How to find parking at Amtrak stations around the U.S. isn’t always an easy task; it just takes a little research. Especially if you’re new to Amtrak.
If you’re like me and don’t fly, there comes a time when your cruise ship doesn’t shove off from a port within reasonable driving distance.
When I had to get to Los Angeles for a Hawai’ian Islands cruise followed by a jaunt to Portland for a Columbia river cruise, my only way there was Amtrak to California and again for Oregon.
Or maybe you’re simply taking Amtrak for your vacation or vacation transportation. Yes, I’ve met people who spend their entire vacation in a roomette on Amtrak with several trains across the country and back again. But you have to start somewhere and that usually involves parking a car.
How to Find Parking at Amtrak Stations
Some of the smaller Amtrak stations throughout the country, including Florida, have free but very limited parking spaces at the station. If you’re lucky enough to find a legal, longterm parking space, you must inform the station agent that you are parking your car long-term. You’ll get a permit to place on your dashboard.
That’s all well and good…until you get to that station and there are no places to park and your train is due in 15 minutes. Unless you’re sure you’ll get a parking space at one of these smaller stations, it might be a good idea to drive a bit further to a larger train stations to park your car.
Parking at many larger Amtrak stations isn’t free. You can pre-pay to park and are guaranteed a space when you arrive.
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Parking at Amtrak Stations With Fees
Depending on your starting point, Amtrak has teamed up with SpotHero to let you to find, reserve, and pay for guaranteed parking at over 30 train stations nationwide.
Search for your train station and then compare real-time parking prices and available locations nearest to the station. After purchase, you will receive an email confirmation that will serve to guarantee entry to your selected location and also serves as payment.
Space will be set aside at your selected parking location to ensure that your parking is guaranteed, even if the lot or garage otherwise reaches capacity.
Pre-Purchase Parking at These Amtrak Stations
Arizona – Phoenix Airport (then a shuttle to Maricopa, Tucson or Flagstaff)
California – Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.
Colorado – Denver
Connecticut – Stamford
Delaware – Wilmington
Florida – Tampa
Georgia – Atlanta
Illinois – Chicago
Indiana – Indianapolis
Louisiana – New Orleans
Maryland – Baltimore
Massachusetts – Boston
Michigan – Detroit
Minnesota – St. Paul-Minneapolis Union Depot
Mississippi – Jackson
Missouri – St. Louis
Nevada – Las Vegas (for shuttle to Los Angeles)
New Jersey – Newark
New York – Buffalo, NYC
Ohio – Cleveland
Ontario – Toronto
Oregon – Portland
Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Tennessee – Nashville
Texas – Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio
Virginia – Alexandria, Richmond
Washington – Seattle
Washington D.C. – Union Station
Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Non-flyers can rejoice and not worry about finding a parking space at their Amtrak station. You may have to drive a little farther, but for piece of mind in knowing your parking spot is reserved, is worth it.
If your departure city isn’t listed here, contact your Amtrak station and get the lowdown on parking. There may be times when the station agent doesn’t answer the phone. This is usually because a train is about to arrive or depart and there’s only one or two agents on staff. Keep trying.
And finally, if the Amtrak station where you’d like to park offers free parking and is very close, drive over and speak with the station agent. Sometimes they’ll have good suggestions on the best times to leave your car in a legal free space.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath… stop for a meal and a glass of wine along the way.