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All Aboard for Adventure: 8 Terrific Train Day Trips Across Ohio

Ohio, with its rich history and beautiful landscapes, offers an array of unique experiences that are best enjoyed via train. From scenic railways that meander through the lush countryside to dinner trains that offer a taste of luxury, Ohio’s train trips are a testament to the charm and diversity of the Buckeye State.

Here are eight amazing day trips you can take by train in Ohio, each offering its own unique experience.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

train by river cuyahoga valley scenic railway
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Embark on a journey through the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. This trip offers breathtaking views of the rolling hills, dense forests, and the winding Cuyahoga River. Various themed rides, including the popular “Ales on Rails” and “Grape Escape” wine-tasting events, make this trip an unforgettable experience for adults, while the family-friendly “Polar Express” ride captivates the imaginations of children during the holiday season.
Website: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

nelsonville depot on hocking valley scenic railway
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Located in the stunning Hocking Hills region, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers a step back in time. Enjoy the beauty of Ohio’s countryside from vintage train coaches, making stops at historical sites along the way. The railway’s special events, like the “Santa Train” and fall foliage tours, provide seasonal charm that appeals to visitors of all ages.
Website: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad

train at railroad crossing
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The Lebanon Mason Monroe (LM&M) Railroad takes passengers on a nostalgic journey through Southwestern Ohio’s Warren County. The train offers a variety of themed rides, including the “Turtle Creek Valley Flyer,” which provides a relaxing ride through the countryside, and the “North Pole Express,” a favorite among families during the Christmas season.
Website: Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad

The Ohio Railway Museum

vintage trolley at ohio railway museum
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For those interested in the history of railroading, a visit to the Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington is a must. Although it’s more of an educational experience than a day-long trip, the museum offers rides on historic streetcars and interurbans, providing a unique glimpse into the past. The museum is open May through December.
Website: The Ohio Railway Museum

Zanesville & Western Scenic Railroad

zanesville scenic railroad
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Experience the scenic beauty of Southeastern Ohio on the Zanesville & Western Scenic Railroad. This hidden gem takes passengers through the picturesque countryside, offering views of the area’s unique landscapes and wildlife. It’s a serene escape that highlights the natural beauty of Ohio.
Website: Zanesville & Western Scenic Railroad

The Cincinnati Dinner Train

railcar on cincinnati dinner train
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For a more sophisticated rail experience, the Cincinnati Dinner Train offers a four-course gourmet meal aboard beautifully restored 1940s-era dining cars. The 3-hour journey takes you through the city’s suburbs while you dine in style, making it a perfect choice for celebrating special occasions or enjoying a romantic evening out.
Website: The Cincinnati Dinner Train

Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway

toledo western railway
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The Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway, also known as the Bluebird Passenger Train, offers a variety of excursions that explore the rich history and scenic landscapes of Northwestern Ohio. Special event rides, including pumpkin trains and Easter Bunny trains, make it a family-friendly option that changes with the seasons.
Website: Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum’s Polar Express

train crossing bridge over creek
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Lastly, the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum transforms into a magical holiday experience with its Polar Express ride. Based on the beloved children’s book, this trip to the “North Pole” is filled with hot chocolate, cookies, and the first gift of Christmas. It’s a heartwarming adventure that captures the spirit of the season.

Ohio’s train trips offer something for everyone, from the history enthusiast to the nature lover, making them a fantastic way to explore the diverse landscapes and rich culture of the state.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride through the countryside, a fine dining experience, or a festive holiday journey, Ohio’s railways provide an unforgettable adventure that’s just a train ride away.