Skip over navigation

Universal Tourist Traps

Universal Tourist Traps

By Matt_Hunziker

Summer break means road trips and family vacations, which means plenty of standing around outside of various tourist spots waiting for people to pile out of a minivan. Obviously, going to New York vs Historic Bumwad County will have a big impact on what you can do during your trip (the Bumwad Guggenheim is still under construction). But fortunately for those of you who have no input on your destination, there are some tourist spots that are so universal that even the smallest, most out-of-the-way towns are guaranteed to have them. So get your cameras out and have a few bucks ready for rock candy:

Model Train Museums

Primarily of interest to small boys and elderly people in conductor’s hats, every town in North America has a model railroad museum (even if it’s just in somebody’s basement). You might find the continual operation of tiny trains to be dreadfully boring or even depressing, but if you do find yourself here try to make the best of it. Enjoy the free air-conditioning and the out-dated soda machines that still charge just 50 cents while you wait for model trains to experience an overdue ironic revival.

Something from the Civil War Era

The American Civil War lasted for four long years. Almost a century and a half later, grown adults are still dressing in costume to replay famous battles while thousands more are employed by a nationwide network of museums, forts, and cemeteries that will act on the history buff in your family like a giant, dusty magnet. Unless you are that history buff you might want to try imposing a quota; say no more than four consecutive hours of staring at 19th century medical instruments.

Something Supposedly Haunted (this website actually looks pretty cool)

Ghosts never seem to want to put in an appearance for tour groups, but you don’t have to go to the mountains of Colorado to find an old house, business, or cave that advertises its supernatural happenings. Maybe the old homeowners were murdered, maybe the upstairs neighbor was a witch, maybe everyone died of tuberculosis during the civil war—if you found a haunted civil war fort with model trains you could shorten your entire trip to about 45 minutes.

Big Box Store

You’ve never really known boredom until you can look to hanging out in a Wal-Mart or Shopko as a favorable alternative to whatever else you were doing. Lose your sunglasses during the Haunted Cave Tour? Choose from over 900 pairs! Need fresh socks or a new toothbrush? You can never really have too many. Later, when you realize that purchasing shoelaces was the most enjoyable thing you did all trip, you’ll question the point of ever leaving home again in the first place—until everyone forgets that lesson in time for next year’s vacation.

Hey, we didn’t say it would be anywhere you’d necessarily want to go. What destinations would you add to this list?

Topics: Life
Tags: travel, tourism

Write your own comment!


Write your own comment!


About the Author
Matt_Hunziker

Piscetarian

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.