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Sour reviews

These are just hilarious.

The Worst National Park Reviews of the Year
There was nothing to do, I didn’t see a bear, and that snake harassed me

Visitors come from across the globe to set foot in our national parks. But some people are simply unimpressed.

The internet gives these people a place to air their grievances. Some now-classic bad national park reviews have made their way further, into illustrations, T-shirts, and needlepoints. “There are bugs, and they will bite you on your face,” they say. Or, “Trees block view and there are too many gray rocks.” “The water is ice-cold,” someone griped about Acadia National Park in Maine, making it onto a poster made by Subpar Parks, which documents bad reviews.

The complaints keep coming. I searched Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google for the best and worst reviews of our national parks in 2023. To be fair, most of the complaints were about excessive crowds, traffic jams, and new reservation systems. But some visitors had, uh, more nuanced grudges regarding lackluster scenery or were shocked by the lack of amenities. Here are my favorites.

1. Yosemite National Park, California
In California’s Sierra Nevada, Yosemite offers giant granite monoliths, waterfalls, and Sequoia trees up to 3,000 years old. But not everyone sees the beauty.

“Really annoying that it is the same way in and same way out. Scenery is not breathtaking.” —TripAdvisor

“I need someone to explain to me the hype of this place. This place looks like any place with mountains and trees. Too many people, not enough stores, not enough places to buy food.” —Yelp

2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
On Hawaii’s Big Island, this park stretches from sea level to 13,680 feet, boasting two of the world’s most active volcanoes. It is not known for its racquet sports, though.

“Absolutely horrible disappointment. There wasn’t a single pickleball court in sight. You’d think with it’s [sic] extreme length of 2.93 mi (4.72 km), an extreme width of 1.95 mi (3.14 km), a circumference of 7.85 mi (12.63 km) and an area of 4.14 sq mi (10.7 km2) they’d find some space for one.”—Yelp

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee
Straddling two states, GSMNP is 500,000 acres of towering mountains, remote streams, and the most biodiverse wilderness in America. That doesn’t keep the young ’uns from doing their thing.

“Some falls/streams had nothing but toddlers peeing & pooing in the water.”—TripAdvisor

“Can’t say this is one of my fave national parks. No bear sightings but that’s not the park’s fault. … [T]he haziness of it gave me huge headaches.” –TripAdvisor

The Great Smoky Mountains, hazy? Wow. Read on for the rest of the side-splitting list. Can vacationing Americans really be this thoroughly spoiled, clueless, and out of touch? Apparently so, alas. Wonder no more where the well-known European epithet dismissing Yank tourists as “Ugly Americans” might have come from.


2 thoughts on “Sour reviews

  1. In other news, if you go Deep Sea Fishing you need to bring your own water or other forms of hydration. All that water all around you and NONE of it is drinkable.


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