Ten of America’s Most Overrated Tourist Destinations
America the beautiful. There’s so much to see and do all over the United States that Americans should never get bored. Our country has everything to offer, from mountains to deserts to the most varied coastlines anyone could ask for. Even our urban and suburban areas have untold options for entertainment and edification.
With that said, we have plenty of tourist traps and places that, despite millions of visitors and countless devotees, are overrated. As people cross off “bucket lists” – how I loathe that term – they wind up visiting places that are actually clichés while missing out on some real gems not far from the overrated spots.
Here are ten of American’s most overrated tourist destinations. With each entry, I try to present some alternatives, often with options for experiencing local culture and flavor. I realize that this list may step on some toes, but I’m calling it like I see it.
10. The French Quarter (New Orleans, La.)
New Orleans is something every American should experience. The food, the culture, and the beauty of the city are unique. The French Quarter is pretty much what everyone thinks of when they picture New Orleans, and while it’s an iconic part of town, it’s terribly overrated.
Imagine an area of town crawling with drunken partiers all hours of the night. No, it’s not the fraternity area of a Southern college on game day; it’s the overdone attempt to recreate Mardi Gras every week of the year. The French Quarter – especially its epicenter at Bourbon Street – isn’t worth putting up with the revelers and drunks.
What to see instead: If you’re in Louisiana, get out of the city and experience Cajun and Creole cultures and cuisine in smaller towns and local establishments. There’s so much to see and do in that beautiful area of the country, so get out and explore!
9. Everglades National Park (South Florida)
Only Yellowstone National Park is larger than the Everglades. And yet, most any of the national parks have more to offer than the Everglades. The Everglades National Park is a large swamp with not much to see. Tourists can drive 40 miles through the park and maybe occasionally see an alligator or other wildlife. Get out of the car and you’ll contend with mosquitoes – tons and tons of mosquitoes.
Ok, so there’s something nice about knowing that your admission fee to the park goes toward helping conserve the delicate swampland of Florida. But that’s not enough to make slogging through said swamp worthwhile – especially in a state like Florida with so much other natural beauty and unique culture.
What to see instead: South Florida has so much to offer. Naples. Sanibel Island. The Keys. Countless islands, parks, and lighthouses. You can see so much beauty in South Florida without driving through miles and miles of swampland.