45 Bygone Tourist Sites That Are Now Closed To The Public
Our grandparents often tell us incredible stories about the fantastic destinations they visited and the epic things they used to do when they were young. When you hear those stories, it feels like they lived pretty exciting lives, even without technology. Within only a century, our parents, grandparents, and great-experienced things are completely inaccessible nowadays or have become something we can only read about in history books. Now, we can only dream about visiting these places in their original glory. However, we are responsible for keeping these places alive just by talking about them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 45 such sites that are only brought up in stories! You may come to find that your grandparents have even told you about some of them, which will make it even more special.
The Original Penn Station
People who visit New York City must put Penn Station at the top of their list of must-visit places to see in the city. Only a true New Yorker knows that others want nothing to do with it, and it’s better to get in and out of there ASAP. However, it wasn’t this way back then.
The actual Penn Station was developed in 1910. As you can see in this image, it was a gigantic place with amazing architecture and glass ceilings. Sadly, the Penn Station was replaced with the famous MSG, or Madison Square Garden, back in 1963.
Astroworld was among the most beloved parts of childrens’ childhoods who grew up in Houston, Texas. The theme park covered a whopping 104 acres of land. The place also had a water park. Everything came to a halt after 37 years of successful operation.
In 2005, park owners announced that the location would be torn down. It was entirely demolished in the following year. But, the theme park continues to live in the minds of those kids. For instance, Travis Scott named his latest album after the park.
Lascaux Cave Paintings
The Lascaux Cave paintings were a set of wall paintings that a group of teenage boys found in the cave in 1940. They discovered it when one of their dogs ran into the cave during a walk. Soon after, researchers found that these paintings were almost 17,000 years old.
The cave quickly became a huge tourist attraction because of the incredible discovery. The question is, why aren’t people frequenting such a historically-rich place these days? This is because it was closed off in 1963 to tourists because officials considered it too dangerous.
Disney’s River Country
Do you know the name of the first Walt Disney World Water park? It was the River Country by Disney. But, Disney quickly realized that they couldn’t get everything right on the first attempt. Over the years, they admitted that the park needs a lot of serious repairs.
In 2001, it was temporarily shut for maintenance purposes. We guess it wasn’t so temporary since we never heard of it reopening after that. Although the site still exists, it is an abandoned water park that looks like a place from a scary movie.
Thailand’s White Sand Beaches
Imagine spending a calm and relaxing afternoon on a Thailand beach with white sand and an amazing view. Name something more picturesque than that. Many people frequented places like Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh Island in Thailand.
But, the influx of visitors was so high that the officials had to issue a tourist blackout for these beaches since the mass tourism negatively impacted the coral reefs and the white sand beaches. It won’t be opening anytime soon.
The Berlin Wall
Back in the 1960s and 70s, loads of curious western tourists would flock to the Berlin Wall in Germany that separated East Berlin from West Berlin. Many artists would even host performances near the wall, which increased the number of visitors even more.
The wall no longer has any actual remains where the original once stood after it came down in 1990 except for a few tiny parts like metal plates in the ground. But, if you want to see the actual wall, you can still find pieces of it that are scattered all over Germany and in some museums.
Guaira Falls used to be a place for tourists who love chasing waterfalls. It is located on the Paraguay-Brazil border, and these waterfalls were also among the strongest waterfalls on Earth, with around 13 million gallons of water being pushed every second. You could hear the sounds of it from approximately 20 miles away.
Unfortunately, all of that came to an end in 1982 when the waterfall dried up all of a sudden. The sad part is that even the strongest waterfalls are no competition for man-mad structures. It dried up because of the then-newly-built Itaipu Dam that blocked the waterfall’s water source.
Love Lock Bridge
There are numerous ways you can express your love to your partner. You can use gifts, words, or also come up with something innovative, like communicating your undying love by writing it on a lock and attaching it to a bridge in Paris over the Seine River.
Oops. That won’t be possible now. The Pont Des Arts Bridge carried the weight of over 700,000 locks on it. Although it looked amazing, officials were afraid that adding more of them would make the entire bridge collapse. Thus, they cut down the locks in 2015. Their concern was genuine since it was an additional 45 tons.
Without any questions, the Yosemite Firefall is a sight that we regret not being able to visit big time. Most of you might have seen the beauty (at least on TV) that’s part of the Yosemite National Park. It’s truly a sight to behold!
Imagine a mighty firefall from one of those beautiful peaks. It was a pretty famous event during the summers. Owners of the nearby hotel would pour hot embers from the Glacier Point, which created that spectacular look. It attracted way too many tourists. Thus, they had to pour cold water on it in 1968.
Statue Of Liberty Torch
We can’t think of anybody who’d visit New York but won’t see the Statue of Liberty. The whole New York City trip is incomplete if you go to the Big Apple, but you don’t board the ferry and purchase those lady liberty hats.
There are many people who are afraid of heights, but there are also many people who live for it! For them, the option of climbing up the statue and seeing the view of Manhattan from the torch is super thrilling. Sadly, it was labeled too dangerous for tourists way back in 1916.
The “Underwater Amazon”
The Underwater Amazon comprises the coral reefs off the coast of Raja Ampat in Indonesia. Let us also tell you that these reefs were widely regarded as some of the most stunning reefs in the world. But, things went downhill in 2017.
In March 2017, a British cruise ship crashed into the Underwater Amazon after veering off route. As a result, around 1,600 meters of the reef were damaged. According to experts, the reef-rebuilding process will take at least 100 years. It’s going to be a long time before anyone witnesses the former glory of this place.
The Azure Window
Let us start by telling you that this gorgeous rock formation was briefly featured on Game of Thrones. It’s a really amazing thing that it was caught on film before it actually disappeared forever. The Azure Window is located in Malta.
It mightily withstood hundreds of storms over the years. But, it only took one storm in March 2017 for it to come crashing down. We aren’t responsible for this loss since this one is on Mother Nature, but many tourist attractions are coming up that met a shockingly similar fate.
This beach in Hawaii is famously known for being one of Hawaii’s world-famous black sand beaches. Seeing a beach covered in black sand almost feels like it’s something from another world since we are used to seeing white sandy beaches.
All was good here until the early ’90s. While tourism was erupting, so was the Kilauea Volcano. The lava from the volcano buried the beach and the nearby town in under 50-feet of lava. Although locals have rebuilt the town, the beach didn’t survive the destruction.
Vance Creek Bridge
Have you heard the phrase, “doing it for the gram?” It’s when today’s generation takes things to the next level by performing death-defying stunts just for an Instagram post. Many millennials these days do precisely that in places like the Vance Creek Bridge.
It’s the second-highest railway bridge in the USA that a logging company built. Later on, it was abandoned. The bridge attracted many tourists, especially millennials looking for an adrenaline rush. It was shut in 2014 out of fear. The owners thought that somebody might get hurt while crossing it.
New York Hippodrome
Visiting the New York Hippodrome isn’t impossible these days. But, it is a bit different than what it used to be back in the day. That’s because what was once a theater and a cultural center is not exactly that in this modern age.
Back in the day, the Hippodrome Theater was considered the biggest theater in the world, with a seating capacity of 5,000. During its heyday, the building hosted movies, circuses, and many Harry Houdini performances until its doors were shut for the final time in 1939.
Legzira Beach is among the most beautiful sights in the world, and it is widely known for its arched rock formations. These rock formations made it a really famous tourist attraction in Morocco for viewing sunsets. But, things soon took a turn.
One of the two famous arches of Legzira succumbed and fell under its own weight in 2016. Although the remaining arch still stands tall, experts say that it’s only a matter of time before it crashes down, too. If you want to witness what’s remaining, visit the place now!
The Jeffrey Pine
If a tree falls on a mountain, it will make a noise, but people won’t be able to hear it if they aren’t present nearby. But, the moment this tree fell, the whole world heard the cries of the tree-lovers, no matter where they were.
We are talking about the Jeffrey Pine, which used to sit on top of Yosemite’s Sentinel Dome. It was once one of the most photographed trees in the world. Tons of tourists still visit and photograph the bygone tourist attraction. It met its fate in 2003.
Wedding Cake Rock
A wedding cake might mean a walk down the aisle, but that’s not the case for this wedding cake. It’s quite a challenging journey in this case. But, the Wedding Cake Rock in Australia offers a view and thrill that’s worth going on the strenuous hike.
It became a trendy tourist destination as they often shared amazing photos of the place “on the gram.” A fence was installed in 2015 to block the entrance to the jetting perch for future hikers’ safety. Experts say that it could crumble within the next decade.
Ise Jingu, Japan
Ise Jingu sits peacefully in the Mie Prefecture of Japan. The place has over 100 Shinto shrines that are all dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, the goddess of the sun. But, only high priests and priestesses are allowed access because of the religious nature of the place.
But, the authorities are more than happy to welcome tourists and foreigners to look around from outside and enjoy the peaceful vibe of the place. Here’s an interesting fact. The shrines are rebuilt and torn down every 20 years, adhering to the Shinto belief of life, death, and rebirth.
Many people might recognize the photos of these beachside resorts from the 70s, all thanks to celebrities like Brigitte Bardot, who spent a lot of their time sunbathing there. But, nothing lasts forever. It all came to an end when tensions between Greece and Turkey rose.
Troops from Turkey conquered the island, which led to the locals fleeing the area. Even though the tension is now relaxed, Turkey has declared the area off-limits. People have dangerously snuck in, but they have also faced the repercussions of doing so.
Did you know that Sana’a in Yemen is among the oldest cities in the world? Its breathtaking architecture retains numerous aspects of its spirit that date back thousands of years, and only a handful of places are still seen this way.
But, it has become a pretty dangerous place due to local unrest and other reasons. Sana’a is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. But, it’s doubtful that tourists will be able to visit this place in the near future. We hope everything gets resolved in Sana’a.
Timbuktu is widely proclaimed in songs and cartoons as among the best places to visit, but here is a fact. Currently, it is inaccessible for tourists since extremist rebel forces have been attacking the locals. As a result, nations have warned their visitors to wait for the condition to improve.
But, life in Timbuktu still goes on, as salt merchants bravely make the dangerous journey in hopes of selling their salt. Although it is off-limits for tourists, we hope that it will soon become accessible for them to visit.
Half Of Korea
People might find it difficult to believe today, but if you flip the pages of history, you’ll notice that Korea used to be one country. Korea wasn’t divided until 1945. Also, the whole country was open for tourists to visit before 1910, when Japan conquered Korea and occupied it for 35 years.
After Japan released its control on Korea as a surrender condition, the northern part was occupied by the Soviet Union, while the USA occupied the southern part. We all know that this division remains till the day, and we’re also aware that visiting the northern part is difficult and dangerous.
Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic
This sandstone arch has drawn a bevy of tourists for years and years to marvel at its beauty. Visitors used to be able to climb on top of the arch and take photos of the astounding view. But, the Czech Republic has prohibited them from doing so.
What could be the reason behind that? Well, erosion has made the arch unstable. So, it could be possible that the next person who climbs up to the zenith might make things worse for themselves and everyone standing below the arch.
Bohemian Grove, Monte Rio, California, USA
The Bohemian Club is a private club that also owns Bohemian Grove, which is the entire area around it. This one is a bit different because only members can visit this place. Also, getting a membership to gain access isn’t easy.
The first condition is that you have to be AMAB, meaning that you have to be a born male. Next, you need to be a ‘distinguished gentleman.’ We don’t know the exact qualification for that, but these people are usually high-ranking officers and generals, Nobel Peace Prize winners, or anyone else the owner approves of.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Earlier, visiting Chichen Itza’s enormous pyramids, climbing the steps, and surveying the land wasn’t so challenging. You could easily go inside the structures to explore where the people prayed and even touch the ancient stones. However, it’s not this way anymore.
Because there has been a steady but high increase in tourists, Mexico has closed off Chichen Itza. That’s what it officially says, but the locals say that people keep tagging the places with graffiti. How sad is that? It might be cool in the next century, but not so much today.
Cypress Gardens, Florida
Cypress Gardens in Florida is an example of a place where you can still go, but it has gone through many drastic changes. Earlier, you were able to visit the lakes that were ideal for water skiing and or seeing a lot of different flowers.
Those gardens were replaced with Legoland. It is comical for people, but it’s depressing for many. The irony is that we replaced a refuge for nature lovers with a plastic theme park for children. There is nothing wrong with it, but what we’re trying to say is we think that children would’ve loved the gardens as well.
Haiku Stairs, Hawaii
The US Navy built a staircase in the Ko’olau mountain range in Hawaii back in 1942, but they were decommissioned in the ’50s. These stairs became really dangerous since they weren’t maintained at all. Although the city tried closing off the place, people still found a way to sneak in.
In 2003, the stairs underwent some maintenance work. Since the fatalities and missing person cases kept on increasing, the city declared that climbing those stairs would be considered trespassing. After that, they fined around 130 people for the offense, up to $1,000.
The Sutro Baths
Going for a swim was really easy in San Francisco from 1896 to 1964. All credit goes to the Sutro Baths, which was an amazing complex. Adolph Sutro built them, who was once the mayor of the city. The pool had freshwater and saltwater ponds, and it housed many famous baths as well.
Sadly, the funds started taking a dip with the visitors as well. The maintenance costs were pretty high for the facility. Ultimately, the complex was closed, and the Sutro Baths were sold. What’s worse is that everything was destroyed in a fire in 1966. But, some parts of the structure still stand.
Pioneer Cabin Tree
If you love scenic routes, you wouldn’t be able to get over this one. Can you believe our previous generations literally had the opportunity to drive through a huge sequoia tree? It was possible to drive through the Pioneer Cabin Tree until it met its fate.
Someone carved a drivable tunnel route through the Tunnel Tree. It drew a lot of visitors to its location, and it was an amazingly cool experience. The famous tree was said to be more than 1,000 years old until it met its end in 2017 after falling into a storm.
Portions Of The Great Wall Of China
This place needs no introduction. It is a no-brainer that maintaining and upkeeping such a massive structure would be a huge responsibility. But, most people are aware that almost two-thirds of the wall has been closed off to the public.
Tourists still frequent the Great Wall of China to explore its history. But, the Chinese government has allowed a part of the Wall to be torn down while China builds up its infrastructure. Some portions are crumbling due to natural reasons. Sadly, it’s a shame that other parts are deteriorating because of vandalism.
The Chacaltaya Glacier in Bolivia was among the best places to ski worldwide until one day when it was entirely gone. During its heyday, the glacier was one of the highest on the planet. It attracted tons of skiers and snowboarders.
One day, all its history just melted away with it. The glacier was at least 18,000 years old. In the ’80s, there were some noticeably adverse changes in the glacier, and it kept on deteriorating. By 2009, it was washed away, just like the tourism in the area.
We know that some enthusiastic skiers would indeed consider moving up the mountains only to experience some of the best slopes in the world, although it’s dangerous. But, today’s skiers can’t visit Mount Humboldt in the northern Andes Mountains.
Although the actual mountain does exist in the mountain range, you can’t ski on it. The reason is simple. It isn’t skiable because of climate change. There isn’t any ice there today, as all of it just melted away. According to scientists, the remaining snow on the peaks will be gone in some years.
Disney’s Discovery Island
If you ever look at the official Disney World map, you’ll notice that there’s a large green island that hosts nothing on it. No tourists or park employees can reach this specific area. But, back in the day, the island hosted a lot of attractions.
It was known as Disney’s Discovery Island. It hosted a lot of tropical animals and birds in its heyday. Today, it’s an ancient tourist site that was abandoned in 1999. The animals were later moved over to the Animal Kingdom of the same park. Nobody visits the island, so it must be pretty creepy.
Heritage USA was once an “American-Christian” theme park that a televangelist created. It had a theme park and a water park that became really popular. There was a point when the place attracted 6 million people annually. However, that didn’t last long.
After successfully running for 11 years, the park was suddenly closed in 1989. Jim Bakker, the person who opened the park, was caught up in a scandal. Although the park is closed, it still stands today. It looks like an abandoned relic.
Duckbill Rock Formation
One of the biggest reasons for Oregon’s Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area’s appeal was the Duckbill Rock Formation. It sat along Oregon’s coastline, and it was really popular among tourists and photographers. The smiling duck rock charmed almost everybody who laid eyes on it.
On August 29, 2016, the old duck head tumbled to the ground and met its tragic end. A group of vandals was responsible for the destruction. According to them, they did it out of “public safety concern” since one of their friends recently broke a leg while climbing on the rock.
The World Of Sid And Marty Krofft
Most of today’s kids don’t know about Sid and Marty Krofft, but they were the reason why children’s TV was so successful in the ’60s and ’70s. The brothers were responsible for hits like Land of the Lost, H.R. Pufnstuf, and The Banana Splits.
During their peak period of fame, they opened up an indoor amusement park in Atlanta. There was a bevy of adoring fans, but the park attendance hit new lows after their opening day. After six months, everything had to be shut down. The brothers blamed the high ticket prices and their competition for it.
Tree Of Ténéré
This tree was earlier considered the most isolated tree in the world. It was beautiful, and it was right in the middle of the Sahara desert. Travelers used it as a landmark for centuries. The tree was so old that its existence traces back to when the Sahara desert was actually livable.
Sadly, the lonely tree met its lonely end when an intoxicated Libyan truck driver ran over it. The remnants of the Tree of Ténéréwere were taken to the Niger National Museum, and they remain there to this day. As an homage, a metal pole was placed near the location where the tree once stood.
Old Man Of The Mountain
The White Mountains of New Hampshire in the USA were renowned for looking like a face on the mountainside. Thus, it was also nicknamed Old Man of the Mountain. It was among the most prominent tourist attractions in the state for decades.
Sadly, the look of the face on the mountainside doesn’t exist anymore. In 2003, the face of the old man cracked and slid off the side of the mountain—what an unfortunate incident. Locals were so affected that they placed flowers at the mountain’s base to pay their respect.
Mukurob translates to “Finger of God.” The Mukurob or the Finger of God is a sandstone rock formation in the Weissrand Plateau. The place was once the biggest tourist attraction in the Namib desert. It was also the center of numerous geological studies.
It was formed as a result of 50,000 years of erosion. Sadly, it collapsed on December 7, 1988. Nobody knows how it happened, but it was assumed that the Mukurob met its fate because of the heavy rainstorms that occurred during the week prior.
The Crystal Palace
The construction of the Crystal Palace was finished in 1851. It stood as one of the most significant tourist attractions in London until it met its demise in 1936. It also housed the first-ever Great Exhibition, where it showcases the world’s newest technologies that came out during the Industrial Revolution.
The palace was moved to Sydenham hill, and we only have pictures of that structure today. A fire that started from the cloakroom ended up burning down the whole palace. We are sure that Crystal Palace would’ve still been the location of choice for every huge event taking place in London.
Torres Del Paine National Park
This national park was among the most beautiful locations in Chile and also all over the world. It had lush green fields, many trees, and of course, the Towers of Paine. But, tourism took a toll on this place. We aren’t talking about littering and polluting the area.
Raging fires were the reason. In 1985, a camper started a fire that destroyed 58 miles of the national park. In 2005, a tourist burnt around 60 miles of it, and another tourist burnt another 68 miles from an illegal fire. The park still bravely stands today, but its beauty is nothing like before.
The Christmas Island Coral Reef
Christmas Island is not only famous for being one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, but it is also famous for having millions of crabs that invade the place during their mating season. Sadly, it doesn’t happen anymore, though.
The reef was nearly wiped out in just a matter of ten months between 2015-16. It was also declared as a ghost town by a biologist at the University of Victoria. The biologist went on a one-month scuba expedition and concluded that El Nino was the reason behind the fate of this reef.
Have you ever heard of the Catskill Mountains? It’s located in the upstate part of New York, and it housed various luxurious Jewish resorts that are collectively called the Borscht Belt or the Jewish Alps. The peak period of these resorts was from the ’20s to the ’70s.
The resorts offered a plethora of specialty services, and they also had their Yiddish theater. Once air travel was accessible, the popularity of these resorts crumbled. Today, almost all of these resorts are abandoned. The movie Dirty Dancing takes place in one of them.
Caves of Altamira, Spain
Earlier, we saw the Lascaux paintings in France, which were really ancient. Well, here are some charcoal paintings that are around 14,000 years old. If you’re a history buff, this would’ve been the ideal place to visit for you!
The preservation of this place is on the next level. One of these caves has a painting that almost dates back to over 35,000 years! Sadly, a lot of tourists painted around it in excitement, which degraded the material since the old paintings weren’t so durable. Sadly, the caves were closed in 2002.