Watch Out for These Tourist Traps in All 50 States
For better or worse, tourist traps are part of the American landscape. Countless overhyped, colorful, quirky, and sometimes downright mystifying spots draw sightseers nationwide. Whether a given attraction qualifies as a tourist trap is often in the eye of the beholder. Travel blogger David James of The GypsyNester has his own test: Visitors usually leave feeling a little swindled.
"But we love tourist traps. David cannot pass them by," says his wife, Veronica James. "Boomers are really into this stuff because, when we were kids, that's where we went. We would pack up our station wagon and go to these places."
Some are iconic locales now overrun or overrated. Others lure road trippers out of the way of their intended destinations. They might be cheesy, inauthentic, overpriced, crowded, boring, ugly, or just plain not worth the time. We talked to travel bloggers and industry professionals and read online reviews to identify tourist traps in every state.
(Editor's note: This story has been revised since publication.)
Opened in July, Ark Encounter promises to bring the Biblical story of Noah's Ark to life. The recently completed, wooden replica of the ship was built according to dimensions provided in the Bible -- 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. Some visitors find the admission prices big as well, especially after construction won government tax breaks: An adult ticket is $40, children's admission is $28, and visitors also pay for parking and activities inside the park, such as as $59 zip line experience. "I don't see how families can afford it," one reviewer writes on TripAdvisor.
The sign for God's Ark of Safety proclaims, "Noah's Ark Being Rebuilt Here!" The plan, 30 years in the making, is to construct a replica with the same dimensions listed in the Bible. But the ministry building it in Frostburg has managed to erect only a tangle of steel beams so far. In the meantime, someone else has beat them to it.