Read on to discover why you might want to skip some of the biggest and most famous names in the travel guide. We dish out the dirt on destinations such as Times Square, the Atlantic City Boardwalk, museums, parks, and much more.
Washington's Market Wall is a Germophobe’s Worst Nightmare
Say you're walking around Seattle. It has plenty of amazing attractions, like the famous Space Needle, the Fremont Troll, and lots more. It also has a wall covered in chewed gum. If you're worried about catching something – anything, really – then you might want to stay away from the theater under Pike Place Market that has a wall coated in gum. This gross tradition began in 1993 when theatergoers stuck coins to the wall.
It's a colorful sight, but it was also voted one of the top five germiest tourist attractions, and you can't really do much more than take a picture. Next.
Times Square is Crowded – Very Crowded
To a lot of people, New York equals Times Square. It's right in the middle of Manhattan and is lined with all kinds of stores and restaurants, features outrageous characters and people dressed in costumes, and huge advertisements that glow twenty-four hours a day.
But there are so. Many. People. It's overwhelming, and not just because of the other tourists – you'll have no peace thanks to entrepreneurs, and flyer-handers, even buskers. Even worse, the stores and restaurants have jacked-up prices, even though the chains are present in every mid-sized town in America.
It's a Corny Place
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, sees somewhere around half a million visitors every year. It's a museum for corn, it has a huge facility for concerts, sports, exhibits, and more, and it's covered in murals made from corn and other grains.
But – and this is going to be a common theme for the article – there isn't really much to do there if you aren't into corn, or you aren't there for an event the Palace is hosting. You might get some nice photos and memories out of it. Some people have even said you can make your way through it in little more than ten minutes.
We Hope You Like Christmas
Did you know there is a real Santa Claus House at the real-life North Pole? It's been there since 1952 and has plenty to gawk at: a fifty-foot Santa Claus statue, real reindeer, photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a gift shop – but of course it does – with a huge selection to choose from.
They also have an online site, where you can get personal letters from Santa. But unless you're a year-round Christmas fan, making the trek to the North Pole isn't worth an overpriced gift shop, especially when Santa usually shows up at your local mall.
Bright Colors Don't Mean Interesting
Cars have been on the road for more than a hundred years, and gas company Shell has been around for almost as long. The Shell Service Station in Winston-Salem, North Carolina was made to get people talking, and the bright yellow and red shell-shaped service station is the only remaining one – it's part of the National Register of Historic Places.
You can't gas up here though, and it may be worth a few minutes to stop, but there isn't anything else to do there. It's used as a satellite office for Shell, as well as a museum for Preservation North Carolina.
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market in Boston
They're a staple of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, but to people who live in the area, it's a place to avoid. Functioning well as a tourist hub, it's the perfect place to grab food or shop at one of the many surrounding stores.
By now it's little more than fast food and overpriced knick-knacks, with chain stores every mall boasts. It's also terribly crowded and has lines that go from annoying to frustrating pretty quickly.
They're Not Even Real Italians
Las Vegas is basically one large tourist trap, but one piece sticks out as a specifically bad choice to make for the visitor. The Venetian gondolas are based on the famous and romantic gondolas from Venice, featuring costumed paddlers taking people to and from.
Previous visitors describe it as floating through dyed water for up to fifteen minutes, and there's little to look at besides other gondolas and surrounding buildings. And the price is steep – the cost of a private ride for two reaches above a hundred dollars.
Have You Ever Heard of the Middle of Nowhere?
We've all wanted to be in four states at once. It's on my bucket list, that's for sure. Luckily, the Four Corners Monument, stationed right at the meeting of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, means it can really be done. It's the only place in the United States where four pieces of the union get to meet.
Unfortunately, there's literally nothing else to see there. You can take photos, but guess what? There's no cell service or wi-fi. There are even suspicions that the monument doesn't accurately display the proper borders, which takes the thrill away even more.
Let Freedom Ring – From Afar
It's an enduring symbol that almost every American has heard about. The Liberty Bell was famously rung after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but the bell has been around since 1752 and has a large crack down the middle, which developed during the 19th century.
You can visit it in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While colonial fans and history buffs might enjoy their time, it's impossible to get too close to the bell, and others may find the long lines just to take a picture of a piece of metal less enjoyable.
It's Just a Big Sign, People
There's lots of famous stuff in Tinseltown, from legendary movie lots to theme parks and the chance to spot an A-lister just walking down the street. The Hollywood sign may be iconic, but it's illegal to get too close – it's actually privately owned by a non-profit. You can hike up to it, and take some pictures, but that's about it.
It's an interesting view to see from afar, but your time in Hollywood will best be spent at the world-famous attractions like museums, restaurants, and shopping centers.
Over-development, the Modern Scourge
You might not notice it, but Hawaii is a place for lots of tourists. There's lots of amazing stuff to do, but Waikiki Beach – possibly one of the most famous stretches of sandy beach and beautiful water the island chain possesses, might be a place to avoid.
It's brimming with luxury hotels, pricey shops, and chain restaurants, all of which can be found in lots of other places, places you didn't have to fly to. Visitors are recommended to instead visit the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Lanai Lookout in Oahu, or Pipiwai Trail in Maui.
If You Don't Like Aliens, You Can Leave
If you're anywhere near Roswell, New Mexico, you're sure to know all about it quickly. Thanks to a 1947 weather balloon crash, theories of alien UFOs, abductions, experiments, and much more are still leaping across the world. Now the town is little more than a huge tourist attraction and alien enthusiast sanctuary.
Everything is alien or space-themed, and everyone who spends any amount of time there is sure to be crazy for the grays and greens of classic science-fiction stories. If you're just passing through, be sure to do it quickly.
Stereotypical and Boring
Orlando is a theme-park lover's paradise, and Walt Disney World has some of the best and biggest. Epcot, however, is destined to be underwhelming. It has two sections – Future World and World Showcase – which showcase different countries, including food and drink.
There aren't that many rides, and visitors sometimes think the different countries are ham-fisted stereotypes. Owing to the fact there are lots of better options in close vicinity, it's suggested you skip this theme park, and instead opt for Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Disney's Animal Kingdom.
America's Noisiest Mall
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota has been the United States' biggest indoor mall since it opened in 1992. It has over five hundred stores, an immense indoor theme park, an aquarium, play places, food courts, and even a movie theater. There's a lot that might attract a person, but plenty to overload, as well.
Its immense size allows a huge amount of people, many of them tourists. The theme park is loud, there are daily events, and all the other sensory information can sometimes make one dizzy (but if you do go, check out the Lego store. It's incredible).
This Famous Street Has Turned Blue
One of the most significant pieces of American music history has become too bloated to be much use to anybody. Early blues players got their first starts on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, thanks to all the clubs and restaurants, and it also has plenty of festivals and outdoor concerts.
It might seem worth visiting, but Beale Street long ago turned corporate, which resulted in overpriced food (it will still be Tennessee barbecue, so it might be worth it anyway) and endless tourists. Locals suggest a more authentic Memphis adventure at Overton Square or Cooper-Young.
History Buffs Yes, Everyone Else No
Everybody says “Remember the Alamo,” but what if, instead, you forgot it? The Alamo is where Texas fought for independence from Mexico, and despite losing the battle it won the war. San Antonio, Texas has enjoyed a steady tourist trade because of this famous Mission, but while it might be nice to see it in person, there's not much else.
It's a handsome stone building in the middle of a park, but there's nothing else to do. Thankfully it isn't too far from the San Antonio River Walk, which espouses the natural beauty of Texas with ease.
It's Not Magnificent. Is It Even a Mile?
The Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the largest shopping centers in the United States and the world. It has endless mid-and high-end shops, but there are also famous restaurants, massive museums, and five-star hotels. It's currently the eighth-most expensive place to rent in the US.
It's another place that is an expensive version of almost any shopping center. Make a stop to see the sights, then move on to places like Millennium Park or Willis Tower, or any of the other numerous places in the Windy City that offer a wonderful view.
This Museum Might Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth
The world-famous cola originated in Georgia, and while Coca-Cola has gone through hundreds of changes and spread all over the globe, there's no place for the Coke fan like the World of Coca-Cola in Georgia. It's bursting at the seams with memorabilia.
However, even fans have unkind things to say about this tourist attraction. Some say it's little more than a prolonged commercial (which has an admission fee), and others were unhappy with the small amount of company history they found. There is a tasting room, but it's one of the big draws so the crowds are sure to fill it. Even the gift shop has become disappointing, becoming far too commercial for some people.
The Inspiration for Monopoly has Just as Many Players
Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey was one of the original tourist attractions, full of casinos, shops, and restaurants. Unfortunately, high crime rates have driven tourists and locals away, and the casinos and shops have become expensive and tacky.
Worn down and nearly empty, it went from a popular tourist spot to an area full of panhandlers, and during the non-summer months, it might as well be a ghost town. It's always been a poor man's Las Vegas, and for the traveler who wants to experience glitz and glamour, Las Vegas is certainly the right choice.
A Testament to American Construction
Stonehenge is one of the most famous places in the world, but if you don't have the time to travel all the way across the pond you can visit Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. A replica of Stonehenge, Carhenge is made of vintage cars, spray-painted gray. It was designed by Jim Reinders in memory of his father.
Love of a son aside, there's really not much to see here. It's your typical road-trip attraction, great for pulling over and stretching your legs, and maybe getting a photo, but nothing more aside from the gift shop. Then again, it might be one of the most exciting things Nebraska has to offer.
Guess You Should Have Seen This One Coming, Huh
Craters of the Moon, in Idaho, isn't exactly out of this world. Despite the science-fiction name, this tourist attraction has little more than a landscape of volcanic rock. If you're planning a trip for yourself or the space fanatic of your family, be sure to keep expectations low.
You might get a few minutes of enjoyment out of a trip to this national park, but there's little chance you'll want to spend much more time there unless you're a big fan of volcanic rock.
Oh, It's a Hall All Right. One Day They Might Put Something in It
You'd have to be a pretty big fan of college sports to get anything out of Indiana's NCAA Hall of Champions. While the building itself looks interesting enough, plenty of extra needs to be added to make it a spot worth visiting. There's little in the way of memorabilia, events, guest appearances, or much of anything.
The NCAA makes bank, which makes this boring attraction even more surprising. Hopefully, they have some plans for this Hall of Boredom, since underwhelming might be the kindest way to describe it.
This Could Be the Oldest Structure in the Country
In Newport, Rhode Island, there stands an old structure – a tower, made from stones in a style you might expect to see in the middle of the United Kingdom. It's called the Mysterious Viking Tower, but that's all the information the location has to offer.
No one knows who built this structure, and the prevailing theory is Viking visitors erected it long before settlers began populating the New England area – in which case it would be the oldest structure in the whole of the US. Unfortunately, there's nothing else to do, so maybe give it a pass.
This is Literally Just a Gas Station
The second gas station on this list is even less interesting than the first. It's the famous South of the Border station, which also includes a restaurant and a pretty large gift shop. What border is it just south of, you may wonder?
It's just south of the North Carolina border. To its credit, it is very close to the border. But, unless you need to fill up your car or belly, this is nothing more than a curio to comment on as you drive past.
Good Gracious, No
If you're a fan of the King of Rock and Roll, then Graceland sounds like a dream to visit. Then again, thanks to a sky-high entry price and little else to do besides tour Elvis Presley's famous mansion in Tennessee, this might be the kind of attraction you skip.
The grounds are well-kept and the mansion itself is beautiful, but unless you can list Elvis's discography by heart (and chronologically at the same time), save your money and find someplace else to visit.
Not Even Technically a Cave
The Moqui Cave in Utah has a lot of branding issues. First off, this isn't technically a cave – a cave is a natural opening, while this is an underground network created by erosion. That might seem like splitting hairs, but the geological community is very particular about these things.
This attraction is also touted as an ancient landmark, but while the “cave” may be old, it's a recent attraction. You can get a souvenir at the gift shop, but if you're interested in keeping things interesting, snap a pic for your Instagram and move on.
This Canyon isn't So Grand
The Rock of Ages is quite an evocative name, so when you travel to Vermont to take a look, there's a pretty big chance you're going to feel disappointed when you arrive. Vermont gave this old quarry a pretty fantastic name, but that's all it is – a quarry.
The natural, bright blue pools do give you something interesting to take a pic of, but the quarry is dangerous to explore. It's pretty to look at, but give this one the requisite ten minutes and get back in the car.
We Heard the Moon Was Made of Cheese, but This is Ridiculous
Wisconsin's reputation for cheese is well-earned, and there are plenty of cheese shops and stores to pick up some of the best in the world while watching this dairy treat being made by master cheesemakers.
The Mars Cheese Castle, on the other hand, isn't much more than a place for vacationers to stop, nestled right next to the freeway. You can get cheese, yes, but you're in Wisconsin – you can hardly throw a stone without hitting a cheese store or one of the many cows. Give it a pass.
Wow, Water. Exciting.
The Undersea Gardens in Oregon sounds like the kind of place that might be fun, but don't be fooled. This is nothing more than a master tourist trap for people who don't know any better.
Here's the scam: you shell out some money, go underwater in the Garden structure, and through windows, watch swimmers swim around. It's dirty water, the undersea wildlife isn't all that exciting to look at, and it's Oregon – it's not like there are reefs or anything like that. This attraction closed for good in 2019, which means even if that sparkling explanation got you hyped, you're out of luck.
Yup, It's a House
The house featured in the famous holiday movie A Christmas Story may have plenty of good memories attached – from a leg-lamp to tongues frozen to metal poles – making it into a tourist attraction seems like overkill. It's your regular old restored Victorian style in Ohio, but other than that, there's little to see.
There are plenty of other tourist attractions to pick from, even in a relatively low-key place like Ohio, even ones you won't have to wait in line or pay for to see what is essentially just a house. There are a lot of those. They're everywhere. If you look out your window, you'll probably see, like, a hundred of them.
Walk Past This Famous Walk
It's ranked as one of THE most overrated tourist attractions in America, and you'll see why shortly. The Hollywood walk of fame is so bad it's been getting nothing but negative reviews for years. While it looks huge in pictures, that's just camera magic, as in reality it's only two blocks long.
It's one of the most crowded places in L.A., and it's also brimming with pick-pockets and other seedy types. Trust us, there are lots of other places to visit in Los Angeles. If you have a specific celeb you want to visit on the walk, make it a quick trip.
From Iowa to Space
Captain James T. Kirk is one of Star Trek – and science fiction's – most famous names, and you'd never guess he was born in one of the smaller states of the union. At one point, series creator Gene Roddenberry decided the town was Riverside, and fans began to flock. But there's only a single monument, stating it's the future birthplace of a fictional character.
It might not even be correct: a town mayor basically pushed Roddenberry to make Riverside the origin of this famous character, which makes it nothing more than a cash-grab from frenzied fans.
Oh Boy! Twine!
If you really, really, really, really, really like twine, we have the destination for you. Cawker City, Kansas has the WORLD'S BIGGEST BALL OF TWINE! And yeah, it's pretty big, and it's been around for a while – since the 1950s – and even got its start as a community project, with citizens adding more and more.
It's practically a poster child for silly tourist attractions to stop at if you're driving cross-country. Like a lot of the places on this list, it's a nice place to stretch your legs and snap a pic, but don't plan a trip around it.
It Won't be Much of an Experience
A religious, cultural, or artistic fan might find a lot to enjoy about Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama, but most people won't have a lot to enjoy. It's full of tiny replicas of famous religious structures, built by one Brother Joseph in the early 20th century.
Some call the replicas too small, without enough detail to make them truly awe-inspiring. You'll get some more photos on your phone, you might find one or two models you find interesting, and you might learn some history, but other than that, it's just not worth the trip.
There Are No Diamonds in This Rough
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas sounds like a treasure hunter's dream come true. If you do dream of sparkly items, or maybe you're a budding archaeologist, it might seem like fun, but the park has been open for more than a hundred years – if there were ever diamonds here, they're certainly almost all gone by now.
Now it's little more than a large empty field full of people. There's plenty of dirt, lots of trees, and even some old cabins, but unless you like unearthing lots of, well, earth, you might be better off trying your luck elsewhere.
Skip the Grave, Go for the Museum
Colorado's biggest funeral was for one Buffalo Bill, who is sometimes called the original superstar. During the period of the Old West, he dazzled audiences with riding tricks, expert scouting, and performance tours.
Unfortunately, his gravesite is a bit underwhelming. There's a headstone, a flag, and a plot surrounded by a large fence, so if you're a grave fan, go nuts. If you aren't, the Buffalo Bill Museum is sure to be a little more interesting, since it features photos, artifacts, and plenty of historical information on this Old West hero and celebrity.
One Boardwalk Among Many
The Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk in Rehoboth, Delaware isn't exactly overrated, but it's certainly overcrowded. It has little to distinguish itself from any other boardwalk, with plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops – the shops have received plenty of their own negative reviews.
Parking spots are practically non-existent, and taking a picture that's worth anything – and isn't packed full of photo bombers or garbage – are rare. It's worth a one-time visit and might make for a nice walk, but don't expect an exciting day. It might not be the worst place to visit on this list, but it's still not worth it.
Not Exactly the Best Creation
Noah's Ark may have preserved animal life, but the Kentucky Ark Encounter and Creation Museum certainly isn't preserving anybody's funds. While the structure itself is imposing – built like the ark itself, running 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet tall – it costs a staggering $50 per person to get in.
And inside is nothing special. It has a zoo that takes a few hours to walk through but get this: the animals are fakes. They're statues and facsimiles. With these things in mind, you're going to be better off going to a real zoo, which has real animals and doesn't cost you fifty real dollars for every person who wants to get in.
Desert This Attraction
You're sure to know what a desert is – rolling waves of sand, harsh winds, a burning sun. That's true for the most part, but The Desert of Maine is none of that. It has sand, yes, but it's also surrounded by pine trees.
It doesn't even have real camels, but plastic ones instead. It's meant to attract attention (“What? There's a desert in Maine?”) and sell kitschy souvenirs, but it's clear to anyone who is there for more than a half-hour that there isn't anything much of interest here. If you want sand, go to the beach. At least those also have water.
This One's Not So Believable
Plenty of states have one of Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museums. They can certainly be interesting, with lots of fun facts and knowledge to absorb. However, the museum in Baltimore might be one to skip. Not because it's bad, but because there's so much more to do in Baltimore.
Baltimore brims with astonishing attractions, like helicopter tours, fabulous restaurants, places of historical importance, and plenty of other museums that have lots more to offer. It overflows with art and culture, and sure, maybe you want to go see a Ripley museum...it just shouldn't be at the top of your list.
It's Mysterious Why Anyone Bothers
If you're driving through California you might start seeing billboard after billboard for something called “Mystery Spot.” This spot does have plenty of attractions: a zipline, a huge maze, and even some mini-golf, but in the back of your head you'll always be thinking “What's the mystery?”
The “Mystery” is a bunch of little more than visual tricks, designed to make people think gravity isn't working correctly. Kids might find it interesting, but if you've had a few decades on earth, it won't exactly leave you mystified.
There's Plenty of Waste Here – Wasted Time
The Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum in Missouri is a huge mound of rocks, covering up TNT, asbestos, mercury, radium, and radioactive uranium. It used to be one of the country's largest explosives factories, and later it turned into a uranium-ore processing plant.
It shuttered in 1966, and after two decades the US Department of Energy covered it with rocks and added a museum. You can take a walk and learn some history, but other than that you'll probably find yourself wondering why you bothered to visit.
A Visit Here is Worth Less Than You Might Think
What does the 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar in Montana have to draw visitors and tourists? Fifty thousand silver dollars on the walls. It's not only a bar but a huge gift shop as well – mostly gift shop, even. It also has one of the largest coin collections in the United States.
It's also an inn that boasts plenty of RV parking, there are corrals for horses, and it even has a casino. It's not all that exciting unless you're stopping by for a meal, and you may end up adding your own money to the wall.
Locals Love it. Tourists, Not So Much
This tourist attraction in New Hampshire is a little bit unique – tourists find it lackluster, but locals enjoy Clark's Trading Post, mostly for nostalgic purposes. They've been living with (and near) this attraction all their lives, so visiting is just part of living their life.
The trading post includes a steam train, bumper boats, Segways, and even trained bears. The problem is that trained animals don't have the draw they once did, and the other attractions are just modes of transportation. Tourists might want to stay away (unless you really love Segways) and leave this spot for the locals.
Blow This Spot Off
Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, “The Blowing Rock” is a lovely rock formation looking over a stunning vista. What could be wrong with it? It's a dangerous tourist trap – you're charged $10 per person to enjoy this view.
There's nothing else to interact with, and the most egregious part is the exact same view is available for free from nearby parks. It's certainly a beautiful view and will no doubt spruce up your Instagram account, but is it worth shelling out a sawbuck for something you can get for free elsewhere? Look past this rock.
Enchanted? More Like...uh...Boring
The Enchanted Highway, in North Dakota, is thirty-two miles of road lined with giant scrap metal structures. There are towering birds, immense grasshoppers, entire schools of fish, humans that stretch toward the sky, and even a giant metal eye.
If you're driving through North Dakota, your passengers might appreciate something new to look at – because Lord knows North Dakota isn't the most exciting state – but don't mark this spot as something to drive out of your way for. It's pretty telling about North Dakota that this, literally just stuff along the highway, is one of their most famous attractions.
Do You Have Your Tickets? You'd Better
The J. M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum is just that – no advertising tricks here. It's a huge gun museum that includes over fifty thousand artifacts. It also has plenty of historical facts and information. Mostly about or involving guns.
Mr. Davis really liked guns. If you're an aficionado, you might be able to get some kick out of all the items to look at, one of which dates back to the fourteenth century. But if you're firearm-averse, there are plenty of other things to do in Oklahoma. Yeah, we were kind of surprised too.
One of America's Most Famous Stores
What was Wall Drug's famous first draw to get people in the doors? Ice water. Back in 1931. If you're anywhere near this South Dakota attraction, you're going to be seeing all kinds of marketing begging you to visit. So what is it? It's a mall.
Yep, it's a mall. It started out as a single drugstore but now boasts plenty of different places to shop. It takes in ten million dollars a year, just thanks to sales – there are a couple of other attractions such as the snake pit (yep) and giant roadside sculptures (must be a Dakota thing) that are free for all.
The Other End of Elvis
You've heard about the famous mansion, Graceland, but now marvel at the humble home of one Elvis Aaron Presley, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Visit and you'll be treated to a museum site that features wonders: a two-room cottage where Elvis was born in 1935 – and was built by his father – a chapel, and an Assembly of God Church where Elvis and his family worshiped.
Elvis wasn't even all that old before the family had to move out. Nothing wrong with being a big Elvis fan and making a stop. Just don't expect too much.
Everything's Bigger in Texas, Including the Disappointments
The Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo, Texas is sure to grab your attention. It's covered in Texan fineries, like flags, steers, bright colors, and advertisements. Taxidermy covers the walls, and the Wild West is alive and well both in the restaurant and the gift shop.
Prices are high, crowds are dense, and the food is mediocre. Their famous steaks have been described as “tough and dry.” Texas is huge, and while it may seem like you're in the middle of nowhere most of the time, there are lots of other attractions that are more worth your time.
Another Stonehenge Knockoff
Virginia has its own fake Stonehenge, and this one is much easier to transport. “Foamhenge,” built by artist Mark Cline, opened on April Fool's Day in 2004. It's a full-scale recreation, and while the story goes that ancient British druids hauled the huge stones across hundreds of miles, Cline probably didn't even need help to carry all of these fake rocks.
The attraction was dismantled in 2016, only to move to its current location in Centreville, Virginia. If you feel the need to stop here, jump out, take a pic, and then keep driving. There's literally nothing else.
West Virginia's Worst-Kept Secret
The Congressional Bunker was supposed to be a place for Congress to hide out during national emergencies (the code name was “Project Greek Island”), but word got out before too long, which sort of defeats the purpose. It's been turned into a luxury resort. You can not only stay there, but you can also take a tour.
Despite a beautiful exterior, it's still a bunker. For a tour price of thirty-four dollars, you'll get to visit cinder block walls, wooden bunk beds, and canned foods. Look at pictures online instead of wasting your time and money here.
It's a Prison! Take the Kids!
Wyoming is the least-populated state in America, but even they have some things to see. The Frontier Prison sits on the National Register of Historic Places, and was in use for eighty years, from 1901 to 1981. If you visit, they even let you take a seat in the gas chamber.
If you're a fan of the macabre, this dark, gloomy structure might be right up your alley. It even has an interactive tour. How interactive, you ask? Our reporter hasn't come back yet. Even if you do visit, maybe the kids should stay at home.
He's Pointing the Way Toward Funner Things
Vulcan was the famous architect of the gods in Greek mythology, and he's downgraded from Mount Olympus to make a new home in Birmingham, Alabama. It's a testament to the city's metalworking and construction history.
The statue is the world's largest iron-ore statue, standing fifty-six feet tall and weighing in at over eleven thousand pounds, more than ten and a half tons. It's in the middle of a nice park in this bustling city, but unless you enjoy craning your neck up to look at a statue that's been around for more than forty years, it isn't much of a draw.
Bean There, Done That
The shiny, metallic Chicago Bean – its actual name is “Cloud Gate” – was made by Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor, and the sculpture now resides as the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park in Chicago. It's free to visit, and certainly an attractive item.
But, that's all it really is. You can take a selfie with your warped reflection in the background – it will go great on your dating profile – but crowds are dense, especially during the day, and other than photographic evidence and a story that starts and ends with “I've been there,” this attraction has little to offer.
Bred for Boredom
Churchill Downs is the spot of the world-famous Kentucky Derby and has been around in bigger and better forms since 1875. And during the Kentucky Derby, the place is packed full of race fans, tourists, gamblers, and even some celebrities.
If you aren't a part of any of those groups, or if crowds give you the fits, this isn't the place for you. It's a pricey destination, too, with fees reaching above a hundred dollars per person. While Churchill Downs does have numerous events throughout the year, the Derby is the big one, and it's the kind of place you really have to want to be.
He Just Wants to be Left Alone
This rock formation kinda looks like a dude, doesn't it? It's a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and from the right spot, it appears to be the jagged profile of an old man, hence the name Old Man of the Mountain.
Unless you're looking at it from the right angle, there's nothing to see. Even climbing on the face itself doesn't look great. But we should have used the past tense – in 2003 the ridges collapsed, leaving a much more boring mountain to look at. Take this one off the list of places to visit.
It's Not Out of This World
The Space Needle is one of Seattle's – and Washington state's – most famous attractions. Mental images have it stretching up toward the stars as you dine in the famous SkyCity restaurant as it spins atop the Needle.
In actuality, the Needle is only six hundred feet high. What's worse, the restaurant is regularly packed to the gills and extra expensive to book. If you have the time and money, it might be worth the trip, but otherwise, see the sights, take a pic, and then get away from the large pockets of tourists that always crowd the windows.
Huddled Masses is Right
While it's an enduring symbol of America's legacy of freedom, the Statue of Liberty might be one of the attractions to skip when you're in Gotham. New York City has endless things to do and see, and while this famous statue draws the eye, it may not be worth your time.
It's a lengthy boat trip there and back, crowds are huge, prices are high, the torch has been closed off since 1916, and the statue is even much smaller than usually pictured – the movie Cloverfield increased the size of the head smashing through Manhattan by fifty percent. Enjoy the beauty, enjoy the symbol, and then enjoy something else.
Leila’s Hair Museum
Love hair? Well, then you’ll love Leila! And…her collection of hair wreaths and jewelry. There are even a few hairpieces in there that were worn by distinguished Victorian-era women, and some of the wigs have locks of hair from celebrities!
Which ones, you ask? The likes of Marilyn Monroe! If you think this sounds like more of a tourist attraction to you, it’s located in Independence, Missouri!
Wild Bill’s Nostalgia
Located in Connecticut, you will find a place that is uh…rather special. Special in a way that we aren’t sure if this is a tourist trap or worth a visit. It’s called Wild Bill’s Nostalgia, and it’s got an interesting collection of artifacts — from hockey jerseys (Soviet-era ones) to the world’s largest Jack-in-the-Box.
It may be enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies! You may also enjoy the life-sized Terminator statues. Yeah, interesting place.
The Paper House
In the 1920s, there was a man with a mission. That mission, you ask? To build a house entirely of newspaper. Located in Massachusetts, Mr. Stenman, a mechanical engineer, built his summer home from paper!
We’re actually kind of curious about how this works — and, well, how it fares in the rain. He even went to the trouble of building a paper piano! We think this is a worthwhile paper trail to follow and definitely worth a visit.
Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
Ah, c’est la vie! Flavors — they come and they go, and no one knows this better than Ben and Jerry’s creamery. The famous ice-cream brand decided that its flavors were like old comrades lost in battle, and decided to commemorate them in a “Flavor Graveyard” outside their factory in Vermont.
One of the members is the “Makin’ Whoopie Pie”, a flavor that existed between 2002 and 2003. It's an ideal destination for ice-cream enthusiasts.
Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum
When you were reading the title of this one, we know you were curious to see these loo lids. When in Texas, you can expect some weird and wonderful things — so when you’re in San Antonio next, you may want to pay this place a visit.
Retired plumber Barney Smith has seen some toilets in his day, and has collected quite a few toilet seats which he later repurposed and turned into works of art!
Salt and Pepper Museum
Some people collect coins, others collect cars, jewelry, baseball cards even — but this archaeologist from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fell in love with salt and pepper shakers.
In twenty-five years, the collector has amassed over 20,000 sets of the shakers in weird and wonderful shapes, including little shoes, chess pieces, cake stands, cars…gosh, you name it and it’s probably there! A quirky, fun little tourist attraction — if you want to shake things up, check this place out.
Largest Chest of Drawers
If you’re visiting North Carolina, you may have heard about High Point’s largest chest of drawers. An interesting thing to be made giant-size, and from its proportions, it should probably be in Texas, right?
Anyway, it’s 32 feet high and not a bad photo op, particularly if you want a cool pic for social media! Other than the Instagrammable moment, we're not sure this site is worth the trip.
House on the Rock
A roadside attraction that, according to some people is “worth planning a trip around.” Honestly, it depends on what your thing is — and hey, if you’re in Wisconsin, and you want to see massive replicas of music machines and sea Krakens, then you’re in for a treat!
Opened in the late 1950s, there’s a carousel room with almost 200 chandeliers — maybe not a tourist trap!
Cross Island Chapel
Picture the teensiest, tiniest chapel in the world. Okay, got it? Open your eyes — it probably looked something like Cross Island Chapel, right? Located in Oneida, New York, the 30 square foot chapel only has the space for the essentials — two lovebirds and an officiator.
If you wanted a place to elope that wasn’t Vegas, this is it! Definitely not a tourist trap.
The Farnham Colossi
Want to feel small? Like, really small? Have young kids? Then this place probably will be worth every penny to keep them entertained! It’s called Farnham Colossi (Land of Giants) and it’s in Unger, West Virginia.
The property has a ton of oversized statues and even a giant Santa Claus! Santa…is…real, okay kids?!
National Mustard Museum
Mustard lovers, rejoice! There is a place for you and you didn’t even know it. Sitting in Middleton, Wisconsin is a museum full of the condiment. Boasting over 5,000 mustards from over 70 countries, you’ll find all the mustard you could ever dream of!
The museum even hosts competitions throughout the year. This may be a tourist trap for some but if it’s free to walk in, you may only be wasting a little time.
Museum of Funeral History
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Houston, Texas. In Texas, the weird gets even greater — and this tourist uh…attraction may just be a tourist trap. It all depends on the customer, right?
Anywho, the curators here delve into the macabre and have collected rare coffins, memorabilia, and even John Paul II’s Popemobile (the bulletproof one, which you may need in Texas).
Alcatraz Island is a short ride from the piers of San Francisco.
The roughly $40pp price tag may seem steep, but it’s got some awesome views of San Francisco Bay, as well as natural tide pools on the island. Oh, and of course, the main reason — it’s a former federal prison!
Next stop we’re in Newport, Rhode Island — and basically, people are out here paying to check out the historical mansions of the very wealthy. The main sight there is what’s known as The Breakers, which is the largest of the “summer cottages.”
It’s got not one, two, or three…but seventy rooms! Apparently, it used to belong to the Vanderbilt family, but nowadays it’s a national landmark. We say…tourist delight!
If you’re on the east coast, and you’ve got Boston on the list, we recommend you visit the famed ballpark.
It’s had its doors open since 1912, and the “Green Monster” will definitely make you feel like you’re in the USA — especially when fans start singing “Sweet Caroline” before the end of the eighth. Even if you’re not a baseball lover, just go for a couple of innings!
Portland Japanese Garden
So these actually look gorgeous. And besides, if you’re in Oregon already, we know that you’re there for the nature!
Anyway, this popular tourist spot has been called a trap before, but you know, if you’re into Japanese gardens and are looking for a bit of zen, well then this may just be the perfect place for you. If you’re not into watching koi swim under wooden bridges, maybe the Umami Cafe can offer you something.
This is a sight that has been coined one of America’s first tourist traps — it was actually called a “show cave” back in the late 1800s!
They are the largest caverns on the East side of the US, in Luray, Virginia, so you know, if you’re into well…caves…and stuff…it’s worth it! We’ll let you decide on this one.
Maid of the Mist
Pretty sure this was the boat that Pam and Jim got married on when they took their troupe up to Niagara Falls in "The Office", right?
Who wouldn’t want to hear what 600,000 gallons of water sound like? The crashing, the deafening noise, and the mist. Worth it!
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Okay, before you berate us for choosing this tourist haven and start defending it — we’re actually here to say that it’s kind of worth your money.
Sure, some of the tourist “attractions” on this list are wastes of time and money, but we actually recommend you spend on this one. It’s the epitome of Christmas with the ice skaters at the rink and that big Christmas tree in the background, right?
Miami Beach Is Just Another Beach
Sure, Miami likes its beaches, and we are not here to say that the people of Miami are wrong to be proud. We're just saying that as far as beaches go, there is very little to mess up.
There's sand, there's water, and that's a great place to start, but once you add the overcrowded stretches of sand and the fact that the humidity is not for the faint of heart, the place starts to sound significantly less inviting. We'll stick to a nice bubble bath with ocean sounds on speaker, thanks.