All aboard! Take a seat! I can’t wait to tell you all about our stay at The Hocking Hills Caboose- a unique Ohio lodging opportunity. Our young family had a fantastic time at this Hocking Hills cabin-like property, and I’ve been bursting to share!
I couldn’t believe the interest from friends and family- even grandma- on what it was like to sleep in a caboose. I’ll be honest, I’m no happy camper and was worried about whether the Caboose would be too primitive for my travel snobbery. Spoiler alert: I was pleasantly surprised by the furnishings AND the size of the bathroom.
First, a little history lesson. The Hocking Hills Caboose is an authentic 1950s train caboose! It was originally a part of the Seaboard Air Line train systems and was probably used in service until the 1980s. Did you know that in the 1980s cabooses were no longer needed because new technology could monitor the train and apply the brakes? I did not! So this caboose ended up in a railyard in Columbus until it was purchased by the Hocking Valley Railway and then renovated for overnight stays! However, the Caboose has new owners and was completely overhauled last year- there’s new flooring, decor, and all new plumbing and heating and cooling. This makes for hot showers and cool air-conditioning!
I can’t think for a better place for the Caboose to be situated. Hocking Hills is the go-to Ohio destination for hiking and outdoor adventure. And The Hocking Hills Caboose is located only 2 miles from Ash Cave, one of the area’s most visited attractions.
Arriving at the Caboose, it seemed bigger than what I could tell from the photographs. The Hocking Hills Caboose has a maximum occupancy of five, but I immediately noticed that our family wouldn’t feel cramped. Once inside, the ceilings are high (I’m 5’10”) and there’s plenty of room to spread out.
The entrance opens into a kitchen. The kitchen is what I would call an “efficiency kitchen” as it contains a small fridge, sink, microwave, and plenty of cooking utensils. There is also a toaster and coffee pot (the latter is of crucial importance). The fridge is like one of those you had in your college dorm room, so if you’re bringing lots of food or meat to grill, make sure you bring it in streamlined packaging- i.e. freezer bags. We stayed for 2 nights and we were able to make it work.
One thing to note about the kitchen is that the only way to cook if there is bad weather would be via the microwave. I discussed with the owners about the need for a hot plate or griddle, but they shared that those are a big fire risk, and I completely understand! Just make sure you plan ahead or budget a little extra money in case you find yourself needing to eat out. There’s numerous restaurants in the Hocking Hills area that you’ll want to try anyway!
See that table to the right? There’s a built-in bench against the wall so it’s easy to pull the table out and use it! It’s like HGTV tiny home living!
The next area is devoted to bunks. There are two upper bunks and one lower. This worked out perfectly for our two boys! The top bunks are fairly high (the boys reminded me they were 6 steps!), but they had three windows at top and plenty of head room. If you’re traveling as a group of adults, these would be plenty big enough for big people – i.e. you better believe I climbed up there and sampled the space!
Keep walking and there are two lower bunks, which Mr. YT and I laid our claim. And then there’s a full bathroom. The bathroom was one of my concerns before traveling to the Caboose. I’ve been in the bathroom of a RV/camp trailer and they are hardly big enough to swivel in, let alone bathe three children. The Hocking Hills Caboose has a corner sink, full-sized toilet, and square shower. It was spacious enough for me to fit in the bathroom with one of our children while helping them shower. The bathroom was actually bigger than the recent hotels we have stayed in, but there is no tub.
I appreciated all of the unique railroad decor throughout the Caboose, including the lantern style-lighting. These railroad nail hooks were just a few of the small pieces that make this feel like an authentic train! I can see The Hocking Hills Caboose being a destination not only for families with children that love trains, but even adult train-enthusiasts or the local collector. If you look closely in the kitchen picture, all of the curtains were also train-themed fabrics.
While the interior of the Caboose was fun and family-friendly, the outdoors was where we spent most of our time. On the attached deck there is a grill and outdoor table with seating for 5. We spent both afternoons out here grilling and enjoying family time.
The fire pit is adjacent to the deck and also has seating for 5! We spent our evenings here roasting marshmallows and watching the moon rise.
Maybe the reason I loved the Caboose the most? It was disconnected from cable and internet! I know that may turn some people off, but for my husband and I, who are both able to work remotely, not being able to answer the phone or pull up Facebook FORCED us to disconnect and make eye contact with our favorite little people. Cell phone service was spotty throughout the Hocking Hills as well, so this truly was a getaway. We hope to visit the Caboose again next summer and make even more memories.
Have you been to Hocking Hills? Did you know you could stay in a Caboose?
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* I would like to thank the owners of the Hocking Hills Caboose for hosting our stay. As always, all opinions are my own.*