Beyond the Rails

Did you know that you can travel cross-country by train for two weeks, visit eight different destinations all for less than the price of a round trip airline ticket?

Have you ever wanted to take an adventure unlike anything else you have ever done?

Do you want a quantity of quality time with your family or friends?

Did you know that a cross-country train adventure can provide the most incredible scenery, all while offering the epitome of relaxation?

Insider secrets, travel planning, sleeping on a train, what to bring, where to sit and so much more are all inside the pages of Beyond the Rails, USA Cross-Country Train Travel.

Over twenty destinations are featured in the “Day Trippers” section of the book including visits to national parks as well as major cities.

Get the ins an outs of train travel in the United States, no two are alike, find out what to do and where to stay once you arrive!

Want to learn more, check out our 2 minute highlight videos or listen to our interview!

Click below for a print copy!


Where to Buy

Available on Amazon in both print (makes a great gift) or a digital version is also available.

For my hometown friends you will be also be able to purchase the book at local bookstores, like Titcombs in East Sandwich, MA .

Stations and Destinations

Coming Soon! Volume II of Beyond the Rails!

We just can’t stop travelling by train!  Four years, 5 trips and tens of thousands of miles later we are adding as many stations as possible in 2019!  You will know what to expect when you disembark, where to stay and what to do! 

The map below shows where we have been so far!

Beyond the Rails, Stations and Destinations!

Every train trip is different and much of that depends on the destinations and stations you choose.  We are often asked what our favorite stop is and that has been such a hard question to answer. Every place is unique, how do you compare a big city with with a national park? Or a visit to the ocean with the Grand Canyon?  You can do all of these things and more (even in the same trip) then please tell me your favorite. (Our first trip is outlined in yellow.)

The differences and opportunities start with the stations.  Are you getting off at a small flag stop station, or at a large beautifully restored station? Perhaps the station is brand new and filled with modern amenities. Our first book focused primarily on the “how to” of train travel from seating, to eating, sleeping, itineraries and tickets. This second companion book will focus on where to go, what to see, where to stay and what to expect when you arrive at the station!


Learn more about our destinations by visiting our sponsors and resources page.

About Us

Our Story

Our first train trip we fondly refer to as a “happy accident”. A frustrating and costly plan to fly from Boston to California in 2014 had us looking for a better option. Enter the USA Rail Pass and the first train trip EVER for our family of five. Our first trip to the west coast and back to Boston was 7,765 miles and we were hooked.

Over the next five years we have traveled over 24,000 miles by train and visited or passed through more than 40 states. In the book we cover in detail over 20 different destinations you can reach with a USA Rail Pass. The “DayTrippers” section is dedicated to those unique and once in a lifetime opportunities that can be accomplished in a one (sometimes two-three) day visit.

Our book is part “how to manual” and part “journal” of the good, the bad, and the awesome of train travel.  All of the pictures in the book and video here on the website are taken by us, undoctored, scrapbook style pictures that you can recreate with your own trip.

Additionally we have “journal notes” throughout the book so you can hear first hand about our “togetherness”, the worst train station ever, and the best seats on the train. We have pictures of the bathrooms, the seats, luggage storage and roomettes, so there should be no surprises on your adventure.

We hope our adventures help you to plan yours!

*UPDATEWe are working on volume II, Beyond the Rails, Stations and Destinations, so stayed tuned to our social media or follow our newsletter!

Workshops and Signings

Beyond the Rails Book Signings

Would you like to schedule a book signing or workshop for your group? While I wish this book was available when I was planning my first trip, I have to say four cross-country trips later, I believe this book has everything you need.

I love talking about our adventures with anyone willing to listen, so contact me for a workshop or a Q&A for your adventure seeking audience.

Whenever I mention that I have written a book about cross-country train travel, the response is always the same, “I have always wanted to do that!”

New Workshops!

Beyond the Rails, USA Cross Country Train Travel

Alternate title:  “Train Travel, Who Knew?”

This workshop serves to introduce audiences to a trip of a lifetime. A train trip that every American should definitely take. Over the course of three years, my family and I have covered over 20,000 miles by train. An accidental adventure with unprecedented, life changing, outcomes. The people, the places, and more importantly our perspectives have changed our lives forever.  Hear firsthand the ins and outs of train travel, what to expect, where to go, who should go, and how to plan your own excursion.

All Aboard, where would you like to go?



Go Away!

With the right attitude, anywhere, anytime is an adventure! Discover the power of adventure and the benefits for you and your family. The single most important gift you will ever give anyone is your time. If your gift of time includes a new experience, a shared discovery, a moment of genuine understanding, then your gift is unforgettable.

Twenty first century children and families have the world at their fingertips, yet perhaps not in their souls. Discover the educational, social, and relational benefits travel and adventure can have on you and your family. Go away, “Beyond the Rails”, literally and figuratively, with your next adventure.

boat meme montana

I am especially excited to introduce my new cross-over workshop! This is the workshop that perfectly melds my passion for all things organizational and efficient with my living better lifestyle and yes, the two go hand in hand! LB Living Better ~my day job that supports the travel job!


Could your employees use a corporate reset? Is vacation time accruing at alarming rates? Constant connectivity is wreaking havoc on worker’s personal and professional aspirations. This workshop is research based, however, it is presented with humorous, real life, relevance. Invite Lisa’s two plus decades of organizational expertise, coupled with her passion for travel and adventure to inspire your group, your staff, your colleagues to be living better… the only mistake is not to begin!


To learn more about Lisa, her speaking experience, testimonials and more speaking topics, visit her “professionally speaking” page.



Inspired by her experience exploring Europe by train while studying abroad at PC, Lisa Bates ’88 of Sandwich, Mass., traveled more than 21,000 miles on Amtrak across the United States with her family and wrote a guidebook to help others plan similar trips. Beyond the Rails – USA Cross-Country Train Travel provides tips including how to use Amtrak’s USARail Pass, what to pack, and even what food to bring. She also reviewed destinations within easy reach of more than 20 Amtrak stations. Bates discussed her book at Alumni & Family Weekend in February and was interviewed on the Providence College Podcast. Listen at
Providence College
Providence College Magazine
"Lisa, Thank you so much for your excellent presentation today! You had everyone completely under your spell. I'm ready to sign up myself and see more of our beautiful country by train. Hope all goes well for your family in the busy days ahead. We're so glad you came!" Terri
“It is a pleasure to recommend Lisa to offer a presentation on her wonderful new book, Beyond the Rails. Lisa is a fabulous presenter – very personable and knowledgeable. She offered a fascinating program at the bookshop and people were very interested. We had very good feedback from those who attended and the book continues to sell well. There were lots of questions, too – always a sign of a good event! - Vicky
Vicky Titcomb
Titcomb's Bookshop
“ I was amazed to discover how widespread the interest in long train trips really is! We had a great turnout for the program, and Lisa was extremely engaging. She had a well-organized and inspiring presentation prepared, but left plenty of room to personalize the talk by engaging the audience and addressing their specific interests, fears, and curiosities regarding train travel. Many attendees purchased copies of her book afterward, and they were vocal about expressing their delight with the talk to the library staff. We would definitely recommend Lisa as a presenter at other libraries, senior centers, and community organizations.”

“I didn’t even know I wanted to travel by train until I saw Lisa’s presentation and read her book.- Janet

“Well girl, you hit the nail on the head with your book! Now tell me where I can buy two books, one for me and another for a happy wanderer wannabe. I retired too late and, yup, one night trip to a function in RI was enough to tell me the road trips are over! We recently had to fly to Houston and that cured me of ever getting on a flight longer than the one to Nantucket so the train it is and it is something that has been in my brain for years so your book was the answer!” – Received by Email from Eddy

I wish I knew about the USA Rail Pass when I was younger. Driving across country with my buddies, well let’s just just say I am grateful to still be here! Taking the train would have been awesome, so much better, more fun and safer. I’m not sayin’ that cuz I work for Amtrak! – Amtrak Assistant Conductor

“I just wanted to reach out to say it was great meeting you at Alumni Family Weekend at PC. And I loved listening to your talk about navigating the country via rail. I have two children, ages 11 and 13, and we often talk about going on a cross-country trip and I think the train will be the way we do it!!” – PC Alumni Director

The number one response I get any time I start talking about cross-country train travel is: "I have always wanted to do that!" - Lisa Bates
Audience Contacts
Best Part of Talking about Train Travel, Helping Future Travelers