America’s “Forgotten” Vacation Destinations


Americans just don’t vacation like they used to. Cross country road trips, picturesque mountain resorts, and far off seaside towns have been replaced by “staycations,” transcontinental cruises, and brief weekend jaunts to the city. The glory days of Griswold-ian journeys, Borscht belt summers, and month long excursions across the midwest are now behind us, and in their wake many of America’s once mighty vacation destinations, such as the five spots below, have begun to fade off into obscurity.


Silver Springs, Florida. – Before Disney World swooped in and stole all the spotlight, Silver Springs was North Florida’s preeminent tourist destination. Silver Springs’ Nature Theme Park featured all sorts of wildlife, gondola rides, carousels, and the park’s legendary “glass bottom boats.” Unfortunately all this wasn’t enough to keep the park afloat and it closed as an attraction late last year.


Lake Placid, New York – While Lake Placid is probably best known nowadays as the setting for the “Miracle on Ice” during the 1980 Winter Olympics, this upstate New York town was a year round East Coast destination. Featuring skiing during the winter and fishing during the summer, Lake Placid was a cosy town with a lot to offer. At least it was back in the sixties.


Pismo Beach, California – Located roughly two-hundred miles from Los Angeles, Pismo Beach was all about the party. In the twenties it was a mecca for revelers that were trying to skirt prohibition. In the fifties, sixties, and seventies, this lively atmosphere attracted vacationers to California’s Clam Capital. The festivities had to fizzle out eventually though, and today Pismo Beach is just another sleepy seaside town.


The Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania – During its mid-century peak, the appeal of the Poconos was all about location. Positioned just a couple hours from both Philadelphia and New York, urbanites flocked to the secluded Poconos to take in the great outdoors by day and lounge around in ritzy resorts at night. Overtime though, the draw of this remote region has faded away, although with a recently opened casino and a renewed interest amongst young people in the great outdoors, we might just see the Poconos rise again.

1960s RENO NEVADA vintage postcard

Reno, Nevada – Ok, to be fair, Reno is hardly unknown these days, but it’s clearly been eclipsed by their neighbor to the south, Las Vegas. Once the divorce and gambling capital of America, today the “biggest little city,” is probably best known for being the setting of Reno 911!

Comments on “America’s “Forgotten” Vacation Destinations

    Mike V. on April 11, 2014 3:17 PM:

    We used to camp at Pismo when I was a kid growing up in the bay area.
    I can still picture my dad in the surf digging for clams.

    Ray Hull on April 11, 2014 5:09 PM:

    Let’s not forget the Lake Placid Club, an elegant rustic gem with a membership that would rival (and overlap) any of the best clubs in NYC. It closed in the mid-70s…too bad it didn’t last into the 1980 Olympics. Adjacent to it was the Northwood School a preparatory school where Warren Witherell–the famous water-ski champion of the 50s was a coach; nowadays he’s doing snow-ski headmaster duty in Vermont.

    clothingmadeinusablog on April 12, 2014 2:14 AM:

    Don’t forget Niagra Falls!! -Jack Ackerman

    Richard Williams on April 12, 2014 9:45 AM:
    jrklam on April 12, 2014 10:15 PM:

    We do lake placid all the time and it is wonderful. I can’t imagine it ever could have been better. Although the Olympic motel is a little rough – it could though be a real hip attraction if renovated right. Its all still so cool.

    Matthew Pike on April 13, 2014 9:56 AM:

    Wonder is Reno has attracted at Dangle-spotters?

    Gary Drinkwater on April 13, 2014 11:33 AM:

    Thanks for this. Although I never frequented any of these destinations ( and honestly, there’s a multitude of them ) it brought back fond memories of our vacations on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. Only recognized today by Bike Week. Pity!

    Marcel Smith on April 13, 2014 2:23 PM:

    Man, I completely forgot about these places and furthermore my recollection of them I’m sure stems from movie and television references. I guess it is true Americans nowadays don’t take vacations like we once did…kind of sad actually

    The Rat on April 13, 2014 8:19 PM:

    Reno still seems to be a pretty popular destination during the summer and winter months considering its crappy image.

    Jojoandthecats on April 14, 2014 2:47 AM:

    Lake Placid sitll has some very nice, classy places to stay.
    We went there about 5 years ago for my in-laws’ golden anniversary and everyone enjoyed it.
    Amazing houses around the lake.

    Jeff on April 14, 2014 2:00 PM:

    Howard Johnson’s!

    Andrew on April 14, 2014 2:29 PM:

    Great reminder that there’s lots to see and do just around the corner. Sure I’d like to travel abroad just as anyone but I’ve always found something special about taking weeknd jaunts around my own country. It’s nice to be able to call up someone in just about every region of the nation and go for a visit without needing anything more than a drivers license.

    Aaron B. on April 15, 2014 1:15 PM:

    I love this style of US travel vacationing. Every year, my wife and I head up to Maine to visit the Poland Springs Inn, the source of Poland Springs water (shhh) to relax, shop in nearby Freeport or Portland and golf their Donald Ross course. Obscenely inexpensive considering breakfast and dinner is included in your stay. It’s a bit of a retirement crowd, but they do have $1 coctails at happy hour, which peps up the blue hairs a bit. Highly suggested.

    Elliott on April 25, 2014 1:47 PM:

    Silver Springs is still in business. It is just no longer privately owned. It is now a state park, so the springs are better for it. They still have good concerts and great swimming springs.

Comments are closed.