(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com.)
Not all tourist destinations are created equal, and many don’t live up to their much-hyped hype. Here, travel bloggers weigh in on which tourist hot spots are not all they’re cracked up to be — but what they do have going for them.
Location: The Louvre, Paris, France
When Marcia Frost, of Champaign, Ill., braved the queues at the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, it was roped off and hung behind glass on a large wall. Even worse: Da Vinci’s masterpiece was so small compared to what she had imagined that it “looked like a 5×7.” And with dozens of people around her, it was impossible to get a close-up view.
Midwest Travel Guide Blogger at About.com, Marcia Frost writes about travel and lifestyle. Her portfolio can be found at MarciaFrost.com.
Location: Plymouth, Mass.
Veronica Stewart James (a perpetual traveler with no fixed address) found Plymouth Rock “shockingly underwhelming” because it was so much smaller than she imagined. (Even the woman at the Visitor Center joked that she hoped visitors had brought their magnifying glasses.) Commemorating the Pilgrims’ Mayflower landing in 1620, the stone sits five feet below street level and is partly buried in sand, making it appear even tinier. It was once much larger but has been relocated several times, split in two and chiseled away at by eager tourists who want a souvenir.
Veronica and her husband David blog about empty nesters and boomer travel at: The Gypsy Nester.
From pictures she had seen of the Great Wall of China, Karen Escalera of Miami, Fla., thought the UNESCO World Heritage Site would be surrounded by open space, offering a sense of serenity. But when Escalera arrived at the gate at Badaling, she found that encountering hoards of tourists “diminished the grandeur” of the architectural marvel and even made it difficult to get photographs.
Karen Escalera blogs about food, culture, fashion and travel at MiamiCurated.
Location: Queensland, Australia
Sue Campbell, of Montreal, Canada, is passionate about snorkeling and the Great Barrier Reef was big on her bucket list. When she finally had the chance to go, however, she was somewhat disappointed.
“The coral was the biggest I had ever seen anywhere — massive underwater mountains — but as far as tropical fish, there were very few and the ones I saw were very small,” she says. “I had envisioned being immersed in an enchanting underwater wonderland of colorful marine life á la Jacques Cousteau, so it really was a let-down.”
Susan Campbell is a travel and lifestyle writer specializing in the Caribbean for many print and web-based outlets. Her portfolio is at Rebelmouse.
Because some vacationers head to Key West to relax on its beaches, Teresa Mears, of suburban Fort Lauderdale, Fla., expected to find a sleepy fishing village filled with historic charm. Instead, Key West turned out to be a bustling cruise port packed with tourists, T-shirt shops, bars and street entertainers along its main drag, Duval Street.
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Photos always show this iconic 1700s Franciscan mission standing by itself. But when Jackie Dishner of Phoenix, Ariz., first arrived at The Alamo, visited by millions of tourists each year, the “intrigue and romance died a little.” The 4.2 acre complex is located smack dab in the middle of a downtown surrounded by busy streets, curio shops, hotels and a loiterer-packed public park.
Jackie Dishner is an Arizona-based author and blogger who writes about travel, lifestyle and turning obstacles into opportunities at BikeWithJackie.
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- Bicycle Vacations: Boomers’ Latest Travel Trend
- Top 9 Places for Healing Waters
- The World’s Best Chocolate Destinations
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. What story will you help make possible?
This article is reprinted with permission. © 2016 Grandparents.com. All Rights Reserved.