Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones


When thinking about where to travel, many folks stick to the defaults. While some places are undisputed classics, frequent travel has created a whole host of locations that exist just to fleece you. 

Someone asked travelers to share “Which City is the worst tourist trap?” and people gave their “best to avoid” answers. We also got in touch with veteran traveler Sophie Collard to learn more. So get comfortable as you scroll through, upvote your favorites, and be sure to comment your own examples and experiences below. 

More info: Sophieontrack.com | TravelDarkly.com

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones The “original” Starbucks in Pike Place Market in Seattle. A) It’s not the original. B) It’s unbelievably crowded all day, every day.

evecohenn , GoToVan / Flickr Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Dubai. It shouldn’t exist past bedouin camps. 

u/fellow_enthusiast:
Plastic city full of plastic people, built on a foundation of sand and oil. 

armt350 , Mo Ismail / Pexels Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Nassau Bahamas. It’s the busiest cruise ship port in the world, and not for good reasons. It’s a cheap place to stop that can accommodate the largest cruise ships, it’s close to Florida, and fulfills the requirement of “at least one foreign stop” for US cruises to operate without following US labor laws.

I could forgive that if the port was actually nice. It’s not. Traffic sucks, public transit is bad, and the area immediately surrounding the port has some of the most aggressive vendors you’ll ever find.

It’s all for the convenience of the cruise companies and none for the customer.

tubbis9001 , Chris Gent Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Cairo.
u/blizzard_of-oz:
Cairo native here can confirm. Every time I’m in downtown and see tourists I chuckle.

So what was it? Was it the camel dudes at the pyramids scamming you? Was it the pollution and dirty streets? Was it the stray animals being abused? Are you a woman that had the audacity to experience being a woman? Did a cop threaten to take you in for taking pics of places “you’re not allowed” to? Are you a gay bro that got caught having steamy sex with the closeted cab driver at the hotel? Did you clumsily tell the falafel guy that you’re Jewish?

Seriously though. People shouldn’t visit here unless they’re paying big bucks to a tourism agency, they know what they’re doing, and they have ties with the police. Cairo’s great if you pay enough to a good agency.

DaytonaDemon , Tarek Hagrass / Pexels Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Branson, MO.

It’s Vegas but for people who post “I do not give Facebook consent to print off my computer files” a lot.

Tons of overpriced shows that have been the exact same show with the exact same people for decades. Along with terrible buffets and restaurants that sell microwaved food but with a gimmick. Far more Trump/MAGA stores than any one town should probably have and a vaguely religious theme to everything in ways that are usually pretty out of place. (Though ironically, the Sight and Sound Theatre, that puts on religious plays, is probably one of the best things on the strip. Going to a show about a religious theme or story is definitely a much better experience than going to a go kart track that tells you to say the Pledge of Allegiance and then pray before you get in the cars or whatever.)

Visited many times and in fact I intend to go again. There’s a great state park nearby and there’s definitely some charm. But yeah the shoehorned/shallow patriotic-religious themes as a quick cash grab to senior citizens who will eat it up and pay extra because of it is a fascinating and strange thing to experience.

Evening_Rock5850 , Branson Convention / Flickr Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Agra, India.
u/chazzy_cat:
Omg yes. I have enjoyed most of my travel in India but Agra was a dump. It’s the Taj Mahal and literally nothing else worth seeing. Unless you are into roaming packs of feral monkeys, piles of trash everywhere, and overly-aggressive souvenir merchants. I would recommend Rajasthan instead.

youronlynora , Ninara / Flickr Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Waikiki in Honolulu. It’s not is own city, but it’s so much a tourist trap.

Nothing in there is “original”, traditional, or real, even though everything claims to be. Even the sand on the beach isn’t from there.

Everything is significantly more expensive and lower quality than just outside of it. Even things that are legitimately Hawaiian, like Poke aren’t done right there. The poke served in Waikiki is California style and generally just c**p.

There’s something to buy or spend money on at every turn. Shopping malls, little booths, street performers, memento shops, and a ABC stores (a convenience chain) literally everywhere. You can actually see several ABC stores at the same time from multiple places.

And it’s easy to get into and difficult to get out. There’s an actual moat. There’s 2 roads that funnel you into Waikiki, and if you don’t know where to go, the internal roads almost force you into a circle.

And the biggest thing with a tourist trap, it IS fun. If you get past the fact that you’re going to spend a bunch of money and everything is for show, it’s a fun place to visit.

And the last component: it works! The existence of Waikiki makes the level of tourism on O’ahu tolerable for the people who actually live there. Without Waikiki, they would be scattered all over the island and nowhere would be mostly local. But Waikiki sequestors the majority of them in one concentrated area allowing the majority of the islands inhabitants not have to deal with them.

Fearlessleader85 , Alan Light Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Pisa (Italy) – the one (pretty small) square with the famous tower is absolutely everything it has to offer, the rest is a fight through the 3:1 ratio of panhandler/peddler to tourist, with s****y cafés and a dirty town around. I really only drove through “by accident” and still wish i hadn’t.

dkktk , Jordiferrer Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the restaurants, resorts, and attractions. And those knickknack/swim suit places every block, there’s 3 different names of franchises but they’re identical and insanely overpriced. As a kid, it’s magical but as an adult, it’s so gimmicky.

bruisevwillis , Library of Congress Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Sedona, AZ is the worst tourist trap I can think of. Followed closely by Tombstone. Really any historic place in AZ is a tourist trap.

u/im4ruckus2:
Wondered if Sedona would make the list. I live here and in the Spring and Fall 45 minute traffic jams and the trails are packed and visitors park everywhere. The Uptown strip has tee shirts and tourist gifts and expensive food. But the summer and winter are great with far fewer tourists and fabulous dark skies and cool evenings. Lovely place to retire and hike. Views are impressive!!

dagiantfox87 , Mr.TinMD / Flickr Report

Key West. We stopped there on a cruise and my friends joked about how many T-shirt shops we could walk into.
u/Sunbeam-Minx:
Hey if you’re 21 and want to drink your ass off and chase.. whatever, I guess it’s great. With a one year old in stroller, biggest vacation mistake I ever made!

Res1362429 Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones As much as I love the pure camp and cheesiness that is Niagara Falls, the answer is Niagara Falls.

u/CLOWNXXCUDDLES:
Cousin of mine had their honeymoon there. They suggested making it a day trip instead of the entire focus of the trip.

GreatWhiteBuffalo888 , Daniel Mennerich / Flickr Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Any cruise port in the Caribbean.

u/rock-or-something:
This is why I hate cruises. You are given minimal time to really explore city you dock at.

You get off the boat and are immediately swarmed with people offering excursions.

Your time is spent doing one excursion, grabbing a bite, shopping, and back to the boat.

I went on a cruise with my family when I was in middle school, and felt so cool saying “I went to 3 different countries this summer” not mentioning that I was in each country for maybe 6-8 hours, learned nothing about the culture, and spent all of my time doing things with people who looked exactly like me and spoke the same language as me.

qtmcjingleshine , ChrisEdwardsCE Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Pigeon Forge TN.

u/pingpongpsycho:
Pigeon Forge 50 years ago was nothing but a few pancake houses and the coolest campground with a little tubing river running through it. We camped there when I was young there. Great memories. Nothing like today.

dingledongle80 , Judy Baxter / Flickr Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones I’m surprised I’ve only seen one mention of Wisconsin Dells. If doing touristy nonsense is something you enjoy, this place is a banger. Pirate themed mini-golf, two massive water parks themed on the bible and greek mythology, respectively, gimmicky dining options like a “lumberjack breakfast” and food delivery by train system, more sweets and novelty shops than you can count, a hybrid boat/bus tour, a couple escape rooms, an acade/waterpark/movietheater/african safari themed hotel, a deer petting zoo/reserve, and a fantasy themed timed scavenger hunt.

KlausMarduke , Channel3000 / Flickr Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Gatlinburg, TN. It’s Las Vegas for church people.
u/Jbeaves44:
Thank you! Overpriced sh***y bars, overpriced sh***y food, no room to stop and think how I wound up here because there literal waves of people shambling to and from Dick’s last Resort. And the f***ing souvenir shops!? Enough mall ninja swords to supply the Terracotta Army. Never again.

neelyshelton , faungg’s photos / Flickr Report

Tombstone, AZ. Cheesy “museums” with third grade dioramas, expensive “saloons”, and the goofiest recreation of the gunfight at ok corral done by ancient hippies. Laughable. Tourist. Trap.

mchaz7 Report

Intercourse Pennsylvania. It got famous off the name and then got turned into a tourist trap. There’s nothing to do there other than a little fake town and it’s not worth going out of your way for.

the-sea-of-dead Report

Temple Bar – Dublin

Why are you paying €10 for a s****y pint when Ireland has some of, if not the best pubs in the world everywhere.

My_Middle_Nut Report

Plymouth Rock. I’ve never been but it’s literally some random rock. And I’m pretty sure it’s not the actual one.
u/redsox113:
I grew up in Plymouth, and it’s just a rock and there is no actual one, they just threw a monument around a rock. That said it’s still a pretty nice coastal New England town with some museums and decent seafood.

Lunar_Gato Report

Don’t get me wrong. I love Disneyland. But it’s nothing but a moneymaking giant.

When I was a kid, we were not well off at all. I was able to visit Disneyland twice with my family (ages 7 and 12).

I think many kids’ families are priced out of enjoying Disneyland nowadays.
It seems steep even for middle class.

PNWvintageTreeHugger Report

Wisconsin Dells, I see a lot of people posting Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, I’ve been to both and would hands down take those two over the Dells. Its out of date and super expensive. The person at Mt Olympus checking me in even warned me my wallet was f****d. There is fun to be had but over priced and out dated.

ImNotSure93 Report

Travelers Are Sharing The Cities They Think Are Tourist Traps, Here Are The 30 Worst Ones Egyptian here and I would say the pyramids.
u/beragis:
That’s exactly what an Egyptian I knew in College told me back in the 90’s when several of us mentioned wanting to see them eventually. He said if any of the s really do want to go stick to a reputable tour group.

I suspect it’s similar with Ancient Greece places, Herculeum and Pompey and the Pryamids in Mexico.

Far_Fisherman_7490 , David Stanley / Flickr Report

Nashville is literally one street. The rest is strip mall suburbia.

laketunnel1 Report

Deadwood, SD. Everything was generic. The food was trash, the nature was monetized, hardly any long trails.

El_Minadero Report

Gary, Indiana. 

u/Uglyangel74:
Born, raised and worked in Gary. Been on a 40 year decline. Miller beach is ok. Rest is sad.

HelpMeDoctorImCrazy Report


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