Planning to take a trip on a train with kids? We have discovered that it is completely doable.
Taking a train ride was one of the items on my bucket list. This Spring Break we were able to take a train ride from Seattle to Portland. It was most certainly an adventure for my husband, myself and our 2 younger children.
The ride was about 3.5 hrs each way. It was an experimental trip to see how things would work without driving. On our last trip to Portland our daughter was then 2 years old. She cried for a while on our way back home. It was quite stressful and quite dangerous trying to get in and out of traffic to take care of our very uncomfortable toddler. On this present trip we really wanted to see if it could have much more relaxing vacation.
We started our trip from Bremerton via the ferry to Seattle. It was a free trip to Seattle. We had sandwiches and snacks that we had prepared in the morning. It was a quick and relaxed hour ride.
Once in Seattle, we walked about 10 minutes to Tat’s Deli, a cheesesteak place that my East Coast husband has been wanting to try. We were already quite full but my son and I agreed to share a sandwich and some fries. The food was great and well worth stuffing ourselves! Our almost 3 year old daughter happily had a lot of ketchup with few yummy fries. Apparently, her favorite vegetable is ketchup.
With our over-filled bellies we headed to the train station. It was about a 6 minute walk but it took us a little longer to get situated because we also took a booster seat in case we needed it for a taxi or Uber in Seattle or Portland. (Note: We ended up not using it.)
The King Street Station in Seattle is BEAUTIFUL! It is very well maintained with an amazing vaulted ceiling to gaze at while you wait to board your train. There were lots of designs in the marble tiled floor and my wily husband had the two year old walking the outlines hoping to use up some of her energy. We purchased our tickets online at Amtrak.com. The check in process was simple and the check in area was well defined with signs, roped off areas for the line, and a counter.
In Seattle they boarded passengers with children, or in groups of four, first. We were able to grab a table with four facing seats on the train and it was best thing we could have asked for. It allowed us to spread out our refreshments, our activities and most importantly it allowed us to talk to each other.
Before the train rolled on, our children and I each had a dose of Dramamine, just as a preventative measure. I get motion sickness very easy so this is a great tip for those who have issues with motion sickness. Thankfully, we had no problem. We all even got a short nap on the train ride.
We took with us a small bag full of activities for our toddler. The most popular of the activities was coloring with the twistable crayons. It was new to her. We also took along stickers, a sticker book, lacing cards, and some of her favorite snacks. Our teenage son was responsible for packing up his own activities and snacks. He was fairly occupied with his new-ish iPhone 5. Amtrak has decent WiFi onboard for internet access and social media, but not enough for streaming media.
We had movies and TV shows downloaded on our mobile devices as a great back-up activity for all of us. We were able to plug our chargers right into the two convenient outlets under our table.
Overall, the ride to Portland was comfortable and pleasant experience. The scenery on the way was spectacular. Our teenager was happy and our toddler did great.