I recently stumbled on this quick little online piece about the 10 Most Disappointing Travel Destinations. I started to write a Facebook post about it but realized I had far too much to say. First, I agree that some destinations are overrated, but travel is always what you make of it. I think that when you visit a place that has a lot of hype, your job is to find the things that appeal to you. I almost always have a good sense of what I’m going to like about a destination before I go. The key is to listen to your instincts and follow your interests. That being said, I can’t help but comment on some of the destinations in this piece:
Niagara Falls, NY. Yeah, I’m all over this one. I live in Buffalo and the Falls are in our backyard. While it’s true that you can get better panoramic views of the Falls from Canada, there are things you can do on the American side that aren’t available in Canada. The Cave of the Winds gets you as close to the Falls as possible – almost underneath it. You ride an elevator down to the base of the Falls then walk across stairs and platforms where you are absolutely doused by water coming over the brink. You look up and see the Falls coming down. It is absolutely spectacular. Also on the American side there is a platform that takes you out over the gorge with an amazing view. The American side is less crowded and you can actually find a place to park. So I don’t agree that this is overrated. If you go, you’ll want to experience the Falls from both sides and you’ll realize they are completely different, but equally fun.
Temple Bar, Dublin. I didn’t find this to be overrated because it is what it’s advertised: a bunch of bars. There are some street performers which make it fun and you can see the Halfpenny Bridge. If you’re in the city at night, it’s worth a stroll just to see it. If you’re expecting something else, you will be disappointed.
Nassau, Bahamas. Paradise Island, usually known as Atlantis, is a giant tourist trap. But it’s unfair to lump the entire area together. We stayed outside of Nassau on Telegraph Beach and it was simply gorgeous and very quiet. Get outside the man-made sites and see the rest of this beautiful island. Go to the Fish Fry, see the marching flamingos, drive around and see the other beaches. We did spend an afternoon at Atlantis where we saw the aquariums, had lunch and did some shopping. It was fine for a few hours, but not a place I would want to stay.
Liberty Island, NY. We loved visiting Liberty Island. Getting up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty was awe-inspiring and being able to go inside the statue was something we will never forget. Don’t go in the middle of the summer on a weekend. We went on a fall weekend and the lines were not bad at all. The ferry ride there is fun. Be sure to go to Ellis Island as well, a place I could have spent hours in, where you will learn all about the immigrants who entered our country through this island. I don’t think there is anything overrated about Liberty Island. In fact, it’s a must-see on my list.
Walt Disney World, FL. I hated it here. Passionately. But I have friends who love to go because their kids are happy and the parents can just relax by the pool and not worry. We had fun on a couple of rides but the lines were outrageous. Epcot did not excite us, although we had a fun meal at a Moroccan restaurant. I knew going in I was going to hate it, but we went because we really believed our kids deserved to go. It’s almost a rite of passage in this country.
Las Vegas, NV. I think the key to Vegas is to set your expectations and plan your trip. We don’t drink or gamble, but enjoyed our visit. Our hotel had a lazy river the kids loved. We saw the Mac King magic show which was just perfect for families. We saw the tigers and the dolphins and looked at the fountains and took a gondola ride. We drove by the Pawn Stars shop. My husband and son went to a pinball museum. We had some fantastic food off the Strip. It was one of those places that I thoroughly enjoyed, but would probably never go back to. I didn’t find it to be overrated because I found the things our family would enjoy and did those. My biggest complaint was that EVERYTHING smells like cigarette smoke. You leave Vegas and realize you absolutely stink because it is on you and all of your clothes.
I haven’t been to the other places on this list. A Facebook friend of mine commented that she would add Times Square to this list. I admit I am confused by Times Square. There is nothing to actually do there. It’s fun to walk through it at night once but I couldn’t imagine planning it as a the highlight of my trip. I found Florence, Italy to be overrated (and one of my friends will vehemently disagree!). I thought it was an ugly city with not a lot to do. Hilton Head, SC was overrated in our view. The beaches were great (except for the jellyfish which meant we got stung then never went in again). Because of the jellyfish, the pool was wall to wall people. There was nothing to do on that island at all – a family destination with absolutely no activities. We ended up driving into Savannah almost daily.
So now it’s your turn. Tell me what you thought was overrated as a destination.
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