If your road trip includes a drive thru Arizona, I recommend enjoying the views and kicking back for part of your journey on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Based out of the tiny town of Clarkdale in the middle of the state, this railroad has several different types of train rides for every age.
My family went on the Verde Canyon Railroad’s Easter Bunny Express this March. The Easter bunny showed up with treats and for pictures to the delight of my little train lovers. We went for the first class seating for $80 being this was the first train ride for both of my children. It’s the way to go. The ticket includes a beverage and appetizers, comfortable couches in air-conditioning, plus access to open train cars that you can walk out on and enjoy the scenery. Kids two and under are free. Older kids pay the full rate in first class. In coach, adults ride for $55, seniors go for $50, and kids 2-12 cost $45. Coach is a more cramped but it’s still fun with their vintage Pullman-style seats that flip forward or rear facing.
There are special train rides scheduled for every season. Of note for wine lovers… hop aboard the Grape Train Express. It costs $119 per person and no one under 21 is allowed. Different dates feature different wine tasting themes. Up coming themes include The Vineyards of Verde Valley (Aug. 15, 2008) and Tour of Italy (Sept. 5, 2008). This is one I want to try next time we have a babysitter and want to celebrate something special.
No matter which themed train you opt for, you’ll probably want to spend the night in Clarkdale, Jerome, or Sedona. The train ride itself is about 4 hours long. You go up and down the Verde Canyon, no matter which themed train you’re on. The day trains normally depart at 1pm. The night trains leave around 5:30pm.
For more info on any of their train rides, prices, schedules, etc. go to: verdecanyonrr.com.