50 Popular Tourist Destinations That People Can No Longer Visit
There are several spots around the world where tourists used to flock to. Some spots are iconic tourist spots because of their unique architecture, gorgeous views, or unusual offerings. However, for one reason or another, these tourist destinations are no longer available for travel and are nothing but a distant memory.
Some of the iconic spots have been closed to tourists to preserve wildlife in the area, some no longer exist, and some have even lost their tourist population because they aren't as impressive anymore.
Original Penn Station, New York
The original Penn Station opened in 1910 in New York City and featured Beaux-Arts architectural features, a grand staircase, pink granite, vaulted glass windows, and massive columns.
However, demand for train travel decreased by the 1950s and 1960s. In 1963, the station was demolished and moved underground so Madison Square Garden could take its spot. Many New Yorkers are still bitter that the station's history wasn't preserved.
Pink And White Terraces, New Zealand
The Pink and White Terraces of Lake Rotomahana in New Zealand were renowned around the world during the nineteenth century. The beautiful terraces were thought to be the largest silica sinter formations on Earth.
The stunning terraces formed when geothermal springs erupted, leading to the gradual buildup of pink and white silica. Sadly, in 1886, a nearby volcano, Mount Tarawera, erupted and buried the terraces, villages, and people. In 2017, researchers believed they had found the location of the terraces, but no one knows if it can be excavated and restored.
River Country, Disney World
River Country opened in 1976 at Disney World, and its slides and pools welcomed families in droves. It was a country-themed park and was the first of its kind at Disney World.
However, in 1986, Disney opened a second water park, Typhoon Lagoon, which was larger and had better parking and more attractions. River Country couldn't compete, and then a third waterpark was opened. River Country officially closed for good in 2001.
Duckbill Rock, Oregon
Duckbill Rock was a seven-foot sandstone rock in Oregon. The rock looked like a duck's bill and attracted tons of tourists every year. Sadly, the formation toppled over, and when the authorities watched the video footage, they found out that people had intentionally knocked it down.
They told authorities that it was an act of revenge. "They basically told me themselves that it was a safety hazard and that they did the world or Oregon a favor." ----- David Kalas.
Stardust Casino, Las Vegas
The Stardust Casino was an iconic spot on the Las Vegas Strip. It was built in 1958 and was expanded in 1989. Stardust was a popular spot for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack and featured shows by famed illusionists Siegfried and Roy.
It was also the inspiration for the book and film Casino. Unfortunately, it became overwhelmed by new casinos, hotels, and venues. The Stardust Casino was demolished in 2007 to make way for a new casino and resort complex.
Honey Run Bridge, California
The Honey Run Bridge was located in Butte County in California and was a classic covered bridge. It was a gorgeous destination that stood for one hundred and thirty-two years and hosted weddings and other events.
The bridge was open to vehicles until the 1960s when a truck crashed into it. In 2018, the bridge was destroyed by the California wildfires, but there have been talks about rebuilding it.
Six Flags Over New Orleans, Louisiana
Six Flags Over New Orleans was an amusement park located in Louisiana. The park was a one-hundred-and-forty-acre park that first opened in 2000 as Jazzland and was acquired by Six Flags in 2003.
The park was hit by several hurricanes which flooded the area but was officially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was declared a total loss, with the land ending up in the hands of the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans.
Vidam Park, Hungary
Vidam Park was located in Budapest, Hungary, and was successful for six decades. It was known for its classic amusement park rides, making it a family tradition to visit.
The park suffered from financial difficulties and was officially closed in 2013. The ruins of Vidam are still there, with the abandoned rides, the artwork on the walls, and the terrifyingly happy dragon covered in cobwebs.
Porcelain Tower Of Nanjing, China
The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was built in 1412 during the Ming dynasty and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. The tower was built with glazed white porcelain bricks and left visitors speechless.
The original tower was destroyed during the nineteenth-century rebellion. In 2008, a wealthy Chinese man decided to build a replica called the Porcelain Tower Heritage Park.
Original Wembley Stadium, London
The original Wembley Stadium first opened in 1923 in London and was best known for hosting important football matches. In 1923, the stadium hosted the FA Cup and then annually after that. However, it was demolished in 2002, and the new Wembley Stadium was built.
The new stadium is much bigger and more impressive than the original. Fans were not happy about the new stadium and took particular issue with the destruction of the two towers that adorned the original building.
Maya Beach, Thailand
Maya Beach was one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand and was also the filming location for the 2000 film The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio. After the movie, the beach drew more than six thousand guests per day.
After a while, that much traffic took its toll on the local ecosystem, leading government officials to close it down. They wanted to close the beach to give it time to heal.
West Pier, United Kingdom
The West Pier in Brighton in the United Kingdom was a place to visit in the 1880s. During its heyday, the West Pier saw millions of visitors annually. Most people came to experience the concert hall that was added in 1916. Unfortunately, popularity began to decline after World War II, and a funfair and tearoom replaced the concert halls.
The pier was sold to a local company in 1965, which also couldn't meet the increased maintenance costs, and had to file for bankruptcy. The pier was closed in 1975 and fell into disrepair. Two sections of the pier collapsed in 2002, and fires destroyed other sections. In 2010, it was completely demolished.
The Mukurob, Namibia
The Mukurob, also known as 'The Finger of God,' was a sandstone formation on the horizon of the Namibian Desert for years. It was one of Namibia's most popular tourist attractions, as it held an important place in local folklore.
In 1955, the tower was given "National Monument" status. Sadly, the tower fell in 1988 after a devastating rainstorm and earthquake. Scientists believe that the rainstorm weakened the sandstone pillar, and the earthquake caused it to fall.
Darwin's Arch, Ecuador
Darwin's Arch was a natural rock arch located in the Galapagos that brought tourists from all over the world. It was an extremely popular spot for photographers and scuba divers due to the diverse wildlife that swam underneath the iconic arch.
However, the arch hasn't been accessible to tourists for a while. The arch was breaking apart for a while and completely collapsed into the ocean in 2021. All that is left are two small pillars.
Paleis voor Volksvlijt, Netherlands
The Paleis voor Volksvlijt, Crystal Palace, was built in the 1860s in the Netherlands. The palace was huge and breathtaking and was home to several cultural events, fine dining, and even two shopping centers.
It was modeled after London's famed Crystal Palace, including the cast-iron gates and mosaic floors. In 1929, the building caught fire and was completely destroyed. Today, the Nederlandsche Bank headquarters stands on the site.
Jonah's Tomb, Iraq
Jonah is an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and his tomb was a site of both historical and religious significance for millions of people. Jonah's Tomb was located in Mosul, Iraq, and it boasted beautiful ancient architecture.
However, in 2014, ISIS militants blew up the site and several other important historical sites around Mosul. A palace was found underneath the tomb and contained many valuable artifacts.
Azure Window, Malta
The Azure Window was a limestone arch that once jutted out of Malta's Gozo Island and was a breathtaking destination that brought in visitors from around the world.
The spot was even featured in HBO's Game of Thrones, during the scene where Daenerys Targaryen weds Khal Drogo. Unfortunately, the structure suffered natural erosion and collapsed after an intense storm in 2017.
Crystal Palace, London
The Crystal Palace, located in London, was a massive plate glass complex built in 1851 for the Great Exhibition. After the exhibition, the palace was deconstructed and rebuilt somewhere else in London.
In 1936, a fire broke out and destroyed the palace, leaving just two water towers. Today, the site is known as Crystal Palace Park and is a memorial to the palace that once stood there.
Love Locks Bridge, Paris
Love Locks Bridge crossed the Seine River and was located in Paris. A tradition started where romantic partners declared their love for one another by attaching a lock to the bridge.
However, all of those locks, roughly seven hundred thousand in total, started to get heavy, weighing about ninety-three tons. The city tried many different tactics to stop the popular practice but failed. In 2014, the locks were all removed, and the fencing was replaced with glass panels.
New York Hippodrome, New York
The New York Hippodrome opened in 1905 and was the largest theater in the world. The theater had room for more than five thousand guests, and the stage could fit over one thousand people.
By 1939, the Hippodrome struggled under the weight of its own operating costs and was demolished. It is now the site of an unremarkable office building.
Rotbav Fortified Church, Romania
The Rotbav Fortified Church was built in the 1300s and was used to protect residents with its thick, defensive walls during World War II. It was a popular tourist destination because of its immense history and historical importance.
It was believed to be one of the oldest fortified churches in Transylvania; however, it collapsed under its own weight in 2016. There are still several fortified churches in the country, but not enough money to keep them repaired.
Sutro Baths, San Francisco
The Sutro Baths opened in 1896 in San Francisco and were the largest swimming pool complex in the world. The complex included seven massive swimming pools, bathhouses, and an aquarium and was created by Adolph Sutro.
Tourists flocked to the Sutro Baths for decades, but the venue struggled with its massive operating costs and was eventually sold to developers in 1964. Just two years later, the complex burned to the ground, but you can still visit the ruins of the Sutro Baths.
The Spreepark was an amusement park located in Germany that hosted some 1.7 million people every year. They worked hard to keep guests coming to the park by adding new attractions yearly.
However, owner Norbert Witte was smuggling cocaine into Germany via the amusement park ride equipment. As a result, the park closed in 2002 but was used in 2011 for a scene in the film Hanna and the music video "Run Dry" by Sizarr. In 2014, most of what remained was destroyed by a fire.
The Buddhas Of Bamiyan, Afghanistan
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were a pair of colossal Buddhist statues (one was 181 feet tall and the other 125 feet tall). They once towered over the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan and were hand-carved into the sandstone cliffs in the sixth century.
The site had attracted visitors for more than fifteen hundred years. However, in 2001, the site was destroyed by the Taliban with explosives. People can still visit the remains of the statues, and some have expressed the desire to rebuild.
Chacaltaya Glacier, Bolivia
The Chacaltaya Glacier was Bolivia's only ski resort which was located in the Andes Mountains. Tourists flocked to the resort, but the glacier started to melt. It melted to the point where only a small six hundred square foot of land is sometimes snowy enough to ski.
Scientists started studying the melting glacier in the 1990s, but it had completely disappeared by 2009. You can still visit the area, but all that remains is an abandoned mountaintop resort.
The Old Man Of The Mountain, New Hampshire
The Old Man of the Mountain was a rock formation that appeared to have thick eyebrows and a jagged chin. It was a series of granite cliffs on Cannon Mountain that resembled a man's face.
It stood forty feet tall and was the most recognizable symbol of New Hampshire. However, the entire structure collapsed in 2003, and the governor decided not to replace it. Instead, it is referred to as the Old Man of the Mountain Memorial.
Palmyra is an ancient Syrian town whose history dates back more than four thousand years. Many civilizations have called the town home, including the Romans in the first century AD. In addition, the area housed some truly irreplaceable artifacts of world history.
In 2015, Palmyra was seized by ISIS, and militants destroyed about twenty to thirty percent of the town's relics and sites. Since then, UNESCO, archeological associations, and museums have started working on restoring the artifacts.
Royal Opera House, Valletta, Malta
The Royal Opera House first opened in 1866 in Valletta, Malta. It was home to some of the most stunning architecture in the country. Sadly, just six years later, a massive fire destroyed the interior of the building. The building was renovated after a lot of arguing over design plans.
In 1942, during World War II, Luftwaffe pilots bombed the city and destroyed the opera house. It was demolished for safety reasons, and even though there have been plans to rebuild, it has yet to happen.
The Amber Room, Catherine Palace, Russia
The Amber Room was a beautifully designed room filled with ornate gold and amber panels. The room was in Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, and its materials were gifted to Russia by Prussia in 1716. The materials contained some of the most ornate works in the world.
During World War II, the room was looted without proof of who did it or where the gold and amber were taken. In 2003, the room was reconstructed, but it will never be the same as the original.
National Museum of Brazil, Rio De Janeiro
The National Museum of Brazil was built more than two hundred years ago and began its life as a palace for Portuguese royals. It was converted in 1892 and held more than twenty million objects.
The museum was most famous for its impressive collection of natural history artifacts, including major pieces of Brazil's scientific and cultural heritage. In 2018, a fire broke out in the original palace and caused major destruction of the museum's artifacts. Reconstruction has begun, but many of the artifacts are lost forever.
The Wall Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
The Wall Arch was a popular site at Arches National Park in Utah and was along the Devil's Garden Trail. It spanned seventy-one feet across and thirty-three feet high.
It was the twelfth largest arch in the park and was made of sandstone. The stone began to develop stress fractures and was eroding and completely fell in 2008. The collapse occurred in the middle of the night, so thankfully, no one was injured.
Action Park, New Jersey
Action Park was an amusement park located in New Jersey. The park quickly became known for being one of the most injury-inducing amusement parks in history. The park was given nicknames such as "Accident Park," "Class Action Park," and "Traction Park."
There have been six people who have died at the park or soon after an incident happened at the park. None of that kept people away, and it actually became like a rite of passage. Finally, in 1996, the park was closed for good.
Dubrovnik is a little city in Croatia that is known for being the setting of King's Landing in Game of Thrones. When the show became so successful, people flocked to Dubrovnik.
The small city became so overpopulated that it actually began to affect the city negatively. They started limiting how many people could visit by limiting outdoor seating and the number of ships that were allowed to dock. The city still exists but is much tougher to visit.
Dead Sea Beaches, Israel
The Dead Sea Beaches are located in Israel and are very famous for being water that's impossible to sink into. The amount of salt in the water keeps people buoyant and prevents any fish or plants from living in it. Another huge draw is the beaches' black mud, which has supposed health benefits.
However, too many tourists and global warming have taken a toll on the beach, causing water levels to decrease and sinkholes to pop up. Because the beach has been deemed unsafe, it has been officially closed to the public.
Pioneer Cabin Tree/Tunnel Tree, California
The Pioneer Cabin Tree, also known as The Tunnel Tree, was a massive sequoia in California. The tree was a popular site in Calaveras Big Trees State Park and is one of the most famous trees. It was thought to be more than one thousand years old and measured thirty-three feet in diameter.
However, the tree fell and shattered in 2017, during a storm, the strongest storm to hit the area in more than a decade. A few sections of the tree remained intact and they couldn't be cut up because of the park's preservation policy.
Guaira Falls, Paraguay And Brazil
Guaira Falls was one of the most beautiful sights and was known as "Seven Falls." It was a series of eighteen waterfalls that divided Brazil and Paraguay. The immense falls had a drop of three hundred and seventy-five feet and could be heard more than twenty miles away.
In 1982, the Brazilian Army demolished the falls and put the Itaipu Dam in its place. The dam is one of the largest operating hydroelectric plants in the world.
Wedding Cake Rock, Australia
Wedding Cake Rock is located in Australia and is a sandstone rock formation in the Royal National Park. It is suspended eighty-two feet above sea level and has been an attractive location for photography.
There were too many people coming to the site, and people were taking dangerous photos. One person even died after falling off the cliff, so a fence was installed. However, people just started hopping over the fence. Studies also showed that the rock was at risk of collapsing so it was closed completely to the public.
Dogpatch was an amusement park that opened in 1968 in Arkansas and was a commercial success. Investors even tried to parlay that success into another park, "Marble Falls."
However, the new venture failed and led to Dogpatch being closed in 1993. The property fell into disrepair, and the land has been bought, sold, and foreclosed on several occasions.
Midway Gardens, Illinois
Midway Gardens first opened in 1914 and was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The site hosted many famous entertainers from all over and also included saloons, restaurants, shops, and more. It was passed from company to company until 1929.
The owners struggled financially, and eventually, the structure was torn down. However, the building was so solid that tearing it down sent the wrecking company into bankruptcy.
Beacon Towers, New York
The Beacon Towers was a mansion on Sands Point in the village on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. The structure was built from 1917 to 1918 for William Kissam Vanderbilt's ex-wife, Alva Belmont.
Later, the estate was sold to William Hearst, who renovated it and sold it in 1942. In 1945, the mansion was demolished, but scattered structural remains and the original gatehouse survived. It was destroyed to make way for new homes.
The Tenere Tree, Niger
The Tenere Tree was once considered the most isolated tree on the whole planet, as there wasn't a single tree within two hundred and fifty miles of it. It was a solitary acacia located in the Sahara Desert in Niger. It was often used as a guidepost for drivers and caravans.
Sadly, a drunk driver hit the tree in 1973 and knocked it down. The dead tree was removed and transferred to the Niger National Museum in Niamey in 1973. Today, a metal sculpture stands where the tree once grew.
Cave of Altamira, Spain
The Cave of Altamira dates back some twenty-two thousand years and was located in the Cantabria region of Spain. It was a popular tourist destination because of its Paleolithic art. However, over time, the presence of so many people in the cave started to cause the deterioration of the precious artifacts.
Algae-like molds began to form on the paintings, and the site was closed to the public in 1972 and 2002. Only a handful of people are allowed to visit the cave every week, and they have to follow very strict guidelines.
The Great Wheel, England
The Great Wheel was built in 1895 for the Earl's Court Empire of India Exhibition. The wheel had forty individual cars and could hold about thirty people. It took twenty minutes for the wheel to make a full revolution.
It was inspired by Ferris Wheel at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The wheel was shut down and demolished in 1906 because it was no longer profitable to run.
Original Tappan Zee Bridge, New Jersey
The original Tappan Zee Bridge used to carry traffic across the Hudson River in New York for over sixty years. The traffic was often backed up on the well-worn bridge, and federal and state authorities divided to construct a replacement.
The new bridge cost four billion dollars to build, and traffic was shifted to the new bridge in 2017. In 2019, the eastern half of the bridge was demolished in a controlled demolition, and the western half was lowered onto a barge and hauled away.
Boardwalk Hotel And Casino, Nevada
The Boardwalk Hotel and Casino opened in 1968 on the popular Las Vegas Strip. The hotel had one hundred and thirty-eight rooms and was a popular hangout for tourists and local gamblers.
The hotel began with the name Holiday Inn, then Viscount Hotel, and finally, the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk was sold to MGM Mirage in 1998 and closed in 2006. It was closed to make way for MGM's sixty-seven-acre CityCenter project.
Christmas Island Coral Reef, Australia
Christmas Island is located on the edge of the Java Trench, the deepest point in the Indian Ocean. It was surrounded by a narrow fringing reef that supported bountiful marine life, including eighty-eight coral species. It used to be a huge tourist attraction but is almost completely gone now.
As water temperatures increase, coral reefs are bleaching, and algae in the tissues of the reef that provided food were expelled. The fish have also left, and all that is left is a wasteland. The area is closed to visitors as Australia is hoping to bring the Christmas Island Coral Reef back to life.
Discover Island, Disney World
Discovery Island was located at Disney World and was originally a place to observe wildlife in its 'natural' habitat. There were animals flown in from all over the world and were allowed to roam free. However, Disney and the guests didn't treat the animals very well, which led to a lot of legal trouble for the brand.
In fact, several animals died while being captured by employees, and Disney was charged with sixteen counts of animal cruelty. Discovery Island was closed and watched by guards so that no one could visit it.
Heritage Park, South Carolina
Heritage Park was built in 1978 in South Carolina by Pentecostal televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The park was larger than both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, sprawling across twenty-three hundred acres.
The park had hotels, campgrounds, and condos. However, the Bakker drama, including Jim Bakker being charged with twenty-four counts of mismanagement of financial dealings, happened. The final nail in the coffin was a hurricane that destroyed the park. Heritage Park was forced to close for good in 1989.
Notre Dame, France
Notre Dame was a medieval Catholic cathedral in Paris, built in 1163 and completed in 1260. The coronation of Napoleon I and the funerals of many of the French Republic's presidents took place at the cathedral during the nineteenth century.
It was one of the most widely known and most visited sites in Paris. In 2019, Notre Dame caught fire and sustained serious damage. The building's spire collapsed, the roof was destroyed, and the upper walls were severely damaged. Many of the artifacts were destroyed as well. It is currently closed, but President Emmanuel Macron said the cathedral site would be returned to the church.