The 20 Most Overrated Travel Destinations in the U.S. (Yes, Even #18)

Discover why these once-trendy hotspots now fall flat for seasoned travelers.
Updated Aug. 29, 2023
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It’s time to book a trip for a few days to get away, see something new, and refresh your perspective.

You could go to one of the following popular travel destinations in the U.S., and doing so is sure to give you a different view, but is it the one that you want?

We recommend you avoid wasting money on these overrated vacation spots that are highly commercialized and often better on TV.

Times Square — New York City

Luciano Mortula-LGM/Adobe street of New York City

Visiting Times Square is an overstimulating experience, from the flashing lights to the people who can’t find a public restroom but relieve themselves just about anywhere.

It’s certainly a place to see Broadway shows and shop at over-priced retailers, but you’ll likely be more astonished by the size of the rats on the side streets and how fast your heart races on the subway than any picturesque view.

Hollywood Walk of Fame — Los Angeles, California

Rawf8/Adobe Nicole Kidman's, Halle Berry's, and more's stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

There’s something mesmerizing about Hollywood stars, including those plastered into the cement at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in LA.

The location, right at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, draws visitors from around the world just to view a celebrity’s name in the cement.

Some refer to it as a type of living history of Hollywood, but you’ll likely be bombarded with high-priced shops, too many tourists, and overhyped restaurants along that path.

Hike to the Hollywood Sign, instead, for a fabulous view.

Las Vegas Strip — Las Vegas, Nevada

somchaij/Adobe welcome to fabulous las vegas

Las Vegas certainly is the place for super-expensive casino games and buffets that only taste good because you’ve lost a lot of money at the slots.

Many shows (including some with celebrities) and numerous attractions will surely have you scratching your head (like the entire location dedicated to street sign history).

Yet Las Vegas isn’t a family-friendly location. You’ll likely smell a few things, see more than you thought you would, and notice the over-intoxicated people around every turn.

Bourbon Street — New Orleans, Louisana

f11photo/Adobe french quarter, new orleans

The vibe, music, and excitement of New Orleans really do come to life on Bourbon Street, especially during Mardi Gras.

But there’s also a lot of drinking, drug use, and, many times, so many people that you’re hoping to just get back to your hotel in one piece.

While the nearby ocean is stunning and the architecture of the French Quarter is exceptional during the day, plan to visit Bourbon Street only when you’re after a true party town feel.

Fisherman’s Wharf — San Francisco, California

jovannig/Adobe fisherman's wharf street sign

While Fisherman’s Wharf is undoubtedly a tourist attraction, it really is a fishing wharf, an active dock that (believe it or not) smells like fish.

It’s also drawn so many tourists into the area that it’s hard to get the old-time, quaint feel of it any longer.

If you really want to experience the culture of San Francisco, you should stop here to see what it’s about. But costs are high, so other authentic experiences of the Bay are more worthy of your money.

South Beach — Miami, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe miami beach, florida

It’s sweltering, very crowded, and incredibly expensive to spend any amount of time in South Beach.

The beaches are often overcrowded, so much so that you can’t find a place to relax, and the cost of a meal will likely be more than the plane trip in some locations.

Head up the coast for a better Florida beachfront experience.

Mall of America — Bloomington, Minnesota

kirkikis/Adobe Indoor amusement park

If you’re visiting Minnesota, you’ll likely feel the draw to shop at this famous four-level mall, but there’s really nothing exciting about it.

This colossal mall is expensive for the tenants, so prices are inflated at many of them (and most are nothing more than what you would find at your local Midwestern mall, anyway).

The people are friendly, there are a few upscale restaurants, and the kids will like the aquarium. But unless it’s the middle of winter and you can’t get outdoors to see the beauty of this region, there’s no real value in heading to the Mall of America.

Mount Rushmore — Keystone, South Dakota

jkraft5/Adobe mount rushmore closeup

Mount Rushmore’s history is quite impressive, including the numerous challenges of building it.

Chances are good that a documentary on TV will suffice in terms of actually understanding this structure, though. History buffs will appreciate the destination, but there’s certainly a lot of walking and not much else.

You’ll only need a few hours here to get the full experience. Make it a part of your trip rather than the focal point.

The Statue of Liberty — New York City

THANANIT/Adobe statue of liberty over the scene of new york

The Statue of Liberty is another overhyped NYC location.

You’ll likely find most of your time is spent waiting in line to see it and then managing crowds throughout the area, only to just look at it.

This UNESCO World Heritage site definitely stands for a lot, including the country’s freedom and democracy. Still, thanks to the crowds, you may learn and experience it better in a documentary rather than in person.

Niagara Falls, New York

fukez84/Adobe niagara falls on america side

The natural wonder of Niagara Falls sure is impressive, with three massive waterfalls that span the border of the U.S. and Canada and have a flow rate of 3,160 tons of water every second.

But while the natural aspects are fantastic, the surrounding area is nothing more than fast food locations and rundown parks.

You’ll definitely find some souvenirs to take home, and you will likely spend too much money on a hotel with a view, but the better view is across the border on the Canadian side.

Roswell, New Mexico

Kristina Blokhin/Adobe main street road in new mexico

Yes, it’s known as the UFO capital of the country, and there are lots of conspiracy theories and science fiction hype here. Expect ’80s-esque restaurants, dive bars, and outdated attractions.

The alien-themed everything is over-the-top, and it gets old rather quickly. The problem with Roswell is that there’s nothing else to do here.

The Space Needle — Seattle, Washington

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe seattle, washington, usa

You may know that the Space Needle offers an impressive view of the city, but there’s not much more to experience once you get to the top. Plan for no more than a few hours.

The other problem with Seattle is the cost, as everything is overpriced, from the meals to the area’s attractions.

If you like tech, it’s easy to appreciate Seattle’s appeal, but for most people, the Washington forests and coastline are a better experience.

Wall Street — New York City

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe charging metal bull in nyc manhattan

Wall Street has a lot of power and pressure and high-stake deals. Yet, from a tourist point-of-view, there’s not much else to it. It’s literally just a bunch of buildings.

Unless you love the thought of NYC’s financial district being the place of big dreams coming true, there’s not a whole lot of reason to visit here.

The Alamo — San Antonio, Texas

dfikar/Adobe the alamo, san antonio, tx

Small, old, and lacking in anything more than a building with a story, many people would say the Alamo isn’t all that interesting when visiting this big city.

It’s painted as a big fortress protecting the region, but in reality, it’s underwhelming. It only takes about 20 minutes to walk through the area.

Unless you love the history of this area, skip it for one of the area’s state parks instead.

Atlantic City Boardwalk — Atlantic City, New Jersey

f11photo/Adobe atlantic city, new jersey

In its heyday, the Atlantic City Boardwalk was the place to be, from the carnival-like fun to the ocean access. Today, much of it is outdated, old, and dirty.

There are a lot of tourists during the summer months, and many areas are simply run down.

Even areas rebuilt after the area’s hurricanes are quite unimpressive. Instead, visit one of the other coastal cities with fewer crowds and much lower prices.

Key West, Florida

lazyllama/Adobe colorful concrete buoy marking

Key West is about expectations. It’s overrated if you’re looking for big city life, a tropical oasis, and lots of things to do. If you’re into a relaxing vacation on the ocean, that’s more in line with what to expect here.

It’s also overpriced, and while it offers various shows and beaches depending on where you visit, you’ll likely be faced with grumpy people overwintering in the area, uninterested in tourists.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe myrtle beach south carolina

Overcrowded and with various overgrown and unkept areas, Myrtle Beach hasn’t improved over time.

The beachfront destination is no longer in its prime and is somewhat rundown, with overpriced hotels lacking modern amenities. You’ll find strange tourist traps, pushy salespeople, and mediocre food.

Head to North Myrtle Beach for more beachfront access, modern hotels, and better restaurants.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

David/Adobe Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a national treasure, one that’s packed with outdoor adventure to enjoy, from camping to hiking to fishing and skiing.

The problem is much of the area has become overpriced, even down to the homecooked meals at area diners.

Geysers aren’t really all that impressive, either, and the overcrowded areas make enjoying the serenity of this park hard to do.

Waikiki Beach — Honolulu, Hawaii

Maridav/Adobe Honolulu city view from Diamond Head lookout

Waikiki Beach has long been a must for honeymoons, but today, it’s more crowded, rundown, and overpriced than ever.

It’s also loud, drowning out the sound of the ocean, and highly commercialized, which takes away from the area’s natural beauty.

Disneyland Resort — Anaheim, California

AmeriCantaro/Adobe roller coasters thrill rides in disneyland

Although it’s one of the original theme parks, even Mickey lovers will tell you that Disneyland Resort is overcrowded, hard to navigate, and very expensive.

Sure, the theme is fun, and the history of Imagineering is impressive, but the park’s inaccessibility makes it hard to enjoy fully.

Bottom line

bunditinay/Adobe hotel room

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Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.