12 of the Worst Tourist Destinations in the United States According to Americans

Mount Rushmore

Tourism is a booming industry in the United States, with millions of visitors traveling to various destinations yearly. However, not all tourist destinations are created equal, and some may leave visitors feeling disappointed or underwhelmed. Recently on an online platform, Americans have shared their thoughts on the worst tourist destinations in the U.S.

1. Las Vegas: Dirty. Smelly. Crowded.

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Las Vegas was one of the most popular answers among Americans when asked what the most overrated tourist destinations in the U.S. are. The first person described it as, “Dirty. Smelly. Crowded.” The next said, “Las Vegas. And I enjoy Las Vegas. But I don’t understand why it’s the first place so many tourists want to visit.”

2. Wall Drug: Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype

WALL, SOUTH DAKOTA - SEPTEMBER 26: Famous Wall Drug Store on September 26, 2008 in Wall, South Dakota. This attractions draws some 2 million tourists a year with its gift shop and restaurants.
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Wall Drug is a famous tourist attraction located in Wall, South Dakota. It’s perhaps best known for its extensive advertising campaign, featuring signs placed along highways around the United States. However, many visitors were left feeling unimpressed after visiting. One visitor stated, “Wall Drug is so underwhelming. You see signs for a thousand miles to discover a little store selling crap trinkets, a loud overcrowded restaurant with subpar food, and an old cruddy-looking dinosaur statue behind a gas station.”  Another stated, “Drive through the state and the number of billboards is unbelievable and unworthy!”

3. Mall of America: Just a Big Mall

07/13/2016 Minneapolis MN- The Front entrance of the mall of America.
Photo credit: Nick Lundgren // Shutterstock.com

The Mall of America offers a more standardized shopping experience that you can find in malls across the country. “I don’t know what people are expecting, but it’s just a big shopping mall,” the first American said. It also may not provide the same local flavor and authenticity that other tourist destinations can offer. Others complained that there are fewer unique stores and more chain stores now.  

4. Plymouth Rock: More Like Plymouth Pebble

Plymouth Rock Massachusetts
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Many Americans reported being very underwhelmed after visiting Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth Rock is known as the traditional site where the Pilgrims first stepped ashore when they arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. One commenter said, “It’s more like the Plymouth Pebble.”  Another added, “Don’t forget that it’s fenced off and people love to throw trash in the pit.”

5. Branson, Missouri: Hillbilly Vegas?

Skyline view of Branson, Missouri with the display showing at the landing waterfront park area. The fountain has fire reflection into the water with tourist watching as they shop.
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Branson, Missouri is a popular tourist destination located in the Ozark Mountains in the southern part of the state. However, despite its popularity, many Americans bashed this tourist destination saying, “It’s basically hillbilly Vegas.” Another traveler added, “It’s Vegas if it was run by Ned Flanders. It’s like Vegas without booze, gambling, and fun.”

6. Hollywood: A Dirty and Overpriced Destination

Photo credit: Canva
Photo credit: Canva

Hollywood, the once-glamorous and fascinating city that’s often been glorified in movies and T.V. shows, has received some criticism from Americans who believe it to be the worst tourist destination in the United States. According to them, the city’s filthy surroundings, overpriced attractions, and overall bleak atmosphere make it a far cry from the glitz and glamour that it’s often portrayed to be.

7. Niagara Falls: Cool Views but Disaster Towns

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While Niagara Falls may still be an awe-inspiring natural wonder, some visitors expressed disappointment with the surrounding towns. They believe the tourist destination has lost its charm due to rampant commercialization and lack of maintenance, leaving the towns unappealing. Despite the magnificence of the falls, they suggest that the overall experience of visiting the area may be better.

8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: A Hollow Tourist Trap

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA city skyline.
Photo credit: Sean Pavone // Shutterstock.com

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, once considered a glamorous and attractive destination, has received criticism from other Americans who suggest it is a tourist trap devoid of meaningful experiences. Instead, they recommend exploring other areas that offer more authentic and enriching travel experiences.

9. Great Salt Lake, Utah: A Disappointing Destination

Great Salt Lake, Utah
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Picture this: you’re planning your next vacation, and you come across a review that labels a popular tourist spot as the worst destination in the entire country. That’s exactly what happened to the Great Salt Lake in Utah, which a disgruntled traveler slammed. According to them, the lake is underwhelming and downright unpleasant, with a pungent odor and stinging water caused by its high salt content. As if that’s not bad enough, there’s also a severe lack of things to see and do in the area, making the journey not worth the hassle.

10. Mount Rushmore: Underwhelming or a Patriotic Marvel?

Mount Rushmore
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While Mount Rushmore is undoubtedly an impressive engineering feat, an American notes that the surrounding area may be underwhelming. Visitors may be disappointed by the lack of amenities and activities in the immediate vicinity. Additionally, some Native American groups have criticized the monument for being built on sacred land and promoting a distorted version of history.

11. Bourbon Street, New Orleans: A Depressing Tourist Trap

Bourbon Street
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While Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans may be a popular attraction for tourists, an adventurer suggests that it is the worst tourist destination in the U.S. They describe it as a trashy, overpriced, and depressing spot for drunken revelry. The user suggests exploring other parts of the city, such as Faubourg Marigny, the Garden District, and Audubon Park and Zoo, for a more authentic and enjoyable New Orleans experience. They also recommend visiting museums, antique shops, bookstores, and French Quarter art galleries outside Bourbon Street.

12. Lancaster, Pa: Staring at Amish People as a Vacation?

Amish horse buggy
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has received criticism from a wandering soul who finds it hard to believe anyone would visit to stare at the Amish people living in the area. The commenter finds this aspect of Lancaster’s tourism industry exploitative and distasteful.

Source: Reddit

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Snorkeling with Manatees in Crystal River
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Washington DC
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Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA - September 21, 2014: Tourist enjoying the view of the west rim of The Grand Canyon from the Skywalk at Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA on September 21, 2014
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Photo credit: Craig Sterken // Shutterstock.com

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The Buffalo, New York skyline across Niagara River
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