting Al Capone's cell at Eastern State PenitentiaryFind spooky fall fun visiting Al Capone’s cell at Eastern State Penitentiary — Photo courtesy of Erin Davis / Eastern State Penitentiary

Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia: Approximately 2 hours

Fall in Philly means colorful foliage from early October to late November, plus outings along with ghost tours and visits to historic sights. While popular all year long, visit the grand Eastern State Penitentiary — once home to notorious gangsters like Al Capone — in late October for Halloween Nights for ghost stories, nighttime tours, and spooky cocktail lounges.

Walking distance from the Amtrak stop at the Art Deco-era William H. Gray III 30th Street Station is the towering AKA University City. Here you’ll find state-of-the-art fitness facilities with amazing views from the 28th floor, plus an intimate bar overlooking the Schuylkill River and all of downtown.

Fourth Amtrak stop: New York, New York

You gotta love autumn in New YorkYou gotta love autumn in New York — Photo courtesy of dszc / E+ Via Getty Images

Philadelphia to New York City: Approximately 2 hours

Fall in New York feels like a Nora Ephron movie. With multicolored trees lining the streets and framing the skyline, it’s autumn as you always remember it.

New York can be overwhelming without a plan, which is why a food tour is a great way to get a good introduction to the history of Manhattan. The Ahoy New York Food Tour through Chinatown and Little Italy includes seated meals and quick tastings through two exciting culinary neighborhoods. Other self-guided walks could include along the expanding Highline Park, The Shed arts complex at Hudson Yards, and the updated Penn Station.

Keep it simple when it comes to hotel choices. The Best Western Premier Herald Square hotel offers ideal prime midtown accommodations for exploring all of New York City.

Check out the amazing Maize Maze this fallCheck out the amazing Maize Maze this fall — Photo courtesy of Queens County Farm Museum

For some rural fall fun, head to the Queens County Farm Museum. Established in 1697, it’s one of New York City’s largest tracts of undisturbed farmland filled with apiaries, gardens, livestock, and more. Every autumn the Maize Maze, hayrides, and pumpkin patch draw visitors of every age.

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