Skip The Trip! 7 Most Overrated Tourist Attractions In The U.S.

Planning your road trip or vacation takes patience, budgeting, and a lot of research. A fun family vacation or road trip is a great way to bond with your kids while teaching them more about our great country. However, not all tourist destinations are worth the trip. So, to help you plan your summer road trip, we’re breaking down the seven most overrated tourist attractions in the U.S.

Planning a road trip? StudyFinds did the digging, consulting 10 travel and tourism review sites to bring you a consensus list of the seven most overrated tourist attractions in the U.S. today. Do you have an overrated attraction you’d like to warn everyone about? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Tourists taking pictures (Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels)

The List: Most Overrated Tourist Attractions in the U.S. To Skip

1. Mount Rushmore

Mt Rushmore
Mount Rushmore (Photo by Ronda Darby on Unsplash)

The top spot on the list of the most overrated attractions in the U.S. belongs to Mount Rushmore. Although it is a historic monument, travelers might be a little disappointed after taking the long trip to South Dakota just to look at some faces carved into the rock, notes Thrillist. If you’re going to Mount Rushmore, it’s best to make the trip part of a larger experience such as while also visiting Badlands National Park, the Custer Wildlife Loop, or Sylvan Lake, suggests Life Hacker.

That’s not to say the men depicted on Mount Rushmore aren’t worthy of being called great. The mountain pays tribute to some of the greatest American Presidents in history. If you are going to see Mount Rushmore, it’s best to make the trip at dusk to catch the lighting ceremony. However, when you arrive, you’ll notice that it is smaller than you might have imagined, notes The Getaway.

Much of the appeal of Mount Rushmore is cultural as the term has become synonymous with greatness, says The Travel. For example, “Who is on the Mount Rushmore of the NBA?” has become a rhetorical question designed to differentiate or acknowledge a basketball player’s accomplishments. It may not be all it’s cracked up to be, though. So, unless you are a huge fan of rock sculptures and presidential heads, it’s okay to skip this stop.

2. Las Vegas

"Welcome to Las Vegas" sign
“Welcome to Las Vegas” sign (Photo by Sean Pavone on Shutterstock)

The allure of Vegas makes it one of the most popular tourist cities in the world, but for anyone not into gambling and the nightlife, it might leave you feeling unfulfilled. Specifically, the Vegas Strip is easily the most overrated part of traveling to Las Vegas (Via Travelers).

All that over-the-top glitz and glamour can be overwhelming for most grown-ups looking for a relaxing getaway, explains Flannels or Flip Flops. There’s plenty of natural landscape to explore in Nevada and Las Vegas tends to distract tourists from enjoying other aspects of traveling to the state.

Known as Sin City, it is by no means a family-friendly town, furthers Finance Buzz. For most adults over the age of 30, roaming around the Vegas Strip is likely going to be an exhausting experience full of unsightly scenes and half-drunk single people looking for a good time. The buffets are subpar and the common Vegas traveler is likely going to lose a lot of money – doesn’t sound like a great vacation.

3. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock monument
Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts (“Plymouth Rock” by jps246 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

Next up on the list of the most overrated tourist attractions in the U.S. is Plymouth Rock. The historical landmark is located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park on the shore of Plymouth Harbor – both very cool tourist destinations. However, making the trip to Plymouth Rock sounds cooler than it actually is, mostly because it’s just a rock in the sand without any tangible evidence that this was the pilgrims’ stepping stone to the new world, explains The Travel.

If you’re a stickler for historical significance, Plymouth Rock might be a pilgrimage in itself. History buffs revere it as a reminder of the Pilgrims’ landing and the foundation of American democracy, writes The Getaway. But if you crave interactive exhibits and immersive experiences, you might be left wanting.

Be warned, if you do make the trip to see Plymouth Rock, you’re likely to run into a lot of New England elementary students on field trips, furthers Time Out. This tourist attraction is liable to leave you feeling underwhelmed and scratching your head as to the appeal of the site.

4. Times Square

busy New York street
Times Square at night (Photo by Andreas Kruck)

Times Square is one of those places made popular by movies and television, most notably for the ball drop every New Year’s Eve. Still, the New York City attraction deserves to be mentioned among the most overrated tourist destinations. The Frugal Expat even goes as far as to say it is one of the most underrated in the world.

Much of what makes Times Square overrated involves other tourists and the presence of somewhat creepy street performers in off-brand costumes. Visiting Times Square is not close to what social media and TV make it out to be, adds Via Travelers. Times Square is one of the busiest intersections in the city of New York and is often quite noisy.

As Tourism Review explains, the first glimpse of the giant ads of Times Square is a neat sight to behold. However, that wonder and amazement quickly fade as crowds of tourists vie for a chance to take a monumental selfie in the middle of the square. Add in the overpriced restaurants and retailers that you can probably find in your own city, and you can find something better to do with your time in a great place such as The Big Apple.

5. Lombard Street in San Francisco

Lombard Street in San Francisco
Lombard Street in San Francisco (Photo by Lewis Liu on Shutterstock)

Lombard Street consists of eight tight hairpin turns and it has been made famous through movies and TV shows. As The Travel mentions, there is always an endless line of cars waiting to go down Lombard Street. That’s perfect if you love being stuck in gridlock traffic on a small curvy street. That’s not to say Lombard Street isn’t worth seeing. To make the most of Lombard Street, get out and walk the iconic winding brick road.

The famous road sees up to 350 cars per minute, adds Thrillist. Despite all the traffic and a slow five mph speed limit, driving down Lombard Street only takes a few seconds, and then you just drive off. Unless you have a passenger taking pictures of the San Francisco views, there’s nothing to remember this trip by other than boasting you drove down the street.

If it’s just pictures you’re after, then you’ll want to go early in the day before the daily line of cars begin making their way down, notes The Getaway. Although this stretch of road in San Francisco is an iconic part of the city (with over two million visitors a year!), you’d be better off seeing the majestic Golden Gate Bridge or traveling the Great Highway to take in the northern California coast.

6. Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame (Photo by travelview on Shutterstock)

The sixth spot on the list of the most overrated tourist attractions in America is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This attraction is nothing more than a bunch of dirty sidewalk panels with a slew of tourists vying for pictures of names on the concrete, explains Flannels or Flip Flops. There are many other ways to explore Tinseltown including hiking up to the Hollywood sign or catching a show at a small, intimate venue.

As The Travel explains, this section of Hollywood Boulevard has lost some of its appeal. While over 2,500 individualized sidewalk panels are bearing the handprints of famous stars, many of these monuments are in a serious state of disrepair. Factor in that the landmark is lined with overpriced retail shops and tattoo parlors and you’re sure to leave somewhat disappointed.

Similar to Times Square, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is filled with creepy costumed characters asking for photo ops in exchange for your hard-earned money, notes Via Travelers. If you’re looking for the glitz and glamor of old Hollywood, you’re better served going elsewhere. Today, the town is filled with expensive retail and tacky gift shops.

7. Bourbon St. in New Orleans

busy Bourbon street
Bourbon Street, New Orleans (Photo by Mitch Hodiono on Unsplash)

Rounding out the list of the most overrated tourist attractions in the U.S. is Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The historic street lies in the heart of the French Quarter and it’s one of the most infamous for partying in the entire world. Although the architecture is stunning and the excitement of Mardi Gras is one of a kind, only plan to visit Bourbon St. when you’re in search of a true party town, explains Finance Buzz.

Picture this: flashing neon signs, tacky bars promising dirt-cheap drinks, and tipsy tourists flinging plastic beads, describes The Travel. While some might crave that wild party atmosphere, this spot seems to capture all the negatives – the cheap thrills, overpriced everything, and a chaotic energy that might leave you longing for a more relaxed vacation experience.

Similar to the Vegas Strip, there’s a lot of drinking, drug use, and other nefarious activities going on there. New Orleans is a city with a rich history and a lot of beautiful sights to take in, but Bourbon Street’s atmosphere can feel like a frat party that gets incredibly gross, real quick, adds Life Hacker.

It’s certainly not a family-friendly area of New Orleans, notes Flannels or Flip Flops. For a more diverse, cultural experience, try visiting other neighborhoods such as the Marigny or Garden district where you will find great restaurants, local art galleries, and a vibrant music scene.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.


Comments are closed.