Iowa, Discovering, Hotels + Resorts

Sleep in a Caboose on a Farm With Horses in Decorah, Iowa

Looking for one of the best places to stay in Decorah, Iowa? Here is your chance to sleep in a CR Station Train Caboose. Did we mention the caboose overlooks a horse farm? If you’re looking for a unique place to stay in Decorah, we suggest booking this Airbnb for something unique and charming! Might this be the best unique stay in Decorah? You be the judge.

Places to Stay in Decorah

We have been to Decorah several times. On this particular visit, we were torn between staying out and exploring everything to do in Decorah and wanting to return to this Caboose and enjoy this unique place to stay. The CR Station Train Caboose won. We’re glad we took the time to explore the caboose and horse farm and relax.

Caboose Airbnb Rental in Decorah

The CR Station Train Caboose is located just outside of Decorah. We think it’s one of the best places to stay in Decorah and is worth the short drive out of town.

Places to Stay in Decorah

The Coolest AirBnB in Decorah, Iowa

Our entire Airbnb experience was excellent. After booking, the owner’s daughter, Danielle, messaged and asked if she could make any recommendations for us for our stay in Decorah, Iowa. We were all set for our visit.

Our visit took place in mid-September, and it was unseasonably HOT. Eighty-nine degrees in September in the Midwest. No thanks. 

Yes, there is AC in the Caboose Airbnb!

We were thankful that Jim had turned the air conditioner on for our arrival. We weren’t even sure there’d be air conditioning. It was a relief to notice the AC unit when we pulled up. On the flip side, there is also an electric fireplace and a heater for the cooler nights.

The Coolest AirBnB in Decorah, Iowa

Caboose Amenities

The CR Station Train Caboose had everything we could need in our short stay, a refrigerator, microwave, sink, a double hot plate with dishes, and silverware. There is a bathroom and shower with a 2-minute warning for hot water.

There is also a record player with records! Nice touch.

Bunk beds and a queen-sized bed mean this caboose could comfortably sleep 4. A small love seat and two original caboose chairs offer a nice sitting room with views of the deck and horses.

bunk beds in caboose
queen bed in caboose upstairs

How clever is this wine rack?

unique wine rack


Did We Mention The Caboose Overlooks a Horse Farm?

The Caboose sits on Jim’s horse farm and has a second Airbnb property in a converted silo!

Jim came out to greet us when we arrived and said if we take one crabapple to eat or feed the horses, we’d better take 20. He also encouraged us to take as many fresh raspberries from the bushes as we wanted!


We watched a storm roll in, and then it rained all night. Luckily, we got our exploring in before it rained and we could head inside for cribbage! It was super cozy.

horses wondering on the farm at the caboose

Love Horses?

Read about the time we stayed on a working horse ranch in Montana. Wow!

Sunset at the Caboose

The Caboose faces west which is perfect to watch a gorgeous Iowa sunset. There is nothing like an Iowa sunset! The attached deck is a perfect place to enjoy the peacefulness!

sunset at caboose

Watching The Storm Roll In

We were not kidding when we said it stormed! Again, the deck provided the perfect place to watch these storm clouds roll in.

storm clouds at caboose

A Rainy Day at the Caboose

It continued raining the next morning, squashing our plans to have coffee on the deck and watch the horses. It was beautiful anyway, and we could watch the horses inside the caboose.

The Coolest AirBnB in Decorah, Iowa

Entertainment at CR Station Train Caboose

When you’ve finished exploring the Caboose and watching the horses, it’s time to head inside! We brought our cribbage board, of course, to get a few games in.

cribbage game in the caboose

We also spent time reading the comments left by previous guests. We love to feature this about staying in unique lodging. It’s fun to read why people visited and where they came from.

There are also books and literature about things to do in Decorah.

About the Caboose

If you’re like us, you have several questions about this caboose.

A local junkyard had a 1973 caboose sitting right on the track. In 2016, Jim arranged for two giant excavators to load it onto a semi and transport it to his farm. Jim then used a crane to set the caboose on the track he had also acquired. That was nearly three years ago.

With the help of his daughter, Danielle, they decorated and remodeled the caboose. Jim completely gutted and restored/remodeled the inside of the train. He is a carpenter by trade, and it shows! Danielle did just an amazing job of decorating. It’s just darling. It’s so darling that it’s been featured in House Beautiful. Read more about the transformation here. The pictures are amazing!

Things to Know Before You Go to the Caboose in Decorah, Iowa

The Caboose is open year-round and is pretty well booked from August, so you’ll want to plan your trip early if you’d like to experience sleeping in a Caboose on a horse farm!

For food, it’s best to bring simple ingredients; remember, there is only a small dorm fridge and hot pot for preparing. There are plenty of kitchen gadgets to use! Takeout from a great Decorah restaurant would be perfect for eating at the Caboose.

Pin For A Unique Place to Stay in Decorah

Have you stayed in a unique Airbnb? We’d love to hear about it!


  1. Couple's Getaway in Marshalltown

    July 11, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    […] For another unique stay in Iowa, check out the Caboose AirBnB in Decorah […]

  2. shreyasaha1987

    October 9, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Staying in a Caboose will be a super cool experience. Glad that there was aircon turned on for you in such hot summers. The place seems to be very interesting. Airbnb really has great properties.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      It was so cool and we couldn’t agree more about needing the air conditioner. This was our first Airbnb and it won’t be our last!

  3. Lisa

    October 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    This is definitely the most unique Airbnb I’ve ever seen! I had no idea what a caboose was until now. Looks like you had a great experience!

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      It was really fun and we can’t wait to find a new airbnb experinece!

  4. orangewayfarer

    October 9, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I love this one, honestly! We had a few restaurants in Bangalore that looked like a rail coach. i also found a heritage railway coach in Zambia that serves as a fine dine place. But a whole airbnb is so cool! Gotta try this place out someday 🙂 (never seen a caboose before in my country 🙂 )

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      The rail coach restaurants sound really neat!

  5. Travel Optician

    October 9, 2018 at 5:57 am

    I like your experience and it looks so fun and definitely something new that I didn’t see so far, it’s fun to learn some new things every day 🙂

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      We totally agree about learning something new every day!

  6. Suman Doogar

    October 9, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Woohoo staying in a caboose, so exciting. There is nothing more important than hospitality that makes your stay comfortable plus if you get such a pretty looking place then you are in luck. Love your simple and realistic narration of the whole experience.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 12, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Thank you, Suman. Good hospitality is so important!

  7. Medha

    October 8, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    That really does look like an amazing experience. They’ve done up the caboose so beautifully from the inside, it looks comfortable and cozy! And the beautiful horse farm that it’s on, such a lovely experience to watch the horses from the porch. Also, the fact that the hosts are so nice and warm makes this the perfect airbnb choice!

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 12, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      It was so adorable, both inside and out! The horses were so beautiful to watch. Thank you, Medha!

  8. Priya Florence Shah

    October 7, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    What a lovely, unique experience! I enjoy reading about stays that are very different from the typical hotel stays.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 7, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you, Priya! It’s so fun to have an atypical lodging experience. We look forward to more!

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