Home Entertainment The Worst Tourist Traps In America

The Worst Tourist Traps In America

Monica April 15, 2024

Just because everyone has visited a place, doesn’t mean it’s worth going. Some of the worst tourist traps in America are named this for a reason: they’re traps. The point is to lure you in so you spend your money, even if it isn’t worth one penny. We’ve curated a list of some of the worst tourist traps in America, so you can save your money and spend it elsewhere. Even if you’re on a road trip and happen to pass by one of these attractions, it’s best just to take a quick picture and not waste any more time on it.


The Venetian, Las Vegas

Not only is The Venetian a complete Italian rip-off, but it’s as fake as any tourist trap can get. If you head to the City of Sin, you should certainly skip this part. As the price is well over a hundred bucks for this sad ride, you could fly to Italy and ride in a real gondola instead.

The Venetian gondolas are based on the real ones from Venice. But it’s more akin to floating through dyed water for a whopping fifteen minutes, and you’re gazing out at other buildings and gondolas. In general, all of Vegas is a tourist trap and it’s best to avoid this part of America altogether (via Reddit).


Epcot, Walt Disney World

Even though Disney World has some of the best attractions in the world in terms of theme parks, Epcot does not. There are two sections in that part of the park, Future World and World Showcase. The World Showcase part displays different countries and their food and drink. There aren’t rides, and it seems like they try too hard to fit the stereotype of each country instead of capturing what it is.

According to Reddit, the news account MSN said, “Of the four Disney parks in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Epcot is easily the most underwhelming. Unless you’re a college student looking to to “drink around the world” (for hundreds nonetheless), this theme park offers nothing. The experiences at each country in the park focus only on the most basic stereotypes of each culture, and the few rides this park has are disappointing to most children.” You could use that money and visit each country in person (via Reddit).


The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

Even though the Liberty Bell symbolizes America and is something almost every American has heard about, it doesn’t mean it’s spectacular. It was rung after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1752, and during the 19th century, developed a large crack. It’s so underwhelming, that looking at a picture will do enough justice.

There was a tie you could even touch the bell, which isn’t allowed now. If you do decide to visit, you might find long lines of people just to snap a simple selfie with a bell that’s smaller than you’d expect. It’s best to skip this and explore other things the city has to offer (via Reddit).

Advisor Travel

Mysterious Viking Tower, Rhode Island

You might have heard of Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, which is a spectacular display of large stones with a mysterious history. In Newport, Rhode Island, there’s also a tower made from stones, which might sound as enticing as Stonehenge, but we’re here to tell you not to bother.

The name is alluring, as it’s called the Mysterious Viking Tower, but there’s nothing else to gawk over. No one truly knows who built the structure, and it’s said that Vikings may have been involved. Either way, it’s best to skip (via Roadside America).


The Biggest Ball of Twine, Kansas

If you like twine, and we mean, really, really like twine, then you should probably head to Cawker City, Kansas. But if you’re like most people, who would never give a second thought about twine, then you can skip this tourist trap. Kansas is home to the world’s biggest ball of twine, and it’s been around since the 1950s.

Citizens tend to add more and more twine. According to Reddit, “It’s located in the exact geographical center of the USA. People used to dare each other to lick it, which is gross because everyone knows that locals would go piss on it (it’s a fairly open secret).” It’s probably one of the silliest tourist traps in America and serves as a mere distraction if you’re driving across the states. It’s a good pit stop, but don’t go out of your way to see it (via Reddit).


Washington’s Market Wall, Seattle

While Seattle is full of wonderful attractions, like Fremont Troll and Space Needle, it’s also home to one of the worst tourist traps in America. If you’re a germaphobe, stay far, far away from here. There’s a wall covered in chewed gum. If you’re worried about catching any sort of disease, then you need to stay far away from here.

Even Reddit users despise the place and say, “I don’t care about the history of the gum wall, it’s just trash stuck onto a wall and disgusting too. Everywhere else gum is an eyesore but at this one place, it’s a tourist destination.” The tradition began back in 1993 when theatergoers stuck coins on the wall. Even though it’s colorful, it’s pretty disgusting (via Reddit).

Business Insider

Indiana’s NCAA Hall of Champions

To get anything from Indiana’s NCAA Hall of Champions, you’d have to be a pretty big fan of college sports. And even then, there’s still nothing remotely interesting unless you know what you’re looking at. It’s a pretty boring attraction that many people visit, surprisingly enough.

It takes 20 minutes to walk through, without reading everything, which is likely the case. It’s been named Indiana’s worst tourist trap by Insider. There are way better tourist destinations to visit, even regarding college sports, and this isn’t one of them (via Business Insider).

Tyler Morning Telegraph

The Marvelous Gas Station, North Carolina

At South of the Border station is a famous gas station, in addition to a gift shop and restaurant. We’re not sure what gas station would ever deserve its very own gift shop, but it exists. It lies just south of the North Carolina border, and while it’s a functional gas station, there’s not much else to it. Tourists on Trip Advisor are quick to comment about the monstrosity that is South of the Border.

One wrote, “Driving down I95 in either direction, you are accosted by the billboards. South of the Border, they scream at you in the bright yellows, oranges, reds, and greens… The attractions were closed. The campground was closed. There were several smaller shops in this combined open, with no more than two cars at each. And each building had two employees, so go figure. We went into the gas station and searched for a restroom. It was outside we were told. Nothing in the souvenir-style shop grabbed my attention… We left not knowing any closer to the secret as to what exactly this place was. Other than a tourist trap that offers nothing touristy…” It’s best to avoid this and go, literally, to any other gas station (via Trip Advisor).

Atlas Obscura

The Shell Service Station in North Carolina

It seems like North Carolina prides themselves on their gas stations. This one in particular has a bright yellow and red shell-shaped service station that’s a part of the National Register of Historic Places. Simply put, it’s a gas station in the shape of a shell. It’s mainly used as a satellite office for Shell, and there’s practically nothing else to do here.

According to Atlas Obscura, “It wasn’t easy to make shell-shaped gas stations. The office and bathroom area were boxed in, surrounded by a bent wood and wire frame, and then covered in stucco. This last station remained open until the 1950s and housed a lawn mower repair business in the 1970s and 80s.” Inside, you can find framed newspaper clippings dating back to its opening and a calendar (via Atlas Obscura).


Moqui Cave, Utah

There’s a huge branding issue with the Moqui Cave, which is why it’s such a sneaky tourist trap. This is an underground network thanks to erosion. It’s not a place with a natural opening. And it’s not some ancient landmark either, it’s a recent attraction where you can buy a souvenir and take photos.

The users of Trip Advisor hate it, and one even wrote, “You walk into an impressive cave that was at one time a bar (the bar and barstools are impressive) and there are many interesting rock and crystal formations displayed. Where they lost me is in the neon paint-sprayed diorama and then the obligatory visitor souvenir shop.” It’s best to skip this and head to a place in the USA that’s a gorgeous natural attraction (via Trip Advisor).


Carhenge, Nebraska

While we already mentioned Stonehenge on this list, the USA is not short of Stonehenge lookalikes. One of the most famous ones is called Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. But this isn’t made of impressive stone, it’s made of vintage cars and was designed by Jim Reinders in memory of his father.

Its sole purpose is a roadside attraction. If you already happen to be driving past it, then you might as well stop, but there’s no reason to go out of your way to see it, though it might be the most exciting thing the state of Nebraska has to offer tourists. And even though it’s a tourist trap, it is pretty strange. The users of Reddit poke fun at their tourist traps. One wrote, “I was raised in Nebraska. I can tell you that yes, there is so little to do that someone decided to make a car hinge. Now I live in Kansas, and I can tell you that yes, there is so little to do in Kansas that someone decided to create the world’s largest ball of twine.” At least there’s something to do, right? (via Reddit).


Graceland, Tennessee

If you’re someone who’s a huge fan of the King of Rock and Roll, then you might have Graceland high on your list of places to visit. Keep in mind that this tourist trap is just not worth it unless you happen to be driving right past it on a road trip. Elvis Presley’s mansion is beautiful, but there are tons of other places to visit unless you’re a diehard fan.

The users of Trip Advisor are quick to mention how expensive it is. One wrote, “My family of four (2 adults and 2 students) spent $124 for admission (the least expensive tour package offered) plus $10 to park. The audio tour is good but the time spent in the actual house is about 10 minutes. You cannot see any of the second floor at all. The area where you park and board the bus to the house is loaded with tons of tacky souvenir shops and restaurants. My husband and I were there twenty years ago when it was much cheaper. We only went this time because we were in town and our children wanted to see it. That’ll be the last time I’ll donate that much money to make Elvis’s heirs more rich.” If this isn’t convincing enough to skip it, we don’t know what is (via Trip Advisor).


This Quarry in Vermont

Even though the Rock of Ages sounds enticing, it doesn’t mean it is. If you travel to Vermont to get a first-hand look at the Rock of Ages, you better keep your distance. It’s a dangerous quarry that’s good for a few minutes look, but that’s about it. The bright blue pools might look good on camera, but they’re not safe to explore.

The company is a euphemism for enduring art, which is another meaning for headstones. To visit the site, adults have to pay $9. You’re better off saving that cash and putting it towards something else, like gasoline to get far away from there (via Cheapism).


Craters of the Moon, Idaho

Even though this tourist trap has a name that might sound enticing, it doesn’t mean it is. It’s little more than a landscape of volcanic rock. Keep your expectations low with this one. There are certainly more beautiful places to visit in Idaho. And unless you’re a big fan of volcanic rock, you won’t want to make this a must-see destination.

To get the most out of the destination, it’s best to visit with a local. There are underground tunnels and nice hikes in the surrounding area, which you wouldn’t know about unless you were with a local. They aren’t marked, so it’s easy to walk right past them and miss them during your tour (via Reddit).


The Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois

Visiting one of the biggest shopping centers in the US and the entire world might sound like a fun tourist destination to cross off your bucket list. But even though it has famous restaurants, high-end shops, museums, and five-star hotels, it doesn’t mean it’s a rather enjoyable experience.

It’s pretty much a more expensive version of any other shopping center in the USA. You could easily make a quick stop to see it but don’t spend hours wandering around here. Everything is overpriced, hence the tourist trap title. The Windy City certainly has a plethora of other things that are way more enjoyable to visit than this shopping mall. The Mag Mile is a shell of what it used to be, anyway (via Reddit).


Times Square, NYC

To many tourists around the world, NYC is equal to Times Square. The bustling, flashy, colorful lights of Times Square draw people in so much, that they believe that’s what New York City is. But all it is is a hectic tourist trap. If you’re a local New Yorker, you wouldn’t be caught wandering down the streets of NYC.

The users of Reddit agree, and say, “It’s crowded, the people there are d**ks, (which gives the impression that all of New York is like that) and there are giant ads on the sides of buildings. Some unlicensed weirdos dress up as Elmo or Micky Mouse take pictures with unsuspecting tourists and then pocket-pick them. (That isn’t a joke, some of my friends who went to visit me lost a wallet from this).” This area features people dressed in costumes, huge glowing advertisements, and overpriced restaurants serving mediocre food. But these restaurants aren’t special for Times Square, you can find them pretty much anywhere in the States (via Reddit).


The Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

Since its opening in 1992, the Mall of America is the USA’s biggest mall. With over 500 stores, an indoor theme park, play places, food courts, and an aquarium, there’s a lot that could keep you entertained for days. There are daily events and other sensory overload that might make you dizzy. Even the Leggo store is an experience within itself.

But because it’s a tourist trap, it also means the prices are jacked up and just not worth spending money on. Reddit users agree that it’s a good place to take a lap, but that’s about it. One wrote, “I feel like it’s worth making a lap just to see it if you’re here for another reason – the aquarium is surprisingly good for such a compact space – but I feel like it should not be the primary reason you come to visit the Twin Cities.” Don’t go out of your way to visit this spot (via Reddit).


Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey

This original tourist attraction was once full of casinos, shops, and restaurants, and was one of the most fun and buzzing parts of the state. But high crime rates drove people far away from the area, and the shops and casinos are now expensive and quite tacky.

It’s not a family-friendly place, and the users of Reddit express, “Teens are easy targets. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that AC is a high crime (as are most tourist areas). The difference between AC and somewhere like Point Pleasant is that AC caters to adults. And with that comes higher risks. It’s not a family-friendly destination. AC also is a low-income area which again tends towards being riskier.”Nowadays, it’s full of panhandlers and is practically a ghost town. It’s referred to as the poor man’s Las Vegas, and for anyone who wants to experience the glitz and glam of Vegas, it’s better to just head there (via Reddit).


UFOs in Roswell, New Mexico

If you love sci-fi and all things alien, you might have heard of Roswell, New Mexico. Back in 1947, there was a weather balloon crash, where theories of alien UFOs and experiments were born. Now, the town is a huge tourist trap that lures people in because of its alien history.

The Reddit users are disappointed with Roswell, and even said, “Aside from the UFO museum and some murals and signs about aliens, the town felt kinda bland and was nothing like what’s shown in the show. I did do a bit of research, so I already knew there wasn’t a real-life Crashdown Cafe, but there wasn’t even a real local restaurant I could get dinner at on a Sunday evening. All they had were the usual chains. I was hoping it was more of a cute small-town vibe, but was surprised to see there was an actual tall building in the area but then again, their main street was super wide like a typical us highway and wasn’t very pedestrian-friendly and hadn’t had much to see or do.” Everything in the town is space-themed, which can get pretty annoying if it’s your hometown. There’s a ton of grays and greens thanks to classic science-fiction stories (via Reddit).


The Hollywood Sign

Even though snapping a photo with the Hollywood Sign is iconic, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary. The sign is privately owned by a non-profit and it’s illegal to get too close to the sign, no matter how much you probably want to. You can hike up to it and take photos, but that’s it. But considering how much else there is to do in the area, it’s not even worth it.

Even Reddit users agree that visiting the sign isn’t worth it. They write, “They didn’t even try to make it look level; It looks like a high school theatre company made it. The font’s ugly, they didn’t even try to make the support structure look good at all, it’s self-aggrandizing and cheap, and I hate it.” You can just gaze at it from afar and get your photo that way (via Reddit).

Traveling Canucks

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

It’s best to avoid this beach in Hawaii altogether. While there are tons of great spots in the state of Hawaii, this just isn’t one of them. Waikiki Beach is a famous stretch of white sand that’s ruined with pricey shops, chain restaurants, and luxury hotels.

The users of Trip Advisor also agree that this beach is horrible, and write, “This beach has picture-perfect sunsets – if you can get a picture without people in it. It is crowded and loud and difficult to find a place to put down your towel…. I highly recommend renting a car and driving around the island – find your perfect beach – it is there!” It’s better to visit other spots in Hawaii to get the most the state has to offer (via Trip Advisor).


The World of Coca-Cola, Georgia

If you’re a huge fan of Coca-Cola, then visiting this spot in Georgia might sound appealing. But many fans that do make it there have nothing good to say. They believed it was a bit more than a prolonged commercial, others were unhappy with the history, and the tasting room had tons of crowds. Even the gift shop is disappointing.

Those at AJC say, “The tickets aren’t too costly, with adult prices at $17 and children’s at $13, but battling the overwhelming crowds and long lines just to walk through what is essentially a huge advertisement, is downright silly.” You’re better off just drinking a Coke and enjoying it that way (via AJC).

417 Magazine

Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

Digging around for diamonds might sound appealing, but only if there are diamonds. Which is what makes Diamonds State Park such an overrated tourist trap. People show up to this park in Arkansas expecting to find diamonds and make millions. But it’s nothing more than a huge dirt field full of people and no diamonds. Since the park has been around for so long, all of the diamonds are certainly gone.

According to those on Trip Advisor, it’s a sham. One woman wrote, “​​According to the Arkansas.com official State Park website, more than 28,000 diamonds have been found at this park in the last 40 years. Some of the nation’s biggest, best, and most expensive have been found here. Even big names like Tiffany’s have been involved with this site and books and stories abound about finding diamonds here. Except….that isn’t how it is.” If you want to search for gold, go where no one else is (via Trip Advisor).

Matador Network

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

While it might seem like a significant stop to visit the birthplace of blues in Memphis Tennesee, this street has become overrated. It’s all thanks to the clubs and restaurants, and the fact that it’s turned corporate. If you want a more authentic experience, head to Overton Square or Cooper-Young.

Those on Trip Advisor agree, saying, “We went to Beale Street, walked the few crummy blocks, and turned around and went to Main Street instead. We were there in the middle of the afternoon, and I can only imagine that it’s much worse at night. Everything was filthy, and it seemed more like a place for binge-drinking cheap beer. Not sure why this place is so hyped up.” Just avoid it altogether and spend your money elsewhere (via Trip Advisor).

AZ Central

The Four Corners Monument

It might sound cool to stand on the corner of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, but it’s not all it’s hyped up to be. While this is the only spot in the USA where all four pieces of these states meet, it’s nothing more than that. There’s no cell service, nothing else to see, and it’s said that the monument isn’t accurately placed on the corner of the four states. It’s a sham.

Over at Trip Advisor, visitors are saying, “The idea is pretty cool, and perhaps it may be a bucket list for some. However, there isn’t anything there. We paid $5 a person to look at a plaque on the ground. There’s no view, no historical or cultural information. It’s pretty much a gimmick to get you out there to spend $. During the summer, they may have several booths set up with Indian artifacts and gifts, but in November it was pretty much dead. The worst part of our visit was how rude and unhelpful the staff was. Thankfully I have my picture and can say I’ve been there, but I definitely will never go back.” It’s not even worth going for the first time (via Trip Advisor).


Corn Palace, South Dakota

No matter how much you like corn, there’s simply no need to visit Corn Palance in Mitchellm South Dakota. This spot is a museum for corn, with facilities for concerts, exhibits, spots, and more. There’s not much else to do there. You might get some nice photos, but that’s about it. You only need about ten minutes there.

Trip Advisor people say, “It’s one of those places that when you’re passing by, you just have to stop and see what it’s all about cause if you don’t, you’ll alway wish you did. If you are there when it’s all covered with corn it is impressive. Then you go inside and find out it is all commercialized and it becomes just another tourist trap. If you have kids, there are a couple of things that can be fun for them, but as an adult, all you can do is buy something. One good thing is that it is easy in and easy out so it wasn’t bad.” At least it’s not a full-day waste of time (via Trip Advisor).

Business Insider

The Mars Cheese Castle, Wisconsin

No matter how much you love cheese, you can never love it this much. Never. This palace is nestled right next to the freeway, so there’s nothing romantic about its surroundings. You’re in Wisconsin, yes, so you’ll get your fix of cheese. But this isn’t the only spot in the entire state to find cheese. It’s best to give this one a pass and instead visit a local cheese shop.

Trip Advisor reviewers say it’s overpriced, and that, “Used to stop here for cheese once in awhile when traveling back home from Milwaukee. Haven’t stopped in quite some time since we found a Woodman’s Grocery down the road that has a huge selection for reasonable prices.” Support your local community and shop elsewhere (via Trip Advisor).


The Hollywood Walk of Fame

We’ve saved the best for last! This is probably the most overrated tourist trap in all of America. It seems that everyone knows about the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it’s a must-see for those visiting Hollywood. We’re here to tell you that you can just skip it all together. There’s nothing about it that’s worth it. Plus, it’s only two blocks long.

According to NBC Los Angeles, “Stasher’s survey says the Walk of Fame scored just 3.42 out 10 in an assessment of the world’s best and worst tourist attractions. Among the criteria were distance from the nearest international airport and tourist safety.” It’s one of the most crowded places in Los Angeles, brimming with scammers and pick-pockets, and other seedy people there to steal your money. Make it quick if you must see it (via NBC Los Angeles).