“The way you get a better world is you don’t put up with substandard anything.“ (Joe Strummer)
My last blog posting demonstrated how a seemingly enticing airboat ride in the Florida Everglades could easily be delivered to tourists from a substandard selling perspective, Thus, for this latest entry, I continue this theme below by analyzing ten (10) places we’ve visited on past road trips that similarly do not measure up to the desired tourist quality that I expected to enjoy. I then place my trust in some comparable sites below that seem to be better suited for me from a self guided travel perspective.
1. Bourbon Street, New Orleans
I’ve learned to avoid the raucous party reputation of this thirteen block corridor when seeking lively entertainment options in New Orleans on our road trips. For does one really need to tangle with this often crowded tourist frenzy seeking overindulgence in sinful pleasures. You might instead look elsewhere for a decent place to dine at affordable prices and perhaps a jazz performance of musical quality to follow.
Better Choice: Frenchman Street Corridor
2. St. Augustine, Florida
There are some decent tourist options to visit of authentic historical attention like the Castillo De San Marcos District along the Intercoastal Waterway and the Flagler College annex west of downtown. But beyond these likely first time visit options, St. Augustine seems burdened by a “tourist trap” reputation filled with a hodgepodge of tacky souvenir shops, and uneconomical family tourist options that tend to “stretch the truth” like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Fountain of Youth Museums.
Better Choice: Charleston, South Carolina
3. South Beach Strip , Florida
Many young tourists come to South Beach to experience its famous club scene offering one’s choice of all night hedonistic pleasures. But for those who venture beyond this beachfront mecca of Art Deco structural pleasure, a more unglamorous picture of Miami Beach appears. For like so many aging cities across our country , one finds a noticeably “rundown” reality there with plenty of homelessness , poverty, and street crime to concern the visiting tourist today.
Better Choice: The Florida Keys
4. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The “Smokies” would be an ideal place for an exciting summer vacation with over 800 square miles of mountains, streams, and forests. Yet while Gatlinburg serves as the northern gateway to to Smoky Mountain National each year during “high season”, the town seems too small to accommodate the huge throngs of tourists who visit there each year.
Better Choice: Asheville, North Carolina
5. Park City, Utah
Winter skiing can be an expensive proposition especially when it caters to the “jet set” in this“upscale” town of Park City. For the frugal traveler, you thus might face the inconvenience of staying outside of Park City and risk missing out on local ski resort fun.The state of Utah’s Mormon dominant politics might also give one second thoughts about indulging in alcohol, pornography and other so called sinful actions.
Better Choice: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
6. Hollywood, California.
Once considered as the tourist center for movie star glamour in the early days of motion pictures, downtown Hollywood, California offers today merely a casual glimpse of its past film glories. Yes, the Chinese Theater and Star Walk of Fame still survive but the movie stars have moved on to exclusive places of suburban privacy like Malibu Beach, Bel- Air and Laurel Canyon. Of course you will still find hordes of Hollywood curiosity seekers who seem determined to chance a rare encounter with the latest celebrity while overlooking the increasingly blighted look of this historic neighborhood.
Better Choice: Visit a Famed Movie Studio
7. Flagstaff, Arizona
The “Mother Road” of Route 66 began in 1926 as one of the first highways to cross east – west to California. So in what locations across America can you best view historic remnants of old gas stations, motor hotels, and iconic cafes from Route 66’s iconic past? Not in Route 66 Flagstaff it seems as the road’s spreading urban sprawl look provides merely an unglamorous weigh station for those moving on to the famed Grand Canyon to the north. You might even easily bypass Route 66 altogether if you transport your vehicle conveniently from I-17 north to I-40 west.
Better Choice: Williams, Arizona
8. Tunica, Mississippi
Tunica’s rise to resort status in the mid 1990s coincided with the popular appeal of casino gambling along the Mississippi River in a desperately poor region of “Deep South” America. While a few of these “grand” hotels still remain to provide a comfortable weekend of gambling fun for commuters from Memphis and other nearby urban areas, there’s not much left to see of the Mississippi Blues Trail culture there. The views of America’s longest river are challenging to find at best as many of these hotels have chosen to restrict public access to Mississippi River scenic vantage points on their private lands.
Better Choice: Vicksburg, Mississippi
9. Amish Country , Ohio
At this more mature time of my life, I like to reminisce about those countryside camping trips, rural farm visits, and YMCA sports outings I’d experienced as a “kid” in Midwest America. Yet it would not be wise to encroach upon the private Amish people in this region to obtain such a nostalgic dose of one’s outdoor frolicking spirit? For I’ve learned not to infringe upon their ultra conservative ways on my previous visits to small towns like Berlin and Millersburg and would never recommend one try to mimic their horse and buggy lifestyle in their country towns to obtain some childlike fun.
Better Choice: Indiana Dunes National Park
10. Pagosa Springs, Colorado
In visiting Colorado, accessibility to the Rocky Mountains for active hiking and camping opportunities should be a major reason for an extended tourist stay.Yet Pagosa Springs as observed from a previous visit lies remotely surrounded by thick National Forest and is therefore somewhat inaccessible to the Southern Rockies region. With the landscape of Pagosa Springs being situated so remotely amid quiet suburbia, there’s not much to do from the tourist point of view.The renowned Springs Hot Springs Resort in Pagosa would no doubt provide an enticing place to relax yet it’s much too sedentary an experience for those who wish to indulge in a more active Colorado time.
Better Choice: Durango, Colorado
Agree. But some might like to say, Yup been to New Orleans!
💜 Subjectivity EveryOne; that is ALL, very good EveryBody, carry on
It sounds like you’ve provided some better alternatives to some of the touristy places in the United States. We contemplated spending some time in Gatlinburg when we were in Tennessee, but glad that we ended up skipping it.
The Smokies can be entered from a variety of directions. I would do my research on the least tourist congested option.
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I visited several of these places years ago when they were better maintained and not so worn down. Thanks for sharing the alternatives.
So which ones to you have shed the tourist trap label the most?
It’s difficult to say since I haven’t revisited these places. We prefer to visit our favorite places in the mountains of North Georgia. There is a lot to enjoy and still avoid the touristy places.
Steamboats Springs in Colorado looks really intereseting!
If you like to walk, you are in heaven here.