The Most Boring Tourist Trap in Every U.S. State
Tourist traps come in all shapes and sizes. Some are free, and some cost way more than they’re worth. Some are roadside attractions that exist solely to lure in unsuspecting travelers, while others are once-enticing fixtures that have lost their luster over time. But all share one common trait: Their very existence is fueled by continued visits against all reason.
We've scoured the U.S. to find the least interesting and most skip-worthy destination in each state and Washington, D.C. We’re prepared for the fact that we’ll anger many locals, and we mean no offense with these choices. It’s likely we included many folks’ favorite detours. But just because you have a fond memory of a place doesn’t mean it’s worth anyone else’s time.
And you can be sure that if it claims to be the world’s “largest” or “best” of anything, it made the list.
Alabama: Point Mallard Water Park
Claim to fame: World’s first wave pool
Water parks are suspect to begin with, as cleanliness is a constant concern, but hanging your star on a “world’s first” claim that can be easily disputed by another water park is pretty weak. Apparently the actual waves down at Alabama’s slice of the Gulf Coast just aren’t enough.
Alaska: The North Pole
Location: North Pole
Claim to fame: World's largest fiberglass statue of Santa Claus
This village outside Fairbanks was named in the 1950s for the sole purpose of attracting a toy manufacturer. That never happened, and now Christmas never stops here, which sounds like a 24/7 nightmare.
Sad features include a tiny pen crammed with reindeer who no doubt wish Santa could save them.
This is also the place where all those letters to Santa addressed simply to the “North Pole” end up every year.
Claim to fame: Gunfight at O.K. Corral
The town of Tombstone is supposedly the quintessential example of the Old West American frontier, but there really isn’t much to it — basically just an old theater and courthouse, some shops, and Wild West reenactments (which, to be fair, can be kind of fun).
Tombstone claims to be where the Gunfight at O.K. Corral took place, but in reality that famous shootout happened at an empty lot nearby.
Tourism is the only thing keeping Tombstone alive these days, but you’re better off exploring the unmatched natural beauty of Arizona.
Arkansas: Mount Ida
Location: Montgomery County
Claim to fame: More crystal than anyone will ever need
Ouachita National Forest and the crystal deposits there were sacred ground for American Indians. Nowadays they serve the needs of tourists desperate to dig up some earth.
All you need is a shovel to mine in the self-proclaimed "crystal capital of the world," but we’re not sure why anyone would.
California: "Full House" House
Location: San Francisco
Claim to fame: Used as the exterior of the Tanner house in the opening credits of the cheesy-classic ‘80s TV show
California is a gigantic state with a ton of tourist traps, but we can’t think of any one more polarizing than the “Full House” house. It’s mobbed by fans on a daily basis, and that really annoys the locals. It also creates traffic and safety issues, and you can’t just waltz inside because it’s a private residence. (It hit the market in 2019 for a cool $6 million.)
Even getting an exterior shot is tricky, because you have to stand in the middle of a busy street. At best, you’ll get a blurry selfie and a ton of dirty looks from neighbors. How rude!
Colorado: Four Corners
Location: Intersection of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico
Claim to fame: Where the aforementioned states meet
We could’ve pinned this “attraction” on any of the states that make up the Four Corners, but we chose Colorado because the state as a whole is so magnificently beautiful that it’s a wonder why anyone would trek to this remote destination simply to stand atop a plaque.
Connecticut: Holy Land USA
Claim to fame: An amusement park dedicated to God
We’re certain God wouldn’t be impressed with this false idol, and visitors shouldn’t be either. Holy Land opened in 1955 and had a good run for about 30 years, but eventually closed as an unfinished homage to Christianity.
Efforts to resurrect the park since then have largely been half-baked, but intrepid travelers still inexplicably show up to check it out.
Also not working in its favor? It was tragically the site of a gruesome murder in 2010.
Delaware: Air Mobility Command Museum
Location: Dover Air Force Base
Claim to fame: Only museum dedicated to airlift and aerial refueling history
It’s hard to imagine a more boring (if totally important) mission than airlifting supplies to soldiers during wartime and refueling aircraft mid-flight, which means it’s hard to imagine a museum more banal than one dedicated to these essential military functions. That must be why there’s only one of them.
Florida: City of Live Mermaids
Location: Weeki Wachee
Claim to fame: “Half-fish, half-human” performances in an underwater theater
It should come as no surprise that this attraction featuring a popular male fantasy (all the “mermaids” wear appropriately skimpy bathing-suit tops) peaked in popularity in the 1960s. If “Mad Men” taught us anything, it’s that the ‘60s were wholly a man’s world.
But even though its popularity has waned over the years, the City of Live Mermaids is still very much kicking, or rather swimming, today.
Georgia: Lunch Box Museum
Claim to fame: Houses all 450 “official” collectible lunch boxes
People collect some weird stuff and also some stupid stuff. Lunch boxes fall somewhere in between.
But an entire museum dedicated to the 450 lunch boxes released between 1951 and 1985, featuring character designs like Mickey Mouse and Popeye? We’d rather just get lunch.
Hawaii: Spouting Horn
Location: Koloa, Kauai
Claim to fame: A trapped lizard monster spewing water skyward
If the local legend mentioned above were actually true, this would be the coolest destination in Hawaii (if not the world).
In reality, however, visitors to Spouting Horn have trekked all that way to see ocean water pushed up through a lava tube. Seriously, you came to the paradise that is Hawaii to see water spew from a small opening?!
Idaho: Center of the Universe Manhole
Claim to fame: Duh, it’s the center of the universe
In a town of fewer than 800 residents in a state known for one thing and one thing only — potatoes — it’s probably difficult to attract a lot of tourist dollars. And that’s made 1 million times harder when the water supply is so toxic that your entire town is a Superfund site, managed by the U.S. government because of its hazardous contamination.
If you’re the mayor, what do you do? Why you conjure up probabilism and declare a manhole cover to be the center of the universe, that’s what.
Actually, this is kind of genius.
Illinois: Busy Beaver Button Museum
Claim to fame: World’s only museum of pinback buttons
As we’ve learned, when you’re the “world’s only” of anything, that isn’t necessarily a good thing or selling point. Take this museum, which is simply an endless collection of buttons. That’s right, buttons. The kind that are pinned onto stuff. What more is there to say?
Indiana: Ball of Paint
Claim to fame: World’s largest ball of paint
How do you turn a 5-ounce baseball into a 2.5-ton tourist attraction? Cover it in more than 24,000 coats of paint.
That’s what an Indiana father and his son started doing in 1977. Today, their creation lives in a barn on the family property and is readily available for viewing by anyone who barely values their own existence.
Iowa: Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan
Location: Sac City
Claim to fame: The name says it all
In Iowa, we found an enormous garden gnome, an even bigger bull and a popcorn ball that will give you nightmares, but we settled on this frying pan for the least interesting tourist trap because of its humility.
It doesn’t need to be the biggest frying pan in the world. It’s the biggest frying pan in Iowa and apparently, that's enough.
Kansas: Ball of Twine
Location: Cawker City
Claim to fame: World’s largest of its kind, obviously
To ensure this ball of twine never loses the title of world’s largest — even though there are no known competitors — it receives twine anew every August. It was started in 1953 and there is no end in sight.
Kentucky: Colonel Sanders Grave
Claim to fame: The chicken man’s daughter carved the bust
Anyone with an unhealthy obsession with KFC might find something of import at this gravesite. But for the other 99.9 percent of you, it’s really just a memorial to coronary artery disease. And there isn’t even a KFC nearby!
Louisiana: Nicolas Cage’s Pyramid Tomb
Location: New Orleans
Claim to fame: Purchased by the actor and hated by everyone else
Leave it to Nic Cage to piss off the locals, and not with his questionable acting abilities. That’s what the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola did by securing space in the ultra-exclusive St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 for when he kicks the proverbial bucket. (The structure is inscribed with "omnia ab uno," which is Latin for "everything from one." Deep!)
Cage isn’t from New Orleans, he just owns property there, making it all the more odd that he chose this as his final resting place.
Maine: Desert of Maine
Claim to fame: A “desert” among the pines of one of the greenest U.S. states
It’s not a real desert, just 40 acres of glacial silt exposed some 100 years ago by the poor farming practices of the Tuttle family. It rains here often. The camel is made of fiberglass. If you’re craving a desert excursion but decided to visit Maine, we really can’t help you.
Maryland: Peep Show at Carroll Arts Council
Claim to fame: Sculptures made entirely out of crappy candy
This attraction features massive sculptures made out of the world’s most disgusting candy product that somehow never molds: Peeps.
Its dad-joke title is cute, but we think a better name is “Creep Show.”
Massachusetts: Plumbing Museum
Claim to fame: Complete history of plumbing and sanitation
Want to know everything there is to know about toilets and what happens after they’re flushed? We didn’t think so.
Plumbing is vitally important to any functioning society, but there’s a reason everyone who's not a plumber spends exactly zero time thinking about it on a daily basis.
Michigan: Edison's Last Breath
Claim to fame: The final breath of the vaunted inventor
There’s some serious hot air blowing through the Henry Ford Museum. The story goes that Ford was so obsessed with Thomas Edison that he convinced Edison’s son to sit by his dying father’s bedside and capture the inventor’s final breath in a glass tube, so that Ford could have something to remember his dear friend by.
We’re just glad it wasn’t another kind of post-death emission.
Minnesota: Mall of America
Claim to fame: 4.3 miles of consumerist America
America has a problem with buying stuff, and this building featuring no fewer than 520 shops is the mecca of that obsession. Minnesota’s population is about 5.6 million, but 40 million people visit this consumerist monstrosity annually.
If that doesn’t haunt your nightmares...it should.
Mississippi: Birthplace of Elvis Presley
Claim to fame: The two-room shack where the heartthrob entered the world
They say a king was born here, but really Elvis Presley was just a Southerner with an iconic voice and a penchant for bacon. Elvis was born during the Great Depression and lived here for only two years before the family was forced to move after the home was foreclosed upon.
Diehard fans only need apply, and even then, it ain’t great.
Missouri: World's Largest Fork
Claim to fame: Name says it all
True, it’s fun to have a silly excuse to repeatedly say “stick a fork in it!” But once that novelty wears off, all you’re left with is a giant eating utensil. And it's not even actually the largest in the world! There’s one outside a restaurant in Colorado that’s 40 feet long, trumping this wannabe by 5 feet.
Montana: Smelter Stack
Claim to fame: Tallest free-standing masonry structure in the world
Black smoke from a copper-extraction operation once poured out the top of this 585-foot tower, but now it simply sits there unused as the anchor of Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the stack — and we’re using “interesting” liberally — is that the Washington Monument could fit inside.
Nebraska: Panorama Point
Location: Pine Bluffs
Claim to fame: Highest point in Nebraska
If it’s nothingness you desire, this is the place to be. Panorama Point is an extremely remote area next to the meeting point of Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado. And although it’s not on a mountain, but rather the high plains, it’s nearly a mile above sea level.
Its top features are a view of the Rocky Mountains in the far distance and roving bison — both of which are also available in way less boring parts of the state.
Nevada: Dig This
Location: Las Vegas
Claim to fame: Where adults can pretend to be heavy-machinery operators
Las Vegas is known for some stupid things, but we can’t think of anything dumber than shelling out hundreds of dollars to dig a hole in the ground with a massive Caterpillar excavator. But plenty of people disagree, and that’s why Dig This exists.
New Hampshire: Redstone Rocket Replica
Claim to fame: None we could find
About an hour’s drive north of this replica is an actual Redstone Rocket, the first vessel to carry Americans into space, making it somewhat baffling why anyone would be interested in seeing the fake one.
New Jersey: Lucy the Elephant
Location: Margate City
Claim to fame: National Historic Landmark (somehow)
What started as a ruse in 1882 poking fun at P.T. Barnum’s Jumbo elephant is now a permanent display, and an awfully lame one at that. Lucy is nothing more than an elephant-shaped building that currently houses a small museum dedicated to its history.
America is weird, y'all.
New Mexico: International UFO Museum and Research Center
Claim to fame: Repository for all things related to the Roswell UFO crash
An alien spaceship may or may not have crashed near Roswell in 1947, but since this museum’s opening in 1992 the town has been doing everything it can to capitalize off the legendary story. The problem is there’s not much here beyond kitsch designed specifically to lure in believers and non-believers alike.
Until this museum starts housing real live aliens, we’re not interested!
New York: The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Location: New York City
Claim to fame: As iconic as anything in the Big Apple
You thought it was going to be Times Square, but at least that’s free and spectacularly gaudy at night. The problem with The Rink is that it’s one of the activities singled out as a must-do on every single New York travel guide, even though it’s only open for part of the year. It also costs a pretty penny to get in ($37 to $40 per adult unless you have your own skates), the lines are epic and, as it turns out, trying not to fall alongside throngs of people toppling over beside you isn’t actually all that fun.
North Carolina: Land of Oz Theme Park
Location: Beech Mountain
Claim to fame: One of Dorothy’s 10 original blue dresses was destroyed by a fire here
“The Wizard of Oz” is a timeless children’s classic. Alas, the same cannot be said of this amusement park, which primarily touts a faux Yellow Brick Road that, as one critic put it, has “faded to a jaundiced hue.”
In its prime this park was a huge draw, but that was decades ago, and it's never fully recovered from a 1980 fire that did significant damage. Now it’s reopened a few times a year and is mostly a vandal’s playground.
North Dakota: W'eel Turtle
Claim to fame: A “turtle” made from thousands of wheel rims
When this work of art was first unveiled in the 1980s, no one had any idea what exactly it was depicting. If not for the giant welcome sign that now announces what it is, that might still be the case today.
Ohio: "A Christmas Story" House and Museum
Claim to fame: The home from the movie that’s always rerun during the holidays
It’s bad enough that this embarrassingly dated movie is a fully ingrained feature of American winter holidays; the fact that the entire house set and a museum attract thousands of visitors each year is worse than canned cranberry sauce. To borrow from a true holiday classic, bah humbug.
Claim to fame: A giant soda store
Don’t fool yourself, this self-proclaimed “futuristic” pop shop is selling the same sugary swill as any other roadside gas station-restaurant. It does, however, set itself apart with a 66-foot tall LED-lit bottle (it’s on Route 66 after all).
Oregon: Chocolate Waterfall
Claim to fame: Recycling chocolate for longer than is appropriate
Chocolate fountains are usually a fun and delicious feature at a big soiree, but the one inside the Candy Basket shop has been re-circulating for so long that the store would probably get sued by anyone who tasted it. Thanks for making chocolate gross.
Pennsylvania: Big Mac Museum
Claim to fame: Shrine to the world’s most iconic fast food item
The problem with this museum isn’t the fact that it exists in the first place, though its "exhibits" — including a 14-foot-tall Big Mac and a display examining the evolution of the burger wrapper — are indeed pretty weak.
It’s that the Big Mac was actually invented at a McDonald’s outpost in a Pennsylvania town about 40 miles away. Why not worship this gut punch at its actual birthplace?
Rhode Island: Newport Tower
Claim to fame: It was actually built by Vikings
For some reason, the remains of a 17th century windmill have been mistaken for a Viking structure that proves Columbus wasn’t the first non-native to step foot in America. Carbon-dating technology proved the notion wrong, yet the legend lives on.
South Carolina: Kazoo Museum
Claim to fame: Features 200 examples of the instrument
Is there a more annoying sound than that which emanates from a kazoo? Perhaps the sound that 200 of them make when blown into simultaneously. Thankfully that doesn’t happen here, but it turns out being forced to look at hundreds of kazoos is also pretty irritating.
South Dakota: Wall Drug
Claim to fame: The ice water destination for early Mount Rushmore visitors
There’s actually nothing awful, boring or uninteresting about Wall Drug, but we had to include it here because, since its start in 1931, it’s spawned countless awful tourist traps looking to make a quick buck. With its odd assortment of fiberglass jackalopes and its world-famous ice water, Wall Drug attracts some 2 million visitors a year to, literally, the middle of nowhere.
Tennessee: Concrete Parthenon
Claim to fame: Athens of the South
It’s hard to imagine a worse travel experience than visiting a full-scale replica of an actually amazing ancient site, but that’s exactly what thousands of people do every year in Nashville. There’s even a 42-foot Athena statue at this knock-off poser. Both were built for the 1897 Centennial Exposition.
Texas: Stonehenge II
Claim to fame: What the real Stonehenge originally looked like, at 60 percent scale in height
We don’t understand the fascination with replicas of famous sites, but they certainly abound across America. The worst part about Stonehenge II is that it wasn’t enough to make a plaster and wire version of the prehistoric monument — the creators had to throw in fake moai heads like those found on Easter Island too.
Utah: Gilgal Garden
Location: Salt Lake City
Claim to fame: Kind of meaningful to Mormons, maybe?
If you've ever thought to yourself, "You know what'd be cool to see? A creepy stone sphinx modeled after Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism," then do we have the place for you!
Honestly, it's hard to imagine even religious diehards finding much reason to make a pilgrimage here.
Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour
Claim to fame: Where the unique flavor combos are made
We love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as much as anyone, but the last thing we’d do is visit the factory. The ice cream is available just about anywhere ice cream is sold — what’s the point of slogging through the crowds to get your hands on something that you can find at the local 7-Eleven?
Virginia: Dinosaur Land
Location: White Post
Claim to fame: A dinosaur version of Disneyland, sorta
You know what would be awesome? A park full of fossilized dinosaur remains. You know what wouldn’t be awesome? A park full of fiberglass dinosaurs. The best part of this roadside attraction is that the original owner copied the Disneyland font, and that’s us being generous.
Washington: Gum Wall
Claim to fame: Where used gum goes to never die
We used to think that if we swallowed our gum it would stick to our stomach for seven years. Now we know that’s not true, because obviously it ends up on the side of a building with thousands of other chewed pieces of gum in an alley near the much more famous and fun Pike Place Market.
In a word: Ew.
West Virginia: Mystery Hole
Claim to fame: Where gravity defies all explanation
Many of these so-called gravity hills or magnetic hills still exist across the U.S., and all of them are the same campy illusion. The buildings are simply constructed at a significant enough tilt that it appears as though people are standing sideways or that balls roll uphill.
Sorry, but that’s just boring old science, folks.
Wisconsin: World's Largest Six-Pack
Location: La Crosse
Claim to fame: Beer tanks made to look like beer cans
In a state known for its light lagers, it’s fitting that a brewery has disguised its fermentation tanks to look like a six-pack. It’s estimated that if this was a real sixer, it would supply a six-pack a day for over 3,300 years.
We'd much rather partake of some of that brew than stare at this underwhelming attraction.
Wyoming: Intergalactic Spaceport
Location: Green River
Claim to fame: Landing site for residents of Jupiter
If you were hoping to meet residents of Jupiter while visiting Wyoming, we’re sorry to let you down. The Intergalactic Spaceport is nothing more than a dirt landing strip encouraging aliens from Jupiter to land there, if and when they ever feel like leaving their faraway gas giant.
To date, no known landings have occurred. Or have they?!
Washington, D.C.: Presidents Gallery
Location: Penn Quarter
Claim to fame: Lifelike wax sculptures of all former presidents
Madame Tussauds is rarely a good idea, and in a city with so many free museums and attractions (all Smithsonian locations and the National Zoo, the National Gallery of Art, etc.) there is absolutely no reason to pay an entrance fee so you can take a selfie with a George Waxington.