Americans Share the US Destinations Foreign Travelers Must Avoid at All Costs

America is a massive country boasting some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world and magnificent cities, each full of its unique flavor. 

However, not everything about America is epic. Foreign tourists would be wise to avoid these dangerous aspects of America. 

Rocky Mountains

Mountain Landscape in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
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Rocky Mountain National Park is a natural wonderland. We encourage tourists worldwide to visit and marvel at its splendor. 

However, please be safe about it. The mountains are dangerous and have claimed the lives of many ambitious travelers.

Death Valley

The sand dunes and desert landscapes in Death Valley National Park, one of the best things to do in California.
Photo Credit: M. Allen, Partners in Fire

Death Valley features stunning desert landscapes, but the name bears an essential warning. One of the hottest places on earth gets unbearable in the desert heat. There’s no water to quench your thirst and hardly a tree to offer a brief respite from the sun’s damaging rays. 

The Greyhound Bus

Woman sitting alone outside a bus terminal.
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Foreign travelers might assume our national bus network resembles Europe’s iconic rail system. It is not. 

The Greyhound bus often transports America’s transients. As the early 2000s pop-punk band Mest says, they weren’t prepared for “The stinky people and the smell, the smell on this bus,” in their wildly inappropriate song complaining about the Greyhound bus, featured as a bonus track on their album Wasting Time

Yellowstone’s Hot Springs

Grand prismatic spring at Yellowstone National Park.
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Although most places boasting hot springs allow visitors to swim, the hot springs in Yellowstone are a strict no-go zone. The water is too hot for swimming, but that’s not the worst. The PH level is so balanced that it’s like swimming in flesh-melting acid. 

Still, it seems like we hear stories of travelers reaching an untimely demise every year because they decided to test the waters for themselves. 

Touristy Stuff

Young traveler with a backpack navigating a crowded city.
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Don’t come to America to get stuck in a tourist trap. Though some tourist towns are lovely, they’re better suited for Americans who know exactly what they’re getting into. 

There are many better places to eat than Rainforest Cafe and many cooler tourist attractions than wax museums. See the real gems of America and get out of the tourist traps. 

Off the Path

A sign warning visitors to stay on the trail at Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
Photo Credit: Jon Kraft via

America’s National Park system is one of the biggest draws for international travelers. However, far too many visitors refuse to heed the park’s warning signs. 

Stay on the path in a National Park, especially when you see warning signs. The Park Rangers aren’t trying to be mean or prevent you from getting the most out of your vacation; they’re trying to save your life. 

Over the Rails

image of the grand canyon - the best place to visit in the US
Photo Credit: M. Allen Partners in Fire

The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most famous National Parks. However, people don’t seem to realize what “Grand” means. 

The Park Service installed a network of guard rails to prevent folks from plummeting to their doom, but unfortunately, far too many people ignore them. 

Kensington, North Philadelphia

Philadelphia skyline on a bright blue day.
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Philadelphia natives implore visitors to avoid the Kensington region of North Philadelphia. According to Drexel University, Kensington has a violent crime rate that’s 30% higher than the rest of Philly. 

Gary Indiana

Industrial steel mill in Gary Indiana.
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Gary, Indiana, consistently rates as one of the worst places in America. The city thrived during the steel years, but as industries shifted away, crime got worse. 

East St. Louis

Looking across the Mississippi river into East St. Louis.
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East St. Louis is a city in Illinois that borders Missouri’s St. Louis. Although nearby, it’s not technically part of Gateway City. 

Avoid East St. Louis at all costs. The poverty-stricken region is a breeding ground for criminal activity. 

Off The 90/94 Freeway in Chicago

Portion of Chicago Skyline from lake Michigan featuring the Hancock building at sunset.
Photo Credit: Rudy Balasko via

Chicago gets a bad rap. Newspapers love to portray the Second City as a violent haven for criminals, but most of the city is perfectly safe for tourists. 

Any city as big as Chicago will have its share of rough neighborhoods. Visitors will be fine if they don’t take the Redline any further south than US Cellular Field (when the Sox play – don’t venture further South than Chinatown for any other reason!) and don’t take the Greenline past the McCormick Center. 

While growing up in the city’s southern suburbs, my dad implored me to never, ever get off the 90/94 freeway between 95th Street and downtown. “Pull to the side of the road and wait for the police to come,” he advised. 

Don’t Skip the Rest of Illinois

The Centennial Bridge which connects Illinois to Iowa at sunrise
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Many consider Illinois a flyover state outside the second city. But the entire state bursts with unique experiences for travelers. Here’s what you can’t miss in Illinois outside Chicago

Bonus: City Hopping

Map of continental United States.
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Far too many European travelers think they’re going to come to the States and city-hop. They’ll spend a day in New York, then drive to Disney Land, stopping at Vegas to play some slots along the way, and then maybe catch a quick train ride to see Yosemite National Park, all in a short two-week trip. 

We hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not going to happen. The drive from New York to Orlando is 17 hours. Los Vegas is on the opposite side of the country. Yosemite is a four days drive from Orlando. 

International visitors often don’t realize how massive the US is, so keep the actual distances in mind while planning your trip. 

The Places You Should Visit in California

picture of palm trees pointing toward the sky
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California is a massive state with a huge variety of cities, ecosystems, and things to do. Find out the best the Golden State has to offer and start planning your visit!

Check out the 41 Best Things To Do in California

Why You Should Visit Aspen in the Shoulder Seasons

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Aspen is a winter wonderland perfect for outdoor skiing adventures. But if you don’t enjoy skiing, you should consider visiting during the shoulder season instead. Here’s why shoulder season is Aspen’s best kept secret!

You Don’t Need to Travel Overseas for Ancient Ruins

Tower ruins at Hovenweep National Monument in the Canyons of the Ancients.
Photo Credit: Zack Frank via

Explore stunning ruins in your own backyard with an adventure through the Canyons of the Ancients.

Visit a Real Haunted Hotel

An imaginary haunted house - a huge mansion with a giant full moon behind to represent one of the creepiest fall activities to enjoy
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For a real-life encounter, consider staying at one of America’s most haunted hotels

Source: Reddit

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.