With gas prices continually on the rise, and carbon emissions from cars at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that train travel is becoming increasingly popular. Trains not only save you money on travel, but they’re also saving the environment one trip at a time. I recently took a local, day trip adventure from San Francisco to Davis taking the Capitol Corridor train. It was the perfect way to get out of the city fog and into the California sun. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling by train with Capitol Corridor and things to do in Davis.
San Francisco to Davis
Intent on traveling as sustainably as possible, my journey started at home in San Francisco with my bike. After packing my day bag and pumping up my tires I took off from the Marina district to ride 20 minutes to downtown San Francisco to meet my bus connection.
I arrived at 555 Mission with time to spare, and placed my bike under the bus for the quick trip across the Bay Bridge to Emeryville Station. Once at Emeryville it was a seamless connection at the station from the bus and onto the Capitol Corridor train that was headed towards Sacramento.
After locking my bike securely in the bicycle racks, I headed towards the upstairs compartment to jump on my laptop and finalize my itinerary for the day. With free Wi-Fi access, charging ports and table seating it made mapping out the final destinations of my trip incredibly easy.
The seats are really comfortable, which made the time fly by while I spent my time aboard taking in the scenery and tapping away at my laptop. Before I knew it, “next stop, Davis,” was announced over the PA system. I didn’t even get a chance to hit up the onboard Café Car, which serves hot food and cold drinks (including alcoholic beverages), but I made sure to check it out on the way back.
Capitol Corridor and Sustainability
Not only is taking the Capitol Corridor a more sustainable option than driving, but there are many other green features in place that ensure a brighter future for the environment. Big picture initiatives include a commitment to researching and implementing renewable diesel, as well as everyday little things like installing recycling bins on the train and making it easier for people to cycle to their connection.
As a cyclist, both recreationally and for commuting, it’s great to see Capitol Corridor streamlining the process for cyclists to link up with another form of sustainable transportation. Being able to ride to the bus or train station and take my bike on board is a massive plus. Not only does it cut down on having to take an Uber to the station, but it means I’ve got transportation at my final destination as well.
If you want to ride to the station, but don’t want to take your bike with you, there’s also the option of leaving it in the BikeLink eLockers which cost 5 cents per hour. It’s a safe and secure way to leave your bike behind while you head off on your adventure.
Why Train Travel
As sustainable travelers we’ve always been partial to train travel. Not only does it have the obvious environmental benefits of reducing carbon emissions, but there’s something special about the gentle roll of a train.
Train travel encapsulates a lot of what we’re all about when it comes to traveling. For one, slow travel is always one of the best ways to truly experience a destination. It allows you to really take in the sights and be present much more than hopping from one place to another via plane.
On a train you get to take in your surroundings without the worry of driving yourself or being 30,000 feet in the sky. You might not cover as much ground via train; however, it’s the perfect sweet spot of when you need to get to a location within a few hours radius.
This is what makes the Capitol Corridor a great option for traveling around Northern California. Serving 18 stations, across 8 different counties, the Capitol Corridor covers 170 miles of destinations from San Jose to Placer and everything in between.
Things to Do in Davis
Davis is best known for being the university town of UC Davis, but there’s a surprising amount of things to do in this little town. Here are our top choices:
California Raptor Center
Located on the southern campus of UC Davis, the California Raptor Center offers self-guided educational tours and access to the raptor enclosures. Now you wouldn’t be wrong to think of dinosaurs right now (I know I did), but this isn’t something out of Jurassic Park.
Raptor is another name for a bird of prey, so anything like an eagle, hawk, falcon, owl, etc., is considered a raptor. The name comes from the Latin word to seize, which is appropriate given their swooping action on prey.
This is a really awesome spot to check out while in Davis. Along with a little educational museum you can walk amongst more than a dozen enclosures that have rescued and rehabilitated birds.
Davis Farmers Markets
Another location only open on Wednesdays from 3pm-6pm and Saturdays from 8am-1pm, the Davis Farmers Market is more than just a market. This yearlong market also works to engage the public about nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and the benefits of buying locally grown and sourced foods.
UC Davis Arboretum and Gardens
Davis is full of stunning garden areas, but this particular spot features beautiful bike paths and places to explore. The path that leads out to the gardens runs through the campus and along a waterway, where you will find local bird life and lots of seating along the way to kick back and take in the scenery.
There are also a number of small bridges that pass over the water from one side of the path to the other. Visitors will notice the Paris inspired ‘Locks of Love’ on the bridges, as countless locks have been left connected to the bridge with lovers’ initials or names written on them. If you’re visiting Davis with a loved one, don’t forget your lock!
US Bicycling Hall of Fame
Speaking of cycling earlier, while in Davis why not stop by the US Bicycling Hall of Fame. The center is dedicated to preserving the history, as well as promoting the future of US cycling. Visit the museum and learn about the rich cycling history and heritage in the US. It’s only open on Wednesdays from 4-6pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm, so plan your visit accordingly.