The United States is full of beautiful, captivating scenery worth exploring. There are big cities offering nightlife and dining options beyond your imagination. However, there are also places that millions of people visit yearly and leave disappointed.
Let’s have a look at the most overrated tourist destinations in the country to save you time, money, and sanity!
How Much Tourism Does the U.S. Get?
Over two billion Americans travel each year domestically. According to US Travel, in 2019, “Leisure travel accounted for 80% of all U.S. domestic travel.”
These travelers and international visitors spend over $1 trillion, which accounts for millions of jobs. Twenty-five percent of that money goes to food services, and twenty-two percent goes to lodging. The travel and hospitality industry in the United States is currently thriving.
Where Are People Traveling to the Most in the U.S.?
It’s tricky to gauge where exactly people are visiting because of how people record statistics country-wide. But the main tourist attractions include Times Square in New York City with 50 million visitors yearly and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida with over 20 million annual visitors.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, with about 12 million visitors each year. Central Park, Union Station, Golden Gate Park, and Lincoln Park are also extremely popular tourist attractions.
It may not have made this list, but the Great Smoky Mountains are overrated, too!
Overrated Tourist Destinations in the U.S.A.
If you’re looking for a family vacation spot or want to take a road trip, save time and money, and don’t include these locations in your plans. There are many other popular areas worth spending a week or two and numerous overlooked regions of the country worth exploring.
About: Mount Rushmore isn’t only about the four Presidents whose faces are on the rock of the Black Hills. It’s more about sculpting and art.
Gutzon Borglum immortalized George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The idea came from Doane Robinson, who wanted to boost tourism in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Why It’s Overrated: Although Mount Rushmore symbolizes America’s greatness, it’s not too grand. The monument is frequently a disappointment in size for onlookers.
And once you get out to the middle of nowhere to see it, you might immediately wonder if it made the Black Hills look worse. Although it’s one of the most visited sites in the country, it’s one to leave off your must-see list.
The Four Corners Monument
About: The four states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona converge to form the Four Corners Monument. It’s the only place in the United States where four states intersect at one point, so it’s a unique tourist attraction.
You’ll see the high monument long before you arrive since the location is so remote. The bronze disc features flags representing the states and Tribal Nations of the area.
Why It’s Overrated: The Four Corners Monument is in the middle of nowhere. You’ll travel miles just to take a photo and say you’ve been there. It’s not really worth it.
Plus, the concrete slab that welcomes visitors isn’t genuinely at the intersection of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
About: With 60 miles of coastline, Myrtle Beach welcomes 20 million tourists yearly. The popular SkyWheel provides 360-degree views of the area.
Broadway at the Beach offers shops and dining experiences without breaking the bank. For families traveling on a budget, Myrtle Beach has been the go-to vacation spot.
Why It’s Overrated: Ripley’s attractions, Señor Frogs, Pirate’s Voyage, Margaritaville, and other attractions are all places you can find in different locations in the country. Nothing is unique here.
It’s dirty, it’s busy, and the beaches aren’t beautiful. If you’re looking for a stunning tropical oasis, Myrtle Beach isn’t it.
Here’s why Jimmy Buffet wants you to stay at his RV Park, Margaritaville.
The Statue of Liberty
About: The copper statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States in 1886. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand, she carries a tablet with the inscription JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776). The Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom and has welcomed immigrants arriving by sea for hundreds of years.
Why It’s Overrated: The Statue of Liberty is beautiful, but it’s best to see it from afar. After you pay for a ticket and pay for a ferry ride, it’s an expensive trip for a lackluster view.
Once you get up close, it’s hard to take in the statue’s beauty. Plus, long lines to get inside won’t make your visit more enjoyable.
Mall of America
About: The Mall of America welcomes more shoppers than any other shopping mall in the country. Inside there are more than 500 stores, 50 restaurants, a basketball court, a theme park, and an aquarium. Most people spend at least three hours walking around and taking in the sights.
Why It’s Overrated: Even though it’s massive, the Mall of America is still a mall. It has the same stores you can visit in any other state.
Plus, there’s always a crowd. It’s hard to enjoy an indoor facility with so many people walking around. We can think of about a hundred better ways to spend a day.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
About: The most successful actors, filmmakers, musicians, and celebrities in history are on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The 18 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard contain more than 2,700 brass stars on the sidewalk. Tourists enjoy snapping photos of celebrity stars throughout the decades, from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Hanks.
Why It’s Overrated: There is nothing else to do here. Cheap gift shops, tattoo parlors, and other tourist traps line the streets.
But once you’ve walked past 100 stars, you still have over 2,000 left. It gets old fast. Plus, many of the stars are in disrepair. It’s a depressing feeling.
About: About a million people visit Plymouth Rock yearly. It’s no wonder since it marks the beginning of our country’s freedom.
Resting in Pilgrim Memorial State Park, the rock sits protected on the shore of Plymouth Harbor. According to legend, this is part of the rock on which the Mayflower landed when the passengers began the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts.
Why It’s Overrated: When you get down to it, Plymouth Rock is merely a rock. And it’s puny. When you arrive, you’ll probably wonder where the rest of it is.
Also, there’s no evidence to prove the historical significance of Plymouth Rock. So you could be staring at a rock that someone dug up two hundred years ago.
About: People know the Las Vegas Strip’s high concentration of resorts and casinos. It’s about four miles of hotels, casinos, restaurants, residential high-rises, entertainment offerings, and skyline. Famous for its nightlife and shows, Las Vegas welcomes over 40 million tourists annually.
Why It’s Overrated: Las Vegas is expensive. Lodging, meals, and entertainment cost an arm and a leg and aren’t much better than your typical city accommodations.
It’s also “Sin City” for a reason. If you’re not into rowdy crowds or solicitous affairs, Las Vegas isn’t the place for you.
The Space Needle in Seattle
About: One of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, builders made the Space Needle in Seattle for the 1962 World’s Fair, whose theme was “The Age of Space.”
The 520-foot saucer provides tourists 360-degree indoor and outdoor views of downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, the Puget Sound, the Cascades, and the Olympic mountain ranges.
Why It’s Overrated: The experience at the Space Needle wouldn’t be so bad if it were a place for these expansive views. However, instead, you get souvenir shops and people trying to get you to spend more money.
It isn’t quiet with all the people, and the long-range views are only possible on clear, beautiful days. We all know those days are few and far between in Seattle.
Santa Monica Pier
About: The Santa Monica Pier has been around since 1909 and is a National Historic Landmark. It was the first concrete pier on the West Coast.
There are carnival rides, vendor carts, street performers, and local eateries. Many people take selfies at the end of the Route 66 sign. There’s plenty to do and experience during your visit, but there are also reasons to avoid it.
Why It’s Overrated: If you want tourism exploitation at its finest, you’ve found it at the Santa Monica Pier. What was once a way to get rid of sewage waste has become a carnival.
Plus, it’s dirty. The water, the pier, and the streets are all disgusting. It’s run-down and over-priced, so don’t make a memorable trip to this overrated tourist destination.
Should You Avoid Overrated Tourist Destinations?
If you’re near these overrated tourist destinations, drive there to experience the sights and sounds. Some are iconic American symbols that bring swells of pride and nostalgia.
However, don’t make any special trips. The time and money it takes to visit these locations aren’t worth it. Instead, explore the beautiful National Parks or take an adventure on a remote island. There are many overlooked locations well-worth visiting when you plan your next vacation.
Have you visited one of these tourist destinations? Do you feel that it’s overrated?
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