Lifestyle

The Most Overrated and Underrated Tourist Attractions in Each State

The Most Overrated and Underrated Tourist Attractions in Each State

With a travel industry worth roughly $488 billion, the U.S. doesn’t lack for tourist appeal. From cultural landmarks to natural splendor, every state boasts attractions designed to invite visitors. But while most residents don’t mind sharing their states with travelers, they don’t exactly spend their time gawking alongside them. Some locals feel famous attractions are more a point of pain than pride: Take away the novelty, and it’s hard to understand what all the crowds are about.

We asked more than 2,500 Americans living in all 50 states which landmarks they felt were overrated, and which hidden gems they thought got too little attention. Our findings reveal residents’ honest opinions on what’s worth seeing and skipping in their states – essential knowledge for all travelers. Ready to learn which tourist sites are unworthy of their hype? Keep reading.

The Most Overrated Tourist Attractions in America

The Most Overrated Tourist Attractions in Each State

In many cases, locals snubbed commercial tourist entities when determining which attractions were overrated. Disneyland and Walt Disney World were most scorned in California and Florida respectively, despite attracting daily droves of children and their families. Other corporate operations were similarly dismissed by residents, including Minnesota’s Mall of America and Georgia’s World of Coca-Cola. Some states seemed tired of sites synonymous with debauchery, as well: Nevadans rejected the Las Vegas Strip, and Louisianans weren’t too fond of Bourbon Street.

In a few states, however, famed natural beauty failed to meet expectations in the minds of residents. Arizonans, for example, thought the Grand Canyon was overrated, and Montana and Wyoming both said the hype about Yellowstone was undeserved. Sites expressing national history did not escape locals’ criticism either: Mount Rushmore, Plymouth Rock, and the Alamo each irked residents of the states that contained them.

The Most Underrated Tourist Attractions in America

The Most Underrated Tourist Attractions in Each State

When deciding which attractions were the most underrated, residents in many states favored the scenic. In many cases, locals suggested their national parks were not properly appreciated, although they do attract nearly 83 million visitors each year. In North Carolina and Virginia, for instance, residents agreed the Blue Ridge Mountains were a hidden treasure, and a single road connects two national parks featuring those peaks. Some states suggested lesser-known alternatives to the tourist destinations they assessed as overrated: Glacier National Park as opposed to Yellowstone in Montana, and Sedona in Arizona rather than the Grand Canyon.

There were, however, a fair number of states proud to take their nature inside: Georgia, Nebraska, and Missouri heralded zoos, and Connecticut voted for an aquarium. Even a few theme parks got the underrated nod, such as Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, Dollywood in Tennessee, and Adventureland in Iowa. The competition between natural and commercial attractions was most evident in California, where Legoland and Yosemite tied for the most undervalued attraction. Put the two together, and you have quite a site indeed.  

Use the search box in the interactive table below to see your state’s most overrated and underrated tourist attraction side-by-side.

StateOverrated Tourist AttractionUnderrated Tourist Attraction
AlabamaVulcan StatueU.S. Space & Rocket Center
AlaskaDenaliFjords
ArizonaGrand CanyonSedona
ArkansasHot SpringsEureka Springs
CaliforniaDisneylandLegoland/Yosemite (Tied)
ColoradoSki ResortsGarden of the Gods
ConnecticutMaritime AquariumMaritime Aquarium
DelawareRehoboth BeachState Parks
FloridaDisney WorldBusch Gardens
GeorgiaWorld of Coca-ColaZoo Atlanta
HawaiiWaikiki BeachHiking Trails
IdahoSun ValleyCraters Of The Moon
IllinoisThe BeanStarved Rock State Park
IndianaIndianapolis Motor SpeedwayIndiana Dunes
IowaIowa State FairAdventureland
KansasWorld's Largest Ball of TwineFlint Hills
KentuckyChurchill DownsMammoth Cave National Park
LouisianaBourbon StreetState Parks
MaineOld Orchard BeachAcadia National Park
MarylandOcean CityBaltimore Inner Harbor
MassachusettsPlymouth RockMountains in Western Mass
MichiganMackinac IslandPictured Rocks National Lakeshore
MinnesotaMall of AmericaBoundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
MississippiCasinosNatchez Trace Parkway
MissouriThe ArchSaint Louis Zoo
MontanaYellowstoneGlacier National Park
NebraskaChimney RockHenry Doorley Zoo and Aquarium
NevadaThe StripRed Rock Canyon
New HampshireOld Man of the MountainWhite Mountains
New JerseyJersey ShoreDelaware Bay
New MexicoRoswell/White Sands (Tied)Carlsbad Caverns
New YorkStatue of LibertyNiagara Falls
North CarolinaCarowindsBlue Ridge Mountains
North DakotaMedoraInternational Peace Gardens
OhioRock & Roll Hall of FameHocking Hills
OklahomaBricktownOKC Bombing Memorial
OregonMultnomah Falls/Voodoo Doughnuts (Tied)Crater Lake
PennsylvaniaHersheypark/Liberty Bell (Tied)Knoebels
Rhode IslandNewport Cliff WalkBeaches
South CarolinaMyrtle BeachDowntown Charleston
South DakotaMount RushmoreBadlands National Park
TennesseeGracelandDollywood
TexasThe AlamoBig Bend National Park
UtahTemple SquareArches National Park
VermontBen & Jerry's FactoryLake Champlain
VirginiaVirginia BeachBlue Ridge Mountains
WashingtonSpace NeedleThe Gorge/Deception Pass (Tied)
Washington, D.C.White HouseHirshhorn Museum/National Arboretum/Rock Creek Park (Tied)
West VirginiaNew River Gorge BridgeNew River Gorge Bridge
WisconsinWisconsin DellsWisconsin Dells
WyomingYellowstoneDevils Tower

Living Like a Local

Some regard their state’s attractions as little more than distractions, while others cherish their proximity to sites others can only visit. Whatever your perspective when at home, keep an open mind next time you hit the road. Our findings show the biggest names in tourism may not deliver the best experiences, at least according to locals. A little research may reveal more intriguing alternatives – and keep you away from massive crowds.

In your own city, however, you probably have a pretty good idea of where you’d like to be. With RENTCafé in your corner, you can find the latest and greatest rental listings in your target neighborhoods, without having to wonder what’s available. Our unmatched information will help you hunt like a local, so you can live as far from tourists as you’d like.

Methodology

To create the charts shown above, we surveyed 2,587 Americans in all 50 states solicited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Reddit postings for states with inadequate Mturk responses. We asked individuals to only answer questions relating to their primary state of residence. We asked the same series of questions and collected short-answer responses from each respondent. We then analyzed the answers and organized and grouped similar answers where appropriate (for instance, we grouped “Disneyworld” and “Walt Disney” with “Disney World”). We did our best to collect similar amounts of residents from each state, although some states had more representation than others. All states had at least 30 responses, but some had more than others due to response rates in certain states. Counts of responses from each state listed in the table below:

StateResponses
Alabama50
Alaska44
Arizona50
Arkansas49
California50
Colorado50
Connecticut51
Delaware62
Florida53
Georgia50
Hawaii42
Idaho63
Illinois51
Indiana53
Iowa52
Kansas51
Kentucky50
Louisiana51
Maine54
Maryland50
Massachusetts50
Michigan50
Minnesota50
Mississippi51
Missouri52
Montana43
Nebraska59
Nevada51
New Hampshire53
New Jersey50
New Mexico53
New York50
North Carolina50
North Dakota39
Ohio50
Oklahoma50
Oregon50
Pennsylvania52
Rhode Island45
South Carolina50
South Dakota46
Tennessee51
Texas50
Utah52
Vermont44
Virginia51
Washington50
Washington, D.C.76
West Virginia63
Wisconsin51
Wyoming30
Limitations

The content above is intended solely as entertainment and should not be considered an academic, scientific, or educational piece. While the content above was collected, analyzed, and presented as accurately as possible, there are limitations to our findings. While we did our best to include all answers, the variation in answers, spellings, and interpretation of responses was largely subjective. We could not ask those surveyed follow-up questions as to the meaning of their answers, so some groupings and judgment calls were made as to the meaning of answers. Because of the sample size, these figures may not represent the opinions of all members of a state and are only a small sampling.

Fair Use Statement

Want to rep your state and share our results? That’s fine as long as it’s for noncommercial purposes. We ask only that you cite RENTCafé and provide a link back to this page when you do.

About the author

Balazs Szekely

Balazs is a qualified journalist with a thing for real estate. This obsession comes in handy in his work as an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafe. When he’s not thrashing his keyboard, he takes pleasure in photography, aquascaping and all kinds of DIY projects. Feel free to get in touch with Balazs via email or Twitter.

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