Escape the Tourist Trap: 10 Places You’ll Be Glad You Didn’t Visit

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Kelsey is a freelance writer based in Southern Virginia. She enjoys traveling with her family to destinations from national parks to amusement parks and loves sharing tips and stories from along the way.

Nothing is worse than spending your limited vacation time and hard-earned funds on a trip that doesn’t live up to your expectations. Unfortunately, there are plenty of famous travel destinations that sound incredible but simply don’t deliver.

Save yourself the headache and disappointment! Read on for 10 famous travel destinations that don’t live up to the hype. 

The Hollywood Sign, California

Hollywood Sign
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If you’re thinking about checking out the Hollywood Sign, we have to be real with you—skip it! Getting a close-up view sounds cool, but it’s a hassle. There are trails that will take visitors near the sign, but they’re no walk in the park. One is a tough 3-mile hike, and the others are longer, around 5-6 miles, though not as challenging. But here’s the thing: it’s not really worth it. You’ll end up tired and disappointed. Save yourself the trouble and check out other awesome stuff in the area instead. 

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

If you’re considering a visit to Mount Rushmore, don’t set your expectations too high. Sure, it’s a famous landmark, but the site itself is underwhelming. This iconic destination can get pretty crowded, and the monument itself isn’t as jaw-dropping as you might think- it’s much smaller than many people expect. Plus, getting up close is a bit of a hassle. 

The Alamo, Texas

The Alamo
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You’ve heard that you should “remember the Alamo,” but we say you can go ahead and forget this overrated site. The size of the site is a letdown, and it lacks the grandeur you’d expect from such a famous landmark. The crowds can be overwhelming, making it difficult to truly appreciate the historical significance. The San Antonio area has more interesting and engaging historical sites that are worth your time and enthusiasm. Save yourself the disappointment and explore other attractions instead.

The Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona

Grand Canyon
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

We’re huge fans of national parks, including the Grand Canyon, but the Grand Canyon Skywalk can be overrated. One thing to consider is the price—tickets can be quite pricey for what you get. And when you finally make it there, you’ll likely encounter large crowds, which can detract from the experience. Additionally, the time you get to spend on the actual platform is limited, which can leave you wanting more. While the views are undeniably impressive, they’re not necessarily superior to other viewpoints along the canyon’s rim. So, if you’re on a tight budget or prefer a more intimate experience, you might want to explore alternative options to fully enjoy the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.

Times Square, New York

Times Square
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Let’s talk about Times Square, shall we? It’s often touted as a must-see destination, but we say it’s not worth the hype. Sure, it’s bright, bustling, and full of energy, but that’s part of the problem. The sheer magnitude of crowds can make it an overwhelming experience. If you’re looking for an authentic New York City vibe, Times Square and its flashy, commercialized atmosphere might not be your best bet.

Niagra Falls, Niagara River

Niagra Falls Crowd
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While it’s undeniably a natural wonder, Niagra Falls can be underwhelming. The main issue is the overwhelming commercialization that surrounds the falls. The area is heavily developed with hotels, casinos, and tourist attractions, which can detract from the raw beauty of the falls themselves. Additionally, the sheer number of visitors can make the experience feel crowded and chaotic, especially during peak seasons. If you’re expecting a serene and untouched natural environment, Niagara Falls may not meet those expectations. 

The Seattle Space Needle, Washington

Seattle Space Needle
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Let’s talk about the Seattle Space Needle, shall we? It’s no secret that this iconic landmark comes with a price tag that may leave you with sticker shock. The cost of admission to the observation deck is undeniably steep, especially considering what you actually get in return. While the views from the top are indeed impressive, there are alternative viewpoints in the city that offer equally stunning vistas at a fraction of the cost. Save your money and consider checking out Kerry Park or the Columbia Center Observation Deck instead. 

South Beach, Miami

South Beach Miami
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You’ve probably heard that South Beach in Miami is a great beach and party spot, but so have TONS of other travelers! You’ll find the area totally overcrowded, with inflated prices for everything from accommodations to restaurants. Finding a spot on the beach can be a challenge, and the overall environment is commercialized and party-oriented. If you’re seeking a more serene and authentic experience in Miami, exploring other neighborhoods and beaches in the city can provide a better glimpse into the local culture.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Bourbon Street
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If you plan a trip to New Orleans, you’re probably looking for delicious, authentic food and great music. Bourbon Street, however, is not the best place to find it. The constant noise, overflowing bars, and often raucous behavior can overshadow the city’s rich cultural heritage, and the commercialization of Bourbon Street has led to an abundance of souvenir shops, strip clubs, and tourist traps. 

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach

Sorry to disappoint you with this one! While the famous Waikiki Beach offers stunning views and a vibrant atmosphere, the sheer volume of visitors ruin the experience. The beachfront area is often packed with tourists, making it difficult to find a quiet spot to relax and unwind. The crowded nature of the beach can also lead to a lack of personal space and a sense of constant hustle and bustle. Moreover, the commercialization of Waikiki has resulted in numerous high-rise hotels, chain restaurants, and souvenir shops. Translation: very little tranquility, culture, OR relaxation will be found here. 

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Miami Beach
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Ann Arbor for MSN
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