Two popular North Carolina attractions have been named among the most overpriced in the world.
To compile the lists, USA Today analyzed 23.2 million Google reviews of 500 popular tourist attractions in the world with keywords “tourist trap,” “overrated” or “expensive.”
“The U.S. is home to the third most overpriced attraction in the world, according to our analysis of reviews mentioning the word ‘expensive’ with spots in Iceland and Canada taking first and second places,” the report says.
Several well-known tourist spots around the U.S. were among the most overpriced, including Disneyland, Dollywood, Hershey Park and the Empire State Building.
Biltmore Estate ranked 12th and NASCAR Hall of Fame was No. 55.
The Biltmore, located in Asheville, is the largest home in America spanning 175,000 square feet with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. Every year, people from all over the world visit the estate to see the historic gardens, new exhibits, take behind-the-scenes tours and more.
Admission pricing varies depending on the time of year. Tickets start at $95 in the fall, $105 around Christmas and $69 during the late winter.
NASCAR Hall of Fame, in uptown Charlotte, showcases the history of racing across the country with race cars, interactive exhibits and exclusive artifacts. General admission is $27 for adults, $24 for seniors and $20 for children and military members.
In comparison, Blue Lagoon in Grindavik ranked the most overpriced attractions worldwide with prices starting at $67 but nearly doubling during peak times. The Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver and The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco were also at the top of the list.
“It seems that Americans feel aquariums are overpriced in general, with aquariums in South Carolina, Maryland, California and Georgia making the top 50 in our list,” the report says. “California has seven of the top 25 most overpriced attractions, with Tennessee coming in next with three spots in the top 25.”
The report did not include specific reviews with detailing why tourists thought any of the attractions were overpriced. Out of 30,171 reviews of the Biltmore, the word ‘expensive’ was mentioned 653 times. That keyword was mentioned 64 times out of 5,738 reviews for Nascar Hall of Fame, according to the report.
“It’s true that a few uses of these keywords do not fit in a negative context (e.g. ‘It’s kind of a tourist trap but we loved it!’),” the report says. “Based on our analysis, these positive instances of usage were not frequent enough to be statistically significant, and in any case, they are consistent enough across attractions to cancel each other out.”
For this report, all national parks, state parks, lakes, mountains and sports stadiums were not included. You can find USA Today’s full list of what they call the biggest “tourist traps” and overpriced attractions online.
This story was originally published October 10, 2023, 7:00 AM.