There are countless tourist attractions scattered throughout the United States that draw in new visitors every year. People come from many miles away to get to see them in person, but these locales don’t always live up to expectations. Several spots are considered to be the best tourist attractions in the country, but when travelers get there they are severely let down. Instead of wasting time and money seeking out these tourist traps it may be better to skip them altogether. Read on for the most overrated tourist attractions in America.
Why A Germophobe Would Hate Washington’s Market Theater Gum Wall
One of the top tourist attractions in Seattle, Washington, might seem a bit gross to some people. Under Pike Place Market there’s a theater with a wall completely covered in gum, which became known as the Market Theater Gum Wall. The tradition began in 1993 when Seattle theatergoers stuck coins embedded in gum to the wall.
While it may be fun to visit the gum wall at first there are still some downsides. It was voted one of the top five germiest tourist attractions in the world and there isn’t much else to do besides taking photos or sticking another piece of gum on the wall.
Times Square May Be Too Much To Handle
Almost all travel guides recommend that people visiting New York for the first time go to Times Square. It’s smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and features streets lined with chain restaurants and stores, people dressed in outrageous costumes, and towering advertisements that are lit up at all times.
This may seem very overwhelming, and that’s one of the reasons to avoid Times Square. It’s considered to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, so there will most certainly be huge crowds. Also, the stores and restaurants there can be found in most American towns.
South Dakota’s Corn Palace Isn’t Worth The Trip
Around half a million people make their way to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota every year. The building is covered in murals made from corn and other grains, and the facility is used as a multi-purpose venue for concerts, sports games, exhibits, and more.
Those who come to the Corn Palace don’t really have much to do other than look at the corn murals and take some photos. When there aren’t any events going on, the inside is just a conference center so there isn’t much to see there, either. Most reviewers report that once they got to the Corn Palace their visit wasn’t any longer than 10 minutes.
It’s Always Christmas At The Santa Claus House
Located in the actual North Pole, Alaska’s Santa Claus House is designed for those who love the Christmas season. It’s been open since 1952 and features a 50-foot Santa Claus statue, reindeer, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a gift shop with tons of Christmas merchandise.
Their online site also offers people the chance to get personalized letters from Santa for their kids or grandkids. This may be a Christmas lover’s paradise, but for most it feels overrated because it’s basically just an overpriced holiday gift shop in the middle of nowhere.
North Carolina’s Shell Service Station Is A Big Let Down
The Shell Service Station is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and has been around for 90 years. It was constructed to bring brand awareness to Shell, with bright yellow and red shell-shaped service stations. It is the only one remaining out of the eight that were built in the area and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
This landmark may be interesting to look at, but there isn’t much else for visitors to do. The Shell Service Station is now only being used as a satellite office and a museum for Preservation North Carolina.
Boston’s Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market Aren’t Like They Used To Be
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market is a staple of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, but real Bostonians know that it’s mainly a tourist hub. These buildings serve as a festival marketplace where visitors can grab a bite to eat at the food hall or go shopping at the surrounding stores.
As time has passed Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market have become filled with food stands that only cater to tourists and chain stores that can be found in most malls. Also, it’s almost always crowded with people going from one end to the other, and frustratingly long lines.
The Venetian Gondolas In Las Vegas Are No Italian Paradise
Las Vegas, Nevada, has plenty of tourist traps, and the Venetian gondolas are included in that list. These are modeled after the famous gondola rides in Italy and have costumed paddlers taking riders around the surrounding hotel and shops.
Unfortunately, it couldn’t be further from the Italian experience. Past riders have described it as floating through chlorinated, blue pool water for less than 15 minutes. The only things to look at are the other tourists who are either gambling or shopping in the mall. Even though the ride is short, the cost isn’t cheap, with a private ride for two costing $116.
The Four Corners Monument Is Basically In The Middle Of Nowhere
The reason the lady in the photo is splayed out on the ground is because she’s in four states at once. The Four Corners Monument connects Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico where they border each other. It’s the only area in the United States where at least four states come together.
The reality of the Four Corners Monument is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, so all there is to do is take photos and stand around without cell phone service or wi-fi. Also, there are reports that the monument lines are inaccurate with the real borders, which kind of takes away from the thrill.
Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell Is Historic, But Boring
Anyone familiar with American history would know that the Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom and it became famous when it was rung after the reading of the United States Declaration of Independence. The bell dates back to 1752 and has a signature crack down the middle that was formed in the early 19th century.
Tourists who wish to visit it can find it at the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fans of colonial American history might get a kick out of the trip, but for some others, it’s just a place where they can observe and take photos of an old piece of metal.
What To Do Instead Of Visiting The Hollywood Sign
Hollywood is the movie-making capital of the world, so it’s only natural that tourists would want to see the iconic Hollywood sign in person. While it may seem enticing to get as close as possible it’s actually illegal to touch it. The closest visitors can get is through certain hiking trails that take people up and above the sign.
Similar to a lot of tourist attractions, it’s only something to look at from afar for photo opportunities. Those who find themselves in Los Angeles and want to get the most out of the city should check out the world-renowned museums, restaurants, and clothing stores instead.
Waikiki Beach Isn’t A Good Reflection Of Hawaii
There isn’t too much of a downside to visiting Hawaii, but there are certainly areas that are more designated for tourists. One example is Waikiki Beach in Oahu, because it’s essentially a strip of luxury hotels, expensive stores, and chain restaurants on a crowded beach.
The majority of what can be found at Waikiki Beach is already at most beach towns across the U.S. Instead, visitors should find areas that show off Hawaii’s natural beauty such as the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Lanai Lookout in Oahu, or Pipiwai Trail in Maui.
Roswell, New Mexico Is A Creepy Alien Sanctuary
Any fans of aliens, space travel, or UFOs should be familiar with the town of Roswell, New Mexico. In 1947 a weather balloon crashed near Roswell, but in the late 1970s new conspiracy theories by UFO “experts” said that it was actually an alien spacecraft and the military was trying to cover it up.
Now, the town is filled with alien and UFO memorabilia, with buildings shaped like they’re from outer space and too many alien toys to count. It’s probably one of the kitschiest tourist attractions in America and can be seen in less than a day.
Epcot Is A Snooze Fest
There are multiple parks in Orlando, Florida’s Walt Disney World, and the most underwhelming is Epcot. It’s is divided into two sections called Future World and World Showcase, with country-themed pavilions for people to try out different foods and drinks from around the world. There are a few rides, but not nearly as many as the other parks.
Some visitors thought that the country pavilions were merely stereotypes of countries shown in a flashy Disney way. Those who are short for time traveling at Disney World should skip this park altogether and instead head over to the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You’ll Have Trouble Relaxing At The Mall Of America
The aptly-named Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States with a total of 555 stores, a theme park, aquarium, and many more attractions. Any avid shopper would be able to spend multiple days here on a spree, but it may be too much to handle for others.
Since it’s so big, the Mall of America is constantly overcrowded with people coming to check out what it has to offer. With the heavy crowds, a loud theme park, and daily events, a trip to this mall can feel like sensory overload.
Beale Street In Memphis, Tennessee Has Lost Its Charm
Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee is significant in the history of American music because it’s where early blues performers played shows in the 1920s. Now, the street has become much more than blues clubs and restaurants. It also features festivals and outdoor concerts.
This all may seem exciting and worth visiting, but as the years passed, Beale Street has turned corporate and come say it lacks its original blues culture. Tourists end up losing their money paying for overpriced food and drinks in a loud, overcrowded part of town. Instead, a more authentic representation of Memphis can be found at Overton Square and the Cooper-Young areas.
Forget The Alamo
One of the most famous places in Texas is The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, where Texas fought for independence from Mexico (but lost this battle). It’s now a local monument where tourists come to take photos and learn more about the Battle of the Alamo.
It may be interesting to see the Alamo in person, but there’s not much to it besides a tall stone building in the middle of the park. Luckily, The Alamo is a short distance from the San Antonio River Walk where patrons can walk along the scenic banks and explore the natural beauty of central Texas.
Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Doesn’t Live Up To Its Name
The Magnificent Mile is the largest shopping district in Chicago, Illinois. Not only does it feature some mid to high-end shops, but there are also restaurants, museums, and hotels. It is what Rodeo Drive is to Beverly Hills and Fifth Avenue to Manhattan, making it the eighth-most expensive place to rent in the United States.
Most of what’s located on the Magnificent Mile can be found in most American cities, so it shouldn’t be the focal point of a Chicago vacation. If you want a good view of the city’s skyscrapers, try going to Millennium Park or the Willis Tower.
Georgia’s World Of Coca-Cola Lacks Flavor
World of Coca-Cola has everything you would possibly want to know about the classic soda. Some visitors complained that it felt like a prolonged commercial that you have to pay to see. Others were angry that there wasn’t too much to learn about the history of the company after the formula was invented.
They also have a tasting room, but it can get chaotic when crowds of people are all trying to go after the same thing at once. Many guests were disappointed to exit through a huge gift shop, which further commercializes the whole experience.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk Is A Ghost Town
Tourists have traveled to the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey for many years, but it has lacked its former glitz and glamour for a while. This run-down beach town is left with eyesore casinos, tacky souvenir shops, and high crime rates.
Since it’s been a tourist hub for decades it has become extremely worn down and littered with vagrants begging for money. In recent years it has become a ghost town with almost nothing open, especially during the non-summer months. Visitors who want to experience what it used to be like should go to Las Vegas because the casinos and shops there are a bit more high-end.
Carhenge In Nebraska Isn’t Worthy Of Your Bucket List
Americans who don’t want to travel across the pond to England’s Stonehenge can make their way to Alliance, Nebraska. This is where a replica called Carhenge is situated with vintage, gray spray-painted automobiles formed to look like Stonehenge. It was created in 1987 by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father.
Carhenge is a typical American roadside attraction with space to stretch your legs, take photos, or explore the gift shop. A half-hour stay here is probably on the long end and there isn’t much else to do for at least 100 miles.
Craters Of The Moon Is Just Barren
For a place named Craters of the Moon, one would expect something a little more out of this world, no? Well, when you head to Idaho for a visit to this national monument, don’t expect much.
You’re really only going to see a landscape with volcanic rock. You’ve got about ten solid minutes of excitement before the thrill goes away. If you’re planning a trip there soon, just don’t say that we didn’t warn you!
Hall Of Champions Equals Boredom
Not even the biggest college sports fan would have a blast at Indiana’s NCAA Hall of Champions. The place needs a revamp, and fast. Some added memorabilia wouldn’t hurt, or even more guest appearances.
With all the money the NCAA has, you would think they would pour more into a place like this. Calling it underwhelming is probably the best way to describe the letdown. Maybe they’ll step things up in the near future.
This Viking Tower In Rhode Island??
They call it the Mysterious Viking Tower and that’s about as good as it gets. When the name is better than the actual site, you know something is wrong with that.
The mystery is that no one knows who constructed this random structure in the middle of Newport. Some people seem to think the Vikings did it, which would make it one of the oldest buildings in all the nation. What it boils down to is that this place is boring to visit.
It’s Just A Gas Station!
Located in South Carolina is a gas station and restaurant with a larger-than-average gift shop. The name of the place is South of the Border, but that’s for a good reason.
It sits at the border between South and North Carolina. It’s literally right below the border, so the name fits. Other than that, there’s nothing to see here unless you have a craving for the specific food they have to offer or if you need to fill up.
Is Graceland Worth It?
Are you a huge Elvis Presely fan? If so, then even you might not enjoy a trip to Graceland in Tennessee. Many still love the king, but his Graceland mansion is a waste of a tourist attraction.
Yes, the grounds look lavish, but there isn’t anything spectacular enough that convinces us it’s worth the steep price point. You have to be a die-hard fan to like this, so do yourself a favor and save some money when you’re in Tennessee.
It’s Just A Cave With A Fancy Name
Located in Utah is the Moqui Cave. Don’t be fooled by any images you might come across while swiping on social media, this place isn’t even a cave at all! Erosion created this “cave.”
It isn’t even an ancient landmark because no, the Native Americans didn’t build it or use it. You can call this place a glorified gift shop. If you want a fancy souvenir, feel free to make the trip and waste your money!
They Call It The Rock Of Ages, But Why?
To call something the Rock of Ages, it had better be pretty spectacular. Vermont took it upon themselves to label an old granite quarry something that sounds sensational. It is far from that.
There are only natural pools there and your excitement should last for about ten minutes. It’s far from the Grand Canyon, or anything else with a stellar name. It’s just a place with blue water and rocks everywhere you look.
The Mars Cheese Castle?
First of all, would you trust dairy from Mars? We know Wisconsin has a reputation for its cheese, but the Mars Cheese Castle is nothing more than the epitome of a money grab.
This place is just an eye-catcher as you drive along the freeway. It makes you want to drive to it and once you’re in there, you’ll only find cheese, something you can get anywhere in Wisconsin. You don’t need the castle.
Here’s Oregon With The Master Tourist Trap
Sure, there are some fun things to experience in Oregon, but not everything there is enjoyable. Take, for instance, the Undersea Gardens or what we like to call the master tourist trap.
You pay to go underwater as you watch swimmers swim around. The water is dirty and you might see a fish if you’re lucky. People must have been disappointed because the attraction closed down for good in 2019.
It’s Just Another House In Ohio
Do you feel like seeing a regular home while in Ohio? Cool, just go to the house from A Christmas Story and your dreams will come true. If only that were true.
Why bother waiting in line and paying to see a restored Victorian home when you can go see something more worthwhile? There are at least a handful of tourist attractions in Ohio that are better than this place. That’s why you have your handy smartphone to help you find them.
The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Is Two Blocks Of Nothing
In a recent survey, the Hollywood Walk of Fame was ranked as the most overrated tourist attraction in America. The street is so bad that it even has negative reviews. Why? Because of the crowds, pick-pocketers, and the fact that you get the point within two minutes.
Although the Walk of Fame looks huge in pictures, it’s only about two blocks long. You’d have to walk through the most crowded part of L.A. to see it all, and the few pictures you get there are hardly worth it. There are plenty of other sights to see in Hollywood.
Captain Kirk’s Future Birthplace Isn’t Even Correct
Star Trek fans know that Captain Kirk, the main character and leader of the USS Enterprise, is said to be born in Riverside, Iowa. A monument has been set up for James Kirk’s “future birthplace” in 2228. This site is not only overrated, but incorrect in the Star Trek universe.
When the town’s mayor learned that Captain Kirk was born in a small town in Iowa, he and show creator Gene Roddenberry decided that it would be Riverside. Unfortunately, all there is to see there is this monument.
The World’s Largest Ball of Twine Is Just…A Ball Of Twine
Are you that into twine? Be honest with yourself. If not, you don’t need to take a detour to Cawker City, Kansas. The ball began with one resident, and eventually, the entire community got involved. They kept contributing to the twine ball until it stopped being funny.
Sure, the twine ball has been around since the 1950s. And, yes, it’s a funny story. If you’re driving to Waconda Lake, you may as well stop by. But this trip to the largest ball of twine takes ten minutes at best. It’s hardly worth it.
Ave Maria Grotto Is Just Too Small
In Cullman, Alabama, you can visit miniature replicas of the most famous religious structures in the world. You read that right: tiny replicas, not anything that you can see in detail. In the early 20th century, a Benedictine monk named Brother Joseph created these sculptures in his free time.
If you’re a religion or art expert, you may gain something out of Ave Maria Grotto. Otherwise, there’s nothing to do besides taking some photos and praying. It’s like a religious Legoland if we’re being honest.
You Won’t Find Diamonds At The Crater Of Diamonds State Park
Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only diamond-filled site available to the public. Sounds cool, right? If you’re a treasure hunter, then maybe. But since this Arkansas park has been open since 1906, most of the goodies were taken a long time ago.
If you were to visit Crater of Diamonds, you’d see a large empty field with people wandering around. You’ll find some trees, dirt, and abandoned cabins, but otherwise, there’s nothing interesting to look at. But if you want to try your luck, go for it.
Buffalo Bill’s Grave Is As Exciting As Any Other Grave
Buffalo Bill was the world’s first superstar. After he dazzled the Old West with his scouting, riding, and performance tours, he was buried in the biggest funeral in Colorado’s history. His gravesite isn’t nearly as exciting as his life.
Unless you’re into visiting graves, the Buffalo Bill Grave isn’t worth visiting. The museum is where the real fun is; photos, artifacts, and information on the Old West are entertaining to explore. But the grave is just a photo opportunity.
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk Isn’t That Unique
In Rehoboth, Delaware, the boardwalk connects to a mile-long street that’s the ultimate tourist trap. Spoiler alert: it’s hardly different than any other boardwalk. You can eat and shop for overpriced souvenirs (which have received many complaints in the past couple of years).
Business Insider called Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk “not technically overrated, but certainly overcrowded.” Because parking spots are practically nonexistent, and you’ll have to snap fast to avoid a photobomb, the boardwalk is only worth a one-time visit. But hey, it’s not the worst tourist trap on this list.
Kentucky’s Ark Encounter And Creation Museum Is Overpriced
Seeing Noah’s ark in real life isn’t as exciting when the cost of admission is an arm and a leg. Though the ark stands at an impressive 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, it’s $50 to get in.
Inside is a museum that takes a couple of hours to get through and shows you fake animals that you could just as easily find in a zoo. Once you get past the enormity of the structure, you’ll realize you just paid a huge admission to go into an ark-shaped building.
The Desert Of Maine Is Tiny
If you’ve ever been to a desert, or even have merely seen one on television or the internet, you already know what to expect: a whole lot of nothing but sand. That’s where The Desert of Maine is a huge disappointment as it’s surrounded by pine trees.
The plastic camels dispersed all over the place only underscore how much this attraction is a faux desert meant to swindle tourists with pointless sand souvenirs. If you want to visit a relatively small patch of sand, try the beach. It’s more fun.
Maryland’s ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!’ Is A Letdown
Don’t get us wrong, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museums can be fun to go through. But they’re also present in several states throughout the US. If you find yourself in Baltimore, visiting a relatively common museum should be the last thing on your agenda.
Baltimore is one of those places overflowing with art and culture. For a really good time, go on a sightseeing tour; they even have helicopter sightseeing tours available! Whatever you do, have it be something that’s uniquely part of Baltimore, not a gimmicky attraction.