Hundreds of tourists, including New York's Debbie Turczan and her family, expected to spend Tuesday hiking in Yellowstone National Park.
On the second day of the Turczans' five-day vacation—and the first day of the government shutdown that has closed the National Park Service's parks and landmarks—the family is searching for a new plan.
"I called the park this morning and was told they were following instructions to start closing as of 8 a.m.," Turczan said in an email. "We are looking for other hikes to do, but it is a challenge because many of them cross onto national park or forest land."
"We are so very disappointed," she said. "We waited six months for this trip."
(Read more: Shutdown could trigger 'Fed flare': Trader)
Tourists nationwide find themselves in similar fixes, with attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell Center and the Smithsonian museums all closed.
"We've had lots of people coming up and pulling on locked doors," said James Cuorato, the president and CEO of Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia. "It's very, very frustrating."