Tourist Traps to Avoid in Every State

The Four Corners is the only location in the United States where four states meet - Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. It is also the border between Ute and Navajo indian lands.

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Every State

As much as we inherently like to travel and see new things, sometimes we get caught up in the excitement. While it’s easy to identify the top tourist attractions in every state, it’s not as easy to know the tourist traps. There are far too many locations in the world that attempt to lure you in with the promise of a great experience only to disappoint. 

The good news is that you can try and avoid tourist traps with a little bit of research. Better yet, you can trust that we have done all the right research for you. With that in mind, let’s to take a look at the tourist traps you should avoid in every state so you can save both time and money.


Vulcan statue at Vulcan park
The Vulcan Statue is the largest in the world but its true origins are unknown.
  • Ave Maria Grotto: A 4-acre miniature religious city. 
  • Point Mallard Park: Skip this water park and visit a beautiful Alabama beach. 
  • Vulcan Statue: The largest cast iron statue in the world.


Welcome sign in North Pole, Alaska
The North Pole in Alaska might sound like fun, but it’s really just a money grab.
  • North Pole: North Pole, Alaska celebrates Christmas year round and it’s one giant money pit. 
  • Gold Dredge 8: Historic gold mine that pushes you into an expensive gift shop. 
  • Red Onion Saloon: A brothel museum with expensive food.


Four Corners Monument tourist site
The Four Corners in Arizona is little more than just a giant X in a small park.
  • Four Corners: Long lines make this location difficult to enjoy. 
  • The Thing: Any tourist trap that needs hundreds of billboards is worth skipping. 
  • Sedona Jeep Tours: You don’t need a jeep tour to see Sedona’s beauty.


Crater of Diamond State Park Sign
If a diamond mind has been open since 1906, you aren’t finding huge rocks.
  • Crater of Diamonds State Park: Diamond Mine, open since 1906, where you likely won’t find anything. 
  • Eureka Springs: The laid-back town is gone and now it’s difficult to park with too many people. 
  • Josephine Tussauds Wax Museum: Expect to overpay and be incredibly disappointed. 


Walk of fame, hollywood boulevard, los angeles, california, usa, north america
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is not nearly as exciting as you might think.
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame: Essentially an overcrowded sidewalk with too many tourists.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf: Historically important but an overcrowded tourist trap for years. 
  • Venice Beach: A popular but overcrowded beach and boardwalk.


Grave of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Located in Lookout Mountain Park
The grave of Buffalo Bill hasn’t changed in over 100 years.
  • Buffalo Bill Grave: It’s essentially a grave that hasn’t changed since 1921. 
  • Four Corners Monument: Continues to be an overrated location for tourists.
  • 16th Street Mall: The Times Square of Colorado is now overrun by chain restaurants. 


Mystic Pizza
For some reason, Mystic Pizza still draws tourists decades after a namesake movie.
  • Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Store: Home to the world’s largest Jack-in-the-Box. Fun!
  • Olde Mistick Village: According to TripAdvisor, tourists are catching on this is a tourist trap. 
  • Mystic Pizza: Mediocre pizza destination still drawing tourists three decades after a so-so movie. 


The boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The boardwalk is very crowded during the warmer months, making it difficult to enjoy.
  • Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk: It’s overcrowded, difficult to find parking, and prices are inflated for the tourists. 
  • Dover Air Mobility Command Museum: Undoubtedly a niche stop for most people.
  • Tax-Free Shopping Outlets: These are tourist traps in every sense of the phrase. 


Edward Leedskalnin secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock to form this beautiful Coral Castle in Miami.
The Coral Castle Museum is intriguing, but not worth the drive or the price.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not: It’s a smaller museum with mediocre attractions right by Disney. 
  • Coral Castle Museum: Essentially a giant rock collection.
  • International Drive: A street full of random shops and IHOP restaurants.


World of Coca-Cola
At the very least, you can see where the secret formula to Coca-Cola is stored.
  • World of Coca-Cola: Unless you love Coca-Cola, you can skip this trip. 
  • CNN Center: It’s a big name in the news, but it’s not a building worth visiting. 
  • Underground Atlanta: This area now has more chain stores than independent shops. 


Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii
Waikiki Beach is beautiful, but overrun by tourists and chain restaurants.
  • Waikiki Beach: Great postcard but too expensive to truly enjoy Hawaii. 
  • Luau Shows: A lot of luau shows have become too commercialized. 
  • Polynesian Cultural Center: There have been complaints for a while that it’s inauthentic. 


Shoshone Falls Reservoir in Twin Falls, Idaho. Wide angle view of the water flowing over the stone cliffs with a view of the dam and table rocks in the background.
If you go during the wrong month, Shoshone Falls is little more than a trickkle.
  • Craters of the Moon: Spend 5 minutes looking at volcanic rocks.
  • Idaho Potato Museum: There is no need for a potato museum.
  • Shoshone Falls: Depending on the month, this is less of a waterfall and more of a trickle. 


Chicago Navy Pier Ferris Wheel
Navy Pier can be fun but it’s overpriced and always crowded.
  • Magnificent Mile: The Mag Mile is essentially just shopping and dining. 
  • Navy Pier: The ideal tourist trap in Chicago, especially during warmer months. 
  • Super Museum: Only die-hard Superman fans will enjoy 70,000 plus themed items. 


NCAA Hall of Champions
The NCAA Hall of Champions needs to be renovated in a big way.
  • NCAA Hall of Champions: It’s a great idea that needs a massive overhaul. 
  • World’s Largest Ball of Paint: A baseball with 23,400 layers of paint weighing 4,000 pounds. 
  • Indianapolis Zoo: Compared to other zoos, you can skip this one. 


Spook Cave Falls in Iowa
You can skip Spook Cave which doesn’t live up to its name.
  • James T. Kirk Birthplace: Only Star Trek fans will love this.
  • Antique Archeology: Famous for the American Pickers TV show, but it’s not worth the trip. 
  • Spook Cave: A cave tour that has become the definition of a tourist trap. 


Cawker City Ball of Twine
There’s no need to go out of your way to see a giant ball of twine.
  • Cawker City Ball of Twine: It’s a ball of twine, that’s all you need to know. 
  • Dorothy’s House: A tourist trap that resembles the house from the beloved film. 
  • Old Cowtown Museum: Unless you love late 1880s life, you won’t find much to enjoy here. 


One of the winners of daily races at Churchill Downs race track
Churchill Downs is only great during Kentucky Derby weekend.
  • Ark Encounter: It’s great if you love the religious side, but wildly inflated prices make it hard to recommend. 
  • Churchill Downs: Unless it’s Kentucky Derby weekend, you can skip this tour.
  • Bourbon Trail: A tour that has become more commercialized than about history. 


Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, New Orleans USA
Bourbon Street is well known but not much fun if you don’t enjoy drinking.
  • Bourbon Street: Pretty much just bars and bright neon lights.
  • Swamp Tours: Most swamp tours feel too crowded and rushed. 
  • Mardi Gras: Unless you absolutely love partying and drinking, this isn’t a lot of fun. 


Desert of Maine
A desert in Maine is a cool phenomeon but it’s just sand around trees.
  • Desert of Maine: Little more than just a natural phenomenon. 
  • Red’s Eats: Skip this and enjoy a true independent seafood eatery.
  • L.L. Bean Flagship Store: Instead of visiting the store, just shop online. 


The famous public BOARDWALK sign located at the main entrance of the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.
The Ocean City Boardwalk is famous, but now it just caters to tourists.
  • Ocean City Boardwalk: Like most boardwalks, it caters to tourists with high pricing. 
  • Maryland Renaissance Festival: Recent TripAdvisor reviews indicate it’s too crowded and expensive. 
  • Annapolis City Dock: Locals will tell you to avoid and head downtown instead. 


Plymouth Rock Massachusetts
Literally just a rock, many locals will tell you to skip Plymouth Rock.
  • Plymouth Rock: For many tourists, this location is overrated and underwhelming. 
  • Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market: Generic brands have replaced the historical shops making it a true tourist trap. 
  • Duck Tours: There are better ways to see the sights of Boston. 


Soo Locks, Sault Ste Marie, MI Bridge to Canada only open to essential workers.
Soo Locks is interesting to sit and watch, for a few minutes at least.
  • Mystery Spot: There’s nothing mysterious about this place, it’s just a cheap optical illusion. 
  • Soo Locks: Just a bunch of boats moving through a lake.
  • Detroit Casinos: Anyone who loves gambling should head to Vegas or Atlantic City. 


Split Rock Lighthouse High Above Lake Superior in Northeastern Minnesota
The Split Rock Lighthouse overlooks a beautiful setting, but it’s out of the way.
  • Mall of America: If you love shopping, the mall is great but overcrowded. 
  • Split Rock Lighthouse: Too expensive for a few photos. 
  • Minnesota State Fair: Like any state fair, costs add up quickly as do the crowds. 


Biloxi, Mississippi, casinos and buildings along Gulf Coast shore at sunset
The Gulf Coast casinos aren’t nearly as exciting as those in Vegas.
  • Birthplace of Elvis: A two-room shack, there’s very little to see. 
  • Gulf Coast Casinos: The Gulf Coast casinos lack the thrill and panache of Las Vegas. 
  • Historic Natchez Cemetery: It’s a beautiful location, but still just a cemetery. 


The Titanic Museum
You can skip the random Titanic museum in the middle of Missouri.
  • Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum: Have fun walking on rocks and sitting on nuclear bombs and other radioactive materials. 
  • Titanic Museum: An absolute money grab about the Titanic.
  • Missouri Wine Country: If it’s wine you want, try Napa.


A large grizzly bear sits in a shallow pond holding onto a log while relaxing and cooling off on a hot summer day in Montana.
The Montana Grizzly Encounter is both dangerous and morally questionable.
  • 50,000 Silver Dollar: Unique, but it’s essentially just a collection of silver dollars. 
  • Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park: More of a classroom lesson than an attraction.
  • Montana Grizzly Encounter: This tourist trap feels like little more than a paid photo op.


Carhenge in Nebraska A Roadside Attraction
Carhenge is a poor example of what Stonehenge is really about.
  • Carhenge: 39 cars stuck in the ground paying homage to England’s Stonehenge. 
  • Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge: A bridge photo with your feet in Nebraska and Iowa.
  • Pioneer Village: You pay a big admission price for a limited experience. 


Ride on a venetian gondola in Las Vegas
Just skip the Venetian hotel gondolas as it’s neither romantic nor quiet.
  • Venetian Gondolas: You’re in the wrong city and hotel to enjoy a romantic ride. 
  • Adventuredome: Adventuredome and Circus Circus need a massive overhaul. 
  • Alien Research Center: This is little more than a souvenir shop on the way to Area 51. 

New Hampshire

The Salem Witch Museum is regarded as one of the worst tourist traps in the U.S.
  • Old Man of the Mountain: Partially collapsed in 2003, this is a trip you don’t need to make. 
  • Mercury-Redstone Rocket: Visit the Kennedy Space Center instead. 
  • Salem-Witch Museum: According to USA Today, this is the second biggest tourist trap in the world. 

New Jersey

Margates wonderful Lucy the Elephant
Believe it or not, Lucy the Elephant is actually a home.
  • Adventure Aquarium: Reviews indicate this place is so crowded that breathing is tough. 
  • Lucy the Elephant: It’s a multi-story home that’s shaped like an elephant.
  • Atlantic City Boardwalk: Like any other boardwalk, it’s overcrowded and dangerous at night.

New Mexico

Billy the Kid Museum
Watch the movie Young Guns instead of visiting the Billy the Kid museum.
  • Roswell: The centerpiece of UFO rumors in America, it’s a giant tourist trap. 
  • Billy the Kid Museum: It’s a trip back in time to the old west before you get bored. 
  • Tinkertown Museum: Unless you have a love affair with bottles, you can skip this destination.

New York

Times Square with neon art and commerce, an iconic street of Manhattan in New York City , United States
Times Square is an overcrowded mess that is only enjoyable one night a year.
  • Times Square: It’s great on New Year’s Eve, but otherwise avoid at all costs. 
  • Statue of Liberty: While symbolic, many say a trip here is overrated. 
  • Empire State Building: Instead of this location, try One World Trade Center. 

North Carolina

Blowing Rock North Carolina Vista
Blowing Rock has a great view you can elsewhere for free.
  • Blowing Rock: Why pay for a view you can get for free? 
  • Mary’s Gone Wild: If you like weird glass art, this might be the place for you. 
  • World’s Largest Frying Pan: For some reason, people flock to see a giant frying pan. 

North Dakota

Geographical Center of North America Sign in Rugby, North Dakota with Mexico, Canada and United States Flags
Don’t go out of your way to see Rugby, North Dakota.
  • Enchanted Highway: 32 miles of metal sculptures that you don’t need a dedicated trip for. 
  • Rugby: The geological center of North America, in a restaurant parking lot.
  • Dakota Thunder: For some reason, it’s the world’s largest buffalo statue.


Christmas Story House
Even if you love the movie, the Christmas Story house isn’t worth the trip.
  • Christmas Story House: The movie is a classic, but the home has long lines and isn’t worth the wait. 
  • Cheese Haven: It’s hard to compete with Wisconsin as the best state for cheese. 
  • Dresden: The world’s largest basket is cool but also weird. 


Route 66 Museum
Just enjoy the drive on Route 66 and don’t stop at its random museums.
  • Route 66 Museum: Route 66 is a fun drive but doesn’t require a museum.
  • The Blue Whale: Some say too many people stop to grab a picture of a whale statue. 
  • Eskimo Joe’s: Locals call it the most overrated restaurant in Oklahoma. 


The Oregon Vortex
The Oregon Vortex is the definition of a tourist trap.
  • Prehistoric Gardens: Great for fans of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park, but that’s about it.  
  • The Oregon Vortex: Yet another weird roadside attraction that’s just a cheap trick. 
  • Peterson Rock Garden: Too small and not worth the admission. 


Betsy Ross House, Historical landmark in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
There is no evidence Betsy Ross sewed the flag at her home.
  • Betsy Ross House: Still no official documentation proving this is where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. 
  • Haines Shoe House: It’s the story of the old lady who lived in a shoe, but a real home. 
  • Rocky Statue: Too many fake “staff” members try to get you to pay for a picture. 

Rhode Island

Tower Newport Rhode Island
The Viking Tower is just a mysterious rock building.
  • Mysterious Viking Tower: It’s a definite mystery who built this site, but it’s still just a small rock tower. 
  • Newport Cliff Walk: Locals say to skip the cliff walk and visit Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. 
  • Mohegan Bluffs: Skip the painful Mohegan Bluff stairs and try Whale Rock Trail. 

South Carolina

Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach is another overcrowded boardwalk.
  • South of the Border: Between the border of North and South Carolina, it’s a shameless tourist trap. 
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: There is no reason to stop at any Ripley’s location anymore. 
  • Broadway at the Beach: An overcrowded location with chain restaurants and no character. 

South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota Close
You can definitely skip the Crazy Horse memorial.
  • Wall Drug: This is a tourist trap passing itself off as a shopping center. 
  • Crazy Horse Memorial: Visitors complain you can see everything from the road. 
  • Corn Palace: No pun intended, but it’s the corniest place many TripAdvisor reviews have recently visited. 


city of Gatlinburg in Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains from a bird's eye view, a tourist mecca with hotels, parking and shops.
Gatlinburg has quickly grown into a major tourist trap.
  • Hard Rock Cafe: There is far too much to do in Nashville to stop at a generic Hard Rock Cafe. 
  • Gatlinburg: Gatlinburg is enjoying a surge of visitors for the moment, which means prices have skyrocketed. 
  • Nashville Murals: You’ll stand in line for hours for a few photos. 


River Walk in San Antonio, Texas
The San Antonio River Walk is believed to be a huge tourist trap with pricey restaurants.
  • Big Texan Restaurant: Texas overload in a state full of incredible places to eat big steaks and BBQ. 
  • San Antonio RiverWalk: There is a big divide between this location being the biggest tourist trap and an outstanding photo opportunity. 
  • Santa’s Wonderland: Unless you are nearby, don’t go out of your way as it’s not aging well. 


Moqui Cave near Kanab, Utah
The Moqui Cave is widely believed to be a major tourist trap.
  • Moqui Cave: Tripadvisor reviews easily peg this “ancient” museum as a tourist trap. 
  • Hole ‘N The Rock: This is just a 14-room home built in 1945, into the side of a rock.
  • Metaphor – Tree of Utah: It’s a 90-foot tree on the side of a highway, that’s all you need to know. 


rising sun lights up Camels Hump Mountain and the Champlain Valley at Shelburne Farms historic Barn
Shelburne farms charges you for absolutely everything.
  • Museum of Everyday Life: This is weird Vermont at its best.
  • Shelburne Farms: Another popular tourist destination that now charges for everything. 
  • Rock of Ages: A unique destination heavily geared toward the gift shop. 


Natural Bridge, Virginia
While intriguing, the Natural Bridge is considered to be a definite tourist trap.
  • Virginia Beach Boardwalk: Yet another overpriced boardwalk that caters to tourists with trinket shops. 
  • Dinosaur Land: The gift shop is the best part of this attraction. 
  • Natural Bridge: Long considered one of the most overrated tourist stops in Virginia. 


The Fremont Troll or the Troll Under the Bridge
A troll under a bridge isn’t all that exciting.
  • Gum Wall: It’s a wall of gum on a wall that nobody ever needs to see. 
  • Original Starbucks: The lines here are insane.
  • Fremont Troll: A photo-op of a troll sculpture, you can definitely take a pass.

West Virginia

The Greenbrier Historic Hotel
Visit West Virginia and see where Congress would have outlived everyone.
  • The Congressional Bunker: An overrated and expensive way to see how politicians would have enjoyed doomsday. 
  • Mothman Museum: It’s a museum about a mythical creature that you have to pay for.
  • Mystery Hole: Another shameless illusion-focused tourist trap according to TripAdvisor. 


Mars Cheese Castle
The Mars Cheese Castle is the last place to go for cheese in Wisconsin.
  • Mars Cheese Castle: Out of all of the places you can get cheese in Wisconsin, don’t make this your first stop. 
  • Top Secret: The fun exterior hides the super disappointing interior of this upside-down tourist trap. 
  • House on the Rock: Most visitors agree with one TripAdvisor review that says only 15% of this visit is worth it. 


Wyoming Dinosaur Center
Skip the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and rewatch Jurassic Park.
  • Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport: Nothing taking off from this location has ever gone to space. 
  • Wyoming Dinosaur Center: For the admission price, this location should take longer than an hour. 
  • Devils Tower Trading Post: Devils Tower is incredible but the gift shop is a money grab. 

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