Whether you've got a few hours or a couple of days, pack a good appetite (and a camera) for five of the continent's most scrumptious and stunning rail adventures.


The Via Rail Canadian

Taking you literally coast to coast in just four days (Toronto to Vancouver or vice versa), the Canadian gets you up close and personal with Canada's drop-dead gorgeous nature (the short list includes the Rockies, the western prairies and the Great Lakes region). Though the length of the stops varies, you'll get a sense of Winnipeg, Jasper and the rest of the 10 or so major cities along the way.

The Via Rail Canadian, 4 Days

What You'll Eat

About 2,000 miles worth of fresh, local fare. Breakfast might include a cheesecake-stuffed French toast topped with a compote of Manitoba berries; lunch, maple-glazed grilled Canadian Pacific salmon; and dinner, a horseradish-crusted Thunder Bay pickerel. From $433; viarail.ca.

What You'll Eat on the Via Rail Canadian

Cape Cod Central Railroad Gourmet Journeys

Some of the New England coastline's greatest hits, from sweeping dunes to cranberry bogs to quaint villages, are seen on this two to three hour ride. You'll be seated in a 1940's-era railway car turned into a classic dining cabin, complete with crisp white linens and a full bar.

Cape Cod Central Railroad Gourmet Journeys, 2 to 3 hours

What You'll Eat

Surf and turf, largely. The Gourmet Journeys run May or June through October -- dates vary by the trip -- and serve up lobster omelets (on Sunday's Brunch train), seafood chowder (Gourmet Lunch train) and salmon Florentine (Elegant Dinner train), among other classics. Though this last one is adults-only, the other two are kid-friendly, as Choo Choo Charley's Crazy Chicken Fingers and Boxcar Willy's Wacky Mac & Cheese might suggest. From $45; capetrain.com.

What You'll eat on the Cape Cod Central Railroad Gourmet Journey

Arizona's Verde Canyon Railroad

A series of vintage railcars takes you through the towering walls of Verde Canyon on this four hour trip, from the former copper mining town of Clarkdale to the ghost town of Perkinsville. And though you can kick back on traditional Pullman-style seats in the cars, the open-air viewing areas will be calling your name: You'll spend a lot of the ride 1,800 feet below the canyon's edge -- red rock cliffs to one side, a river to the other, and your jaw to the floor.

Arizona's Verde Canyon Railroad, 4 hours

What You'll Eat

Food that pairs well with wine, beer and liquor, as several of the trips are drink-focused. Cases in point include Ales on Rails (Thursday through Sunday in October, when you'll find an assortment of local lagers, porters and stouts, plus pretzels, strudel, bratwurst and polka dancing), the Chocolate Lover's Festival (February 14 to 16, with the requisite chocolate fountain, strawberries and champagne) and, starting next spring, the Tequila Sunset Limited (tequila tastings accompanied by spicy chocolate-covered peppers are margarita cake). From $55; verdecanyonrr.com.

What You'll Eat on Arizona's Verde Canyon Railroad

Amtrak Coast Starlight

On this double-decker that runs daily from L.A. to Seattle in 35 hours, and stops everywhere from Santa Barbara to Portland en route, you'll have insane views of the shoreline, lush forests, the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta.

Amtrak Coast Starlight, 35 hours

What You'll Eat

Celeb chef-designed dishes. While you'll find all the standard café-car chips and candy bars, they'll have some unexpected company -- braised short ribs with ancho-molasses barbecue sauce, for instance -- thanks to NYC's Sara Jenkins, D.C.'s Michel Richard and other star members of Amtrak's Culinary Advisory Team. Bonus foodie fun: Book a sleeper car (Amtrak calls them "rooms") and you'll have access to the club-like parlor car, where wine and cheese tastings await. From $115; Amtrak.com/coast-starlight-train.

What You'll Eat on the Amtrak Coast Starlight

Copper Canyon Classic

Mexico's dramatic Copper Canyon and Sierra Madre mountains, plus some great colonial towns are all part of this 8 to 9 day package. Although your ride, which crosses 37 bridges and 86 tunnels, isn't a tourist train, you will have an expert guide: Illinois native Dave Hensleigh, who's been traveling to the area for years and now leads small groups.

Copper Canyon Classic, 8 to 9 Days

What You'll Eat

There's a specific culinary trip, dubbed the Blue Corn Express, that runs a few times a year, but every Copper Canyon trip is food-filled. The regional fare was born to feed cowboys, so you'll find lots of hearty stews, carne asada and blue-corn tortilla burritos at various stops. You'll also find fresh cheese, peppers and apples galore, so chiles rellenos and apple preserves are pretty much always on the menu. But some of your best food memories will be made in the welcoming kitchens of local home cooks. From $1,690; authenticcoppercanyon.com.

What You'll Eat on the Copper Canyon Classic

More Fun Food Trips

Looking for other fun food-based vacations? Read on!

Brixton Market