Discovering the Hidden Gems of Southwestern Ohio

When it comes to scenic tourist spots, Southwestern Ohio may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, as an expert in this region, I can assure you that there is plenty to explore and discover in this often overlooked area. From charming small towns to breathtaking natural landscapes, Southwestern Ohio has something for every type of traveler.

The Beauty of Train Rides

One of the best ways to take in the stunning scenery of Southwestern Ohio is through a scenic train ride. As a local, I highly recommend the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad located in Lebanon.

This railroad offers a variety of train rides that showcase the beauty of this region. The most popular is the Fall Flyer, which takes passengers on a 1-hour round trip through the countryside during peak fall foliage season. The train also offers special themed rides throughout the year, such as a Christmas-themed ride during the holiday season. Another must-see train ride is the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville. This historic railway takes passengers on a 2-hour round trip through the Hocking Hills region, known for its stunning rock formations and lush forests.

The train also offers special events, such as a Halloween train ride and a Santa train ride during the holiday season.

Exploring by Boat

If you prefer to take in the scenery from the water, Southwestern Ohio has several boat tours that offer a unique perspective of the region. One of my personal favorites is the BB Riverboats in Newport, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. These sightseeing cruises provide stunning views of both Ohio and Kentucky, as well as iconic landmarks such as the Cincinnati skyline and the Roebling Suspension Bridge. For a more intimate experience, I recommend heading to Buckeye Lake in Millersport for a scenic boat tour with Buckeye Lake Tours. This 2-hour tour takes passengers around the lake, providing a close-up view of the beautiful homes and landscapes that surround it.

The tour also includes a stop at Cranberry Bog, a unique wetland area that is home to a variety of wildlife.

Charming Small Towns

In addition to train rides and boat tours, Southwestern Ohio is also home to several charming small towns that are worth exploring. One of the most popular is Yellow Springs, known for its vibrant arts scene and eclectic shops and restaurants. This town is also home to Glen Helen Nature Preserve, a 1,000-acre nature reserve with hiking trails and stunning waterfalls. Another must-visit small town is Mariemont, located just outside of Cincinnati. This town was designed in the 1920s as a planned community and features beautiful architecture and quaint shops and restaurants.

It is also home to the Mariemont Theatre, a historic movie theater that still shows films today.

Natural Wonders

Southwestern Ohio is also home to several natural wonders that are sure to take your breath away. One of the most well-known is Hocking Hills State Park, located in Logan. This park is known for its stunning rock formations, including Old Man's Cave and Ash Cave, as well as its picturesque hiking trails. For a unique natural experience, head to Serpent Mound in Peebles. This ancient Native American earthwork is shaped like a serpent and is believed to have been built over 1,000 years ago.

Visitors can walk around the mound and learn about its history and significance.


From scenic train rides to charming small towns and natural wonders, Southwestern Ohio has plenty to offer for those seeking a unique and picturesque experience. Whether you prefer to explore by land or by water, there is something for everyone in this beautiful region. So next time you're planning a trip, be sure to add these scenic tourist spots to your itinerary.

Alexandria Kravec
Alexandria Kravec

Incurable bacon guru. Award-winning internet ninja. Freelance beer enthusiast. Hardcore bacon specialist. Evil beer aficionado. Sushi nerd.