The Pacific Surfliner is a 351-mile Amtrak train service that runs from San Diego in So Cal to downtown San Luis Obispo in SLO CAL (San Luis Obispo County). This signature coastal route serves 27 cities, including scheduled stops in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, providing stress-free travel across Southern California. For passengers looking for more personal space and freedom of movement on board, the Pacific Surfliner is cut above the options in the sky! 

The Pacific Surfliner Route

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From historic Santa Fe Station in San Diego to San Luis Obispo’s downtown station, known for its distinctive Mission Revival architecture, the Pacific Surfliner offers stunning ocean views along California’s Pacific coast. Major stops, like Anaheim, home of Disneyland, and Los Angeles Union Station, are conveniently located along the 371-mile route. 

In San Luis Obispo, the Pacific Surfliner drops off passengers within walking distance of dining, lodging, and shopping hotspots. The city's walkable streets entice travelers to explore and discover. Visitors can stroll downtown streets lined with trees, restaurants, boutique shopping, and art galleries. And for those yearning for a beach day, the Surfliner also stops at Grover Beach (just 15 miles south of the city of San Luis Obispo). Passengers can exit on the platform and cross iconic Highway 1 for direct ocean access.

Pacific Surfliner Schedule and Planning

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The easiest way to book an Amtrak ticket is directly through their website. Amtrak also offers a mobile app where customers can purchase fares, upgrade seats and see schedules, among other valuable tools. 

All passengers can bring up to four pieces of luggage on board at no additional charge. Economy class has open seating and doesn’t offer beverage or snack service; however, business class features assigned seats and complimentary drinks and snacks en route. 

Amtrak serves four stops in San Luis Obispo County. Stations include Downtown San Luis Obispo, beachfront Grover Beach, Paso Robles adjacent to City Park and a bus-only stop at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Surfliner Stops for San Luis Obispo County Travelers

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With over 300 days of sunshine in SLO CAL, enjoying the outdoors is on many first-time visitors' wish lists. Beach lovers can stroll along 80 miles of unspoiled beaches or choose between a kayak or ATV at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, accessible from the Grover Beach Amtrak Station.

Foodies can let their appetites lead them to the area’s amble farm-to-table eateries. Or they can dig deeper and hit the SLO CAL Farm Trail, which offers 25 different farm experiences, from exploring the farmers’ market to hands-on action with local growers.

San Luis Obispo County boasts over 250 wineries spread across two wine-growing regions, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being our most well-known. From winery tours and tasting rooms to the SLO Sustainable Winery Trail, wine options are endless in SLO CAL!

The first Friday of the month ushers in the free Art After Dark event in San Luis Obispo, where over 20 galleries and venues feature works by regional artists. A visit to the area wouldn't be complete without exploring Hearst Castle in San Simeon, the county's architectural and artistic crown jewel. For history enthusiasts, we recommend dedicating a day to the well-preserved Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa to delve into the history of the region’s early Spanish settlers.

Historic downtown San Luis Obispo offers a host of accommodations for every type of traveler, from the luxury-minded who desire on-site spas and in-house bistros to the bed-and-breakfast types who want a quaint and cozy stay. During the Thursday Night Farmers Market, the Old SLO Trolley Service runs up and down Monterey Street, and rides only cost 50 cents! 

How to Plan Stopovers

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Planning strategic stopovers can significantly enhance your travel experience, and Amtrak's integrated service with "Thru Buses" makes it easier to explore more destinations along your journey. For passengers in San Luis Obispo, the nearby city of Paso Robles is less than an hour's journey via Thru Bus. Alternatively, you can take the Coast Starlight Train from the station in San Luis Obispo directly to the station in Paso Robles through rolling green hills.

Travelers with bicycles can enjoy the Surfliner’s free bike service; however, reservations are required. Bike-bound explorers can hit the many scenic trails in San Luis Obispo, each providing a picturesque and car-free option during a stopover. And, directly outside SLO’s train station, San Luis Obispo Transit Route 3A (equipped with bike storage) offers free connections to the SLO Transit Center, offering many affordable and quick options for getting to different parts of the county. 

Onboard Amenities

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Once onboard, passengers can enjoy spacious seating in all train cars. Deep and plush seats allow passengers to relax as they take in the scenery of the central coast from the train’s large passenger windows. 

All cars feature the two-seat configuration, so passengers can grab the aisle or window seat. Riders will find plenty of open luggage racks above their seats and at the ends of each car to accommodate larger bags. For those who work remotely, free onboard Wi-Fi, a standard electrical plug and a sturdy tray table make it all the easier. 

Passengers are welcome to bring snacks on board, including liquids like water bottles and soda cans. The Surfliner’s “Car Three” boasts plenty of dining and drinking options for passengers who need a snack while en route. The Pacific Surfliner Market Café, located downstairs, is stocked with fresh food and drinks. From hot breakfast sandwiches to vegetarian burritos, passengers have plenty to choose from.

Ride the Surfliner

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Embark on a journey with the Pacific Surfliner, Amtrak's scenic gem. It meanders through the stunning landscapes of Southern California, connecting SLO CAL to major coastal hubs. This classic train route offers quick and convenient travel and economical means to discover the region's varied splendor, encompassing lively urban centers and serene coastal enclaves. 

Amtrak’s panoramic windows frame the ever-changing scenes, providing passengers with a unique vantage point to soak in the area's natural beauty. The Surfliner's frequent stops in key cities enable travelers to explore a range of attractions, from the historic missions and vineyards of the central coast to the sun-drenched beaches and entertainment hubs of Southern California. All aboard for an unforgettable adventure that captures the allure of the California coastal landscape!