Tourist trap

This article is about a type of commercial establishment. For the novel, see Charles Ogden (children's writer). For the horror movie, see Tourist Trap (film).

A billboard advertising Wall Drug's products
Directional signs to the gift shop and exit (Must go through the gift shop to get to the exit) Ripley's Aquarium, Myrtle Beach SC
"Da Yoopers Tourist Trap" in Upper Michigan

Tourist trap is an establishment, or group of establishments, that has been created or re-purposed with the aim of attracting tourists[1] and their money. Tourist traps will typically provide services, entertainment, food, souvenirs and other products for tourists to purchase.

While the term may have negative connotations, some such establishments may be viewed by tourists as fun and interesting diversions.

In the United States


In some areas simple facilities may be a sufficient draw to entice tourists to stop. Wall Drug, in South Dakota, began its tourist trade simply by offering ice water.[2]

Term "tourist trap"

A few establishments take pride in the term and embody it into their names, such as "Da Yoopers Tourist Trap",[3] run by the comedy troupe Da Yoopers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and "The Tourist Trap"[4] at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Other establishments like The "Trees of Mystery"[5] in Klamath, California avoid the phrase.

In Canada

Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls is a popular tourist trap in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The street attractions are owned by two entities. The area also extends to a small portion north of Victoria Avenue east and west of Clifton Hill and Centre Street north of Victoria Avenue.

In Australia

There are a large number of "big things" in Australia. Many of those were initially created as Tourist Traps, but have gained cult status in the country since.

See also


  1. Gaines, Barbara K.; re (May 31, 1986). Idiomatic American English: A Step-By-Step Workbook for Learning Everyday American Expressions. Kodansha International. p. 85. ISBN 0-87011-756-4.
  2. "" (web). The Wall Drug Store got its start during the Depression years by offering Free Ice Water to thirsty travelers. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  3. "Da Yoopers Tourist Trap & Museum" (Web). Ishpeming, Michigan, Business web site. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  4. "The Tourist Trap" (Web). Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, Business web site. 2003. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  5. "Trees of Mystery" (Web). Klamath, California, Business web site. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
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