By Kevin Williams
My parents were travelling earlier this week and they stopped at what I might categorize as a "tourist trap" in Kentucky (more about that tomorrow or next week). Now, tourist traps are not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes they are. But more often than not they are just what they are called: tourist traps. You can persuaded by so many billboards, screaming signs, yelp reviews, etc that you just can't help but get pulled in. And when you do? Well, sometimes the experiences are good, sometimes not. I've been to many over the years, other times I resist their charms and their pull. Here are 8 tourist traps, some I have resisted, some I have not.
WALL DRUG: I've been to this one. It's been years and years. But our family stopped by on a trip through South Dakota. It's right off the highway and it's morphed from I guess what was once a drug store into a whole mall. Neat place. No regrets. You can see their website here.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER: Man, you drive anywhere in the Carolinas on I-95 and this place just screams at you. If this isn't a tourist trap (Maurice's Barbecue in Columbia, SC might be a close second), I don't know what is. Click here.
ABBOTT FARMS: On the other side of the Carolinas: Abbott Farms. They'll try to push peach jelly, peach jam, peach syrup on you...and it works. Click here.
ELLIS BROTHERS PECANS: Go anywhere on I-75 in Georgia (why are most tourist traps seemingly in the South?) and you'll see signs for this place...pecans, pecans, pecans, anything you can find a way to use pecans in, they'll do it. Click here.
MERAMAC CAVERNS: Known as "America's Cave", if you drive enough places you'll see their ads plastered on barns. Anyone ever actually stopped here. This place is located just west of St. Louis.
CAVE OF THE WINDS - Colorado Springs. I have been here and I was an adult when I went and I still can't remember much about it, so it must have not left a huge impression on me, but if you go to Colorado everyone always tells you "You haveMAGNETIC HILL - MONCTON, NB to go to Cave of the Winds!" Well, I did....
ROCKHOME GARDENS: This is outside of Arthur, Illinois, right off the highway. I had to put something Amish on this list, from the 1930s through the 2000s it was an Amish-themed, kitschy, roadside mess catering to tourists. Now, it has been largely converted to an exotic animal farm.
MAGNETIC HILL - MONCTON, NB - I have been here before too (why do I end up at so many of these tourist traps?) and, man, I wish I could have gotten more enthused by it. Okay, the premise is you put your car in neutral and your car rolls UPHILL. It's supposedly all some optical illusion. But when I did it I just wasn't blown away. The grade of the hill, if memory serves me, is so slight that it really just seems like a bunch of hype.