15 Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions

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There is a world of things, attractions, and places to visit.  During college, I started to notice a trend.  Many people have traveled far and wide and yet haven’t done the traditional activities that are their hometown attractions. I attended college in Florida and many of my classmates hadn’t been to Disney or Kennedy Space Center.  I couldn’t believe that they grew up a couple of hours from the site and had never been.  Although it’s not like, I am innocent in this either.

Ruby Falls, Catangooa, Tennesse, USA

~~~ Jennifer from Made all the Difference ~~~

totally worth it
Image from Flickr by Andrew Miller

Ruby Falls is about an hour from my home.  I grew up driving past one the “See Ruby Falls” barn advertisements.  Yet, I never managed to visit. Ruby Falls is located in Lookout Mountain.  The falls is  145-foot high underground waterfall.  The impressive falls is often a road trip stop for people travelling on I-75.  I drove by the signs for 5 years of college and never made the time to visit.  Looking back, I don’t know why I have never stopped just that I didn’t.  I regret that now that I never Saw Ruby Falls.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

~~~ Yasha of Dare 2 Go ~~~

Image from Flickr by Jan Hazevoet

Australia has a lot of islands along its extensive coast line: Kangaroo Island is the third largest, off the tip of Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. It’s about 130Km by road and ferry from Adelaide, and I grew up at Mount Compass, about halfway in between.

My 4 brothers and sisters all visited the island on school excursions at various times during their teenage years. My parents have also been a number of times over the years. Somehow, I’ve just never gotten around to it.

Now that I’m part of the travel blogging community, I am constantly surprised that Kangaroo Island is featured by many visitors to Australia as one of the highlights of their trip. It has amazing landscapes, a variety of native animals (not just kangaroos) on land and sea, food and wine trails, and lots of adventure activities.

If you Google places to see nature or wildlife in Australia, Kangaroo Island is often on the list.

My return visits to Fleurieu Peninsula have always been to visit family and friends. Someday I hope to visit Kangaroo Island, but at the moment I’m busy exploring the rest of the planet!

Edinburgh, Scotland’s Hogmanay Street Party

~~~ Gemma from Two Scots Abroad ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Image from Flickr by Robbie Shade

My name is Gemma, I’m Scottish, I don’t like Whisky, and I’ve never been to the Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party on New Year’s Eve! I’m ashamed, I meet travellers from all over the world who have ceilidh danced on the cobbled streets of the Old Town, and pogo-sticked to the live bands at Princess Street Gardens, then brought in the bells at midnight to an explosion of fireworks! I did have tickets once, but the forecast was horizontal rain and my hair was done up all nice…

Oregon, USA’s section of the Pacific Crest Trail

~~~ Jessica from JessicaLippe.com ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Image from Pixabay by RedesignPhoto

I am an Oregon native who has spent several years living in other parts of the country, but most of my life has been here. The opening to the Pacific Crest Trail is just a few miles from my home. Have I ever been there? Nope. I’ve hiked plenty in lesser-known hiking areas, such as the Table Rocks and Mount Humbug in Oregon, as well as elsewhere in the United States, Mexico, Peru, and Mediterranean Europe. Yet for some reason, I’ve never managed to get around to one of the most famous hiking trails, located practically in my own backyard. I actually wasn’t aware of how meaningful this trail was until a few years ago when I read the blog of a thru-hiker. I didn’t even live in Oregon at the time! When I did move back to Oregon, I always entertained the idea of hiking on the PCT, and once even stayed at a hostel that many of the thru-hikers frequent, but for various reasons (usually weather or lack of time), I haven’t been on it yet. Hoping that will change this summer!

Oktoberfest in Bavaria, Germany

~~~ Maria from Maria Abroad ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Image from Pixabay by Jackmac34

What are the first two things that anybody, all over the world brings up, when they hear I am from Germany? Autobahn and Oktoberfest. Growing up in Germany, I had plenty of opportunity to set personal speed records on the Autobahn. But it is with great shame that I have to admit: I have never been to the Oktoberfest. Ever. In. My. Life. Despite the fact that I grew up a mere 2.5 hours North of Munich. While I love beer and a good party, I never saw the appeal and always thought I might have a better opportunity down the line, where I wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel room (way too expensive), drive back (who wants to be the designated driver on a trip to Oktoberfest) or take the train (stuck on a shaking train with 100s of other highly intoxicated people for several hours). So year after year, the mission of jugging 1-liter beer mugs at the largest beer festival in the world got postponed and then all of a sudden, I had decided to move abroad for my studies (USA) and an internship in China. However I am MOVING to Munich this year and guess where I’ll be on day 1 of Oktoberfest! First one on the fairgrounds, I can promise you that 🙂

Yosemite National Park, Californa, USA

~~~ Genie of  Gallivanting Bean~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Photo from Made all the Difference’s trip to Yosemite National Park.

I’ve lived in California since I was 7 years old and at the age of 21, I still have never been camping, especially not at Yosemite National Park! It’s not that I’ve never wanted to go camping. All the camping plans that I have had have just fell through for one reason or another. But when I do finally go, my first place to camp at is definitely going to be Yosemite! Tons of my friends go every single year and they always return with amazing photos that make me so extremely jealous. One thing I really want to do at Yosemite is hike the Half Dome. So, on March 1st I’ll be buying a US National Parks annual pass! My goal with the pass of course is to visit as many US National Parks as I can within the year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make my trip up to Yosemite soon!

Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

~~~ Alouise of Take Me to the World ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Photo of Columbia Icefield taken by Alouise’s parents.

I am from Edmonton, Canada, and while the Rocky Mountains are not exactly in my backyard, they are close enough to me that I can go there for a weekend trip. The thing is I have not done much exploring in the Rocky Mountains. I went to Jasper National Park for a night with a youth group when I was 15, and drove through the park on my way to Vancouver, but that is all the travel I’ve done in Jasper. Athabasca Falls and Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park is (apparently because I have not been) amazing to see. With Maligne Canyon, there are even options to do an ice walk in the winter, so you can visit it at any time of the year. A little further south, between Jasper and Banff, is the Columbia Icefield. There are snow coaches takes you onto the glacier here so you can explore and learn about glacier in person. Unfortunately, each year the Columbia Icefield is receding, so I feel like it would be better to see this natural wonder sooner rather than later.

Dom Tower of Utrecht, Netherlands

~~~ Lotte of Phenomenal Globe ~~~

Dom Tower from the ground
Image from Lotte

After traveling around the world for 5 wonderful months in 2015, I have made it my 2016 mission to explore more of my own country, the tiny but beautiful Netherlands. One of the great places to visit in the Netherlands is the Dom Tower in Utrecht, the city I live in! Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands and a very old one. Utrecht was granted city rights in 1122 and has a beautiful medieval center with pretty canals, beautiful old houses and plenty of great cafes and bars.

AND… Utrecht has the 112 meter high Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands!

I have been living in Utrecht since 2013 and had never climbed the Dom, whilst seeing it pretty much every day when I look out my window.

Ashville, North Carolina, USA

~~~ Cameron of  The World Pursuit ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Image from Flickr by Leonard Silver

I was born and raised in North Carolina. It’s my home state, and although I don’t agree with the politics, the state has my heart. Give me a plate of pulled pork, fried okra, mac & cheese, collard greens, cornbread, and a tea to wash it down and I’m a happy man. It’s probably one of the most livable states in the U.S. And the landscapes are gorgeous and varied from the sand dunes of the Outer Banks to the forested Great Smoky Mountains. I’ve been all of the great state, but I’ve never been to what many say is one of our best cities.

Asheville, NC it is a serious tourist draw. Situated in the smoky mountains with a large art scene, adventure sports, culture, The Biltmore House, food, and a booming brewing industry. I mean they have more breweries than most countries do. The New York Times 36 hours even wrote a column about the city. Yet, I’ve never been, maybe one day.

Space Needle, Seattle, Washington, USA

~~~ Laura of Savored Journeys ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions

Despite living only one mile away from the Space Needle, and even being able to see it from our apartment window, my husband Nick has never been up to the top and the only time I went up in it was when I was a child. It’s one of the biggest attractions in Seattle, Washington, where we’ve lived for the past seven years, but since it’s a “tourist attraction” and we aren’t tourists here, we’ve never really considered going. It’s beautiful to look at, but when you have a similar view from your own window, it just doesn’t seem necessary.

Ladakh, India

~~~ Jo of Wander With Jo~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Image from Flickr by Rohit Ganda

I am from India and there are so many amazing places I haven’t visited in my own country. My biggest regret (and still on my bucket list) is – Ladakh. Tourists flock from all over the world to enjoy the scenic views, awesome treks, snow-capped mountains, serene lakes and biking tours in Ladakh. There is so much to see and the place is mesmerizing, to say the
I guess I still didn’t make it to Ladakh because of the altitude issue. I have never traveled to an extremely high altitude (So much that you need to take oxygen pills) so, I am a bit skeptical of how I will cope. Also, its better to do a bike tour but after my accident in Laos last year (while on a solo trip), I am bit nervous about riding long distances. Here’s to hoping I will make it to Ladakh soon!

Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

~~~ Patti of The Savvy Globetrotter  ~~~

Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions
Image from Flickr by Adam Jovanovich

I’ve often heard that one can’t visit Chicago without visiting Wrigley Field.  Well, apparently, one can live in Chicago for many years without visiting Wrigley Field.  To those unfamiliar, historic Wrigley is home to one of the city’s baseball teams- the Cubs.  Whether a fan of the team, baseball in general or just a lively atmosphere, a day at the 100 year old ballpark is a must for locals and tourists alike.  A nearby train stop makes it especially convenient to visit.  So, I’m not exactly sure why it took me 25 years to actually see it in person.  Admittedly, I’m not the biggest sports fan but I never made a conscious choice to avoid Wrigley.  Then again, I never made a conscious choice to visit either- my one and only visit as a born and raised Chicagoan was actually courtesy of a work event. If you want to make the most of your trip,  check this party bus in Sacramento and hire their services to enjoy your vacation in complete luxury.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransico, California

~~~ Charles of McCool Travel ~~~

McCool Golden Gate Bridge
Image from Charles

For a half dozen years, I lived in Silicon Valley and Monterey, and I would frequently visit San Francisco. I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge dozens of times; always marveling in its majesty, whether the bridge was shrouded partially or fully in fog or the sky was the most crystal clear blue on Earth. I envied the walkers, runners, and bicyclists but assumed I would join them one day. Well, life happened and I moved to Virginia; then I really longed to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Maybe nine years after I moved from Northern California, we made a family trip to San Francisco and my wife and small children walked part of the way across the bridge with me. They returned to the car and picked me up on the other side. Of course crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot was a magnificent experience, one that I recommend to everyone. 

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

~~~ Nic and Paul of The Roaming Renegades~~~

Image from Flickr by Stonehenge Stone Circle

I always wanted to go down and visit Stonehenge, I mean, it is one of our countries most mystical and ancient relics. It is actually on my bucket list and yet I have travelled to 29 different countries around the world, even as far as Japan, but never the 230 miles down to this monument! I think one of the things that is stopping us is where it is in the country, it is kind of in the middle of nowhere and not the easiest to get to! I also don’t want to drive 4 hours to find out that it is overrated, and yet I still dream of seeing it! I am really fascinated by the history surrounding the site, how it even got there in the first place and what England would have looked like at the time! We keep saying we will go, but it reality I think we only will if we end up somewhere else nearby and then pop in. It seems like a long way to go just for some rocks…although as climbers this seems hypocritical!!

Red Light District, Amsterdam, Netherlands

~~~ Sanne of Spend Life Traveling ~~~

Image from Flickr by Steve Parker

Born and raised in the Netherlands it never once crossed my mind to check out the red light district. I even worked in Amsterdam and practically had to walk past the red light district every day and still I never thought to walk through those streets…

But then I started to travel and live abroad. I soon learnt that amongst many people Holland is famous for two things: marijuana and the red light district.

The former I had tried, the latter now seemed a “missed opportunity”.

So years later when I temporarily found myself in Holland again I took a train to Amsterdam to finally visit this famous “tourist attraction”…

And yes, it’s all there: prostitutes in red-lit windows, sex shops, peep shows and probably a higher percentage of tourists than I’ve seen anywhere else in Amsterdam.

I have to admit I mainly felt awkward looking at half naked women standing behind a window, clearly not there to entertain me… Thankfully Amsterdam is an amazing and beautiful city that has much more to offer than just this small area.

So although I have no real desire to go back I am happy I’ve seen this famous part of Amsterdam and I truly am grateful for Holland’s liberal laws.

As the Amsterdam tourism board phrases it: “Prostitution has enjoyed a long tradition of tolerance in Amsterdam. Safety is key here. In addition to preventing forced prostitution, the aim is an open and honest approach. Sex-workers here have their own union, plenty of police protection, an information centre (for visitors as well), frequent monitoring and testing and professional standards.”

Do you have any regrets about your hometown attractions?  Why haven’t you visited it?

15 Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions (1)

30 thoughts on “15 Traveler Regrets About Hometown Attractions”

  1. Interesting list! Mine would be driving Route 66. My hometown (Springfield, MO) is the birthplace of Route 66! I wish I could’ve done it in its glory!

  2. Honestly, I visited Stonehenge back in my school days….
    “Spent all day in transportation just to see a few rocks!!! (even behind the wires)”… I didn’t realize the fun of doing so then but I do now.

  3. Great idea for a post. I grew up in Nashville and I haven’t done 90% of the tourist attractions there! It’s sad that most people don’t take advantage of what’s close by, but the good thing is, it’s never too late.

    1. I am from Knoxville and have done most of those but I didn’t spend much time in Nashville. I will need to go visit and do more tourist things there.

  4. We have been lucky we came back to our home town for the last 6 months and we decided to treat it like we were still traveling so we were able to see a lot of things that we didn’t while growing up here and I am so glad we did. We rediscovered how many awesome things there are to do here.
    I have to say, living 2.5 hours away from Octoberfest and never going is tragic and I am happy that Maria is rectifying it.

  5. What an interesting read! I’m guilty of not enjoying – or really appreciating – what was on my doorstep in the UK before I moved away – but part of me doesn’t regret it. Those things I missed hadn’t really crossed my radar until I left but I’m much happier seeing the things I have rather than stay at home for things I ‘missed’.

    1. I visited a friend in London who grew up a Tube station from the Tower and had never been until I showed up. I can agree but at the same time people should stop and enjoy the things around them like they enjoy the rest of the world.

  6. Great post and reminder to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us everyday. A few years ago when leaving the country to become an expat, we took time to enjoy everything that was local. Since then, we have always made an effort to see and enjoy what is around. So, far…so good… no regrets. The goal is to keep it that way 🙂

  7. I completely get it! I live in NYC and I haven’t been to the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and I was way too young to remember the Statue of Liberty. Maybe one day

  8. I grew up just outside of New York City and I never visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, or the Empire State Building. I’m grateful that I had an out of town friend drag me to the World Trade Center once or I’d have never had a chance to visit that magnificent building. I am still hopeful I’ll get back to visit the others some day.

  9. I agree it’s so much easier to visit an attraction when you’re on the road. I think it’s because when travelling one of our main purposes is to see things, whereas when you’re at home, you feel like it’s playing hooky from real life. That said, I’d love to visit all of these places, or at least the ones I haven’t seen. Ruby Falls looks stunning and I agree, Kangaroo Island is an amazing destination (also with the most road kill I’ve ever seen in one place)!

    1. I agree with the playing hooky. I more often than I would like to admit will sleep in instead of visiting the nearby places as I planned.

  10. Not quite near our hometown, but I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t been to Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef! Something I’m hoping to rectify as soon as possible! If only Australia wasn’t so huge! :p Loved reading this and getting inspiration for future travels too.

    1. I say the same thing about some much the United States. People forget that a lot of countries like USA or Australia are huge and the size of many EU nations.

    1. I just moved to Virginia in November and did that within a week of moving to the state. I wanted to see the cannibalism skull.

  11. It’s amazing what we tend to miss in our own country, isn’t it? I think most of us are guilty of this. I used to think that I better travel around first, hometown, homestate, own country, can all wait. These days however I do make it a point to travel more within the country and write more about it as well. I’ve come to learn to appreciate it more compared to before but then again it’s probably because I’ve travelled more overseas prior to that, which makes appreciating things local easier.

    1. I know. It is amazing what people have missed that others will travel to see. I am trying to explore more of the USA since I am from there.

  12. Yosemite! Jasper! How could these be missed?! I bet your audience are screaming – Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Party, how can you miss that?! Thanks for featuring us, a great post.

    1. I know. It is hard to believe some of the things missed. Hopefully we get to all the local attractions done some day.

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