Midwest Living Review
New Buffalo relocated its Amtrak station to two blocks from Lake Michigan and one block from downtown. In conjunction, a new express service from Chicago's Union Station lures Chicagoans to spend the day at the beach in New Buffalo.Train tickets aren't cheap unless you buy in advance. Advance-purchase round-trip tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children. Purchased less than three days in advance, tickets climb to $32 for adults, $16 for kids. Not cheap, but comparable to admission to a water park. There are increased savings if you buy a week in advance, but then you are taking a gamble with the weather. A risky thing in the Midwest. Prices vary based on date and time, so play with combinations.We made our reservations online and printed out our barcode at home. The website was fast and user-friendly. At the station, we scanned the code, printed our tickets and then it was all aboard. The train ride is smooth -- comparable to flying business class. Seats are roomy, there are pull-down tables (handy for the breakfast we brought on). The ride is quiet, and there is a cafe for snacks. Service is excellent. When the conductors realized we had young children with us, they had other passengers move so we could all sit together. About 80 minutes later, we arrived at the station with the beach in sight. Much better than a three hour drive through traffic!There is bit of a schlep factor. We had to leave our house early in the morning to drive to Union Station and park (we spent $22 to park at Union Station to save time). And we had to haul all our gear. But we thought the effort was worth it so we could have more time for fun in this beach town.