I go to Blackpool for my holidays...
July 2, 2007 6:10 PM   Subscribe

What are some popular, regional touristy type attractions?

What I don't mean is obvious tourist stuff - Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Mount Rushmore, etc.

What I mean is pretty much the following criteria places that are typically visited by people from the surrounding area. Put-In-Bay for Ohioans, Kennywood for Southern Pennsylvanians or places like the 1000 Islands for upstate New Yorkers like myself.

To some extent, I'd include places like Blackpool, England or Myrtle Beach. I don't mean places like Cancun or any other "package" city (though that would be an interesting question for some other time).

So essentially, I'm looking for places visited mostly by regional residents, mostly geared solely tourism, typically considered a "traditional" vacation, and ideally should have some kitsch factor involved.
posted by champthom to Travel & Transportation (34 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In the Upper Midwest, you can only mean The Wisconsin Dells.
posted by GaelFC at 6:18 PM on July 2, 2007

Truth or Consequences, NM
posted by yohko at 6:25 PM on July 2, 2007

Well, I suppose Mammoth Cave is a national tourist destination, but it doesn't get more kitsch than Cave City. Imagine a settlement of Carnies. It's a fun town and I've been there many times, though never after dark...
posted by Roman Graves at 6:28 PM on July 2, 2007

Mackinac Island, MI has kitsch and some to spare (1 every 3 stores sells fudge, ferry ride, no cars allowed, horse drawn carriages, big ol hotels). Traverse City, MI has plenty of cherry-themed activities. Catskills, NY., Hamptons, NY. The Berkshires, MA. Hell, MI (not so traditional). Block Island, RI.
posted by Eringatang at 6:37 PM on July 2, 2007

So where would Joe Lunchpail (Lower Midwest division) go on holiday? Well, there's the obvious

I have a young relative who actually did go to Branson ironically. College kids - they think they're indestructable.
posted by ormondsacker at 6:42 PM on July 2, 2007

Old Orchard Beach, ME
Cape May, NJ
posted by beagle at 6:45 PM on July 2, 2007

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, TN
posted by kimdog at 6:48 PM on July 2, 2007

Lake of the Ozarks, in MO
posted by jpdoane at 6:51 PM on July 2, 2007

Wisconsin Dells!!!! My fondest childhood memories are of Robot World in the Dells :)

Also Door County, WI

Laughlin, NV [I'm not altogether positive that anyone in their right mind visits here, but those that do are locals]

Prescott, AZ sort of fits the bill.

The Poconos and area around Niagra Falls?

The northern Baja area is a drive-in vacation destination for socal-ers
posted by Mozzie at 6:52 PM on July 2, 2007

I'd think Coney Island is kind of a regional thing (especially for the Mermaid Parade).

Around here, more locals go to Block Island (RI) from New England, whereas there's more (and richer) people from around the country who go to Martha's Vineyard. Still, us poorer folk can still take the ferry out there for the day (as long as you don't want to try to sleep there.)

Tourists go to Six Flags. Locals still call it Riverside and take their younger kids to Quassy. We don't really have too much kitsch in CT; when you're a kid, you go to one of the state parks (with lakes and cookout areas) for day trips.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:56 PM on July 2, 2007

Scarborough in Yorkshire, England?
posted by stray at 7:03 PM on July 2, 2007

Skegness, England, is probably the "worst" example I can think of.

Towns like Blackpool and Brighton are nationally popular but Skegness is nearly only visited by Midlanders (and generally derided by everyone else), yet is one of the top attraction towns in terms of visitor numbers and revenues. This makes it a good example of a pretty regional, very kitsch, but hugely successful seaside town. Effectively, it's like a modern Margate (which is almost a non-attraction now, but had the same stature in the SE of England over 20 years ago).
posted by wackybrit at 7:07 PM on July 2, 2007

As stray says, Scarborough too. It's very similar to Skegness (though significantly better) in stature amongst Yorkies rather than Midlanders.
posted by wackybrit at 7:09 PM on July 2, 2007

Pigeon Forge and Gatlingburg TN (and Smoky Mtns, of course, although those aren't kitsch). The themed Museum of Applachia is nearby. Heavily visited by those in the surrounding area (and a lot of other people as well).
posted by frobozz at 7:17 PM on July 2, 2007

roadsideamerica.com has this covered inside-out.

Growing up near Chicago and getting all "dells'd-out" our family eventually switched to southwest Wisconsin to the 'house on the rock' and all the other touristy things to do in the Spring Green/Dodgeville/Mt. Horeb area.
posted by andshewas at 7:29 PM on July 2, 2007

Chimney Rock, North Carolina. Breathtaking scenery, very affordable lodging, loads of kitchsy souvenir shops. It's a lot less trafficked and commercialized than Gatlinburg--my mother says it reminds her of what Gatlinburg was like when she was a child.
posted by happyturtle at 7:32 PM on July 2, 2007

Saugatuck, MI and Silver Lake (dunes) as well.
posted by rhoticity at 7:46 PM on July 2, 2007

Solvang, California
posted by miss lynnster at 8:01 PM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

You want kitsch? Try the "Twenty Miracle Miles" on the Oregon Coast. That's the section between Lincoln City and Newport. You can find more miniature golf courses and weird motels and strange tourist attractions than you would ever want to.

The name was coined by the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:12 PM on July 2, 2007

Among other tourist attractions in the Twenty Miserable Miles is the D River. It's the world's shortest river, a mere 120 feet long at high tide.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:17 PM on July 2, 2007

Santa Cruz, California is probably the closest non-deadly, non-ice-cold beach to the Bay Area/Sacramento/Reno, with a kitschy/classic amusement park, a steam train into the redwoods, and a funky downtown. Tourism is important to the economy, but there's also a big university there, with tech companies and agriculture also key.
posted by mdonley at 8:19 PM on July 2, 2007

Sudbury's Big Nickel came to mind as something akin to a kitsch Eiffel Tower. More day trip than vacation, though.

1000 Islands for upstate New Yorkers

...and Ontarioans!

Speaking of upstate NY -- I spent two childhood summers peripherally in the circus in the Enchanted Forest in Old Forge, which looks to be every bit what you're looking for. Tiny in winter, tourist explosion in summer; cosmopolitan entertainments included going to the town dump to watch bears.

Palm Springs, CA, is probably touristy-tacky and locals-only enough to fit. Along with the neighbouring towns the highway signs there refer to as "Other Desert Cities."

Going to "the Muskokas" is popular here: "Muskoka has some 1,600 lakes, making it a popular resort destination. Indeed, this region, which, along with Haliburton, is referred to as "cottage country", and sees over 2.1 million visitors annually."

Finally, I remember UK relatives of mine going to Majorca, which Wikipedia claims "has also become a synonym for mass tourism." Too mass, maybe? And, re. Skegness, see here.
posted by kmennie at 8:19 PM on July 2, 2007

In Minnesota we go "Up North" or "To The Cabin", which typically means a small house on a lake in the northern part of the state. A surprising number of people own their own, while those of us who don't either mooch off of friends or go to kitschy resorts where you can rent a place for a week. Activities include drinking, waterskiing, bonfires, swimming, drinking, playing cards, fishing, and drinking. If you've got kids, probably a bit less drinking and more going "into town" for some homemade fudge or ice cream on the main street of the nearest town.
posted by vytae at 8:35 PM on July 2, 2007

Massachusetts has The Paper House.
America's Stonehenge in NH.
Then there's the World's Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria Indiana.
posted by Gungho at 9:29 PM on July 2, 2007

On preview, those are things to see rather than places to stay.
posted by Gungho at 9:31 PM on July 2, 2007

Also, if you liked Bonanza, Virginia City, Nevada
Also: Historic Goldmining Route 49
Tombstone, Arizona

And of course Vegas is the kitschy of all kitsch.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:37 PM on July 2, 2007

Tweetsie Railroad, NC
posted by btkuhn at 10:45 PM on July 2, 2007

Stay away from Blackpool, it is dismal. If you're in the region, explore the Lake District instead.
posted by stereo at 12:06 AM on July 3, 2007

Gold Coast/Surfer's Paradise for NSW and Victorian Australians. At the end of the school year it does 'schoolies' the equivalent, I think, of US spring break.
posted by bystander at 5:02 AM on July 3, 2007

Cypress Gardens in Florida, perhaps? Or Gatorland.
posted by that girl at 6:03 AM on July 3, 2007

Speaking of upstate NY -- I spent two childhood summers peripherally in the circus in the Enchanted Forest in Old Forge, which looks to be every bit what you're looking for. Tiny in winter, tourist explosion in summer; cosmopolitan entertainments included going to the town dump to watch bears.

Ah yes, I was going to add that as an example but I figure the 1000 Islands would be a sufficient example. Yes, I've gone to Old Forge plenty of times, though not in recent years. I particularly remember this mind numbing boring 4 hour boat tour my parents made me go with them in Old Forge.

Anyways, thanks people. These are mostly dead on examples of what I'm looking for. Keep 'em coming.
posted by champthom at 6:28 AM on July 3, 2007

See Rock City
posted by kimdog at 7:05 AM on July 3, 2007

Gilroy, CA for the garlic festival
posted by Eringatang at 1:23 PM on July 3, 2007

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