ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Auto Train from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA

Updated on January 10, 2019
Shelley H Cruz profile image

My background includes an  MBA, which I earned while working in the travel industry. I have traveled in South America, Europe and Asia.

Auto Train Station in Sanford, FL
Auto Train Station in Sanford, FL

Consider the Auto Train From Florida

We drove from New Haven to West Palm Beach, Florida this winter, stopping along the way in Washington, DC , South Carolina and Orlando, Florida. We took our time driving, but it is still a long haul!

After two weeks in Florida it was time to return home. I couldn’t bear the thought of the long drive and suggested we look into the Amtrak Auto Train. I am so glad we did!

We decided to spend one night in Sanford, FL before the auto train departed, as we were in no particular rush and had no deadline to meet. We stayed in a Marriott Residence Inn that was reasonably priced with a lovely pool and complimentary breakfast.

Sanford, Florida   Waterfront
Sanford, Florida Waterfront

Getting to Know Sanford, Florida

We enjoyed exploring the area during the morning before our train departed. We had a delicious lunch in a sidewalk café on the main street in Sanford.

Sanford is situated on the south shore of Lake Monroe, which is a widening of the St. John’s River. It is possible to sail all the way to the Atlantic Ocean on the St John’s! Sanford is conveniently located near I-4 and the 417.

The streets of the historic residential district are covered by a canopy of trees – many of which are more than a century old. A walking tour of this lovely district takes only about an hour. Visit eclectic shops and restaurants, many of which offer outdoor seating. There are many galleries, including a nationally-renowned folk art gallery. Many of the artists shown are residents and can be found creating in their studios.

At the east end of town sits Ft. Mellon Park, where you have a view of the lake. You can rent a boat and explore the river on your own. You may see numerous species of migratory songbirds as well as resident birds, like Peregrine Falcons, who actually nest in downtown as well as along the shores of Lake Monroe.

Happy Traveler  traveling in roomette on Auto Train
Happy Traveler traveling in roomette on Auto Train

The Auto Train Experience

Arrive at the Amtrak Station in Sanford at least one hour before boarding time to avoid long lines. Boarding the train is quick and simple.

Bring only bare essentials on the train as there is not much room for luggage. Coach passengers may want to bring a comfortable pillow, as well as a few toiletries.

If you can get a good price on a roomette, it is definitely more comfortable, but the space is small. The roomette could be a little tight for two people although it is doable! You will be sleeping in bunk beds. The person on the top bunk must be agile. Don’t bring more than a backpack or very small duffle bag with you! Leave your belongings in the car with the exception of valuables that you cannot lock in the ca. The bathroom facilities are similar to airline lavatories in size and not in the very best shape, but still just okay. For those taking a roomette or bedroom, you will have access to a shower.

Dining is quite a pleasure. Meals are served in the Dining Car. The food quality is good considering you're on a train. Tables are shared with other passengers which can make for some interesting conversations. We enjoyed our dining companions at both meals. The staff was friendly and helpful.

Amrak Roomette

More about the Roomette and Shower

I have included videos of an Amtrak roomette and shower, although these are not specific to the Auto Train. The roomette in the video is very much like the AutoTrain roomette with the exception that I don't think there is a little closet in the AutoTrain roomette.

As for the shower, the one pictured in the video is quite a bit nicer than the shower we experienced in the AutoTrain, although the dimensions are the same. I don't think there was a place to sit and there was no shower door. There was a clean shower curtain plus a supply of soap and plenty of towels. I found it very helpful to have the option of the shower, which had an ample supply of hot water.

Thanks to GypsyNester,com for these videos!

Amtrak Shower

Auto Train Station Sanford FL

Upgrade to Make Your Vehicle One of the First 30 to Exit the Train

Being on the road faster gets you to your destination sooner. You can speed up your journey with a time-saving upgrade option for the Auto Train. Passengers who reserve Priority Vehicle Offloading ensure their vehicle is one of the first 30 offloaded from the train. We took this option but ended up being number 30, at the very end of the line for the upgrade! As the train was not super full, I am not sure if it made much of a difference for us. At busier times during the year it could be a great help.

Visit Washington DC in the morning.

You will be off the train by 9am and if you have the time, take a half day to visit the wonderful museums in Washington DC as they are all free. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but if you have a bit of patience and perseverance you will find a spot. We spent a couple of hours in the Air and Space Museum before continuing our journey North.

The ticket prices are on a scale and increase as the train starts to fill up! Coach tickets may be as low as $136.00 and the vehicle fare starts at about $198.00. Book early, consider a sleeping accommodation and consider the priority off-loading option.If you are budget minded, coach tickets are reasonable. Either way, you will be sure to enjoy the ride and will save about 900 miles of stressful driving.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Shelley H Cruz profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Horsley Cruz 

      3 years ago from Northford, CT

      Thank you for your comments! They are most appreciated!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Very interesting article. I may try it on my next trip to Florida.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing your travel experience. Options are always helpful.

    • Travel-Wise profile image


      3 years ago

      Train travel still seems to be a popular way to travel across country. Thanks for sharing your experience along with some great tips!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)