Vacation spot or must-avoid tourist trap?

These spots draw crowds -- and rake in the bucks. See which ones are worth checking out and which to avoid.

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Aug 27, 2013 1:47PM
how is "pedro" borderline offensive?  it's called a caricature.  very common thing.  stop the over sensitive pc crap.
Aug 28, 2013 6:04PM

South of the Border is awesome, especially if you're a kid.  I remember stopping there every year on our way back from the beach.  It was a tradition to find the cheesiest souvenir possible as a memento of the trip!  Besides, we got to walk around, stretch our legs from the car ride, and laugh at all the funny stuff.  You don't have to ride the rides, stay in the motel etc., but you can if you want to.  They have weird souvenirs there I've never seen anywhere else.  It's definitely worth a stop.  Besides, it's only offensive if you're easily offended. 


Back when it started, Hispanics in this area were few and far between, and most people never had enough money to make it to Mexico.  It was fun to say you'd been "south of the border," and watch people be confused until they caught on.  It wasn't meant rudely, only as a fun joke.  Nowadays, people have just lost their sense of humor. 

Aug 27, 2013 11:51AM
Aug 31, 2013 12:05PM
See as many as you can and make up your own mind. You only go around once!
Aug 31, 2013 10:21AM
Bad advice abounds in here.

Disney a skip? Really because it costs money?  Really! I'm shocked.

South of the border, I want to find that place.  Being tacky is the reason to stop.  Don't know that Pedro is offensive but okay let's check our political correctness at the door for 30 minutes.
Aug 27, 2013 3:00PM
Disagree that Niagara shouldn't be a destination.  My Dad took my sisters and me there when I was a kid and it was a good enough memory for me that my wife and I took our kids there last summer.  Three days at the falls and Niagara on the Lake plus a family-friendly vinyard tour and a GREAT dinner theater show (Oh Canada, Eh) plus two days in Toronto (even went up the CN Tower).  Kids loved it (my son even dressed as a Canadian Mountie that Halloween!) and it brought back some fond memories for me.  Stayed in a hotel that overlooked the falls and the kids loved looking out at night and seeing the lights change colors and the fireworks over the falls.  Don't know why it wouldn't be recommended as a destination.
Aug 27, 2013 12:32PM
My wife and I took the carriage ride in Central Park.  We had been walking and riding the subway around Manhattan all day and decided to we wanted to escape the hustle and bustle..  The driver was a friendly fellow who told us a lot about the history of the park and also some of the buildings around the park.  It was a relaxing break in a hectic day, well worth the money.  And no, the carriage did not smell like horse manure!  Besides, my wife's a Texas girl and loves horses...
Aug 29, 2013 12:28AM
The only place on the list I and my family have been is Disneyworld. It was my wife and daughter's idea. I was highly skeptical of the idea, had heard all the horror stories and envisioned megga bucks wasted...

Turned out to be one of the best vacations ever! I was highly impressed with the facilities. Very professionally done, everything was the highest quality workmanship and materials. The rides were incredible! The special effects were amazing!

But the most impressive thing was the attitude and willingness of the employees  to serve the guests! They actually seemed to enjoy their jobs, something rarely seen these days.

As far as expenses go, yes it was expensive, but I did not feel it was abusive. We went through a travel agent, bought a package deal that covered everything. Admission to all the parks, meals, resort, transportation... Everything but souvenirs.

I would caution everyone, don't just show up without a package plan... That will cost you a fortune, and leave you with a disappointed and limited park experience.
Aug 27, 2013 2:49AM
Grand Canyon was nice.  Especially the walk down and then back up again.  That was thirty years ago.  I don't remember paying much of anything to spend the night down in the canyon at one of the camp sites.  However, there's no way I would pay $80 today to view the canyon from a walk way.  I would rather just stay home.  Wait a minute.  That's what I do.  Who can afford to go anywhere these days?
Aug 31, 2013 2:06PM
Give me a break-you hate Disney, I get it, but people have been enjoying the parks for years, in spite of the lines, and you would encourage some one who has never been to skip it because of the price? Cynical attitude at best. As for the "hundreds of dollars a day" for food, parking etc - get a grip: parking is the same $15/day that you pay at numerous other attractions and just to park downtown in some cities. Food is your choice - you can go cheap (and probably healthier) by eating from the numerous fruit/snack carts/venues in the park or really cheap and not good for you at all at the rest of the carts or you can splurge at a restaurant. AND you can always pack a cooler and eat in the picnic area right outside the entrance gates.Hotels? You don't have to stay close if you are going for more than one day - stay in Fullerton - a 15 minute drive-or one of the many other close by Orange County locales. And if nothing else it can just be a one-day stop in your So. Cal. experience. And $92 is a lot when all the rides, entertainment and attractions are included but you WOULD pay $27 to ride an elevator up a building or more to tour an infamous federal prison? PUH-LEESE. Be FAIR or be quiet!

Aug 27, 2013 4:36PM
One of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken is east from Portland, Oregon along the south side of the Columbia River. The hanging valleys created when the glacial dam broke and scoured out the river basin created waterfalls where all the tributaries flow into the Columbia. Dozens of waterfalls ranging from a few feet to over a hundred---and it's all free. Some of the best wind surfing conditions in the country along the river  as well. Fun to watch, but my knees won't take participation anymore!
Aug 26, 2013 8:58PM
Café du Monde - well worth an early morning or late night visit.  The people watching takes a back seat to very good beignets and coffee.  And yes, even locals do go there.  It can fill up in the afternoon with the exhausted tourist with bead necklace crowd, but that doesn't take away from the overall experience.
Aug 26, 2013 10:45PM
OMG, you have to pay money to see the view from a building?!!!
Aug 27, 2013 2:27PM
I loved the maid of the mist ride and cave of the winds is awesome.  I loved the humor of seeing the no smoking sign on the hurricane deck.  Sadly, when we were there that night to watch the fireworks over the falls, a woman fell in after being stupid and climbing over the rail to have someone take her picture.
Aug 31, 2013 6:42PM
I love these so called "tourist traps." Um, to adults some of them may be "traps," but to a kid, it may be the greatest thing since sliced bread ( or iPhones/pads, etc.)
Aug 31, 2013 12:39PM

Niagara is worth planning a vacation around.  Old Fort Niagara, the old French fort, is worth seeing which is only about 20 miles away in Youngstown. Also the old colonial village of Lewiston is quite charming..  Across the Niagara River From Youngstown is Niagara on the Lake and the old British  fort, Fort George.  My children loved the trip.

Aug 27, 2013 6:35AM
Vacation spot.  Tourist trap.  Is there a difference?
Aug 27, 2013 10:41AM
Been to several of these places!  Agree with all but one.  Go up in the Rockefeller Bldg in NYC.  Just as good a view and more reasonable.  Cafe du Monde, Wall Drug, Maid of the Mist, Alcatraz are all worth making a stop.  Would like to add to the list House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  A little out of the way but well worth it. 
Aug 27, 2013 9:17AM

One of the worst days ever spent was at "Magic Mountain".


105 degrees, 12 hours, 4 rides (agonizingly long lines), $8- four (4) oz warm sodas.....rivals Gitmo.


Disneyland not too far behind.



Aug 27, 2013 12:43PM
Go to lake Cumberland in KY.  It is one of the most BEAUTIFUL places I have been to. Rent a houseboat ,find your own little cove to tie up in and relax.  You take all your own food and beverage, so you don't have to decide where to eat  or take the kids shopping or to play putt putt.  It's a true vacation, and the boats are very accommodating. 
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