The World's Worst Tourist Traps

What defines a tourist trap? For some, it’s the tacky T-shirt shops or overpriced museums; for others, it’s the crowds or the chain restaurants. You probably have a few nominations of your own, but here are a few of our least favorite travel experiences.

Text by Bill Hitchner | Photo editing by Connie Ricca

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Jan 16, 2013 4:58PM
The tram is like an enclosed ferris wheel with two carts facing each other on a track. The only people you can see are the ones on the seats across from you with about a foot and a half space between you.  I talked the whole way up to the platform and back down trying to say silly things to take my mind off of the horrible claustrophobia that I was feeling. There are no windows on the way up and down so you might take in all the fresh air and enjoy the platform. The view from the top is nice.  There is no other way down except to ride the tram back down.  My suggestion: Look at it and take pictures from the outside and visit the giftshop. Spend the rest of your time doing something else.
Aug 27, 2012 6:04AM
Go to Eureka Springs , Arkansas.  Tacky junk trinket shops and biker bars with hundreds of loud motor cycles running the streets all day and night.   Over the recent years the quiet little town that started as a Spa and honeymoon retreat has turned into a den of boozing bikers that do not buy anything because it is hard to buy an amount of merchandise and carry on a motor cycle. It seems that there are no noise abatement laws in Eureka Springs with all the noise from the cycles exaust and blaring stereos along with the croud hanging into the streets and from the bar balconys hooting and hollering a passerbys.  I know of many that have moved from Eureka Springs because of the noise.  Many will not visit when the weather is favorable for motorcyle riding and avoid the touristy Spring Street area.  
Aug 5, 2012 10:24PM

I think that I was most impressed by meteor crater in arizona, however; my wife and kids disagreed, loudly and persistantly.

Skip southern california, the san diego zoo is the worst rip off, the only thing worth the money is mann's chinese threater footprints (no charge, at least not when I was there).

Aug 5, 2012 8:32PM
You would think that somebody would do something about that tower after all these years, I personally would like to see the thing fall and get this whole leaning thing over once and for all!
Aug 5, 2012 3:58AM
Couldn't agree more about the Experience Music Project. Poorly designed and layed out. Boring, even for a musician. Ugly, ugly, ugly. An eye-sore in our city.
Aug 4, 2012 3:12PM

I am proud to say my wife, and I've visited every one of these with our kids in tow.  We've subjected them to other horrors such as the Louvre, Tivoli Gardens, The Acropolis, Checkpoint Charlie (the real one, back when there was still a wall), The Smithsonian (four day deathmarch around the mall and other DC sights), every kitschy tourist trap along The Avenue of the Giants (including purchasing lots of chainsaw art and Dr. Grover Krantz' book about Bigfoot at the one in Garberville), Dinosaur Caverns, The Corn Palace, The Grand Ole Opry, and about a thousand other similar places.


We were determined that since Uncle Sam (US Army) insisted upon being our travel agent, we'd visit every place we could and expose our kids to as much history and culture as possible.  It seems to have worked.  Now that they're older they appreciate the advantage it gave them in school over their peers.

Aug 4, 2012 8:17AM
R.E.: Faneuil Hall.  Yes, Quincy Market is a total tourist trap, but no one was in Faneuil Hall when I was there two years ago.  You can walk in, and spend some time thinking about all of the great, historical moments that took place there.  Skip Quincy Market, walk in to the hall for a bit of peace, quiet, and history. 
Jul 28, 2012 10:13PM
Boot Hill in Dodge City, Kansas is was worse and more expensive then most of the places listed here.
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