There is a strong sense of nostalgia for the times when slow rides aboard a train were the only way to reach far-away places. Many of the old railways in Ohio have been abandoned for being too slow or unprofitable and are today being converted into compelling tourist attractions.

Most are operated by not-for-profit organizations that provide education about the historic role of railroads in the Ohio past. In general, they offer great fun aboard the restored historic passenger cars, often pulled by old diesel locomotives through the beautiful Ohio landscape.

1. Cincinnati Dinner Train

Cincinnati Dinner Train
© Cincinnati Dinner Train

The Cincinnati Dinner Train is a popular attraction in Cincinnati both with locals and visitors. It is a three-hour excursion aboard three beautifully restored vintage 1950s dining cars. There is also the Queen City Tavern car that has a well-stocked bar and offers live music and entertainment. The train leaves the station at 6 pm every Saturday and travels along the riverfront. The guide entertains passengers with local lore and points out important landmarks as they pass by. While enjoying the beautiful views, guests will enjoy a four-course gourmet dinner. The trips are so popular reservations are necessary a few weeks in advance.

2172 E Seymour Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45237, Phone: 513-791-7245

2. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
© Courtesy of Kenneth Sponsler -

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train travels through Cuyahoga Valley National Park between the cities of Akron and Independence. Passengers can board on one of several stops along the way. The trips are organized in cooperation with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with the goal of not only providing an alternative mode of transportation in the area, but also of offering the experience of travelling by train to the younger generation. The passengers aboard the train enjoy wonderful views of the scenery and wildlife in the national park while guides offer a brief history of the railroad in the area. National Park Scenic is the basic excursion, and it lasts three and half hours. Other trips include the Beer and Wine Tastings trip and Day out With Thomas, a two-hour excursion for the kids. Bike Aboard! involves riding a bike along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and taking the train on the way back.

Customer Service Office, Tilden House, 2325 Stine Road, Peninsula, OH 44264, Phone: 800-468-4070 ext. 1

3. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
© Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers a fun excursion aboard a historic train from Nelsonville, Ohio to the Hocking Hills. It is operated completely by local volunteer members. The train runs along the track built in 1869 to transport coal, and it has been offering entertaining train rides since 1972. Besides regular weekend trips between May and October, there are also several theme trains such as Robbery Train, Easter Bunny Train, All-Caboose Train, Santa Trains, and others. The original passenger cars have been meticulously restored by volunteers and are all considered of great local historic value. The train consists of the 1918 former B&O combination passage and baggage car, three 1920 Rock Island commuter cars, and a 1950s heavyweight day-coach railcar from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

33 W Canal St, on U.S. Route 33, Nelsonville, OH 45764-1105, Phone: 740-753-9531 or 740-249-1452

4. Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad

Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad
© Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad

The Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad offers their passengers a memorable trip into the past when trains were the fastest ways of travelling. This not-for-profit organization offers historic train rides through Warren County, Ohio, departing from downtown Lebanon. A fully restored antique locomotive pulls the original restored historic passenger cars. The most popular excursion is Turtle Creek Valley Flyer through the scenic Warren County, during which the conductor offers information on the history of the railroad. Among several other popular train excursions is Train Ride with Daniel Tiger designed for kids and their parents and Family Pizza Train, popular with everyone young and old. It includes a family size pizza and a can of soda.

127 S Mechanic St, Lebanon, OH 45036, Phone: 513-933-8022

5. Lorain and West Virginia Railway

Lorain and West Virginia Railway
© Lorain and West Virginia Railway

The Lorain & West Virginia Railway was built in 1906 to serve the steel mill in Lorain, but it was abandoned in April 1977. In 1979, the not-for-profit Lake Shore Railway Association was established in order to save the rail line from removal and in 1993 started offering popular excursions, sharing with local residents the knowledge and historic importance of railroading in Lorain County. There are a range of trips offered along the old railroad, including the train ride during the traditional August Lorain County Fair, which lasts about 50 minutes, Fall Foliage Tours aboard the open cars (when available), and Wine on Rails, which takes passengers to Matus Winery through the beautiful Lorain country.

46789 OH-18, Wellington, OH 44090, Phone: 440-647-6660

6. The Ohio Railway Museum

The Ohio Railway Museum
© Courtesy of Evgeniya -

The Ohio Railway Museum was founded in 1948 and is one of the oldest railroad museums in the country. Its first exhibit was the Ohio Public Service Interurban Car #21, now on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the museum's collection includes a number of fascinating exhibits including the, the last CD&M interurban parlor car #501, nicknamed "The Red Bird." The museum’s goal is to educate visitors on the role of railroads in Ohio and its impact on people’s lives through fascinating displays and regular demonstrations. Visitors also have a chance to ride the original restored streetcars and the museum’s Pullman passenger car on the old Columbus, Delaware, and Marion rail bed and right-of-way.

990 Proprietors Rd, Worthington, OH 43085, Phone: 614-885-7345

7. Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad

Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad
© Courtesy of nadianb -

The Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad offers passenger train excursions through beautiful southeastern Ohio on a spectacularly scenic historic rail line called the Glass Rock Spur. Passengers board an open car for a mile-long ride from Mount Perry to Turkey Run Bridge. The car is pulled by an old restored locomotive. The train is currently using only a small portion of the historic rail line, until a number of bridges, more railroad tracks, and a train station are repaired and restored. All the work is done by the local not-for-profit organization that has been working on restoring the historic railroad for the last three years.

5700 OH-204, Mt Perry, OH 43760, Phone: 614 595 9701

8. Orrville Railroad Heritage Society

Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
© Orrville Railroad Heritage Society

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society was founded in Orrville, Ohio by a group of railroad enthusiasts with the aim of promoting preserving the railroad heritage of the state. Visitors can view pictures of trains, learn about historic train facts, and tour several historic train cars, as well as some train engines. The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society also hosts train rides at its rail yard, as well as other events to the public at the Orrville Union Depot Museum. Events for the general public include Christmas at the Depot, the Jumpin' Pumpkin Jamboree, Orrville Railroad Day, and National Train Day among others.

145 Depot St, Orrville, OH 44667, 330-683-2426

9. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum
© Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, as the name suggests, is located in the Dennison Railroad Depot. This National Historic Landmark serves as the country’s most significant remaining example of a railroad canteen and still reflects its World War II heritage. The 1873 railroad depot today has been beautifully restored and provides family entertainment. Visitors can watch trains in the museum’s Model Train Layout that depicts the railroad during its heyday and explore the various exhibits. The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum also houses the Whistle Stop Railway Gift Shop, the Panhandle Theater, a restaurant, and the Children’s Interactive Railroad Car Experience.

400 Center St, Dennison, OH 44621, 740-922-6776

10. Ohio Rail Experience

Ohio Rail Experience
© Ohio Rail Experience

A part of the Cincinnati Scenic Railway, a non-profit organization, the Ohio Rail Experience offers train excursions operated in partnership with the Cincinnati Railway Company, Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, and local historical societies. The trips along the railway offer a chance to experience rail’s golden age in a family-friendly, casual atmosphere. Passengers aboard the Ohio Rail Experience trains ride in vintage rail cars that are pulled by historic diesel electric locomotives and featuring open window coaches dating back to the 1930’s. New tour schedules take place every year, with several trips not repeated from year to year.

11. Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway and Museum Inc

Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway and Museum Inc
© Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway and Museum Inc

Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway and Museum, based in Grand Rapids, is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that has been serving the Northwest Ohio region since 1969. In addition to its museum housing numerous pieces of historic railroad equipment, the railway organization operates approximately ten miles of train tracks between Grand Rapids and Waterville, Ohio. Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway and Museum opens its museum typically from June through October, while motor car rides usually begin in May. During the motor car train rides, guests will cross a picturesque bridge over the scenic Maumee River, stretching over nine hundred feet long.

17475 Saylor Ln, Grand Rapids, OH 43522, 419-878-2177

12. Lake Shore Live Steamers

Lake Shore Live Steamers
© Lake Shore Live Steamers

Based in Kirtland and going "50 years strong" in Ohio’s Lake County, the Lake Shore Live Steamers are a club of rail enthusiasts that have been an active formalized group since 1969. The group started with mailing postcards every month to invite interested train enthusiasts to someone's house or the Mentor florist shop, and these mailings led to the club being known as The Lake Shore Live Steamers in live steam circles. Still going strong today, the club is dedicated to operating small gauge steam engines and locomotives, the organization's first portable track was built during the early to mid-1970's.

8668 Kirtland Chardon Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094

The 12 Best Ohio Train Trips near me today according to local experts are:

More Ideas in Ohio: Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

The beautiful grounds of Stan Hywet in Ohio are definitely an experience that visitors will not soon forget. The lush, manicured grounds and the historic buildings help guests step back into time and learn about one of the influential families that helped shape not only Akron, Ohio but also the United States as a whole.


The estate was originally started by none other by one of the co-founders of Goodyear Tire, FA Seiberling. The residents of the hall and gardens have had a large impact on both local and national culture. In fact, Henrietta Seiberling was one of the inspirations for what is currently Alcoholics Anonymous. It is also the first historic landmark in Akron and is the sixth largest publicly open historic home.

Permanent Exhibits

Visiting is generally broken into two major sections - the hall/estate and the gardens.

Manor House - Featuring stunning Tudor style architecture by Charles Schneider and influenced by English architecture, the 64000-square foot house was intricately planned, designed, and built in 1912. The family moved into the home at the end of 1915. Currently, the museum located in the manor house is filled with items that have been curated from around the world. Guests should pay special attention to the incredible amount of detail and love put into the building - like the 21,000+ separate panes of glass, over 20 fireplaces, and hand carved panels made out of sandalwood, oak, and black walnut.

Gardens - Over 70 acres of natural beauty surround the outside of the buildings, gardens that were carefully designed by Warren Manning, a well-known landscape architect, around the same time the house was built from 1912 to 1915. Make sure to check out the English Garden, lovingly created by a female landscape architect named Ellen Shipman. One of the most beloved areas of the gardens is called the Birch Tree Alley, which is an over 500-foot-long alleyway of grey birch trees that forms a long corridor that visitors can walk through. There is a vista at the end of the corridor as well, overlooking the lagoon, and a pair of tea houses made of stone and wood. There is also the breakfast room, a blue, white, and gold themed garden, outside of the breakfast room portion of the house, as well as the dell, which is a woodland garden and natural amphitheater. Make sure to allow time to see them all.

Corbin Conservatory - Also designed by Schneider, the gothic conservatory is made of over 4000 separate laminated panes of glass and was originally used for growing produce as well as other plants. Although the original structure did not withstand the test of time, it has been recreated with historic accuracy.

Gate Lodge and Carriage House - Two of the service buildings on the grounds are open for tours as well. The Gate Lodge was built for the superintendent of the property to live in so that they could effectively manage the property. It currently plays home to an exhibit on the birth of AA. The carriage house was essentially the garage/stable and living area for the estate’s chauffeur and any groomsman. This area is also open for tours as well as housing a dining option for hungry visitors.

Educational Opportunities

These historic grounds are a great place for any school field trip looking to immerse students directly in history. There are a variety of different tour options, but all tours require at least two weeks reservation in advance to secure a spot. Each tour accommodates 15 students and one adult chaperone, but larger groups can be split up. There are self-guided and guided tour options at a variety of price levels lasting from one to two hours in length. Students and teachers can also collaborate with local groups to complete a “quest,” or on grounds scavenger hunt to find the hidden treasure. There are tours that focus on the local butterfly population and that allow students to geocache as well, all while working within educational guidelines. Teachers can also purchase and use the explorer backpacks, which come complete with magnifying glasses, tweezers, bug catchers and an insect guide to identify what they catch!

Shopping and Dining

Visitors should stop by Molly’s while on the grounds, which operates and both a shop and a cafe. Stop into the carriage house and check out the souvenirs, grab a sandwich, drink, snack, or ice cream. Anyone can visit Molly’s, as no admission fee applies unless visitors also choose to take a tour while there.

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, 714 North Portage Path, Akron, OH, 44303, Phone: 330-836-5533

More Things to Do in Ohio

More Ideas in Ohio: The Mohicans

The Mohicans is a charming and rustic getaway in the heart of Glenmont, Ohio that offers a unique retreat and exquisite wedding venue. The getaway provides an unforgettable glamping experience with one-of-a-kind authentic tree houses and well-appointed Amish built rustic cabins, all designed and constructed by world-renowned tree house designers, Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson. Six sustainably designed treehouses and four log cabins are made with recyclable and locally sourced materials and feature solar heating and hot water, and comfortable furnishings. All lodgings have fully equipped kitchens for self-catering purposes and spacious living and dining rooms where guests can relax in style. The Mohicans is located in Glenmont, Ohio and close to several attractions and activities, including the Mohican State Park, the Findley State Park, and the Malabar Farm Park.

Guest Accommodations

The Mohicans offers beautifully appointed, and uniquely designed accommodations in the form of one-of-a-kind authentic tree houses and Amish built rustic cabins, designed by world-renowned tree house designers, Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson. All lodgings have comfy décor and rustic furnishings and feature king or queen-size pillow-top beds dressed in plush linens and soft pillows, and private bathrooms with bath and shower combinations, fresh towels, bathrobes, and organic bath products.

Cabins and treehouse have fully equipped kitchens with fridges, gas ovens and stoves, microwaves, coffeemakers, toasters, dishwashers, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery, and spacious dining rooms with tables and chairs for up to 10 guests. Ample living rooms have leather couches armchairs, rockers and modern amenities such as LCD televisions with cable channels and DVD players, hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, and complimentary wireless Internet. Private balconies, decks, and patios have picnic tables, charcoal grills and fire rings for outdoor dining and all linens and towels are provided.

Cabins include The Mohican, The Walhonding, The Kokosing, and the Killbuck. The Mohican can accommodate up to 15 guests with four bedrooms and two full bathrooms; The Walhonding features four bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms and can host up to 12 guests. The Kokosing has two bedrooms and one full bath and can accommodate up to eight guests, and The Killbuck has two bedrooms and one full bath with space for up to eight guests.

Six treehouses include the Little Red Treehouse, the Old Pine Treehouse, the White Oak Treehouse, the Moonlight Treehouse, the Tin Shed Treehouse, and the Nest Treehouse. The Little Red Treehouse features a one-bedroom loft with an indoor toilet and an outdoor shower and can accommodate up to two guests; the Old Pine Treehouse offers one bedroom with a queen-size bed and a loft-style sleeping area with a queen-size bed, and one full bathroom with a shower.

The White Oak Treehouse features one bedroom with a queen-size bed and a loft-style sleeping area with two queen-size beds, and one full bathroom with a shower and the Moonlight Treehouse offers one bedroom with a queen-size bed, a loft with a queen-size bed and one full bathroom. The Tin Shed Treehouse has two bedrooms with queen-size beds in a loft area and one full bathroom with shower and bath, and the Nest Treehouse is a single room suite with a queen-size bed, half a bathroom, and an outdoor shower.


All lodgings have fully equipped kitchens for self-catering purposes with all the appliances, utensils, crockery and cutlery necessary for a hassle-free self-catering vacation.

Amenities and Recreation

Activities in the area include Tree Frog Canopy Tours just outside the town of Loudonville, visiting recently restored Pine Run Grist Mill, which was built in the 1830s, Pleasant Hill Lake and Dam, and the Mohican Valley Trail.

Weddings and Events

Nestled in the heart of the green rolling hills of the Mohican Valley, the Mohicans offers a unique and beautiful venue for exclusive weddings, ceremonies, and receptions. The magnificent Grand Barn Event Center boasts breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and is fully equipped for all kinds of events and functions with ample space for up to 50 guests. The Grand Barn also offers exclusive Tree House wedding packages for up to 12 guests, which include a night’s stay in the tree house for the bride and groom, an officiant, custom-made bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake and professional photographer. Unique additions include chocolate covered strawberries, rose petals, and Champagne.

23164 Vess Rd, Glenmont, OH 44628, Phone: 740-599-9030

More Romantic Weekend Getaways in Ohio, Things to Do in OH

More Ideas in Ohio: Bear Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast in Kingsville

Surrounded by acres of rolling Ohio woodland near Kingsville, Bear Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast provides a relaxing mountain retreat like no other. Set on the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Tour, the charming country inn features four tastefully appointed and decorated guest rooms with comfortable décor, cozy fireplaces, private bathrooms and beautiful views. The bed and breakfast has a farm pond where guests can enjoy swimming, fishing and relaxing in the warm sunny month, and a lovely waterfall is a short walk away.

Bear Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast features three beautifully appointed and stylishly decorated with country-style décor and comfortable furnishings. Each room has a private en-suite bathroom with shower/bath/shower-over-bath, and modern amenities, including a cozy fireplace, a DVD player, and complimentary wireless Internet.

The Inn’s flagship room, the Captain’s Room boasts commanding views of the Inn’s beautiful grounds and surrounding woodlands and features an ornate queen-size bed dressed in deluxe linens and plush pillows, and an en-suite bathroom with shower, vanity, fresh towels and high-quality toiletries. The room also has a fireplace, comfy seating and modern amenities.

Located on the second floor of the Inn, Susie’s Room is wonderfully furnished with a comfortable king-sized bed dressed in deluxe linens and plush pillows, an en-suite bathroom with shower, vanity, fresh towels and high-quality toiletries, and a sitting area with a DVD player and comfy seating.

The Guest Room is located on the first floor next to the sitting room and features a queen-size bed dressed in deluxe linens and plush pillows, and an en-suite bathroom with shower, vanity, fresh towels and high-quality toiletries.

Acomplimentary gourmet breakfast is served each morning in the dining room against a backdrop of beautiful woodland views. Featuring everything from cereal, fruits, and freshly baked pastries to egg dishes, cheese, freshly brewed coffee and organic teas, breakfast at the Bear Creek Farm won’t fail to disappoint.

Bear Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast offers an array of amenities to enhance guests’ stay, including a complimentary gourmet breakfast each morning with delicious hot and cold choices, a farm pond that guests can use for swimming, fishing and relaxing, and a network of hiking trails to explore the farm.

Bear Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast is situated on the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Tour, which has 18 covered bridges which can be visited year-round. The bed and breakfast is also ideally located within close proximity to several attractions in the area, including the quaint town of Conneaut, which is set around the beautiful bluffs of Lake Erie and the mouth of Conneaut Creek and home to many boutique shops, a sandy beach, and a rich shipping history. Other notable attractions include the D-Day Conneaut, home to the largest D-Day re-enactment in the U.S., the Wine and Walleye Festival, Ashtabula County, and the Beach Glass Festival.

Back to: Long Weekend Getaways from Columbus, OH

5504 State Road, Kingsville, OH 44048, Phone: 440-813-1635