A very special thank you to all of the agencies, hotels, restaurants, and activity venues that have made our four (soon to be five) cross country adventures better than we could have imagined.  Thoughtful planning from convention and visitor bureaus, coupled with hotel and activity discounts and sponsorship have made this “happy accident” of ours turn into the trips of a lifetime.  We would also like to thank Amtrak for making our trips memorable and answering endless questions about planning a train trip!  Whether it was a national park, greeting “Walkers”, historical venues, horseback riding, sky -high ledges, or local night life we have had some incredible adventures. We recommend without reservation the following activities, accommodations and resources.  Happy Planning!  ~ The Bates Family

Thrilled to announce our newest sponsor,







Thank you to Gatorland for this VIP Tour. I am out on the island with the staff, never in a million years did I think I would be this close to live alligators!  (Later they had me zip-lining over the gators – a little too much screaming from me on that video!)

Disclosure:  We have received free or reduced rates for many of the hotels, restaurants and activities you see listed. 


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 prov.ly/bates-podcast.
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